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The Myth of Race
     

The Myth of Race

3.6 3
by Jefferson M. Fish
 
The Myth of Race deals concisely with a wide range of topics, from how the concept of race differs in different cultures and race relations in the United States, to IQ tests and the census. It draws on scientific knowledge to topple a series of myths that pass as facts, correct false assumptions, and clarify cultural misunderstandings about the highly charged topic of

Overview

The Myth of Race deals concisely with a wide range of topics, from how the concept of race differs in different cultures and race relations in the United States, to IQ tests and the census. It draws on scientific knowledge to topple a series of myths that pass as facts, correct false assumptions, and clarify cultural misunderstandings about the highly charged topic of race. The book demonstrates that the apparently straightforward concept of race is actually a confused mixture of two different concepts; and the confusion often leads to miscommunication. The first concept, biological race, simply doesn't exist in the human species. Instead, what exists is gradual variation in what people look like (e.g., skin color and facial features) and in their genes, as you travel around the planet--with more distant populations appearing more different than closer ones. If you travel in different directions, the populations look different in different ways. The second concept, social race, is a set of cultural categories for labeling people based on how their ancestors were classified, selected aspects of what they look like, or various combinations of both.These sets of categories vary widely from one culture to another.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Jefferson Fish illuminates and dissects the myths, misconceptions, and prejudices that color our attitudes and anxieties about race. Writing with stunning clarity, Dr. Fish poses profound and perturbing questions about race, such as: Are the physical differences that exist within the human species rooted in biology, genetics or geography? How can a Brazilian the color of caramel be judged to be white, while an American the color of cream be considered black? Why is President Barack Obama classified as black when he is half white? Does the shape of one's skull or the color of one's skin reflect a higher or lower level of intelligence? Does one's "gray matter" have a color? ...The Myth of Race is must reading."
- William S. Cohen, former Senator and U.S. Secretary of Defense

"Scientists and scholars around the world have concurred that the idea of race has no basis in science. The Myth of Race, is an admirable attempt to explain and explore this new perspective on human variation."
- Audrey Smedley, PhD, author, Race in North America

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780786754366
Publisher:
Argo-Navis
Publication date:
11/27/2012
Pages:
154
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.80(h) x 0.40(d)

Related Subjects

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
"Jefferson Fish illuminates and dissects the myths, misconceptions, and prejudices that color our attitudes and anxieties about race. Writing with stunning clarity, Dr. Fish poses profound and perturbing questions about race, such as: Are the physical differences that exist within the human species rooted in biology, genetics or geography? How can a Brazilian the color of caramel be judged to be white, while an American the color of cream be considered black? Why is President Barack Obama classified as black when he is half white? Does the shape of one's skull or the color of one's skin reflect a higher or lower level of intelligence? Does one's "gray matter" have a color? ...The Myth of Race is must reading."
- William S. Cohen, former Senator and U.S. Secretary of Defense

"Scientists and scholars around the world have concurred that the idea of race has no basis in science. The Myth of Race, is an admirable attempt to explain and explore this new perspective on human variation."
- Audrey Smedley, PhD, author, Race in North America

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The Myth of Race 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
BIOLOGICAL RACE DOES'T EXIST? Then of course he wouln't mind if we repealed all racial laws including affirmative action and treated people as individuals? Of course race exists, you can tell what race a person is by looking at their skeletons or blood Pretending a problem doesn't exist will not solve it.
Greg_Miller More than 1 year ago
Carrying all the typical baggage of a middle class white suburban male Baby Boomer, I had no idea what to expect when I picked up Jeff Fish’s new book, “The Myth of Race.” My first thought was that Jeff’s PhD would have its fingerprints all over any sociological discussion of race and I would also have been shocked if the book had started out like Steve Martin’s “The Jerk” claiming that he was “born a young black boy” who one day discovered Mantovani and was liberated from his southern sharecropper’s hut and life.                 Jeff’s explanations are clear, and the book, for all the ominous possibilities of an academic text, is a very entertaining read. From the standpoint of diversity studies it well could be a game changer. If I were designing a curriculum and wanted to ease students into a thorough study of people’s perceptions of race,        “The Myth of Race” would be an excellent starting point.                 But aside from the book being an explanation of the misconceptions of race, this is written in such a straightforward, logical style that it ought to be a must read for everyone in our society. Of course, the only way that practically happens is if it’s on a core requirement reading list in school. If I was marketing this personally, I’d be rapping on every sociology department head’s door in college and every school district adding diversity studies in high school.                 Jeff’s book goes a long way to explain that biological race simply doesn’t exist and that race is a social way of creating a cultural category for labeling people that vary. His book goes a long way to understanding the concept of race and dispels the myths. Racism is a “socially learned response to socially defined races.” Jeff uses the US Census questionnaire as an example of how the “government tells us what racial categories they use to count people.” Over the years, according to the changes in the forms’ questions, the government has had to reshape the boxes they drop their taxable minions into and government-created stereotypes abound.  Jeff is in an excellent position to parse the arguments for and against race because of his unique background as an extremely academically qualified professor who was born into a white Bronx, married a Brooklyn born African American anthropologist, had a daughter and went off to Brazil as a visiting professor. There Jeff and his wife spent an eye-opening month with the Krikati Indians, his wife’s fieldwork study group. As with all books that eventually must be written, this has been percolating in Jeff’s inkwell for years. That he finally managed to scratch the surface of a cogent discussion of race is to our benefit and “The Myth of Race” is a must read for entertainment, to round your outlook of the world, and a socially responsible requirement.
Franzini More than 1 year ago
Jefferson Fish's "The Myth of Race" deserves a wide audience. He reminds us that the term "race" has no biological meaning and is simply a sociocultural concept. Of course, the term and its implications and ramifications over the course of history have been anything but simple. Prof. Fish endeavors to translate some fairly complex material into understandable concepts for the general interest reader. He does this clearly and with occasional sprinkles of his very wry dry use of humor. And, it's all accomplished without complex charts, equations, or graphs and with just one tiny table. It is especially helpful when the author illustrates many of the concepts in this important discussion with examples from his own family and their experiences in Brazil. Brazilian culture regards matters of "race" and the classifications of people very differently than do most Americans. You also may join me in learning some new technical terms, such as "Desi" and "hypo-descent." Luckily, learning is a lifelong process. It takes that long. "The Myth of Race" is highly recommended for individuals who have a genuine intellectual curiosity about racial issues beyond mere casual observations of differences among their neighbors or the people shown on TV from faraway lands. This book presents definitions of relevant terms for this discussion, which are concise, helpful, and egalitarian. Greater empirical knowledge will help defuse social unrest and the many negative consequences resulting from unwarranted assumptions about race. Americans' current understanding of the social, physical, and psychological differences among people is arbitrary, nonscientific, far too limited, and dangerously prone to social volatility. The points presented in Fish's "The Myth of Race" need to reach students, thinkers, and decision makers everywhere.