- Hardcover: 384 pages
- Publisher: Harvard University Press (October 6, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0674417313
- ISBN-13: 978-0674417311
- Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.5 x 9.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 60 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #711,370 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Myth of Race: The Troubling Persistence of an Unscientific Idea Hardcover – October 6, 2014
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Not only is this book a significant contribution to the view of race and racism in traditional ‘four-field’ anthropology in the U.S., but it is also important to the understanding of global notions of contemporary racism…The Myth of Race encourages us to understand where stereotypes and misinformation fit in our consideration of whether and how notions of biological race remain pervasive in today’s discourse and policy. (Yolanda T. Moses Times Higher Education 2014-12-11)
Explores how the faulty concept of race embedded in our culture affects where we live, go to school and work. It influences our choice in friends and our treatment in the healthcare and justice systems. (Jeff Adachi San Francisco Examiner 2016-04-21)
Sussman does a masterful job of tracing racist thought in western Europe and the U.S. from 15th-century polygenics through the eugenics of the 20th century to the continued racism and anti-immigration stances of today’s radical Right…Although the racists at whom Sussman directs his message are unlikely to read it or to credit it if they do, this book should be in every library, from high school through public to university, in hopes that it will affect some minds before they become completely shuttered by prejudice. (L. L. Johnson Choice 2015-04-01)
The idea of race, writes the author, is a cultural rather than biological reality. Tribes always believed that strangers were subhuman, but they could overcome their inferiority by joining the tribe―e.g., converting to Christianity or adopting Roman citizenship… Today, since racism is politically incorrect, Sussman maintains, supporters have migrated en masse to the anti-immigration movement… Sussman delivers a lucidly written, eye-opening account of a nasty sociological battle that the good guys have been winning for a century without eliminating a very persistent enemy. (Kirkus Reviews 2014-08-15)
Sussman, an anthropology professor at Washington University in St. Louis, explores and explodes the concept of race. He contends that, in the face of a longstanding scientific consensus that race possesses no biological basis, many people still mistakenly believe that traits like aggression, intelligence, and generosity can be traced to it. Noting that racial distinctions between humans have no biological basis is not new, Sussman makes his contribution by exposing the ways that academic ‘science’ is invoked to authorize an outmoded concept. He traces the history of ideas about race, moving briskly from the Spanish Inquisition to Linnaeus and Kant, and offering a detailed discussion of eugenics. Lest readers imagine this is all in the distant past, Sussman devotes his last three chapters to the funding mechanisms that keep racist research alive today. He shows that ‘science’ has been used in efforts to overturn civil rights legislation, and he examines the ways racist discourse has become intertwined with immigration policy. This book, which is both provocative and commonsensical, will be useful to scholars, but may also spark a broader conversation. (Publishers Weekly 2014-08-25)
Robert Sussman’s penetrating study of the major figures who constructed concepts of race lays bare the personal biases, enmity, and corruption that influenced the intellectuals and politicians who framed modern industrialized societies. It also reveals unexpected heroes whose clear-minded insights into human diversity presaged our modern understanding. The Myth of Race is a suspense-filled and richly scholarly tour de force. (Nina G. Jablonski, Evan Pugh Professor of Anthropology, Pennsylvania State University)
What is most remarkable is how Sussman manages to tie in past attitudes toward race with ongoing political developments. He demonstrates a seamless continuity of current attitudes with past ones in a way I have not seen attempted elsewhere, and in my view he succeeds brilliantly: the final chapters, in particular, make chilling reading. This is a book written straight from the heart, and it reads that way. (Ian Tattersall, author of Race? Debunking a Scientific Myth)
About the Author
Robert Wald Sussman was Professor of Physical Anthropology at Washington University in St. Louis.
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Over the past 200 years or so, the actions that the myth or idea of `race' has produced include racism, bigotry, prejudice, discrimination, injustice, oppression, conquest, terror, `ethnic cleansing,' and genocide. It was used to justify slavery, imperialism, colonialism, the conquest and destruction of native peoples around the world, the infamous Nazi genocide against the Jews and other supposedly `inferior races' during the Second World War, and more recently the `ethnic-cleansing' in Bosnia and genocide in Rwanda. Today, racism remains one of the most important global human problems or issues, and it has in the past and continues today to cause immense human suffering and to blight the lives of millions of people around the world. That is why anthropologists have argued that `race' represents humankind's `most dangerous myth' (Montagu 1997), and why we believe we have both a scientific obligation to resist and discredit the use of the concept of `race' and a social responsibility to fight racism.
If you are interested in the scientific proof of the non-existence of human 'races' and the social scientific critique of this extraordinarily dangerous idea, here is a selection of some of the key texts which, like Sussman's book, debunk the myth of 'race.'
