Beyond “Race Without Color” by Jared Diamond

Image credit: Jared Diamond Reflective Assignment on “Race Without Color” at News Activist.

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.

“Race Without Color” by Jared Diamond appeared in the 9th edition of Applying Anthropology: An Introductory Reader.

After many years appearing in the Applying Anthropology series, Jared Diamond’s “Race Without Color” was not included in the 2012 and most recent 10th edition of Applying Anthropology. In a very welcome improvement, the 10th edition anthologizes 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Therefore, as of 2012, I consider Diamond’s “Race Without Color” article to be entirely superseded for anthropology courses. The 1994 article is freely available from Discover.

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 attempted 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.

For a 2017 update, see A Guide to Teaching Race after Charlottesville (August 2017) by Kristin L. Krueger. My most recent attempts at teaching race are Evolution and Race Anthropologically (2016) and Is Race Genetic? (2017).

To cite: Antrosio, Jason. 2011. “Race Without Color by Jared Diamond.” Living Anthropologically website, First posted 22 August 2011. Revised 24 January 2018.

Living Anthropologically means documenting history, interconnection, and power during a time of global transformation. We need to care for others as we attempt to build a world together. This blog is a personal project of Jason Antrosio, author of Fast, Easy, and In Cash: Artisan Hardship and Hope in the Global Economy. For updates, subscribe to the YouTube channel or follow on Twitter.

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