[Air-L] racist comments by James Watson?

William Bain willronb at yahoo.com
Sun Oct 21 00:16:38 PDT 2007

It's been suggested that more variation exists "within so-called racial groups than between them" and that race (which comes form the Italian razza and seems to have come into English in the 16th century) isn't that productive a scientific category. The website I'm quoting from also carries a link to the New York Times piece reporting on James Watson's "retraction" of his comment. Thats http://www.racismreview.com/blog/?p=73 and it also includes what I found to be an interesting link on whether race is a scientifically worthwhile category. In a text I read a long time ago (I seem to recall) was a comparison of race with class, or race discussed as *a* class in the sense of category. Sorry that the text's lost in the mists of time, as well as physically from my library, but maybe someone who works more closely than I do with biology and sociology will have info on thazt. ovibiously I have to be very careful to guard against or ciriticize arguments promoting
 eugenics/genocide. That was my original idea in posting what I did. for what it's worth, I got to the address I mentioned above by writing lewontin on racism into a major search engine and it also acquainted me with something I didn't know about called lewontin's fallacy, a statistical take. Personally I think Watson and hopefully many others, me included, have become more aware in part because of his mistake which, as I say, he's recognized. But I feel a graeat deal of anger at the situation in Jena, Louisiana not to mention that particular specific case of out-on-the-street life endangering racism. Too much anger, I emeant to write. To the suggestion that racist groups might use the comments of a very highly accomplished scientist to promote racism, well, that is only part of the danger, but yes, of course, that is the danger.
  Best regards, William

William Bain
PhD Student
Comparative Literature
Department of Spanish Philology
Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona
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