How Real Is Race?

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How Real is Race? brings together biological and cultural information to help people make sense of the contradictory messages about race in the U.S. and elsewhere. How real is race? Or rather, in what sense is race real? What is biological fact and fiction? Where does culture enter? And what does it really mean to say that race is a "social construction"? If race is an invention, who invented it? Why? For what ends? And can we eliminate it if we wish to? These are the key questions that frame this book. With accessible, clear language and suggested teaching activities in every chapter, it is designed as a sourcebook for anyone interested in addressing the questions above.

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Editorial Reviews

Teaching Anthropology
It is written clearly in everyday language that is refreshingly free of academic jargon, and it does not moralize. 2007
Anthropology & Education Quarterly
A godsend for people struggling to talk about race. ...It offers not just invaluable quotes and references, but also lesson plans for teachers.
Dorothy Allen
This book is an excellent beginning to fulfill the challenges that race, culture, and biology present in U.S. society. It certainly goes a long way in filling the void in social science standard and curriculum in terms of teaching youth about our society as well as how to cope with the problems of race in our society.
Pedro A. Noguera
For those seeking to understand the complex concept of race this book is an invaluable resource. It is a readable, insightful, and useful guide for educators seeking to provide their students with understanding of a topic that has long been a source of controversy and confusion.
Michael Omi
Drawing upon a wealth of classic and cutting-edge anthropological research, How Real is Race? provides a clear guide for educators seeking to navigate through the contentious issues surrounding the concept of race and its socio-cultural meaning. The breadth of topics examined in this sourcebook—from race as biological fiction to race as a social and culture reality—is truly amazing. Solidifying its uniqueness is the authors' attentiveness to how race plays out in school settings. Overall, they highlight how students can develop critical thinking skills by interrogating human variation and understanding the connections, and disconnections, between race, culture, and biology.
Norma Gonzalez
This book takes seriously the power that teachers can wield in effectuating social change. By clearly laying out the biological fallacies of race and racial classifications, the authors lay the foundation for educators to dismantle historically constituted inequities based on race. The book communicates complex biological material within a framework that is both accessible and compelling. Teachers and Teacher Educators will find this book to be a repository of information that can constantly be tapped.
Hilda Hernández
How Real Is Race? insightfully examines important and complex issues related to race from an anthropological perspective. By focusing on the cultural context, the text helps readers to better understand race as a factor that influences excellence, access, and equity in K-12 schools. The text is informative and interesting; the analysis and activities are invaluable for educators in many fields. Educators will appreciate the classroom applications and wealth of resources provided. This is an excellent and essential resource for educators in a democratic society!
Sandy Miller
The authors have done teachers a great service by providing a framework for addressing this sensitive but important topic, along with activities that help students investigate the things that divide and unite us.
Shirley Malcolm
We in the scholarly community have not provided educators with the tools they need to openly and intelligently tackle issues related to race and human variation in the school and college settings. Yet these topics are often part of the undercurrent associated with events in school, in the news or within popular culture…Race has not disappeared as an issue; understanding the biological, social, cultural and historical underpinnings can enable educators to assist their students as they grapple with contemporary confrontations…I applaud [the authors'] efforts, especially to show [the] links to standards and to situate the book so that it is 'school ready.'
Larry Adelman
