Talk:Race (social)

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 Definition A categorization of people according to specific physical attributes: most commonly, these are skin colour, facial characteristics and sometimes hair type. [d] [e]
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Plan for this article

(moved to top as per LS suggestion)

What is clear to me from reading the Talk page above, and also looking at the Wikipedia article on this topic, is that there exists a fundamental philosophical problem of "knowledge" with this topic. That is to say, there is an interplay between "commonsense" knowledge of individuals, the incomplete scientific knowledge on the matter, and the predominant [but not unanimous] social science view of "race" as a social construction. These interact to leave a space where people's opinions and different life-experiences emerge and conflict.

The Wikipedia article solves this by claiming that there is no consensus and providing massive detail without guidance, such that anyone [including me] is completely intimidated by the mass and complexity of information and unable to agree or disagree! On CZ, this article can potentially show the difference between Wikipedia and CZ, and great care should be taken that we come out looking better. My proposal is the following:

(1) we should wait for a reasonably definitive survey of the biology literature by Nancy in Race (biology), which will exclude the substantive debates in science from this article

(2) this article will then focus on three aspects of race: (a) understandings of the word in common discourse (b) historical aspects of race, globally and with some nation-specific coverage [e,g, USA] (c) social science analysis of the issue, including some minor dissenters; including an explanation of what social scientists mean when they say that race is "socially constructed"

(3) we include the scientific knoweldge, as determined by Race (biology)

(4) some conclusions concerning the validity of the concept

I am not sure about the exact structure: these are just preliminary thoughts. Suggestions are welcome. --Martin Baldwin-Edwards 09:01, 2 June 2007 (CDT)

Biological discussions of race should be placed on the Talk page of Race (biology) which is under construction.--Martin Baldwin-Edwards 21:37, 4 June 2007 (CDT)

Martin, an excellent plan. I agree on all points. You should be aware as well that, in coordination with Nancy, I'm working on an entry on Eugenics which connects with her Eugenics and sterilization; the two may very probably end up merged. This entry should, I hope, serve a function oppostite from, but connected iwth Race (biology), in that it will give a clear, historical account of the many false notions of race and inheritance, many of them not entirely abandoned in popular consciousness. So, with this entry for the pseudoscience, and the Biology entry for solid science, the Social Sciences should be able to keep an even keel, buoyed as it will be on either side -- a sort of controversy catamaran! Russell Potter 09:56, 2 June 2007 (CDT)

Yes, sounds like a good plan. Please move it to the top of the page so that it will not be archived. I am nervous, however, about (4). The guidance that CZ:Neutrality Policy provides is simple: if there is significant disagreement about some conclusion, then CZ officially has no stance on it, but instead fairly and sympathetically represents the different sides of the debate, allowing readers to make up their own minds. That's our policy. Anyway, before saying any more, I propose to wait until you've actually produced the conclusions.  :-) --Larry Sanger 10:16, 2 June 2007 (CDT)

Larry, the conclusions of an encyclopedia article should summarize and evaluate the various positions in different sources of knowledge. The different sides of a debate may not have equal force, and it is a mistake to pretend otherwise out of "political correctness". To some extent this hinges on what one means by "significant disagreement", and, I repeat, this is where CZ should show its superiority over wikipedia. --Martin Baldwin-Edwards 10:59, 2 June 2007 (CDT)


What about "race" in sports as running races, such as "100m race"? Yi Zhe Wu 23:03, 2 June 2007 (CDT)

That would be a matter for another entry entirely, something like [[Race (sport)]]. Russell Potter 23:22, 2 June 2007 (CDT)
Actually, I found an interesting journal article on racism in sports: we can include that:-)--Martin Baldwin-Edwards 02:30, 3 June 2007 (CDT)

This should be a disambiguation page

This page should be, and should remain, a disambiguation page. There are two drastically different common meanings of the word "race" in English (my Concise Oxford Dictionary gives a third: a ginger root), and each of those has related subsidiary meanings. There is the meaning used in the phrase "races of man", which should probably have a biology article and an anthropology article, and perhaps a history article as well. There is also the meaning of "a contest of speed", which would at least link to pages about various kind of racing, and possibly also discuss the computer-science meaning of "race condition".

