Cayman Islands author explores race concept

| 02/02/2010

Cayman Islands News, Grand Cayman local news, Guy P. Harrison, Race and Reality(CNS): While accusation of racism continues to appear in a number of comments on CNS in the frequent Caymanian/ex-pat debates, a local author maintains in that the whole concept of using race as a way of categorising humans is a fallacy. In his second published book Race and Reality: What Everyone Should Know About Our Biological Diversity, Guy P. Harrison, drawing on scholarly research, interviews with scientists, and his own extensive travels, sets out to show that human unity is based not on hope and optimism, but on honesty and hard science.

“I believe in the importance of this book because people need to hear the news that biological races are not real,” Harrison said. “Anthropologists – the people who know people best – have been saying this for decades but very few people take university anthropology courses or read anthropology journals. This is a crucial message that needs to reach the public because the concept of race has been horribly destructive in the past and it continues to do great harm today. I believe the best way to confront racism is not simply to preach tolerance, but to teach the reality of our biological diversity.”

“Of course, there is diversity among humans,” Harrison explains, “but nothing justifies the common belief that large numbers of people can be placed into specific and unique categories that have profound gene-based implications for things like intelligence and health, for example.”

According to the author, Race and Reality, published by Prometheus Books (New York), addresses many topics, including: the basic illogical claims and misunderstandings that prop up racial groups; the story of prehistoric human migrations; historic conquests of Europeans over other peoples; and implications of race belief regarding love and sex, health, intelligence, sports, and violence.

Dr Robert Sussman, a leading US anthropologist and Editor Emeritus of American Anthropologist, the discipline’s leading journal, says, “In a clear, concise, and very readable manner, Harrison explains why the scientists who study this subject have come to the conclusion that biological races do not exist. He goes on to clarify the many misconceptions surrounding race and athletic ability, racialized medicine, race and IQ, and interracial love, marriage, and parenthood. This is a very important, profound, enjoyable and enlightening book. It should go a long way in helping disprove man’s most dangerous myth.”

“Harrison is a great teacher,” says Dr Cameron M. Smith, a Portland State University anthropologist. “He dismantles the ‘race’ concept, bolt by bolt. Exposing race as a social illusion and political tool, rather than a biological reality. Harrison forces the reader to consider how they think about ‘other folk’. Anthropologists have no use for the race concept, and neither should educated citizens.”

Dr David B. Grusky, professor of Sociology at Stanford University and director of the Center for the Study of Poverty and Inequality, believes there is an urgent need today for Harrison’s book. “Do we need a book that reminds us that the earth revolves around the sun? Probably not, as Copernicus still carries the day. Do we need a book that explains why an apple falls to the ground? Here again Newton seems to have set us nicely straight. But all is different when it comes to race and the false view that races are biologically fixed and naturally occurring. We desperately need a book that sets us no-nonsense straight, and Race and Reality is just that book, a tour de force that conveys the current science on racial classification in a rigorous yet readable way. A book so clearly written, so elegantly crafted, so packed with nuggets that even those who think they know it all about race and racial classification will come away changed.”

Race and Reality is Guy’s second book. His first, 50 Reasons People Give for Believing in a God, was published in 2008, and achieved a number-one ranking in three categories on Amazon (US), and continues to be popular in the United States, Canada, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom.

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