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The Myth of Race: The Troubling Persistence of an Unscientific Idea Paperback – March 14, 2016
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“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
“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
“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
“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
“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
- Publisher : Harvard University Press; Reprint edition (March 14, 2016)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 384 pages
- ISBN-10 : 067466003X
- ISBN-13 : 978-0674660038
- Item Weight : 15.7 ounces
- Dimensions : 6.14 x 0.86 x 9.21 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #26,180 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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This book traces pseudo-intellectual movements by prominent white scholars and politicians ... incuding a long history of eugenics ... and details the horror and persecution this flawed thinking has wrought throughout history of mankind, all the way to the history of slavery in America and white supremacists. I found I could only read a small section at a time to fully digest the material, but I keep going back to it. The book is disturbing because of its description of inhumanity to man, but should be required reading to solve the problem of racial prejudice.
This book mentions a lot of other books sources that one would be interested in reading further into.
I highly recommended it. Also good for audio book too.
Having read The Myth of Race I have discovered a new personal hero, Franz Boas. Without his persistent and thorough effort we all might be still believing that certain human qualities like virtue and intelligence were qualities that were hereditary according to which "race " you are.