Deciding that this page will end up, eventually, as the CZ article on the anthropological and biological meanings of the word would be doing as much a disservice to our readers as to leave only articles which discussed contests of speed. Anthony Argyriou 12:49, 31 July 2007 (CDT)

This is not a disambiguation page

I am not aware that you are an Editor on CZ, Mr Argyriou. The page was blanked temporarily, and it will shortly be unblanked. You may state your opinions/objections on this Talk page. My opinion is that the word "race" in the sense of motor cars etc. is so uninteresting that it is doubtful that it should even be on CZ. Race as an idea about humans, on the other hand, is highly contentious and should be of great interest to our readers. Thus far, we have only an incomplete Race (biology) article, so this article needs to be created. --Martin Baldwin-Edwards 13:42, 31 July 2007 (CDT)

I am not aware that your status as an editor empowers you to be rude to mere authors. Anthony Argyriou 16:14, 31 July 2007 (CDT)

I do not see any rudeness in the above, merely a hint of exasperation in the management of these issues. Please just leave this page alone and a discussion of disambiguation and/or moving of pages can be done at a later date.--Martin Baldwin-Edwards 16:38, 31 July 2007 (CDT)

I was not the person who placed the {{diambig}} tag on the page; I found that the article had that tag, and re-arranged the page to better conform to the norms of a disambiguation page. Even without the disambiguation tag, and after your other edits, the page still is, in fact, a disambiguation page, as all it does is point to other articles describing the various senses of the word "race", whether those articles exist or not.
Wikipedia has an article at "race", and a disambiguation page at "race (disambiguation)". Looking at the content of both those pages, I think they've got it wrong - that given the various senses of the word "race", the article race should be the disambiguation page, and articles on the various senses of the word race should be at race (subject area). Anthony Argyriou 10:06, 1 August 2007 (CDT)

I am not going to weigh in here except to say that race (sports) or racing sounds like a perfectly appropriate topic for an encyclopedia article. And come to think of it, race (sports) might need to be disambiguated: there's the topic of racing, and then there's the topic of racial issues in sports.  ;-) --Larry Sanger 00:39, 1 August 2007 (CDT)

I *am* going to weigh in here, as I have weighed in on other, less controversial topics, regarding the subject of "disambiguation". I am completely against the idea of disambiguating everything in favour of every usage that can possibly be imagined. Sometimes, there is a clear primary meaning, sometimes one meaning has a slight edge, sometimes there's ambiguity (I mean really and truly) so that it's so difficult to decide which meaning would be thought of first, or most, by most people, would be difficult, so the PRIMARY page must of necessisity and common sense, be a "disambiguation" page.
I do not believe that the latter applies to the word "race", any more than "baker" should be a disambiguation page. "Baker" is someone who makes yummy things out of flour and sugar. "Ball" is a round spherical thing. The fact that Sir Samuel Baker is an explorer and Howard Baker was a politicial and there may be I don't know how many hamlets called "Baker"; and that "ball" also means fun and to people like me it means a dance and Lucille Ball, God rest her soul, was one of the 20th Centuries great character comediennes is completely beside the point.
Yes, there are other meanings to the word "race". Yes, I agree with Larry, running races and bike races are fit subjects for encyclopaedias (though I confess I have not the least interest in car races--boring madness, if you ask me--but I digress--the point is that *some* people obviously like them....) The question is, would people looking for those types of races type in "race" alone? Doubtful. Very doubtful, if we're being honest rather than combative. They might look up 'racing' or 'athletics' or 'track and field', or a specific race "indy 500" or "tour de france" or some such. If they *did* type in "race" only, it would probably be a lazy and/or hopeful gesture; I don't see how anyone would be terribly surprised or offended to be taken by default to an article on human classification, with one of our notices at the top about where the disambiguation was to be found.
I know this was longwinded, but, really, let's try to be sensible. I'm not in the least bit interested in casting blame about who typed what tag first. Getting this (article) right is going to be hard enough without going off the rails sweating the small stuff.
Aleta Curry 05:32, 4 August 2007 (CDT)

Revised plan and some text

I have restarted the page, with some changes to the previous suggested structure. Feel free to make minor changes to the text, but please discuss here any significant changes which you feel are needed. THe topic has been far too controversial to allow laissez-faire contribution, but comments and suggestions are always welcome. --Martin Baldwin-Edwards 20:23, 1 August 2007 (CDT)