Ann Arbor Science for the People Editorial Collective
1977 Biology as a Social Weapon. Burgess.
Bamshad, Michael & Olson, Steve
2003 "Does Race Exist?" Scientific American, 289(1): 78-85.
1977 The Idea of Race. Tavistock. London.
1937 Race: A Study in a Modern Superstition. Harper & Row. New York.
1942 Race and Racism. Routledge & Kegan Paul. London.
Berg, Manfred & Wendt, Simon
2011 Racism in the Modern World: Historical Perspectives on Cultural Transfer and Adaptation. Bergahn.
2000 Race. Blackwell. Oxford.
Berreman, Gerald D.
1972 "Race, Caste, and Other Invidious Distinctions in Social Stratification." Race, 13:4, 385-414.
2014 Racisms: From the Crusades to the Twentieth Century. Princeton University Press.
2012 Race Decoded: The Genomic Fight for Social Justice. Stanford University Press. Palo Alto.
1940 Race, Language and Culture. Free Press. New York.
2005 "Race" is a Four-Letter World: The Genesis of the Concept. Oxford University Press. New York.
Colman, Andrew M.
1972 "'Scientific' Racism and the Evidence on Race and Intelligence." Race, 14:2, 137-153.
1997 Myth of Human Races. Michigan State University Press. East Lansing.
Delgado, Richard & Stefancic, Jean
2012 Critical Race Theory: An Introduction. 2nd ed. New York University Press.
2005 "Race and Reification in Science." Science, 307:5712, 1050-1051.
2000 Human Natures: Genes, Cultures, and the Human Prospect. Island Press. Washington, DC.
2014 The Myth of Race/The Reality of Racism: Critical Essays. 2nd ed. Papyrus.
Fish, Jefferson M.
2012 The Myth of Race. Argo-Navis.
2006 Race and Racism: An Introduction. AltaMira. Lanham.
Fredrickson, George M.
2002 Racism: A Short History. Princeton University Press. Princeton.
2012 Race, Monogamy, and Other Lies They Told You. University of California Press. Berkeley.
Goldberg, David Theo
1993 Racist Culture: Philosophy and the Politics of Meaning. Blackwell.
2006 "Two Questions About Race." Social Sciences Research Council.
Goodman, Alan; Moses, Yolanda; Jones, Joseph
2012 Race: Are We So Different? Wiley-Blackwell. Malden, MA.
Gould, Stephen Jay
1996 The Mismeasure of Man. W.W. Norton & Company.
Graves, Joseph L., Jr.
2005 The Race Myth: Why We Pretend Race Exists in America. Plume.
2005 "What We Know and What We Don't Know: Human Variation and the Social Construction of Race. "Is Race "Real?" SSRC Web Forum, 25 April. http://raceandgenomics.ssrc.org/Graves/pf/.
2003 The Emperor's New Clothes: Biological Theories of Race at the Millennium. Rutgers University Press. Piscataway, NJ.
Gregory, Steven & Sanjek, Roger (eds.)
1994 Race. Rutgers University Press. New Brunswick.
Hammonds, Evelyn M.
2006 "Straw Men and Their Followers: The Return of Biological Race." Social Sciences Research Council, http://raceandgenomics.ssrc.org/Hammonds/.
1968 "Race." Encylopedia of the Social Sciences, ed. by D. Sills. Macmillan. New York. Pgs.263-268.
Harrison, Faye V.
2002 "Unraveling `Race' for the Twenty-First Century." In: Exotic No More: Anthropology on the Front Lines, ed. by J. MacClancy. University of Chicago Press. Chicago.
Harrison, Faye (ed.)
2005 Resisting Racism and Xenophobia. AltaMira. Lanham.
Harrison, Guy P.
2009 Race and Reality: What Everyone Should Know about Our Biological Diversity. Prometheus Books.
2006 "Race & Genes." Social Sciences Research Council, http://raceandgenomics.ssrc.org/Hubbard/.
Hubbard, Ruth & Wald, Elijah
1999 Exploding the Gene Myth: How Genetic Information is Produced and Manipulated by Scientists, Physicians, Employers, Insurance Companies, Educators and Law Enforcers. 3rd ed. Beacon Press. Boston.
2013 A Dreadful Deceit: The Myth of Race from the Colonial Era to Obama's America. Basic Books.
Keita, S.O.Y. & Kittles, Rick A.
1997 "The Persistence of Racial Thinking and the Myth of Racial Divergence." American Anthropologist, 99:3, 534-544.
2006 "If `Race' is the Answer, What is the Question?" Social Sciences Research Council. http://raceandgenomics.ssrc.org/Krieger/.
