The following results meet the search requirements for "race" in comment. Text in red represents comments by Dr. Bindon.

Student: Barbara Stampul    Date: Wednesday January 15th 2003 08:45
Journal Entry: This past week I observed the topic of race occur twice and both in my opinion could be considered prejudice. My first observation was this weekend when I was watching a movie called Can't Hardly Wait that appears often on television. It is a movie about the last high school party of graduation seniors. In the movie it portrays two boys dressed in extremely baggy jeans and I guess pullover shirts and they were speaking in distinct accents using a great deal of slang. This is one of those things that you don't know why you feel this way, but you definitely know they are being portrayed as wanting to be African-American. (I guess because they are often portrayed like this in the media). They then go up to a group of black students at a party and say what up my _____. But it is obvious the black students do not feel these two are part of their group because they chase these two students away. This scene was definitely intended to be humorous, but if you think about the message it is sending its viewers it can be disturbing. Another observation I made I have noticed frequently at different times and it always bothers me. This time a group of students and myself were watching the new show Joe Millionaire and a girl viewing it with me wanted to talk about one of the girls in the show and she kept referring to her as the 'black girl.' I don't think she meant anything racist by it, she just seemed not to like the character's personality, but it always bothers me when people place black in front of girl or boy as a description. In this specific case why couldn't the viewer have just referred to the girl in the blue shirt or by her name, but instead she chose the description black girl.

Student: Renata Harris    Date: Wednesday January 15th 2003 09:56
Journal Entry: I'm sitting in my room pondering the many topics I can relate to you concerning race and ethics, and I find it's not as easy as I thought it would be to just pick something and write about it. So once again my thoughts shifted back to our discussion in class, mainly about how one-sided the early studies were concerning 'race' as we know it today. I know that during this time the basis of their assumptions were mainly due to the lack of knowledge of what's going on in the world around them however, I feel that even today this still exist because some people have become 'set in their ways' and refuse to free themselves from ignorance-lack of knowledge-. This is why we still have much of the same racial and ethical barriers place in our society. Rather than opening up their minds and learning to accept people as the are and acknowledge them by their character and personality whether than skin color, religion, gender, or sexual orientation which would allow them to find out more not only about the world around them, but also themselves. Many prefer to just stay close-minded and by doing this they will continually past the cycle of ignorance from generation to generation instead of grasping the concept of loving and accepting others based on their individual merit and respectability. Therefore society should learn not to judge a group of people by the actions of just one and take each day as a chance to grow and gain information about the people and the world around them therefore aiding in spreading knowledge to the generations to come.

Student: Stephen Meredith    Date: Wednesday January 15th 2003 10:49
Journal Entry: Our textbook in chapter one talks about the racial classification used on the United States 2000 census. This reminded me of when I had to classify myself according to race on that form a couple of years ago. Although I'm aware of the category the authors of the census would place me in, I did not like the idea of being forced by law to participate in a government racial classification scheme. I was relieved to find at the bottom of the list the category 'Other.' Since the government is trying to come up with census to mollify objections of the form fillers, perhaps the addition of the line 'I Will Not Participate in a Government Mandated Racial Classification Plan' would be an improvement.

Student: Austin James    Date: Wednesday January 15th 2003 11:28
Journal Entry: Last semester I had the privilege of attending a seminar class focusing on Southern history, values, and heritage. The course progressed as one might expect. In the early classes we discussed those characteristics that we felt were distinctly Southern and as the semester passed we delved into the deeper more sensitive issues of race relations, the Civil War, and slavery. I found most of the topics to be quite enthralling, but I was particularly interested in race relations following Reconstruction. So, I began researching materials ranging from racist propaganda to the civil rights literature of ex-abolitionists. In my research I came across a writer named William A. Percy whose autobiography described his life as a planter's son. Percy was certainly racist but in a such a soft manner that his peers of the 1940's criticized him as being quite the opposite. He believed that those in power (whites) should lead by example until their 'younger' siblings learned to live in white society, as equals. The key here is that in the minds of the 1940's citizenry there was only one society, and it was white. I am sure that they recognized other peoples as being different but without the vocabulary afforded even the general populace today these differences would not have been considered equal and viable ways of life. It is this language of anthropologists and social architects that makes discussion of human variation possible.

Student: Teri Stewart    Date: Tuesday January 21st 2003 18:25
Journal Entry: In our class discussions and throughout our readings we have been talking about the early concepts of human variation and the classifications of man (which were devised by Europeans). The majority of these classifications describe races, other than that of their own, as lesser or lacking in one way or another. My question is this: Did anyone making these assumptions about the differences between peoples ever think that it might be their own race that is the one that could be lacking something? Did anyone even think that to be a possibility? If they were so intent on separating the human species into separate categories, and many attempting to do so in somewhat of a scientific manner, would this not be an important aspect of their research?

Student: Laura Bertrand    Date: Wednesday January 22nd 2003 00:02
Journal Entry: Yet once again my roomie's comp is being silly so please forgive the typos.
My great Aunt Pauline had black hair most of her life, until she was 30 something or other when her hair turned completely white in less than a week. It was about this time that my family realized just what all could be in our family history. Aunt Pauline and my Grandmother never talked about much before the depression, in fact both of them tried to pretend that the world didn't come into being until the 1940s. However, as her hair turned white, she made it clear we weren't as scotch/irish as we had always thought. In fact there was a great deal of Native American and a little African American as well. When I was old enough to understand all this and ask questions, my parents stated to me as such. America is one of the few countries where this type of thing is either not terribly noticed or really noticed. We seem to be surrounded by people of all sorts of back grounds all the time and some are accepted where as others are not. Apparently after the civil war there were no men left in my family's home county over the age of 12 and that was common for the area. Therefore women took husbands as they could get them, starving it was the only way to survive. I am not sure about the validity of all this it came to me through hear say stories, but it makes one wonder. If we could take an average person out of America and trace them back what would be find? It is doubtful that many people who have been in the US would discover themselves to be what they thought. After all, one of the joys of living here is that we are all so closely related in more ways than one.

