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Alan H. GoodmanReading and discussing The Emperor's New Clothes is a great way to begin to grasp what race is and what it is not.
— Journal of American Medical Association
In this groundbreaking book, Joseph Graves traces the development of biological thought about human genetic diversity. Greek philosophy, social Darwinism, New World colonialism, the eugenics movement, intelligence testing biases, and racial health fallacies are just a few of the topics he addresses. Graves argues that racism has persisted in our society because adequate scientific reasoning has not entered into the equation. He champions the scientific method and explains how we may properly ask scientific questions about the nature of population differentiation and how (if at all) we may correlate that diversity to observed human behavior. He also cautions us to think critically about scientific findings that have historically been misused in controversies over racial differences in intelligence heritability, criminal behavior, disease predisposition, and other traits.
According to Graves, this country cannot truly address its racial problems until people understand the empirical evidence behind this truth that separate human races do not exist. With the biological basis for race removed, racism becomes an ideology, one that can and must be deleted.
Posted May 22, 2003
As a proponent of 'all people being equal,' Dr. Graves' book is a wonderfully expressed broad discussion on race that logically explains why there are many differences within one human race. To bring humanity to a place of promoting true equality across many cultural experiences, this book provides a sound foundation to begin that process. Each person embracing that vision can make a difference based on a fresh perspective of how we view one another. To understand the why's of our biological differences is truly freedom. Having heard Dr. Graves speak in person, also brought a unique opportunity to learn why his work is so critical in science, academia, and how it relates to and transcends into society.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 27, 2002
As a medical scientist at Duke University, I would like to commend Dr. Graves on a superb overview of genetic differences between human populations from different parts of the world. This book makes a very clear statement of what is now mainstream science, though unfortunately it may be difficult to understand for readers without sufficient scientific background. What makes this book especially remarkable is its expert weaving of a tale involving the history of research in this area with the parallel history of social concepts of race. Given the importance of its topic in the world today, this book should be more widely publicized.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 18, 2001
If there really were a liberal bias in the American media, Dr. Joseph L. Graves Jr. would be on every talk show on every network. Stacks of copies of his book, The Emperor's New Clothes: Biological Theories of Race at the Millennium, would be prominently displayed on tables near the entrance to every bookstore. AOL would carry banner ads for it. That the media has, in fact, been virtually silent about Graves' exploration and debunking of the history of pseudoscientific justifications for various forms of racial apartheid speaks volumes -- all puns intended. As Graves points out, 'The practice of building whole theoretical constructs on false or untestable assumptions is a hallmark of pseudoscience, which is often associated with vested social interests.' We saw the effects of one such construct in the Nazi program of racial purity, of another in South Africa, of another in Bosnia. What Graves asks us to do, as citizens of the twenty-first century, is recognize that the same pseudoscience regarding race informed perceptions and policies in the United States that continue to this day. Most telling, perhaps, is his examination of the American eugenics movement as an accepted scientific endeavour, and how the theories developed by this American body were directly utilized by the Nazis. It's a frightening tale. But perhaps we must be frightened, even horrified, if we are ever to change these perceptions and attitudes, behaviors and policies. My regret is that Graves, in his calm, almost detached scholarly style, doesn't make his reader more horrified, more appalled, more frightened. I had the marvelous opportunity to read several chapters of 'The Emperor's New Clothes' in manuscript form and to enjoy Dr. Graves' guest lecture in one of my classes last fall at Arizona State University West, where he is Professor of Evolutionary Biology. In person, he has the passion such a revolutionary book needs, but that passion does not come across in the final product. Of course the Rutgers University Press imprint stamps the work as academic and 'serious,' but perhaps it could have benefitted from a more passionate -- and, sadly, more commercial -- press. 'The Emperor's New Clothes' is still a fascinating book, readable and engaging, a must-read for anyone interested in the history and future of 'race' relations. But with the right editor and the right marketing department, this book could be (you'll note I didn't say 'could have been') a blockbuster, and a world-changer.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.