This splendid and much-needed resource makes it possible for students (and educators!) to interrogate their own myths and misconceptions about race. Drawing from diverse fields-anthropology, history, biology, genetics, sociology, even literature—the rich readings and exercises help students adroitly manage a counter-intuitive two-step: Race is not biological. But that doesn't mean it's not real. Race, or more precisely, racism, resides not in our bodies but in our history, our social structures and our cultural beliefs, helping shape life outcomes and opportunities.
Alan H. Goodman
Mukhopadhyay, Henze and Moses's book stands to be one of the most important written about the illusory idea and enduring salience of race. Why so important? It is not only the first book to assemble an expansive series of teaching exercises about various aspects of race and racism, it also does so by brilliantly contextualizing race with exercises that lead to a deeper appreciation of ideology, power and human variation. How Real is Race? A Sourcebook on Race, Culture, and Biology, ought to be available in all school systems and to all teachers.
Wendy Luttrell
This is a book about race that teachers across the country have been waiting for and the timing couldn't be better. The increasing racial and ethnic diversity of U.S. students coupled with the likelihood that teachers are geographically, socially and culturally isolated from the students they teach, makes this an indispensable book for teachers everywhere. Though reams of pages have been written on the themes explored in this sourcebook — the biology, culture, psychology and schooling of racial categories, stratification and conflict — no book has yet combined these multiple perspectives with teaching and learning activities for classroom use in secondary and post-secondary settings. Through this book, students and teachers will unlearn what U.S. culture has taught them about race as a sorting mechanism, at the same time that they will learn how to use scientific, historical, and anthropological data to understand what makes race such an enduring, but not inevitable category of difference.
Siv Kristin Spain
An important book for teachers, administrators and community members - it should be on the shelves of all school and district libraries. Many might think the "race issue" is no longer an issue - I often heard that amongst students and pre-service teachers alike - but it is so inherent and part of U.S. institutions and culture, that people do not notice it - as the authors state, "the fish is the last to discover water." This book gives an inside look at the issue of race and the role it plays in education and in our schools from an anthropological perspective. It affords us the opportunity to look more critically and deeply at the status quo and what we consider to be "normal." It would be an opportune time for schools that are undergoing any kind of reform or change to read this book and see how these concepts play a role in the current model, and how they might be considered when coming up with a new model of school. I highly recommend this book!
Daryl G. Smith
Finally— a book that succeeds in creating a coherent approach to the topic of race-how it matters and doesn't matter. Based on the most current transdisciplinary information and research from biology, anthropology, history, psychology, and, sociology, the authors succeed in framing the issues of race in ways relevant to every day questions and assumptions. The text includes a wonderful chapter on 'hot-button' issues in schools such as the use of racial slurs, racial incidents, achievement gaps and how to engage them. As a professor, researcher and practitioner I look forward to using the resources and the approach to facilitate conversations in a variety of educational settings though they would be equally useful in community settings as well.
Merry M. Merryfield
No subject is more central to education in the United States than race. Without understanding race and racism, young people cannot make sense of past and present political actions, economic differences, or movement of people in their communities and nation. Without knowledge of how race has shaped mainstream academic knowledge, today's students may never realize that the ways in which they are taught today to divide the world actually developed from the racist ideology of European explorers and colonists who used what they perceived as "racial" differences to set themselves apart from Africans, Asians, and other indigenous peoples of color and therefore justified slavery and colonialism. Race is the keystone in moving beyond imperial worldviews towards multicultural and global perspectives.