Student: Barbara Stampul    Date: Wednesday January 22nd 2003 08:46
Journal Entry: I once heard a quote in an English class, which I cannot remember in full right now, but it had to do with how all comedy is somehow making fun of either a person or a group or some aspect of our society. I do not think I have found any comedy that would disprove this quote. I have noticed recently how popular it is to joke about either ethnicity or race, but usually it is the person of that race or ethnic group who is doing the joking. I guess this makes the joking more acceptable to the viewers. This can be seen from comedians like Chris Rock to the skits of Saturday Night Live (just to name a few). It tends to pull out all the typical stereotypes of a race or ethnic group and go from there. I am not going to lie and say I do not find it amusing, because for the most part I do. Then a popular comedy came out this year having to do with my ethnic group, and though I did find it greatly amusing I also found it at times annoying. I am sure everybody has heard of the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding. It was produced for a low cost and became one of the most popular movies in the theaters. I must admit I have actually seen the film three times with various friends and family members. However, I do have mixed reviews about it. It is very funny and cute, but it just pulls out every stereotype of a Greek family and exaggerates it to an extreme level. I just do not like the idea of millions of viewers (who might not have had any contact with Greeks) thinking this is how all Greek families behave. For example, it shows how much of a role food plays in the lives of a Greek family and how all Greek women know how to cook and love to do it for their families. I admit I do have aunts and Grandmothers like this, but I also have a Greek mother who still weighs 125 pounds at the age of 44 after having three children and usually when she does cook it tends to be light meals like fish and chicken with steamed vegetables (not the meals upon meals like the mothers in the movie show). I also had a problem with how loud the family was portrayed and how tacky and gaudy they wanted to make their taste. Yes, I do know loud Greeks in my family, but I am Greek and I am definitely not the type to yell and carry on in public. In addition, many of the Greek characters were shown to be just tacky with terrible taste. This was shown in the fashion of clothes many had, the house, and in the way, they dressed up the main character for her wedding. I really don't why they wanted to show Greeks this way, aren't there a number of tacky people in every nationality? Overall, this movie was cute and I probably will buy the DVD when it comes out, but this has really taught me not to take the way ethnic groups are portrayed in the media too seriously because it is definitely over exaggerated and nobody will ever fit this mold perfectly.

Student: Lisa Gonzalez    Date: Wednesday January 22nd 2003 10:14
Journal Entry: I would like to know everyone's view on the recent affirmative action debate in regards to the University of Michigan's case of 'reverse discrimination'. Just incase people do not know what I am talking about, here is a brief synopsis. In the Supreme Court case against the University of Michigan, two white female students who were not admitted to the University of Michigan and are suing the university based on reverse discrimination. The students are claiming that based on their credentials they should have been accepted to the University of Michigan, but were passed over because of the unfair admission process. At the time the students were not accepted, the University of Michigan used a point system to admit students. Minority students were given a number of points based solely on their race. This point system is why the two white women claim that they were unfairly passed over during the admission process. The University of Michigan no longer uses the point system but argues that the point system was a good measure to ensure diversity at the University of Michigan. The University of Michigan adamantly defends Its affirmative action practices, claiming that it is necessary to allow representation of diverse groups into the university. Recently President George W. Bush held a press conference to release his views on affirmative action, and the lawsuit against the University of Michigan. In the press conference, our president made clear that he does not approve of the University of Michigan's admission process. President Bush also made clear that affirmative action policies are equivalent to quota systems and can be view as reverse discrimination. He is urging the United States Supreme Court to make a judgment in favor of the two white female students, and against the university's admission process. I would especially like to know how people feel about the president's comment on the matter. I think that our president is not the smartest person in the world. It is really sad that people actually listen to him. Its funny how he criticizes affirmative action policies because I am sure that he received some type of nepotism during his rise as a politician based on who his father is. I hope that the Supreme Court will not value his opinion while making their decision in this case. I feel that affirmative action policies are still needed in the United States. As long as discrimination based on race still exists then a tool to counter the effects of discrimination is needed to remedy the situation.

Student: Austin James    Date: Wednesday January 22nd 2003 13:18
Journal Entry: As I was driving to crew practice this morning, I caught a news blip on NPR stating that Latinos have surpassed African Americans as the largest minority in the United States. I had heard that one day the Latino population would surpass that of African Americans and even Caucasians. But really, what is a Latino? They are not at all a racial group, and in actuality, they are not even a cultural group. They are but a group of people whose most recent point of origin, outside of the United States, lies somewhere in Central or South America. Anyone who has visited a major US city could describe the incredible diversity of the city's inhabitants, their colors, creeds, and practices. So, if a single US city can produce an almost incalculable variety of people, how then can we use a geographic origin stretching more than a continent to classify people into a socio-political group. Anyway, I'm just a little bothered by 'race' yet again being used as a tool for politicians and power-mongers.

Student: Danielle Craig    Date: Tuesday January 28th 2003 20:38
Journal Entry: Being prejudice is a learned behavior that develops in childhood. A child develops the same mind-set as his or her parents because the home is the first place a child is taught about different things. If the parents or guardians are prejudice against a certain race of people then nine times out of ten, the child is going to be prejudice as well. Prejudice goes all the way back to the days of Ernst Haeckel, a German Scientist, who classified Australian Aborigines as the 'Lowest Savages'. He said they were closer to apes. His attitude was pure prejudice, along with William Ripley who categorized the Teutonics as long legged, slow-minded, and government-esque. He said the Alpines(Celtic) were unpleasant, plodding, but virtuous; he considered the Mediterraneans the lowest of all, saucy with the females, gay, and artistic. Prejudice comes from ignorance and not knowing the full aspect of a race of people yet finding fault as forms of justification for low classification. The whole Darwinism pseudo science proves this to be true.

Student: Laura Bertrand    Date: Wednesday January 29th 2003 01:25
Journal Entry: Many yeas ago someone approached me with the Bell Curve and told me it would change my life. I decided I didn't really want my life changed. But I do remember hearing a Paul Harvey on the way to school once that talked about race and IQ testing. IQ testing falls into that category of things that are fun until someone gets hurt, in my opinion. Kind of like the idea of self-esteem, no one really wants to admit that an oxy-moron, but the follows the same path. Continuing, IQ is one of those silly things that our society uses without ever really questioning it. Like standardized test, no I never will drop this it annoys me too much, they are great for a small percentage of the population and everyone else can just go to the hot place. We hear people talk, about how smart they are, the people who are truly smart I mean the ones in the 97th percentile and above never mention it. People who use numbers, example, 'Well that's nice but my IQ is 152.' Are generally jerks, we all know them. We tell ourselves that anyone can get ahead in our society, but I had to take an IQ test to get into my high school, but it had nothing to do with how smart I was, or how hard working I was. What's fair about that? Point, and yes there is a point, comes in here. When is it enough? When will Paul Harvey realize that his data is out dated and that his tests were biased from the beginning? When will we stop caring which group does better on a test designed for a certain type of person. Truthfully we are all different, and things are not set up to benefit most people, but when is enough? When will the Bell Curve finally be seen for what it is...a book. These are not the numbers that can tell you how well a person will do in life, they will only keep them from doing well in life. That test has haunted me everyday since I took it, and will everyday hence. But much like my GPA, my SAT, ACT, Credit, Insurance, Social, and so many more...the only one that tells you anything about me is this...number of cavities, 0.