Really good start, Martin. I don't think I have any significant changes, but I do have some comments and questions, like:
  • Can the text contain some references to the way the ancients looked at race? Do we have such information? My understanding is that the Romans, e.g. really only looked at people in terms of citizens, or not--i.e. Romans vs. everyone else. But they had come into contact with many different ethnic groups--how did they describe them? What about before that? How did the Egyptians, Nubians, Chinese and Arabs view people who were different?
  • I'm pretty sure the Europeans knew of blacks, arabs, asians, before the end of the 15th Century. Does no documentation remain that tells of how they were described? Or is that the answer...that is, were they simply described without being catagorized?
  • What do social scientists mean when they say that “race is socially constructed”? Good question. Some thoughts: they mean that where race has been institutionalized (South Africa, United States) there is always some ambiguity at bottom, a lack of objectivity. So there are always people who are put in one category or another based on subjective analysis. Also, I saw a documentary recently in which it was said that there are no biological markers for any one group of "races" that are not found in at least one other human group. I probably didn't say that really well. It would be good if someone else knew of the reference. In addition, people who espouse eugenics do not do so consistently and objectively. Describing a person as "all XXX" because of "polluted blood" is only applied negatively, that is, to persons who are considered undesirable for some reason. The gifted are not called "all XXX" but are described as "part white" or as having skills/talent/genius/whatever because of "white" ancestry. It's not even logical.
Aleta Curry 20:58, 1 August 2007 (CDT)

Thanks, Aleta. I am not knowledgeable on older history, and maybe someone will come along here who will know better. The main reference is Wieviorka, who talks about race as a socio-political issue from that date [although racism comes much later]. I suppose the answer is likely to be about inclusion version exclusion, rather than the structured discrimination that is the history of race.

I will write the next section later today. This is fairly standard social science, but I ran out of energy. I am also putting in here a new section, which will take account of recent genetic research. This will argue that we can identify a lot of subspecies -- so many, in fact, that we don't know what to do with them! The research also shows that the visible genetic markers [like skin colour] are a very poor indicator of actual genetic origin. In other words, our social ideas of "race" are completely up the wall, and based on poor indicators and human prejudice. This is also the implication in our unfinished Race (biology) article. However, the characteristics of genetically similar groups are very important for medical purposes -- and these are quite distinct from social categories of race. I have most of the major scientific literature on this, to complete the text.

There will also have to be a section on Racism. Racial Discrimination, etc and their importance in economy, society and law. That section should have some debates emanating fronm it! --Martin Baldwin-Edwards 21:19, 1 August 2007 (CDT)

Dispute watch removed

See my comments on your Talk page, Larry. This is not acceptable to me, because it is not a dispute about the content. The sceicne content belongs mainly under Race (biolog). I also object to my reply having been removed, and the complaint left. That is a disgrace. --Martin Baldwin-Edwards 11:47, 3 August 2007 (CDT)

I've removed the dispute watch at your request. As to your characterization of your co-contributor, let's talk in e-mail. --Larry Sanger 12:01, 3 August 2007 (CDT)

Section heading

The heading "Science and Race: a long and shameful history" is biased and so should be removed. Anthony Argyriou 11:52, 3 August 2007 (CDT)

The section is not yet written, so the justification is of course not visible. There is, therefore, nothing to discuss. --Martin Baldwin-Edwards 11:55, 3 August 2007 (CDT)

I have to disagree. What Anthony is objecting to is the section heading itself. The question is merely whether experts would all agree with the pejorative description "long and shameful history" when applied to the relationship of science and race. Well--I have to doubt it but I don't know. Surely the entire history of the scientific treatment of race isn't universally regarded as shameful... --Larry Sanger 11:58, 3 August 2007 (CDT)

