Whatever happened to “There’s no such thing as race”?

Multiracial group of children in preschool hallway

Back when we thought the way to end racism was to make people less conscious of race, social engineers proudly pronounced that there’s actually no such thing as race anyway.

From the outset, this was socially well-intentioned but scientifically silly. Society long ago classified people on the basis of their appearance or “phenotypes.” White (formerly called Caucasian) people generally look different than black (formerly called negroid) people who look different than Asians and so on. This difference in appearance is not a “social construct.” It’s real and it’s measurable and it relates to different geographic origins and ancestry.

To say that there’s no such thing as “race” is to say that there are no differing phenotypes that can be categorized. It’s like saying there’s no such thing as hair color. That’s obviously false. We can see different phenotypes with our own eyes.

With the advent of genetics, scientists saw the underlying reasons for the different phenotypes. It’s due to different genes or “genotypes.”

Some of the genotypes are not reflected in phenotypes but are nonetheless important. For example, blacks are far more likely to develop sickle cell anemia. That’s because one of the sickle cell genes helps them defeat malaria infections which were (and are) common in Africa. On the other hand, cystic fibrosis affects mainly white people, apparently because having one of those genes helps defeat cholera infections which ravaged ancient and medieval cities.

These genes are readily discernable to geneticists, and geneticists ordinarily use racial classifications in discussing them.

This is not to say that every person of a given race has all the typical genotypes and phenotypes of that race. They don’t. The word “race” implies a generalization. Scientists generalize all the time. The fact that there are exceptions to their generalizations does not disprove the generalization. It simply proves that it’s a generalization and not an inviolate rule.

This is also not to say that some races are superior to others in this way or that. “Superior” is a subjective term, not a scientific one. Even if you can define it, you’ll have a hard time measuring it.

Finally, the fact that the races have mixed somewhat does not prove that race does not exist. It merely means that they’ve mixed somewhat. Hair colors get mixed up from parents with different hair colors. That doesn’t mean hair color doesn’t exist.

The well-intentioned effort to defeat racism by denying race was an early example of political correctness creeping into science. Early wokesters wished race didn’t exist, and so they wished it out of existence. I sympathize with their first wish, but the second is just fantasy.

Now we’ve come full circle. The same politically correct crowd that told us there’s no such thing as race now tells us that a failure to recognize race is racist. Society is no longer supposed to de-emphasize race, but is supposed to emphasize it.

The wokesters have discovered that race exists after all, and they want to jam it down your throat.

We are supposed to notice a person’s race and attribute to that person not just  phenotypes and genotypes on the basis of his race, but also goodness and badness. Due to his race, a given black person is supposed to be viewed as a good person who is a victim regardless of his actions and personal life experience. And due to his race, a given white person is supposed to be viewed as a bad racist regardless of his actions and principles.

Consider the irony. In the name of anti-racism, we now condemn individual whites as racist on the basis of their race and worship individual blacks on the basis of theirs.

In this new paradigm, good whites who behave as if race is not important to them –people living in, oh, about 2017 – are the worst of all for failing to recognize the racism lurking in their subconscious.

I prefer the good old days when we pretended that race didn’t exist even though we knew it did. “There’s no such thing as race” is a lie, but I like it better than “whites are racist, and the non-racist ones are the worst.”

I’m waiting to be told what to do with someone like Barack Obama who is half white and half black. Is he neither good nor bad because the white balances out the black? Or is he good because he says he “identifies” as black? (By the way, on what conceivable grounds could this half white person raised by whites in Hawaii who has lived a life of privilege among whites, playing golf and playing president, sincerely identify as black?)

This crazy system – concocted by violent, shrieking racial justice warriors in the dim light of burning cars – is unworkable. Its unworkability is not just a detail, but serves to illustrate its unfairness.  

I think the rioters know that. It’s all a ruse. It disguises a more sinister agenda having nothing to do with race. Middle America won’t go for it. Naïve Democrats embrace it at their peril this November.

12 thoughts on “Whatever happened to “There’s no such thing as race”?

  1. This article is pretty spot on accurate. Back in the 1980s when I was an undergrad, I took a lot of courses in anthropology, and the idea back then, according to anthropologists, was that there was no such thing as “race.” Instead, differences in people were talked about in terms of “human variation”. I was taught that there really wasn’t any such thing as caucasian, negroid, or mongoloid racial types, but that human variation was gradual and changed gradually as you moved farther away from the equator. However, believing in race was a no-no, and you were not supposed to think of discrete separate races. That was the left’s attitude back then. Now, however, because it’s politically expedient for them, the left is fixated on race, to the point where it’s an actual pathological obsession, or some sort of sick fetish. They’re truly a disturbed and corrupt bunch now. The Democratic Party is now more like the Manson Family than like a major political party.

  2. “Some of the genotypes are not reflected in phenotypes but are nonetheless important. For example, blacks are far more likely to develop sickle cell anemia. That’s because one of the sickle cell genes helps them defeat malaria infections which were (and are) common in Africa. On the other hand, cystic fibrosis affects mainly white people, apparently because having one of those genes helps defeat cholera infections which ravaged ancient and medieval cities.”

    You do realize that you have given a certain segment of our society all the proof they need to insist on shipping all blacks back to Africa and on removing all non-whites from Europe, etc.

    Hmmmmm. . . It would solve some problems, I guess.

  3. Have you re-read 1984 lately?? When I was in high school in the 1950s, it was required reading in Junior and Senior High. Our young sister ended up in a private school (when the public school became too violent), and the book was banned K-12 there. So she read my brother’s copy. Our youngest sister started reading it for the first time a few weeks ago. Took it back to the library, it was too disturbing in light of today’s world.

  4. It tool a long time for them to slog through it, but both my kids read Atlas Shrugged at a rather young age. Neither one believes any of the current BS

  5. I sure hope your final sentences prove to be the case. Now on to the “sinister” agenda” that this re-invented racism, along with COVID hysteria and climate change hysteria, is supposed to enact. Yes, I’m trying to cue up the subject of your next column. What IS this agenda? Who are its architects? Surely what is happening in our cities is not spontaneous combustion resulting from a random convergence of disparate malcontents. Whence cometh all these pussy-hatted rage moms, triggered campus SJWs, Hollywood morons, millionaire athletes boycotting their own athletic contests, and Portlandia anarchists? How did we get here?

  6. No masks at the convention and they have it at the Whitehouse. I don’t want my taxes paying for the Republican party convention. Guy does whatever he wants, no law or rule he hasn’t broken

    • Why do you assume your taxes paid for anything? The White House is not a rental property. I assume, unlike you, that the RNC paid the caterer and the band and all the rest. Prove me wrong, if you can.

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