Student: Vanjessitha Wilkinson    Date: Wednesday January 29th 2003 05:28
Journal Entry: I read an article titled, 'Does America Owe US?' in the February 2003 issue of Essence Magazine.-- Charles J. Ogletree Jr. argued that America does owe black people due to Slavery in America. The National Black United Fund and the Durban 400 organized the Million for Reparation Rally in Washington D.C. on August 17. Only a few people showed up, but Olgetree stated that they were excited by the rally. He said that black people were not able to 'move on' until they discussed the past and the 'elite' heard their discussions. Olgetree stated that promises have been granted and broken, such as the Special Field Order No. 15 and payment of reparation due to the Black farmers discrimination by the Department of Agriculture. -- E.R. Shipp believes that some atrocities deserve compensation, while others should 'get over it'. He said that black people should stop putting money on reparation movements and use it on other issues such as education, health-care, housing, and etc. Shipp believes that things have not changes since the 1963 March on Washington when Dr. Martin Luther King stated that the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence failed to give inalienable rights to blacks. Only 3-4 thousand people showed up for the Million for Reparation Rally. Shipp believes that the people who did attend where only after money and probably did not know their own family roots. While other jealousness of white people excused them for their own failures. From President Johnson's Great Society of the 1960's to affirmative action during the Nixon years and President Clinton apologizing for slavery, 'America has admitted its past injustices'. --I agree with E.R. Shipp that black people should get over reparation. Of course most African American people will learn about the history of slavery in America and will not forget it. I am not saying that we should forget about slavery, but black people should get over being owed something in terms of money. My reason for this view is because African Americans were not slaves themselves. If anyone deserved reparation that should have happened years ago to the Africans that were enslaved. Yes, this country has a long way to go in terms of race. Yes, things have become better. Yet, black people are still suffering because of the racisms consequences of slavery. Color and equal rights remain a major issue today. I also believe that more can be done. But how can we get it in the minds of all people that things are not okay as they are and more still needs to be done?

Student: Barbara Stampul    Date: Wednesday January 29th 2003 08:34
Journal Entry: How does it feel to be a minority? Sometimes I find myself wondering if minorities feel uncomfortable when they are placed in settings and situations where nobody is the same racial group. I'm sure for the most part the ease of the minority depends on that particular person and the way he or she is being treated. Recently I was eating lunch with my good friend Jan at Crimson Caf?. (Jan is one of my good friends that I met when I lived in a dorm freshman year. We were neighbors and we bonded with both our dissatisfactions of our terrible roommates. Jan is also African American.) And I saw Jan looking around and she was like Barbara, I am the only black person here. Then she laughed it off and I laughed with her. I pretty much put this out of my memory until last weekend when I was the minority. I went with Jan and a few of her friends to a soul festival in Birmingham Friday. It was there that I became a minority. I had so much fun at the even enjoying the music that for the most part I didn't realize that I was one of the few white people there, but there were times especially before the show started that I couldn't help but wonder if people were asking themselves what she was doing here. I must admit I was lucky because everyone around me was nice and smiling, but I can just imagine how out of place a minority would feel if he or she did not receive these positive reactions. This would feel very uncomfortable but I know it happens everyday in places like schools and the workplace. Other times during the show when I thought of race was at a point when a performer was like 'Who wants a free c.d?' and my friend was like 'Barbara raise your hand they'll give it to you because your white!' She said it jokingly and that is how I took it. Also at the last part of the show everybody was full out dancing including myself, but I did find myself hoping nobody was thinking who is this white girl, she can't dance. But of course I did not get this impression from anybody, and when I did not think about it and just left myself dance I had a terrific time. This concert has brought me to another idea. I really feel that music has been and can be a major medium for improving race relations especially among the youth. We can see that white America has embraced parts of African-American culture ever since jazz came into being. Also today so much of the white youth with the embracement of rap share the same taste of music as our black youth. I think this is a really great aspect of music. The togetherness it brings. I group up in a house where a great deal of jazz and blues were played and this has led me to the great variety of music I listen to today. I feel I would have a void if I didn't have this African American influence in my life. Also while I am on the musical topic I would like to talk about one of my life long goals of bringing more African Americans to love the Dave Matthews Band. This is also a cause Dave feels strongly about himself. There are three black musicians in the band compared to the two white ones and so much of their music has jazz, blues, and South African roots. But this effort seems in vain because no matter how much I try I haven't been able to convert any of the African-Americans I know to Dave. But even without Dave, I am very pleased that other artists have been able to bring so many blacks and whites together. It is definitely a start.

Student: Stephen Meredith    Date: Wednesday January 29th 2003 14:27
Journal Entry: In the 'Life/Style' section of today's Birmingham News there is an article about a wholesale clothing business, Generacion Latina, Inc., that is marketing to 'Hispanic Consumers.' This brief article brought up several relevant topics.
The focus of the article is about how a small company has organized its plan to focus on a single ethnic group. The company '...aims to design clothes that speak to young Hispanics the way urban fashions by FUBU and Phat Farm attracted young black shoppers.' This plan adheres to a classification of people which uses unrelated variables to divide people into the various categories. The 'black' category is defined due to skin color, where the 'Hispanic' category, I presume, is defined by language.
They do make one statement generalizing two physical parameters in the Hispanic category. Quote: 'Sizing accommodates Hispanic consumers who tend to be shorter and heavier than Anglo buyers.' Here they make a physical generalization of one grouping, and compare it to another group, which seems because of the term used to be defined by language (Anglo).
Another set of categories is used in the article to sort a behavior: spending on clothes. They contrast average annual clothing spending between three groups: 'Hispanics,' 'blacks,' and 'whites.' One group defined by language, the other two by skin color.
This article freely skips around sortings of people in a manner that seems very common in various media reports, even from 'enlightened' and 'progressive' outlets such as NPR. This practice assumes a language of race within the audience that descends from racial overgeneralizations, and also depends also on an ignorance of basic scientific method.

Student: Austin James    Date: Thursday January 30th 2003 07:58
Journal Entry: Well, I've finally gotten this thing to work, though I have no idea how. I wrote this yesterday on a in the computer lab and I since I no longer have access the file I will just write it again.
I've been reading through the journal entries of some of the other students and I began to wonder about the link between race and longevity. Is there a link or do some culture's have diets that are better suited for their physiological needs. I'm not sure.
I once heard that Georgians (people from the nation of Georgia) have the longer lifespans on the average than any other group of people, but I've also heard the same thing said of the Japanese. From my own personal experience and the information of gleaned from television, it seems that African Americans live very long lives. It might be my imagination twisting my memory but it seems that on Good Morning America those people over the age of 100 are predominantly African American.
I had the pleasant experience of meeting my friend Jody's great grandmother last weekend. I didn't really notice at first but this old African American woman was telling stories from her life that dated as far back as the 1890's. Jody is not sure how old her great grandmother is but evidently she's well over 100.
This could be just one random case but I came across an ex-slave in an article by Gregory Waselkov who, in the 1940's, was recounting life events from 1800. Really, I'm interested in what everyone else has to say on the issue. I just thought I should throw out a smattering of data (correct or otherwise).