Maybe the entire history of the scientific treatment of race isn't universally regarded as shameful, but I'll bet there's a lot that, given our present knowledge, is just plain embarrassing. My impression in just reading the title, since there's nothing there yet, is that the premise is that racism's having been defended by science at various points in time, that is, that the limited extent of the majority culture's scientific knowledge in times past allowed the justification of racism based on science, is now considered shameful. (Am I even close, Martin?) Anthony seems to be saying that it is not objective to make such statements.
So, would it make sense to simply call the section "Science and Race" with no editorial?
I really hope that no one is going to argue that the justification of racism based on science is just fine. Really, I could do without the headache.
Aleta Curry 05:51, 4 August 2007 (CDT)

As I keep saying, the validity of the section heading should be judged by its content. If there is a strong feeling that the title is not justified, it will be shelved. --Martin Baldwin-Edwards 10:30, 4 August 2007 (CDT)

It is not possible for the section heading as it stands to be justified under CZ:Neutrality Policy. It is clearly an expression of an opinion, and its use in a section heading is case of stating an opinion as a fact.
A better title would be History of science and race, or, if the following section is made a subsection, just Science and Race, with subsections discussing various periods in the history of science of race. I would hazard a guess that the history would break down as 1750s-1900ish, 1900ish to 1945, 1945-1960s, and contemporary, but other classifications, including non-historical ones, might be more appropriate. Anthony Argyriou 20:21, 9 August 2007 (CDT)
The CZ Neutrality Policy requires opposing opinions to exist, in order that a particular analysis not be adopted in CZ. I did not find a single academic paper or book which tried to defend the historical position of science with regard to Race. Let us be clear what the "shame" is here: it is that scientists for centuries failed to observe what is called "scientific method" and consistently supported the political status quo. Originally defending the existence of slavery [justified by the idea that black people were either inferior humans or possibly not even human], leading in the 19th C to the eugenics movement and related atrocities, and culminating in the use of science [in both moralistic and technical senses] in the Hitler regime. It is difficult to imagine a sustained set of conditions which could be more shameful!
If you can provide references to academic papers defending the historical position of science wrt race, I will change the section heading. I will not change it because of a claim that popular opinion is not in accord with the analysis, though. --Martin Baldwin-Edwards 03:49, 10 August 2007 (CDT)
You have not responded to my point, and you mis-state the letter and intent of the Neutrality Policy. Anthony Argyriou 12:10, 10 August 2007 (CDT)
I have responded precisely on your point. I am not interested in your general opinion on what is the Neutrality Policy. I have stated my understanding of it, and if anyone disagrees on specific points those can be discussed. You make no specific points wrt the Policy. --Martin Baldwin-Edwards 13:00, 10 August 2007 (CDT)

I propose that we table this issue and make it one of the first for a future Judicial Board/Committee to hear. I've stated my own views above and it won't help for me to reiterate them here. Until then, let's defer to our editor here and consider this little tempest in a teapot over, shall we? --Larry Sanger 07:15, 13 August 2007 (CDT)

Thanks, Larry. I should say, that if enough people weigh in here and give the opinion that the section heading is not sustained by the content, I will also remove it. The point of the heading is to emphasise the content, and nothing more. --Martin Baldwin-Edwards 07:23, 13 August 2007 (CDT)

Science and race

The statement Given the inability of biologists, and most recently geneticists, to provide any support for the biological concept of race, is biased, and should be amended to reflect the existence of a dispute among geneticists and biologists. Further, there is no evidence given that the conclusion of that sentence actually follows from the initial statement; social scientists may have reached that conclusion on their own without reference to genetics.

There is no dispute, as such, in the scientific jo0urnals. The dispute is only about genetic variation, not races. The relationship bnetween science and social science has been critical in the formulation of ideasa about race, and there is no controversy at all over that.--Martin Baldwin-Edwards 12:12, 3 August 2007 (CDT)

For details supporting the existence of a dispute, please refer to Talk:Race/Archive 1#Biological reality. Note that I do not believe that this article should state the opposite of what it does now - it is very clear that some large number of experts in the field believe that there is no support for the biological existence of race. However, some number of experts in the field do believe that there is a biological/genetic basis to support some sort of racial classification system. It is fine to leave discussion of the details for Race (biology), it is not fine to make a biased and false statement in this article. Anthony Argyriou 12:03, 3 August 2007 (CDT)

