|Paperback book cover, see links below|
The second recommended book by the inimitable Jane Elliot, though she is indomitable and unique, should at least be imitated.
The semiconductor industry is viewed as rational and logical as it appears to be from the outside: Dr. William Shockley was the co-inventor of the transistor and shared the Nobel Prize for its discovery; we study his diode equation in electronics engineering. He was also a rabid eugenicist (pseudoscience), which goes to show merely an advanced degree nor a Nobel Prize inoculates from racial prejudice. He is mentioned in great detail on pages 235-239; 244, 255 and 276. He has the ignoble distinction of having pages at Biography, Nobel Prize, PBS, the Southern Poverty Law Center and Wikipedia. These are the cracks in the foundation. Nothing, not even science is perfect.
As I have said, the two books were cathartic during a season that made me question my coworkers. I concluded after this pedagogic catharsis, they are the byproduct of forces that shaped them; credible others that impacted and framed them. They have never had "the talk" or had to give it to their children beyond "be respectful," nor do they likely look at their speedometer, registration and inspection at the sight of a police vehicle; they do not wonder if their insurance is current or expired; their hearts do not skip a beat; the rehearsal script of the talk does not form in their minds nor does a long sigh escape their lips when the representative of "law and order" thankfully passes them by.
In my initial read of this important book, this statement stood out on the page (for me). Forgive me that it is from pages 1 - 2 in the Introduction, but as a "hook," it pulled me through the rest of the book:
"Yet as recently as 2010, highly acclaimed journalist Guy Harrison (2010) wrote:
"One day in the 1980s, I sat in the front row in my first undergraduate anthropology class, eager to learn more about this bizarre and fascinating species I was born into. But I got more than I expected that day as I heard for the first time that biological races are not real. After hearing several perfectly sensible reasons why vast biological categories don't work very well, I started to feel betrayed by my society. 'Why am I just hearing about this now? ... Why didn't someone tell me about this in elementary school?' ... I never should have made it through twelve years of schooling before entering a university, without ever hearing the important news that most anthropologist reject the notion of biological races. (27, 30)"
I was an undergraduate at North Carolina A&T in the 1980s. I never had to take a class in anthropology as a physics major, but I think after reading this treatise, I likely would have enjoyed it.
"I never should have made it through twelve years of schooling before entering a university, without ever hearing the important news that most anthropologist reject the notion of biological races."
Anthropologists, biologists, geneticists (and most) physicists I know, yes: political figures manipulating fears and conditioned-from-the-crib society, no.
Biological races do not exist—and never have. This view is shared by all scientists who study variation in human populations. Yet racial prejudice and intolerance based on the myth of race remain deeply ingrained in Western society. In his powerful examination of a persistent, false, and poisonous idea, Robert Sussman explores how race emerged as a social construct from early biblical justifications to the pseudoscientific studies of today.
The Myth of Race traces the origins of modern racist ideology to the Spanish Inquisition, revealing how sixteenth-century theories of racial degeneration became a crucial justification for Western imperialism and slavery. In the nineteenth century, these theories fused with Darwinism to produce the highly influential and pernicious eugenics movement. Believing that traits from cranial shape to raw intelligence were immutable, eugenicists developed hierarchies that classified certain races, especially fair-skinned “Aryans,” as superior to others. These ideologues proposed programs of intelligence testing, selective breeding, and human sterilization—policies that fed straight into Nazi genocide. Sussman examines how opponents of eugenics, guided by the German-American anthropologist Franz Boas’s new, scientifically supported concept of culture, exposed fallacies in racist thinking.
Although eugenics is now widely discredited, some groups and individuals today claim a new scientific basis for old racist assumptions. Pondering the continuing influence of racist research and thought, despite all evidence to the contrary, Sussman explains why—when it comes to race—too many people still mistake bigotry for science.
Most of the martial arts I've studied have oriental origins: Japanese Goju Ryu, Korean Tukong Moosul and Tang Soo Do, Jeet Kune Do (by way of Wing Chun and Bruce Lee proteges), Muay Thai, Silat; Filipino Kali. I discovered Capoeria and African Arts much later.
Robert Wagner (not the actor) was stationed at a base in Japan where he studied Goju Ryu karate. After getting out of the military and going to North Carolina A&T on the GI Bill, he established a Dojo (training hall) well before I matriculated. There were stories of his treatment in Japan not being any different than his treatment in the United States as a black man. His initial students were Attorney, Judge and Sensei McSwain (82nd Airborne Division), Challenger Astronaut Dr. Ronald E. McNair and Dr. Gilbert and Mrs. Patricia Casterlow and Mr. Samuel Casterlow, my karate instructors when I was an undergrad. Dr. Casterlow told us about "rules" like unnecessary redness of the skin resulting in immediate disqualification. It was usually applied to disqualify the predominant African American team members of The Fighting Aggies. Point fighting has always been a subjective pursuit. It's really up to a majority of judges that "saw" your kick or punch score. In many cases it may depend on your studio, not so much your paint job as in the past.
"'Why am I just hearing about this now? ... Why didn't someone tell me about this in elementary school?' ... I never should have made it through twelve years of schooling before entering a university, without ever hearing the important news that most anthropologist reject the notion of biological races."
What indeed would have been the result of a society and a planetary species if such lessons had been learned earlier, and like its dark antithesis, disseminated globally?
"The Myth of Race: The Troubling Persistence of an Unscientific Idea," Robert Wald Sussman
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