Student: Laura Bertrand    Date: Wednesday February 5th 2003 10:12
Journal Entry: The more we talk in class about the Eugenics movement the more I fear our society turning into something out of a Ray Bradbury novel. Truthfully speaking I doubt anyone in Western society would have the gumption to stand up to the extreme left wing liberals who are militant in their quest of peace, but it is still a scary prospect. We read these books while growing up, about Marians who can't stand the cold germ and books being burned. Lois Lowery's The Giver, which is almost a terrifying children's version of Brave New World. Now with an impending war, I find myself more and more wondering if in ten years my dreams of cultural study will be dashed by Big Brother, or worse my own country. Really I don't think there is a tie into race here, except for one thing. There is almost no race in any of these books. 1984 aside because it does take place in England and was written before the mass migration of people from India and the Middle East as well as Africa, there are very seldom people of any distinction. Presently race is a major facet of distinction and is one of the ways in which people define themselves. However, in a future without individuals there will be no distinctions and no classifications, or at least the future of our favorite Science-Fiction writers. Maybe we are just being paranoid, after all the eugenics movement is dead but it has been tried before and in this time of extreme paranoia it seems more at hand than it should be.

Student: Renata Harris    Date: Wednesday February 5th 2003 11:20
Journal Entry: About twenty years ago our society made a big issue of interracial dating. I guess because of our nation's history with the paranoid belief that the minority was trying to gain control by becoming involved with one of the majority. A movie that addresses the issue was made in the eighties maybe early nineties called 'Jungle Fever'. It was directed by Spike Lee and starred Wesley Snipes. Wesley Snipes was married to a black woman had two kids and a good job. One day at work they hired a new secretary for him and she was Italian. As the story goes on they got together late one evening. This decision affects his family because his wife leaves him; he loses his job and so on. In the movie they stressed the fact that he cheated on his wife with a woman of another race rather than the fact that he cheated. The new couple make an attempt at life together but societies stronghold would not let them be. In the end despite all the trouble they go through they end up succumbing to the pressure to conform. Back in the day it was almost guaranteed that you could to turn on the TV to a talk show and the theme of the day would be like, 'My daughter is dating a black man', or something along those lines. Now as a society we don't place much weight on an African American dating a Caucasian or any other combination that could arise. We have discovered more pressing issues to address. I guess people realized that people are going to do what they want regardless, and you can't dictate whom to love or make somebody love someone.

Student: Vanjessitha Wilkinson    Date: Wednesday February 12th 2003 10:05
Journal Entry: This week in another one of my classes a topic about race came up. The instructor made a comment that 'White Americans' did not look at color first when they viewed these Black Americans; Michael Jackson, Collin Powell and Michael Jordan. He said that white people looked more at their talent, ability, and success first. I thought that was odd. I mean the first thing that you see when you looked at these three men is their color. When I look at people I see their color first. I am not racist but I see color first. I enjoyed different types of 'white' music groups and 'white' television shows. First I see their color. Then the whole 'color thing' passes and I just enjoy their talent.

Student: Austin James    Date: Wednesday February 12th 2003 11:41
Journal Entry: Does the word race imply some kind of competition? If so, would the term human race be some kind of evolutionary competition for superiority or evidence thereof? I do not believe that race still implies such, but I think the original implication is at least feasible. Anyway, I don't want to talk about that I was just wondering if anyone else had thought about that. I am interested in discussing what affect race has on a person's ability to survive, thrive, and whatnot. I don't mean survival against cultural boundaries or strictures placed on particular groups according to racial or ethnic constructs. I am interested in the biological modifications, particular to a race, which would help a race in a particular environment. I know we've discussed the modifications associated with environment-sickle-cell anemia for malaria resistance, short and squat stature for resistance to cold-but, how long does it take for these biological modifications to appear? Additionally, what kinds of mutations/modifications might appear in a few members of a group yet die out due to improper adjustment or cultural stigmatism? (I once read that, due to children playing so many video games, before long our thumbs will grow to ridiculous sizes and our pinkies will shrink to eventual phalangeal extinction.) Could these random modifications ever account for DNA differences within a racial group? Many questions.

Student: Teri Stewart    Date: Wednesday February 12th 2003 14:10
Journal Entry: Growing up white in the mostly upper, middle class town of Tuscaloosa it is hard for me to imagine life as a minority on a daily basis. Most of the experiences I have had as a minority were in the public school system; at Central I think the ratio was 70-30. It was not something I thought about too much at the time but after some of our talks on race and IQ I realized that it was a little bit more than just the cafeterias that were segregated and not necessarily on the grounds of race. Many of the classes you took were based on test scores similar to those used to determine IQ, even though it is clear that these tests are culturally biased they had a tremendous effect on the type of education you received. Usually, classes ended up being somewhat segregated but at least we had the opportunity to learn from one another in those classes that were not based on test scores. With the new organization of the city schools, kids will be robbed of any type ethnic or social diversity. They will all have the same backgrounds and most will probably come from the same neighborhoods. In my opinion, this is nothing but a bad idea. If all the people around you are the same, how will you ever learn to accept those who are different?

Student: Danielle Craig    Date: Wednesday February 12th 2003 19:22
Journal Entry: The 'Separate, but Equal' days may have passed, but it's still in existence because each race of people have their own preferences. Their preferences being that they as a race have their own things in common. Although races can combine(intervene in each others friendship circles), but at the end of the day those races will reunite their own kind that have more in common with them. It is a proven fact that people tend to be around other people who can relate to them. Now take that proven fact and apply it to race then you will see the segregated atmosphere on college campuses, in high school lunchrooms, at parties, on the workforce, in the neighborhoods, and etc. It doesn't always have to do with a race not wanting to be apart of another race, it's the simple fact that each race have their own alike interests.

Student: barbara stampul    Date: Wednesday February 19th 2003 09:45
Journal Entry: In my social psychology class we have been learning about race and prejudice and recently we came across to studies that show ways to combat this. One study showed that two groups at a camp were told that they were to compete against each other for all of the camp activities. Even when the competition aspect was over the two groups still disliked each other. This showed that the aspect of competition between two groups can arbor dislike and prejudice. So then they made the two groups work on things together for example a bus broke down and the two groups had to work collectively to fix it. When the groups were giving projects where they could use team work to achieve some of the same goals the groups got along. Another study was the jig saw puzzle classroom. Where students who do not normally interact were giving a project and each student had different information and in order to complete the project the students had to interact and collect the info from each other. This cooperative learning led to interaction among students who normally might have stayed away from each other. I thought both of these studies were interested because it showed the positive effects of subordinate goals.