I think the major problem here is that the article is not complete. My intention is to talk next about the older history of science and race, linking with the Eugenics article. There will then be a separate section on modern genetics and medical knoweldge where I will talk about population types, how these are different from Race, and why the word should be avoided at all costs. It is possible that you will agree with it.
I insist that detailed discussions of biology and race belong on the other page. I am not professionally qualified to deal with them.--Martin Baldwin-Edwards 12:12, 3 August 2007 (CDT)

Martin, for now at the very least I'd back you up on this. This was more or less decided earlier. Maybe we can revisit the decision, but let's get race written first. --Larry Sanger 12:19, 3 August 2007 (CDT)

I'm not clear on why biology is segregated into a race (biology) article, but the consensus of social science is the official version of the race article. I'm also not clear on how it could possibly be a good idea for the article to argue that "the word [Race] should be avoided at all costs". I'm curious to see what the compelling argument for this will be, but it hardly seems like encyclopaedic writing regardless of whether we agree with it.—Nat Krause 22:52, 3 August 2007 (CDT)
Well, to begin with, "race" as it is understood in the social sciences is very different from what biologists mean when they use that same word. Unfortunately, these two different concepts are often confused in general discourse. The best possible way to deal with the problems that arise from this is to split them apart and discuss them separately, as they deserve (though of course there will need to be many bridges built between the two articles).
I'm not sure where you discovered the quote that says "the word race should be avoided at all costs." I don't see that sentiment being conveyed either explicitly or implicitly. Are you referring to something specific?
It might be worth debating whether this article should be moved to race (social science) but let's leave that debate until we get the article developed. I fully expect that Martin's efforts will result in a comprehensive article that includes prominent links to other articles which will fill out the many faces of this thing we call race. --Joe Quick (Talk) 23:49, 3 August 2007 (CDT)
Joe, "the word should be avoided at all costs" is a quote from Martin's comments above. See above and below.—Nat Krause 23:00, 5 August 2007 (CDT)
Nat: if you read the [incomplete] article Race (biology) you will see that science historically followed uneducated popular discourse concerning racial ideas, recently accepting that there is only one human race, and since the Human Genome project using the word [foolishly, and misleadingly] with regard to clades or geographical "breeding groups" which have remained genetically isolated. All of this is ra5ther different from the popular use of the word, now. This is why, in my comments above, I emphasise that the word should be avoided. When we have a new concept, we need a new word -- not a value-laden word with a terrible history, like Race. --Martin Baldwin-Edwards 01:55, 4 August 2007 (CDT)
I see. And the social sciences discussion of race accepts the common man's definition of race, which it then proceeds to debunk? Nevertheless, I'm not sure if this approach would be accepted in other similar instances (if there are any similar instances). The average person fails to understand a lot of complicated subjects, and consequently misdefines the relevant terms. The fact uneducated people consistently define X in an incoherent way doesn't necessarily mean that X does not exist, except in a purely semantic sense.—Nat Krause 23:00, 5 August 2007 (CDT)

Text here was removed by the Constabulary on grounds of civility. (The author may replace this template with an edited version of the original remarks.)

Do not remove text from article

Any proposed deletions or substantive changes must be discussed and AGREED on this page. Otherwise, we will be forced into setting up a protected page for an article under construction.--Martin Baldwin-Edwards 00:10, 13 August 2007 (CDT)

A couple of comments

  • The first couple of transitions between sections feel a little abrupt. I'm not sure what you have planned for the section titled 'Contemporary scientific thinking on race,' Martin, but I think the logical flow might be improved somewhat by moving 'What do social scientists mean when they say that “race is socially constructed”?' below that section.
  • Having said in the lead that the biological sciences maintain that biological races don't exist, I think it is important that we point out that race can sometimes be useful to physicians. Of course, we know that much of this has to do with situations that are created by race (unequal access to health care, etc.) and not by races themselves, but I feel it's still important to mention.