How Real is Race? takes on race and its permutations in American education. This volume not only challenges the usual misperceptions and misuse of the term race, it digs into the deep structure of society and schooling to bring to light the many effects of race and racism in schools. Unlike most of the multicultural books out there for preservice and practicing teachers (and there are many good ones), How Real is Race? sets itself apart by its indepth examination of the scientific meaning of race. The first four chapters truly educate teachers about race and science and will be powerful tools in counteracting many misperceptions and misinformation that are rarely challenged by the media or mandated curricula. The last half of the book applies these ideas to teaching and learning with activities and resources. How Real is Race? is an exciting new resource for anti-racist multicultural education.

January 2008 PsycCRITIQUES
Found the book to provide one [of] the best (i.e., clear, comprehensive, and concise) discussions on DNA and culture that I have come across.
September 2008 Teaching Tolerance
[This book] is a comprehensive look at race and racism and how it plays out in the deep structure of schooling. Science teachers will enjoy the way the book looks at the biology of race. Everyone will benefit from the anti-racist perspective.
July-December 2008 Revista De Dialectologia Y Tradiciones Populares
How real is race demonstrates clearly and without ambiguity what the disciplines of anthropology has to contribute to understanding and dismantling racist mechanisms. The book builds its argument from biology to society, passing through culture and ending with schools… the book can be used very effectively as an introduction textbook fro anthropology.
March 2010 Education and Urban Society
Mukhopadhay, Henze, and Moses have written an incisive, pedagogically nuanced, and singular book. . . . The authors argue persuasively that there is no scientific basis for the concept of race. . . . How Real Is Race? is an important, and well-executed book that fills a gap in the educational literature. . . . It is clear that Mukhopadhyay, Henze, and Moses have spent many years in the classroom, unraveling the continual puzzle of how to teach about these complex issues.
January 2010 International Journal Of Multicultural Education
Together they [Mukhopadhay, Henze, Moses] draw on their personal and professional experience to produce an extremely helpful work for all of us seeking to bring greater understanding around the issue of race. . . . Written in an accessible yet scholarly style, the book combines explanation and background with engaging activities, web based resources, and discussion questions. . . . The book supplies virtually everything a teacher would need, at any level, to engage students in a wide range of issues around race. . . . The need for conversations about race has not gone away, though those conversations must become more complex. This complexity requires increased attention from well-informed and well-equipped educators to address questions of race with students. This book is a welcome resource toward that end that should serve the educational community very well for years to come.
Volume 41 Number 6 (September 2009) Education and Urban Society
How Real is Race? is an important and well-executed book that fills a gap in the educational literature.... How Real is Race? is a much-needed resource for urban educators. It is a terrific text for undergraduate teacher preparation courses, and it will interest those currently teaching who want to think more deeply about education practice and its' social implications.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781578865604
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 2/1/2007
  • Pages: 318
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 0.88 (d)

Meet the Author

Carol C. Mukhopadhyay (San Jose State University) has 40 years of experience teaching, consulting, researching, and publishing on issues of cultural diversity and education related to race, ethnicity and gender, in both the United States and India. She is a key advisor for the American Anthropological Association's public information project, RACE. Rosemary Henze (San Jose State University) has a background in education, anthropology, and linguistics, and has been an ESL teacher. She worked with K-12 schools for 14 years as a consultant, researcher, and curriculum designer on bilingual, multicultural, and antiracist education and has researched education in Greece, Alaska, and Hawaii. Yolanda T. Moses (University of California, Riverside) is an anthropologist and university administrator who has spent more than 25 years researching, writing, and teaching in the United States, the Caribbean, South Africa, and Brazil. She has held national leadership roles in the American Anthropological Association, City College of New York (CUNY), and American Association of Higher Education and chairs the National Advisory Board for the American Anthropological Association's Understanding Race and Human Variation project (RACE).

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Table of Contents

Part 1 The Fallacy Of Race As Biology Chapter 2 Why Contemporary Races Are Not Scientifically Valid Chapter 3 Human Biological Variation: What We Don't See Chapter 4 If Not Race, How Do We Explain Biological Differences? Chapter 5 More Alike Than Different; More Different Than Alike Part 6 Culture Creates Race Chapter 7 Culture Shapes How We Experience Reality Chapter 8 Culture and Classification: Race Is Culturally Real Chapter 9 Race and Inequality: Race as a Social Invention to Achieve Certain Goals Chapter 10 Cross-Cultural Overview of Race Chapter 11 If Race Doesn't Exist, What Are We Seeing? Sex, Mating, and Race Part 12 Race And Hot Button Issues In Schools Chapter 13 Assemblies, Clubs, Slurs, and Racial Labels Chapter 14 The Academic Achievement Gap and Equity Chapter 15 Racial and Racialized Conflicts Chapter 16 Interracial Flirting and Dating in Schools Part 17 Resources Chapter 18 References Chapter 19 Alignment with Standards Chapter 20 List of Teaching Activities Chapter 21 Illustrations List

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