Student: Vanjessitha Wilkinson    Date: Wednesday February 19th 2003 10:07
Journal Entry: Last week I viewed a new show called 'Are You Hot?' Contestants from the Northeast auditioned for a chance to be rated as the sexiest man or women in America. I thought that this show was ridicules. The panel of judges consisted of an actor, model, and fashion designer. The contestants were not rated on their race which was a good thing. Nor, where the rated on p[ersonality. Instead they were rated on a scale from 1-10 on their facial features, physical body features, and an overall score. They judges were cruel. They literally told a woman that she was too skinny and should never skip a meal. There was also another woman on the show who is smaller than me and they told her that she needed to lose 10 pounds. They told a man whom looked like he was physically fit from lifting weights, that his chest was bigger than some women. I do not know why people would want to go on this show! Maybe only if they were an aspiring actor or model who was looking for a chance to be recognized. This show is degrading to men and women. I am pretty sure that some of these men and women self-esteem would be crushed after being rated low and verbally put down on this show all because of the variation in their body type.

Student: Teri Stewart    Date: Tuesday February 25th 2003 17:58
Journal Entry: An article appeared in Sunday's paper under the heading We're all one race discussing the importance of the Human Genome Project. A seminar (sponsored by a local sorority with the help of the U.S Department of Energy) was held in Tuscaloosa to ?inform the public about the ethical, legal, and social issues surrounding the project because of the tremendous impact it will have on us?. A biology professor from the UA and others gave talks explaining the significance that the project could have on the link between race and disease, by not only tracking diseases like Parkinson's and sickle cell anemia but also in finding a cure. It did not really say much about specific relationships of race and disease (this is the Tuscaloosa News) but the article did quote one speaker explaining that ?our concept of race is a social concept that doesn't exist in DNA?. With all the controversy surrounding the genome project it is refreshing to know that people in our area are interested in educating others on it's implications.

Student: Stephen Meredith    Date: Wednesday February 26th 2003 16:36
Journal Entry: The AIDS vaccine failure that came out in the news Sunday is still in the news today, and consistently the fact that VaxGen claims that the results of their test showed a reduced infection rate of the black and Asian participants compared to the whites and Latinos. All the conclusions about the vaccine working on blacks and Asians require an assumption that people of different races are biologically so different that even the immune systems respond differently to vaccines. This is not a problem for Lance K. Gordon the Chief Executive of VaxGen who, according to the San Jose Mercury News, linked high levels of antibodies with minorities in the study.
Besides throwing reason aside over human biology, to accept the racial conclusions one must ignore simple scientific method. The sample size of individuals cataloged in the study as 'black' was 314, compared to 4,511 'white' specimens. With the small black sample size, a change in the incidence of disease in only a few individuals could result in an entirely different conclusion. John P. Moore, a Cornell University AIDS researcher gave the most amusing quote debunking the logic of the racial conclusions. He is quoted in the San Jose Mercury News as saying 'If you do this by the signs of the Zodiac you'll find some signs have a better result than other.'
The denunciation by many scientists of the conclusions about a racial or ethnic link to the immune system has made it into news stories, however they often have been inserted into the reports more like a footnote. No question to the racial conclusions was brought up on the NBC Nightly News broadcast, in fact, they immediately began to speculate what the 'discovery' might mean to people in Africa where they promptly reminded us viewers that the disease is rampant there while showing a shot of miserable Africans sitting in dirt.
The twisted racial conclusions are no problem for Mr. Gordon at VaxGen. He said the company wants to begin sales of the failed vaccine by 2005, if he can get FDA approval. He is quoted as saying 'The product, if it is approved would be limited to the minority population.' -klunk-

Student: Vanjessitha Wilkinson    Date: Wednesday March 5th 2003 08:42
Journal Entry: Black Cats: Researchers may be able to help human disease by to finding a natural genetic resistance, if the can explain why Wild cats evolve genetic resistance to disease. The National Cancer Institution and the University of Maryland found that genes that have been mutated are linked to certain human diseases. This study began due to the fact that there were no black lions or tigers, but there were black leopards, house cats, and jaguars. Researchers are trying to figure out if the black mutation was produced 'separately among the species' or traced back to an 'earlier ancestor of all cats'. Different species of cats have a black coat due to genetic mutation. These genes protected cats from disease. Without the mutation extinction could have occurred for those cats that lacked a black coat. Dr. Stephen O'Brien, at the Cancer Institute, noticed that MC1R contributed to jaguars black coat, while the same gene contributed to human red hair. MC1R, which uses bacteria and viruses to infect the cell, belongs to 7- transmembrane receptor family. Within the same family, HIV enters the cell in human by the gene CCRS. O'Brien stated that the only living mammals today are 'survivors' in that 99.99% of all mammals are extinct.

Student: Michele Yarbrough    Date: Wednesday March 5th 2003 12:12
Journal Entry: Thanks to my grandfather I grew up with a love for old movies and spent many a Sunday afternoon watching hours and hours of AMC. One actor that I particularly adored was Sidney Poitier. I watched him in Lilies of the Field; To Sir, With Love; and Guess Who's Coming to Dinner. For those of you who aren't familiar with the film, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner is a romance/comedy about a young woman who brings her older, black fianc? home to meet her upper-middle class parents and to have a dinner party with both bride and grooms families. Her parents are no doubt shocked and rather upset, as are the groom's parents when they arrive to find themselves about to have a white daughter in-law. This film, made and set in the late 1960s is an interesting look at a controversial issue that some think has subsided. Unfortunately it has not and many people to this day are still afraid of and offended by interracial marriage/dating. This is not to say that there haven't been vast improvements with the numbers and percentages of interracial marriages dramatically increasing since the 1960s, but the disdain is still there. I found this out for myself about a year ago when I informed my parents that I was now dating the friend they had only met a few weeks prior. I knew that it was going to be an issue that my boyfriend was not fully white (his mother is from St. Lucia in the British West Indies) having learned from an experience in high school in which I was all but forbidden to date an Indian boy. But I was still pretty astounded by the reasons that this relationship was unfavorable. I was told that relationships are hard enough without adding in any extra problems, that black people don't like it either, that I was possibly endangering my life or the lives of my future children, and was definitely complicating my life and those of my future children. I was told that black people have different attitudes about relationships and the value of monogamy, that black men are more prone to cheating and that in 'their' culture it is something women are just supposed to put up with. I was told that the black attitude was angry, that years of repression were at fault and I could expect to find out more about this anger should I choose to pursue the relationship. I was also told (by my sister) that my parents want white grandchildren. I considered sending my parents a copy of Guess Who's Coming to Dinner and was rather infuriated by what seem to me silly, close-minded opinions. They have sense seemed to come to terms with the relationship, though I'm sure any discussion of marriage will re-ignite the problem. But I have learned that there was at least some validity in their arguments. Their attitudes are those of well-educated middle-class people who by most standards would not be considered racist. But obviously they have some racist views on the issue of interracial marriage and perhaps I am complicating my life by choosing to date outside my 'race'. It is only people like them that complicate things for interracial couples, not the actual fact of their being of different colors.