--Joe Quick (Talk) 20:19, 13 August 2007 (CDT)

Thanks, Joe: glad that somebody is reading this! Yes, the sections could be moved or the transitions rewritten: this is just a basic start. On the second point, I have collected a large literature which deals with the idea of "race" in medicine: there are not only socio-economic causes of disease, but also genetic factors. These have to be included. This section is the hardest for me to write, as I am not trained in biology or medicine, but I will do my best. --Martin Baldwin-Edwards 07:55, 14 August 2007 (CDT)

And I take it that, as this is a collaborative endeavor and this is not your personal article, you're open to contributions from people trained in biology or medicine?  ;-)

Just checking! --Larry Sanger 08:35, 14 August 2007 (CDT)

Sometimes, the intelligent ones with no vested interest or knowledge are the best choice. I'm sure there's a corollary to that somewhere though. --Robert W King 08:46, 14 August 2007 (CDT)

Ha! Expertise in those areas is desperately needed: please join the fun! As far as non-experts are concerned, you are welcome but it is essential to know that this is a very tough area to grasp. --Martin Baldwin-Edwards 09:47, 14 August 2007 (CDT)

Okay, then I'm going to move "what do social scientists mean..." We can massage the transition from the unwritten section once it begins to materialize. Additionally, the "different or confused concepts" section strikes me as the type of thing that you would normally see in an inset or sidebar. I'd like to set it off by placing it in a box like this one. --Joe Quick (Talk) 14:50, 14 August 2007 (CDT)
Yes, I like the box idea. Do it!--Martin Baldwin-Edwards 16:03, 14 August 2007 (CDT)
Done. But now we need a lead image to offset the color of the box. Can anyone think of something that won't be offensive? I might be able to get permission to use this one, which is from a student magazine that I've written for. Otherwise, we could make something similar for ourselves. --Joe Quick (Talk) 21:31, 14 August 2007 (CDT)

I don't understand the point of the box, or of "sidebar" boxes that others have added to articles. I frankly don't really like them. I'd prefer if we removed them until someone can clearly articulate how the extra complexity pays its way. --Larry Sanger 10:16, 23 August 2007 (CDT)

Pretty simple: with regards to their use in Butler, it prevents the disruption of narrative cohesion and flow that comes by placing a sidenote anywhere else but as a sidenote. This is a standard and excellent tool in curiculum design. Not surprising, EB and Encarta both have their versions of them. They pay their way by allowing infothat would otherwise need to be edited out, or a stub created, e.g., it is a stretch to create a whole article titled Butlers in art.  —Stephen Ewen (Talk) 15:20, 23 August 2007 (CDT)
Boxes and sidebars etc are now standard and frequent features of all professional publications that I use. OECD is heavily dependent on them for its economic publications, and even credits a specific author with a box, for example. It is partly about not disrupting the narrative, and also sometimes to draw attention to specific things which are even more important than the narrative. Another use is for case-studies, illustrating a point in the narrative.--Martin Baldwin-Edwards 15:32, 23 August 2007 (CDT)


I'm not wanting to upset any balance already going on here, but this topic should really be placed first under anthropology, since it by nature deals solidly with both the biological and social aspects of "race", which are the principal discussion aspects of this topic.  —Stephen Ewen (Talk) 02:37, 23 August 2007 (CDT)

I don't really see why. Race is an issue in sociology. It is historically Physical Anthropology, but most if not all of the people in the Anthropology workgroup are social anthropologists. They don't seem interested to turn up here, anyway. It should also be in history and politics, but I didn;t think it useful to add those.
The big gap at the moment is coverage of genetic science debates on race. That would be Biology :-)--Martin Baldwin-Edwards 02:45, 23 August 2007 (CDT)
Well, it is difficult. I am always conflicted about Workgroup assignments with these inherently interdisciplinary topics. We do have an active physical anthropologist on board, BTW, User:Lee R. Berger. At the least we should invite his collaboration.  —Stephen Ewen (Talk) 02:59, 23 August 2007 (CDT)
I emailed him a few weeks ago with this request, but his page says he is incommunicado for this month.--Martin Baldwin-Edwards 03:43, 23 August 2007 (CDT)

As a general rule, article placement in workgroups should not depend on who is there now but whether the scholars in a discipline study the subject (whether they are represented here, yet, or not).

The order, however--sociology then anthro or vice-versa--is completely irrelevant to anything. We haven't yet established any hierarchy of workgroups. Order of listing is meaningless. --Larry Sanger 08:59, 3 November 2007 (CDT)

Removed a recent edit

I removed the recent edit by User:Supten Sarbadhikari which stated, in full:

Earlier Dr. William Shockley, the discoverer of transistor, and recently Dr. James Watson, co-discoverer of the DNA structure and the lead for the Human genome project, have been in trouble for voicing opinions related to racial differences.

