Race Without Color

Race Without Color

For much better current resources, see Teaching Race Anthropologically, which supersedes “Race Without Color” and please consider the political implications described in Social Construction of Race = Conservative Goldmine.

This is a 15-slide presentation on “Race Without Color” by Jared Diamond, using the version in the 9th edition of Applying Anthropology: An Introductory Reader. Please click on this link for a free download.

After many years appearing in the Applying Anthropology series, Jared Diamond’s “Race Without Color” is not included in the 2012 and most recent 10th edition of Applying Anthropology. In a very welcome improvement, the 10th edition anthrologizes Clarence Gravlee’s fantastic article How Race Becomes Biology: Embodiment of Social Inequality.

Therefore, as of 2012, I consider Diamond’s “Race Without Color” article to be entirely superseded for anthropology courses. I include this PowerPoint for people who may use older editions of Applying Anthropology or who want to use the freely available article from Discover 1994.

Diamond’s article encapsulated what became the best race debunking available from 1960-2000: that most race traits are clinal and subject to independent recombination, not appearing as a concordant package.

However, since 2000 the people behind the Race Revival, Attacking Anthropology on Race have tried to trash articles like Diamond’s. Following Lewontin’s Fallacy (Edwards 2003) and especially the 2005 New York Times Op-Ed A Family Tree in Every Gene by Armand Marie Leroi, it is no longer acceptable to cite Diamond–or even Lewontin–as definitively disproving biological race groupings (see the comments in Mismeasuring Gould in the “Mismeasure of Science”). Instead, it is necessary to investigate more contemporary critiques, such as discussed in Race Reconciled Re-Debunks Race.

This PowerPoint presentation does not go into the 2000-2010 material, and instead opts for a straightforward presentation of Diamond as de-bunking race. I leave it up to the professor to decide what level of detail to discuss the race revival.

To cite: Antrosio, Jason. 2011. “Race Without Color by Jared Diamond.” Living Anthropologically website, https://www.livinganthropologically.com/race-without-color/. First posted 22 August 2011. Revised 21 September 2017.

Please consider contributing to Living Anthropologically. Contributions fund ads to bring anthropology to public debates. Not tax-deductible. For more information, see Support Living Anthropologically.

For updates, please subscribe to Living Anthropologically. Living Anthropologically is also on Facebook & Twitter.

  • Thanks, Jason, for sharing this. I think we need to share more teaching materials, but we also need to give credit to each other when we get materials off of each other. We’re so scrupulous about citations in our scholarship, and so sloppy with assigning credit in our teaching.

    I also really appreciate all the links and the way that you’ve put the material into context. Exemplary work!

    • James Mullooly

      Part of the beauty of Jason’s presentations is that he includes all his info on the last page. My hope is that this will get my students following Living Anthropologically.

    • Thanks Greg, glad for your comment. There seems to be something of a tradition of borrowing teaching materials–I’m quite sure I’ve purloined syllabus stuff that was borrowed from others. However, it does seem more proper now to provide links, give credit, and use this as a way to initiate scholarly community.

      One thing that may be different as we share teaching materials online is with the use of images. If these are used for a class as a one-time thing, they fall under fair use, but would not be appropriate to share online. So some of my online PowerPoints are much more text-heavy and image-spare than they might be.


  • James Mullooly

    This is a great presentation. I’m going to add it to my own lecture on this topic as extended reading. Thanks Jason.

    • Hi James, glad this was helpful. I’ve been experimenting with some different format delivery for these and hope to put out some more. Thanks again!

  • J

    I am having problems getting the presentation 🙁

    • Sorry about that. It seems to be working for me. Send an e-mail and I’ll send it to you.