Student: Stephen Meredith    Date: Wednesday March 5th 2003 20:37
Journal Entry: Both Yumi and Laura have talked about the subject of how people fine tune their perception of features that distinguish groups of people around whom you might live. It seems like people can recognize distinctions between groups with which they are most familiar, and generalize or overlook traits of the unfamiliar.
When we learned earlier in the class that Linnaeus had classified people into varieties, it seemed to me to be way out of my perception of his logical thinking, especially the behavioral links to race that he made, as well as his 'Ferrus' variant. It seems like he was applying the same sort of hyperdistinction of the familiar to the whole scheme of life. It seems one standard of division was applied to the whole of the living world, then a much higher level of scrutiny was applied to the human species itself.
With all the attention and money focused on searching for and researching hominid fossils, it seems like there is almost the same kind of thinking in the paleoanthropological world, where a piece of a hominid looking jaw is the basis for naming a new species. Please don't think I believe these paleontologists should be studying trilobites instead, maybe all paleontologists should be employed looking for hominid fossils. It probably is the most important field of paleontology. Maybe we are looking at these fossils like a Welshman who swears he can pick out the Englishman in a crowd from 50 yards just by the way he walks.

Student: Lisa Gonzalez    Date: Wednesday March 12th 2003 09:02
Journal Entry: A friend of mine, and myself wrote this letter and tried to submit it to the Crimson White last week. Surprisingly, they did not submit it and when I called to find out why, the editor told me that the CW does not print anything with a personal attack. YEAH RIGHT! EVERY time I have opened the CW there are a few opinions that are FULL of personal attack, especially in today's CW. This is when my suspicions were confirmed about this years CW. It is so OBVIOUSLY biased in favor of the machine candidates. I have so many examples of stories against racism, and opinions in favor of independent candidates that the CW refuses to print. I must admit, my article is a little heavy but I think the CW should have printed it because its MY opinion and should go in the opinion section of the CW. Any how I did not want to waste it, so I decided to submit it as my journal for this we. I'd really like to know what y'all think. Thanks!
The Machine has Black folks too!
Newsflash: The machine is a secret society of white fraternities and sororities that control campus politics, honor societies, and even have influence in the state. Most would argue 'What's wrong with a group of buddies sticking together to support each other?' Nothing. Oh, I forgot to can't be black. People of color are not allowed to join these fraternities and sororities. Some may say the machine isn't racist. Let's take a quick history lesson. A cross was burned in front of the first black Greek sorority house to move on sorority row in the early nineties. The SGA was banned for beating a woman candidate in 1996 because she ran against the machine. We also have our own case of the Auburn-like tendencies at UA for decades. Check any Greek sections of the Corolla's from start to the late 1990's. You will find cheerful white Greeks dressed in black face. The machine has a history of racism and sexism. Is it reasonable to believe this organization could ever have black interest at heart? If your answer is yes, you are sadly mistaken and you are not alone. I've been here for undergrad and now grad school. I've seen this viscous cycle happen continuously! This cycle is black tokenism and black division. I remember in 1998 there were two black candidates, one white independent candidate, and one machine candidate: Fabian Zhinga, Roderick Underwood, Chris Strong, and your usual machine victor respectively. Rumor has it that Roderick Underwood was paid by the machine to split the black vote. Zhinga's campaign was rage against the machine. His sign was defaced with the N-word while nothing happened to Roderick's propaganda. Coincidentally, after random machine candidate X won the election, he created Roderick Underwood a position in the SGA and was paid a monthly stipend. Next year the position disappeared. The SGA counters racism arguments with a new black token Roderick Underwood. Spring 2000 race: it's the machine turn to run a woman again. Emily McMurphy runs against Tracie Ransom. These are generally the closest elections. Why? Because the machine is sexist and women aren't supported as much. Emily McMurphy did the usual: Divide the black vote. She negotiated endorsement from a black sorority that was Tracie Ransom's sorority's rival. The outcome was close but once again...Machine Candidate X was victorious. In 2001 a sit in was held. I remember the question being asked 'Why are there no minorities in the SGA' Emily responded ' Well, you all have Lorraine, the executive secretary!' Although, Lorraine ran as an unopposed write in, the SGA tried to use her office as a fa?ade of diversity. Also in 2001 Black Candidate Javan Bass vs. Machine Candidate John Macklem ran for SGA president. The machine candidate effectively got the support of another black leader: The NAACP president Dave Washington. Dave Washington effectively campaigned for Macklem and effectively split the black vote. He even split Javan's very own black fraternity support of him! Next, the SGA spontaneously cosponsors events with the NAACP. The Fall of 2001 The NAACP makes a sporadic press conference telling the University to back off white Greek integration. Coincidence? I think not. 2002 elections: The SGA gets brave enough to put machine candidates on ballots with a bogus name 'Students for a Better SGA'. They didn't let two black candidates, or independent candidates speak. They are summoned for serious campaign violations. The three victims of racism were Robert Turner, Mario Bailey, and Prince Cleveland. The victim of being non-greek was independent candidate John Beasley. Just as we thought 'no tokens this year' Dave Washington was sworn into some position at the SGA inauguration! Next, a slew of black token committee heads were appointed to usual powerless committees. 2003 elections: Congratulations, the machine has done it again! The machine candidate campaign is being run by blacks for promises of token positions and everlasting friendship! Coincidence? I think not. Here is the kicker...the machine candidates campaign manager is the victim of last years racism: Robert Turner! Katie Boyd has promised Robert Turner the chief of staff position if he helps her win! He was quoted in the CW saying 'Yall can have this...I'm going to law school..I'm through with this!' Obviously a chance for personal gain can easily sway someone to sell out! If you can't beat them, join them Huh? Sorry, the ends don't justify the means and never has. Robert Turner masks his self-interest of becoming the first black chief of staff (whoop de doo!) by claiming it will enable him to make inroads for blacks in the SGA. Thanks for spitting in the face of all the students who protested and rallied for you last year. Some would say that Dave Washington's and Robert Turners are doing the right thing and tokenism is better than no-ism. Would those same people accept school donations from a Nazi group, the Klan, of even Al-Queda? The irony is the other two black victims of last year, support the independent candidate Rob Davis. If this doesn't imply something is shady about the Turner-Boyd alliance...then I don't know what does. Some of her supporters are past victims of the machine's dominance not only in the SGA put in fall 2002 homecoming elections. Now let's discuss justifications for supporting Machine candidate Katie Boyd. 'She is Qualified, what about the tedious struggle for two extra library hours in one library!' Half of the things Boyd took credit for in her campaign (ie. Trolley) Bailey really did the work. I'm sorry to discredit library hours,but that hardly justifies someone worthy of being SGA president. Some would say 'Katie is not the machine Candidate'. Hello! Well who the hell is?! It surely isn't a rocket scientist/malleteer/non-greek who started student coalition against racism. I guess the machine decided to miraculously take a break from their 80 year streak of controlling the SGA. Riiiigggghhhtttt. Is it also a coincidence that she is in a machine sorority and received their endorsement three years in a row? Some would say 'It's not her fault that the machine supports her.' This is the silliest excuse. It is your fault if you accept money from the KKK for your personal agenda or any 'noble' cause. Some would say 'There was conflict between Lucas Wright and Katie Boyd! She is running against the machine's wishes!' Sorry, Lucas Wright isn't running and probably never was...the last time a woman stood up to the machine she was hospitalized and the SGA was banned. Next excuse, 'She is standing up for's not her turn to run in the male dominated machine!' Nice try. I'm a feminist and this just doesn't cut it. You are not standing up for women when you are a part of a patriarchal organization. If you were a feminist you would actively try to dismantle the organization. Others would say 'She is a great person, I know her...we were in xyz organization together...those tears of empathy are real! She wants to help us! She has our best interest at heart!'ll see you'll see!' If Katie Boyd really wants to stand up to the machine she would expose them like Stan Uncupher who denounced his membership to a fraternity and exposed there racist and sexist practices. He has actively educated the public about the evils of this secret organization and exploited the machine openly. Well, I'm pretty sure that Hal Moody, the machine's candidate for next year is working on his tokens as well. Until then, if you are black and supporting a machine candidate...thanks for spitting in the face of Cleo Thomas, Vivian Jones, Autherine Lucy, James Hood and Sylvester Jones. It's not comforting to know that we are ending black history month celebrating African-Americans who fought for equality, who refused to compromise the civil rights struggle for personal gain. Historically, accomodationist hurt the civil right movement. Sadly, in 2003 it still persist at the capstone.