My reasons for removing this edit (of 37 words) are manifold:

  1. This article has been supposedly under construction by the Editors responsible, and additional content should supposedly be discussed in the talk page, and be cleared by them.
  2. The edit makes a somewhat controversial statement, but tries to weasel out of the controversy. Shockley and Watson have "been in trouble" (which really ought to be specified) for publicly making statements about the intelligence differences between blacks and whites. Saying that they are "in trouble" for "voicing opinions related to racial differences" tells us nothing about who has made the trouble, what sort of consequences these two men have faced, nor how these men have violated the orthodoxy of those people who have made the trouble.
  3. There are more than just Shockley and Watson who have made such statements and received various public opprobrium, and ocasionally career consequences.
  4. The edit makes unflattering and possibly reputation-damaging statements about living people, with no citations to either the statements nor the reaction to the statements.

If I was wrong to remove this edit unilaterally, please let me know. But also please think about it before restoring the edit. Anthony Argyriou 12:11, 5 November 2007 (CST)

I have yet to write the section on genetics, so it would belong there. There is an article in the current New Scientist which explcitily mentions these two guys, so we can cite that and link to it. Interestingly, that article also cites only those two... We do need some discussion of the genetics research, and I apologise for not having got round to it. It is a lot of work to try to summarise the complexity of it: I hope to do so before Xmas! --Martin Baldwin-Edwards 12:46, 5 November 2007 (CST)

I thought discussion of genetics was going to be in race (biology)--but I could be misremembering. --Larry Sanger 13:03, 5 November 2007 (CST)

Ah, well, we had more or less decided that we can merge the two articles. Besides, the biology article doesnt have much on genetics, so someone has to write it. If there is great demand to leave them as two articles that is fine by me, because then I won't have to write the rather tough genetics summary:-) Whichever route we follow, I would like some more editorial input from science editors. --Martin Baldwin-Edwards 13:09, 5 November 2007 (CST)
A useful link, DNA reunited, The Times. --Martin Baldwin-Edwards 14:54, 6 November 2007 (CST)

Reading list

I just happened to stumble across Talk:Race/Readings; the entire page should probably be moved to Race/Bibliography, no (since we have no such page yet)? J. Noel Chiappa 23:26, 17 April 2008 (CDT)

Yep. That was an old page! --Larry Sanger 13:01, 18 April 2008 (CDT)

One year on, I'm still annoyed.

I just happened into this because seeing Noel's note in recent changes brought it to by attention.

I've just read the opening. Heavy sigh.

Here's what I read:

White people are the norm. We're all white here. There are other people on earth, of course, particularly black people. Here's how we see them.
Starting with our first white civilisations, Greece and Rome, we looked at black men like this. blah blah blah.

Look, folks, human society didn't begin with ancient Greece and Rome. How did people in other times and places look at people who were different?

Actually, the second paragraph is a much better start in my opinion, to wit:

“Race” as a distinction between different types of humans entered the European vocabulary towards the end of the 15th century

Unfortunately, it still presumes race--well, everything, actually, but we're talking about "race"--from a European point of view.

The nicest way I can put this is that it is unfortunate that at the beginning of 21st Century an expert-guided knowledge base can't come up with a more balanced, less biased way of discussing how people view other people who are different from themselves.

Now the sad thing is that I've come to "know" some of the folks who have worked on this thus far, and I now that none of this is intentional. This is unfinished, everyone's got a lot to do, and it's gone by the wayside.

Still, I look at the only image illustrating this draft; it's not captioned or explained, and I want to start throwing things. Heavy things. At people.

Please, I know people are busy, but this is important.

Put a priority on it, or delete it. Leave it on the back burner if it's too hard and nobody has time.

But let's do better than this. Please?

