Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Prompt 1: Race equality

Race has always been an important identifier in the Human Population. It becomes a large part of a person’s identity, social movements, and prejudices. Yet how important is race from a biological standpoint? The article “Do Races Differ? Not Really, DNA shows” by Natalie Angier explains how shallow the ties to race are in our genetics. Lewontin Argues against the notion that success society is becoming more like natural selection and less and less like aristocracy. Lewontin believes “equal opportunity for all” is false because of the continuation of class and social status from parents to their children. He believes not only nature, but different environmental factors and un-equal opportunities during nurture continues this repetition.
            Nature vs. Nurture is the idea that not only genes, but also your environment play a role in who you become. To fit in the argument Lewontin is making Nurture plays a role in how successful you are. Lewontin explains this balance and it’s relation to a very important factor in success the I.Q. He explains that biological parent with higher I.Q.s have children with higher I.Q.s even if they are adopted early, but those children’s I.Q. scores are generally 20 points higher and the average I.Q. score of adopted children are about equal the average of the Adopted parents I.Q. score. Meaning that although genes do play a part they cannot predict changes in the group average generationally. This jump in I.Q. is also explained by the difference in social class between the biological and adopting parents. If America were completely equal in opportunity it would mean everyone has the same options as everyone else in the paths they take to nurture themselves. If this were true any people who succeeded in life would have good genes and people who didn’t would have bad ones. There would be little I.Q. difference between a biological parent and adopted kid.  This is simply not true. Not every one has equal opportunity to healthcare, education, networking, job resources, or money. Lewontin sees people describing our equality as getting rid of “artificial barriers to equality” and that “new society allows a natural sorting process to decide who is to get the status, wealth, and power, and who is not” (Lewontin 20). This is describing natural selection purely based on genes. Lewontin sees this as false considering the un-equal access to certain resources based on “artificial barriers” we still have.
            The article Natalie Angier dives into the differences within our genetics that are dependent on race. Angier says, “As it turns out, scientists say, the human species is so evolutionarily young, and its migratory patterns so wide, restless and rococo, that it has simply not had a chance to divide itself into separate biological groups or "races" in any but the most superficial ways” (Angier 1). The article goes on to explain there is really only one race within humans; all the characteristics we use to define race are external and only make up .01% of our genetics. One scientist, Dr. Alan explains how race classification are useful, but only when looking at migration patterns and origins. It even gets into some of the bogus theories about race that we have since disproved such brain size and physical features being indicative of how far we have evolved. These theories witch were created studies to justify racism and sexism have been disproven.

            If DNA studies show there is no difference between races why is it that the average age of an African American is 74.6 in American, a white person is 78.9, and an American 86.5. And the average salary was $51,017 but African Americans made $33,321, and Asian Americans made $68,636. And these patterns are held when looking back on average salaries from years past. Lewontin says, “There is not an iota of evidence of any kind that the difference in status, wealth, and power between races in North America have Anyhing to do with the genes, except, of course, for the socially mediated effects of the genes for skin color” (Lewontin 36). He would be right. “heritability and fixity” as Lewtontin calls them might be correlated, but it is not causation. Differences in gene’s between races do not cause differences in I.Q. or potential. The differences in nurture and un-equal opportunity between the races is what is responsible for a racial wealth gap.

1 comment:

  1. Your intro is messy - it seems rushed. You don’t really have a thesis (or nothing that should be called a thesis), even though the prompt very clearly called for one. Your second paragraph is an ok summary of certain parts of Lewontin, but it’s also long and unfocused - if something really needs summarized for a particular argument to make sense, fine - but where’s the argument? What does this summary support? Your summary of your article is also ok, but again lacks a clear direction.

    Your conclusion is also hastily written, and while it presents a kind of argument (clearly you think that the article & Lewontin support one another) the argument seems both basic and simplistic - one summary supporting another summary, rather than any of Lewontin’s substantive ideas being used to analyze/investigate the article.


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