Student: Michele Yarbrough    Date: Wednesday March 12th 2003 09:22
Journal Entry: I was poking around on the internet trying to find out information about pre-Civil Rights issues regarding blood transfusions. I only found one small statement that confirmed my suspicion, that the Red Cross labeled blood according to race in order to prevent cross-race transfusions. I couldn't find anything else about this, but I did find that there seems to be a nationwide effort by the Red Cross (and presumably others) to get more blacks to donate blood. Apparently blacks have more rare blood traits and are often in need of a black donor. I was surprised to find out about this. Here is some information I found:
Probability of Finding Rare Trait
Rare Trait In Caucasian Population In African American Population
U Negative None Found 1 in 250
Js(b) Negative None Found 1 in 319
Cr(a) Negative None Found 1 in 6,429
At(a) Negative None Found 1 in 16,400
Rh17 Negative None Found Not established (extremely rare)
Jk(b) Negative 2 out of every 10 donors 5 out of every 10 donors
Fy(a) Negative 3 out of every 10 donors 9 out of every 10 donors
Fy(b) Negative 1 out of every 10 donors 8 out of every 10 donors
Research Shows: One out of three people will need a blood transfusion in their lifetime; African American patients with diseases such as sickle cell anemia are less likely to produce antibodies to blood donated by other African Americans; There are routine shortages of O and B blood types. African Americans have more type O and B blood than other populations; Because there are some rare blood antigens (U-negative, Duffy-negative and Jk(b) negative) unique to African-Americans it is hard to find compatible blood types for some patients. Often their best match is a transfusion which comes from another African American donor RARE TRAIT SCREENING STATISTICS August 8, 2000 - January 31, 2003
Donors Screened 8851
Special Traits Found 104
U Negative 47
Js(b) Negative 57
Shreveport 28
Monroe 19
Alexandria 27
Lake Charles 15
Beaumont 15

Student: barbara stampul    Date: Wednesday April 2nd 2003 08:44
Journal Entry: which they will divide, based on the time spent in jail. In my opinion people should never be convicted based on the testimony of one person, especially if that person has other motives. I'm also surprised that the drug case was not moved to be heard in another town because it would seem very unlikely that a group of 38 black males could get a fair trial in a town that already has strained race relations and also only has 400 black members. It also sad that in order to get a fair trial a case should have to be moved.

Student: kelly ryan    Date: Wednesday April 2nd 2003 10:10
Journal Entry: In Dr. Maxwell's class at the beginning of the semester we were talking about speech communities and language barriers. He said that all the languages of today all have a proto language that can be traced. Proto-Indonesian was one of the oldest and was around Australia and Indonesia. He went on to explain about the journey from Africa to Australia. Instead of the Bushman using boats to get across the ocean he told us at that time the ocean was only several feet deep compared to now and at times they could walk through it. I'm not sure how they got across but how long was it before Australia broke away from Pangea? Was it possible for them to swim across that length of water?

Student: Yumi Hama    Date: Tuesday April 15th 2003 17:23
Journal Entry: This afternoon I talked about our experience through this exchange program with my Japanese friends. I'll go back to Japan this summer and never come back here. It's really sad. Since I came here, I have met many people, not only American but also people from other countries. My friends and I made a lot of friends here. Especially we found many good Korean friends here. When we were in Japan, we never talked to Korean people. I think we had some prejudice toward them at that time because of the history. This phenomena refers to not only us but also most Japanese. They also have bias toward Korean because of history even today. Now I totally changed my mind. I feel they are very familiar and also feel calm when I see them or while I talk to them. I don't know why exactly, but maybe I think their culture is really close to our Japanese culture. For example, Korean eat rice every day, they use chopsticks, they take off shoes when they come into the house or something like that. There not only cultural features but also physical features, for example we have black hair. Until before coming here, I thought Korea is the closest country, but there are a fair distance. However, now I believe my former image toward Korean was really stupid through this experience. I think Japanese people should overcome stupid prejudice and try to create new relationship with Korean people because Korea lies next to Japan and we live in the same race.

Student: Austin James    Date: Wednesday April 16th 2003 12:09
Journal Entry: I apologize for the impending brevity of this entry.
I've read through that portion of the reader that I could find and I haven't been shocked or surprised by any of it; that leaves me with an eerie feeling. If race truly counts for only 6% of human variation why then has it persisted in common and even scientific thought as a counterpart of biology? Does one's culture predispose him/her to those leaps of illogic necessary for such thinking? More importantly, since it has been shown that race as a marker for variation is incorrect what can we do to hinder this type of thought? I have no idea where to start.