Aleta Curry 20:15, 19 April 2008 (CDT)

You seem to have a sense of what ought to be in the article. Maybe you should do it? J. Noel Chiappa 21:16, 19 April 2008 (CDT)
Two answers, Noel. First and foremost, this article was closed to outside editing, i.e. identified experts only. I don't have a problem with that, actually, because I think this topic is right on top of our list--of--things--that--must--be--handled--with--sensitivity-and-expertise. Second, I'm loathe to write on this when all I have to go on is general knowledge, the same sort of life experience and what I've read or what I've heard as everyone else, but no academic expertise in the field of race. If I open a can of worms, I can't argue with the authority of one well-versed in the subject.
Aleta Curry 21:31, 19 April 2008 (CDT)
Ah. Didn't realize it was closed. Didn't even realize we had that classification/status, actually... J. Noel Chiappa 21:37, 19 April 2008 (CDT)

THis article is not closed, although we had problems with it a long time ago. Most of the stuff here is written by me, so I should attend to the criticisms from Aleta.

My first reaction is that we don't have a history of race other than from the normal "white" perspective. But I am not sure that it is white, because as I have tried to explain, in ancient times, skin colour was not a big deal. It was like having blond or red hair. Therefore, the intro has to try to explain when (and maybe how) the social construction of race began.

Second issue: a European point of view. Well, this is where racism began and it seems the right way to explain why humans now see race as something separating each other. Of course, there is racism across the world [including discrimination against all skin colours by people of other skin colours] but this article is about race rather than racism.

Second: I will see what can be done about the image. I had not realised it was anything other than clearly explained.(Postscript: the image was placed before any conventions had been drawn up on image attribution and labelling. This should be addressed, of course.)

Fourth issue: you are most welcome to argue about these things, Aleta (and anyone else). Martin Baldwin-Edwards 09:37, 20 April 2008 (CDT)

But I don't *want* to argue, Martin, (hard to believe, I know). In fact, I agree completely. I just want to see the introduction written exactly as you have explained it above.
I don't think that what you've just said comes across to a 14 year old reading the article for the first time. I could be wrong, but as we all know, I'm very rarely wrong about anything.
Aleta Curry 17:06, 20 April 2008 (CDT)
OK. Give me a few days to finish something, and I will try to reword/rephrase things. If you feel like it, you are welcome to change things in the article, Aleta. I appreciate your comments about what a 14-year old might understand, and I am not expert in explaining anything to children! Martin Baldwin-Edwards 18:47, 20 April 2008 (CDT)
Re: I am not expert in explaining anything to children! Yeah, well, no names, but there are a few children around who would probably say the same thing about me! Aleta Curry 18:52, 20 April 2008 (CDT)
as we all know, I'm very rarely wrong about anything. Umm, sure you're not wrong about that? :-) J. Noel Chiappa 21:38, 20 April 2008 (CDT)

Text here was removed by the Constabulary on grounds of civility. (The author may replace this template with an edited version of the original remarks.)

This article is now open to general editing

I am hereby removing the earlier ban on general contribution to this article. That has been in place for far too long. The very idea of restricting articles has always struck me as being problematic at best--and indeed contrary to our fundamental policies. We now have a better method of dispute resolution for incendiary topics: we call in Gareth Leng to act as a moderator. If necessary, that is what we will do in this case. --Larry Sanger 18:56, 23 April 2008 (CDT)

First sentence and paragraph

I'm sure that the current first paragraphs represent a rough draft, but at present, they dive right into some history without any sort of context that we have in every other CZ article. I mean, of course, a definition and/or discussion of the concept. While it would be silly to ask that the article begin with a definition of "race," I do ask that we begin by discussing (in some general, but still hopefully helpful, way) the very concept(s) of race. We might say this: the concept is one of the greatest sources of controversy about the topic--and that, therefore, there is no generally accepted definition. This is something that college students (our audience) might indeed need to know, and they might not be fully apprised of it.

If we want to begin our substantive discussion with the history of the concept, we can then justify that approach by saying that it is perhaps the fairest way to proceed, in view of the terrific amounts of controversy surrounding the topic. --Larry Sanger 19:07, 23 April 2008 (CDT)

Where are we now?

I see the last time anything much was done on this page was in 2008, yet the article remains profoundly unsatisfactory. For instance, there is nothing about genetics. I was once informed by a lecturer in genetics at Leeds Uinversity that in the present day there is less difference between a black and a white American than between a white American and a white European. I should like to see something on this sort of topic, not to mention a general straightening out of the article. --Martin Wyatt 19:05, 11 April 2014 (UTC)