Krimsky, Sheldon & Gruber, Jeremy (eds.)
2013 Genetic Explanations: Sense and Nonsense. Harvard University Press.
Krimsky, Sheldon & Sloan, Kathleen
2012 Race and Genetic Revolution: Science, Myth, and Culture. Columbia University Press. New York.
Leach, Edmund R.
1975 "Cultural Components in the Concept of Race." In: Racial Variation in Man, ed. by F. Ebling. Institute of Biology. London.
Lewontin, Richard C.
2003 "Confusions About Human Races." Social Sciences Research Council, http://raceandgenomics.ssrc.org/Lewontin/.
2001 It Ain't Necessarily So: The Dream of the Human Genome and Other Illusions. New York Review Books.
1993 Biology as Ideology: The Doctrine of DNA. Harper Perennial.
1977 "Biological Determinism as a Social Weapon." In: Biology as a Social Weapon, ed. by the Ann Arbor Science for the People Editorial Collective. Burgess. Minneapolis.
Lewontin, R.C.; Rose, Steven; Kamin, Leon
1985 Not in Our Genes: Biology, Ideology, and Human Nature. Pantheon.
1975 "The Debate Over Race: A Study in the Sociology of Knowledge." In: Race and IQ, ed. by A. Montagu. Oxford University Press. London.
Lieberman, Leonard & Rice, Patricia
1997 "Races or Clines?" General Anthropology Division, American Anthropological Association. Washington, DC.
Livingstone, Frank B.
1964 "On the Nonexistence of Human Races." In: The Concept of Race, ed. by A. Montagu. Macmillan. New York.
2005 "The Realities of Races." "Is Race "Real?" Social Sciences Research Council Web Forum, 20 April. http://raceandgenomics.ssrc.org/Marks/pf/.
1995 Human Biodiversity: Genes, Race, and History. Aldine de Gruyter. New York.
Mielke, James; Konigsberg, Lyle; Relethford, John
2010 Human Biological Variation. 2nd ed. Oxford University Press.
2001 Man's Most Dangerous Myth: The Fallacy of Race. 6th ed. Alta Mira.
Walnut Creek. (First published 1942).
1963 Race, Science and Humanity. Van Nostrand. Princeton, NJ.
1962 "The Concept of Race." American Anthropologist, 64:5, 83-97.
2011 The Nature of Race: How Scientists Think and Teach about Human Difference. University of California Press. Berkeley.
Mukhopadhyay, Carol; Henze, Rosemary & Moses, Yolanda
2007 How Real is Race? A Sourcebook on Race, Culture and Biology. AltaMira. Lanham.
1985 "Black or White? The Origins of Racism." No.145, March.
1998 "No Biological Basis for Race, Scientists Say Distinctions Prove to be Skin Deep." SFGate.com, 23 February. http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/chronicle/archive/1998/02/23/MN94378.DTL.
2007 Racism: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press.
2012 Fatal Invention: How Science, Politics, and Big Business Re-Create Race in the Twenty-first Century. The New Press.
Rose, Steven; Kamin, Leon & Lewontin, R.C.
1984 Not in Our Genes: Biology, Ideology and Human Nature. Penguin Books. Harmondsworth.
1977 The Use and Abuse of Biology: An Anthropological Critique of Sociobiology. University of Michigan Press. Ann Arbor.
1994 "The Enduring Inequalities of Race." In: Race, ed. by S. Gregory & R. Sanjek. Rutgers University Press. New Brunswick.
Solomos, John & Back, Les (eds.)
2000 Theories of Race and Racism. Routledge. New York.
2001 "Race Gene Does Not Exist, say Scientists." The Seattle Times, 11 February. http://archives.seattletimes.nwsource.com/cgi-bin/texis.cgi/web/vortex/display?slug=race11m&date=20010211&query=race+gene+does+not+exist.
Stone, John & Dennis, Rutledge (eds.)
1995 Race & Ethnicity. Blackwell. Oxford.
Sussman, Robert W.
2014 The Myth of Race: The Troubling Persistence of an Unscientific Idea. Harvard University Press.
Tattersall, Ian & DeSalle, Rob
2011 Race?: Debunking a Scientific Myth. Texas A&M University Press.
Wailoo, Keith; Nelson, Alondra; Lee, Catherine (eds.)
2012 Genetics and the Unsettled Past: The Collision of DNA, Race, and History. Rutgers University Press.
Young, Joseph & Braziel, Jane (eds.)
2001 Race and the Foundations of Knowledge: Cultural Amnesia in the Academy. University of Illinois Press. Urbana.
2014 Race Unmasked: Biology and Race in the Twentieth Century. Columbia University Press. New York.
2002 Philosophy of Science and Race. Routledge. New York.