Student: Teri Stewart    Date: Wednesday April 16th 2003 23:40
Journal Entry: With all of the progress that has been made with our expanding knowledge of genetics and human evolution, it is hard to understand why most in the medical field continue to cling to outdated concepts of ?race?. It is known that race is a socially constructed entity and has no real biological significance, so why is it a major focus of much of the research involved with disease causation? As well as ignoring the biological evidence, many of the medical web sites I came across were also missing the effects of ethnicity on heath (and if it was considered it was usually used in the wrong context). I would imagine that much of the medical research could have a greater impact if less emphasis was placed on arbitrary physical characteristics and focused more on the cultural and environmental factors involved. Our taxonomic definitions of race are used to describe a group of people who may have nothing more in common than skin color, so what does it really mean to know that Europeans are more susceptible to a disease than Africans or Asians if no other factors are considered? It seems that we might all benefit if the medical field recognized the importance of understanding how genetics, as well as ethnic diversity affect an individual's health.

Student: Laura Bertrand    Date: Thursday April 17th 2003 00:53
Journal Entry: So while looking up information on race and disease I found this study, I am not exactly sure why they did this study but the thing that stood out to me was that it only included a small number of women. Hispanic seems to make a huge difference in how your pelvic exam will come out. After all the women were in part defined as white or black non-Hispanic instead of just white or black. This makes one question how important it is to be non-Hispanic when receiving a pelvic exam, I don't believe I know of any women who were terribly worried about that when a pap. Although the write up does include more important information, such as number of births and age, it still seems a bit odd that not being Hispanic is more important than whatever race you might actually be. (sigh) So there is the nonsensical rant from Laura this week.

Student: Joseph Boumah    Date: Wednesday January 14th 2004 00:00
Journal Entry: After having scanned the first chapter of Human Variation, and read the article of Francois Bernier, I was fascinated and surprised by how scientists, anthropologists, from Carolus Linnaeus a Swedish botanist to Francois Bernier, a French anthropologist and geographer were dividing races. Rapidly, theories in which the number of species were limited and fixed changed to accept the existence of many different races. Although pioneer scientists discovered there were many different races and that they were changeable, they also thought that there were races superior to others. Well, thanks to modern sciences, we know that all races possess DNA and most races if not all of them have common DNA just like we saw in the video. There is no such thing like a race superior to another. In retrospect, it's funny to see how scientists such as Francois Bernier divided and analyzed races across the world. I think he spent more time analyzing objectively women of different races than he did for men.

Student: Deborah Johnson    Date: Wednesday January 14th 2004 10:40
Journal Entry: Regarding the readings on Francois Bernier's, 'A New Division of the Earth' and Crews/Bindon's, 'Ethnicity and Disease' I can see a big difference in the advancement in understanding that race is not just about skin color. Bernier seemed to put more emphasis on skin color to try categorize populations, whereas Crews/Bindon realized that a multifactor aspect is involved. Besides genetic, cultural and other components should also be considered. Regarding the readings in Chapter One, I liked the author's reference to race as being 'a group or complex of breeding populations sharing a number of traits'. I also agree that when considering race a focus should be made on 'biological responses to the environment-adaptation, behavior of gene-flow between generations and population-size and isolation as factors influencing variation'.(p.32&33)

Student: Zack Miller    Date: Friday January 16th 2004 10:22
Journal Entry: For my practice journal entry I would like to share some thoughts about the PBS exercise that we were assigned. I know we discussed the U.S. race Classification exercise a little in class but I am still amazed at how for off some of my judgments were even in the white classification. I think living in the south has in some ways isolated us from certain ethnic and racial groups which have led to being less familiar and experienced than other regions such as the North East. Because of immigration, communities in the North are much more likely to be diverse. It is not uncommon to see Polish, Russian, Italian, and Czech families or neighborhoods; however, I know there are different racial and ethnic groups in the South but I am talking about second generation families where everyone speaks English and their native language. The exercise showed how many of us think we know about racial diversity but really are just making judgments on physical appearances.

Student: Drew Cook    Date: Tuesday January 20th 2004 07:22
Journal Entry: You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one, I hope some day you'll join us, And the world will live as one.' -John Lennon I was made aware of an incident last week, first on the local news- one of the few times I've watched a TV with interest, since I stayed in the Ferguson Center to hear the story, then in the CW, someone: most likely white male not too likely black or female or otherwise. Someone misapplied their opinion, wrote words where they're words would be sure to offend and at that with probable anonymity. The words/opinion in question make up the following verbatim phrase- that I've now had etched in my head like burn marks from a brushfire: 'I hate niggers.' Three words found on a piece of paper attached to the door of the NAACP office on OUR Campus in the Ferguson Center. This act is controversial, but why? The statement found wasn't 'I have a prejudice against people with high amounts of dark melanin,' or 'I dislike black people whose ancestors were probably enslaved and brought from West Africa,' or even 'I hate African-Americans,' it isn't politically correct, whatsoever. (Of course a better pc term could be 'Americans' over 'African Americans' and what have you, but heritage is a good thing to add to ones identity.) 'I hate niggers' is a declaration of dislike, focused on an arbitrary designation closely associated with cultural and social prejudices with a deep history of broad groupings and classifications. 'Negro' means black, or a black person in literature contemporary to people before Martin Luther King Jr. and since. But 'nigger' is a corruption of 'Negro' (a term my spellchecker demands be capitalized for proper usage). While 'Negro' was once used, and sometimes still is, in a more official context, 'nigger' has a harsher tone, connotation and application. Reflecting usages ranging from belittlement to straight up murderous hate; and in times since the Civil Rights Movement MLK championed (and rap music): familiarity, endearment, and almost friendly insults. The weight of the word may come from its history, its social taboo of today and just how emotionally loaded the two-syllable word is. Say it to yourself and see how you react inside. With proper acknowledgement to the word that makes the phrase more than just graffiti and defacing an office door- I can now ask, 'Why,' with a more open-mind, acknowledging my reactionary bias and the natural bias- even rightful bias, of people around me. The act might have been a joke- a passing quip from someone hoping either for a kick at the irony of writing such a phrase on such a door, or someone who honestly thinks racial jokes are funny because they're true and they really do believe in what they wrote. It could have been an example of what I and a few friends (and I believe this is a term that has been in use before, just don't ask me where or when or by whom), might call 'Casual Racism,' as I think is a sort of absurdist relegation of ethnic slurs and racial stereotypes to a more casual and joking context- a sort of 'funny because people think it's true' sort of thing. Or the message was a cowardly act of an ignorant and hateful person. Regardless of the intent of the perpetrator the written phrase offends, and not without timely placement, so near Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Naturally the NAACP would be offended- however politely their members handle their responses. The timing increases the importance the importance of the incident and the perpetrators intent. Personally, I'm not terribly offended, deep down perhaps- on the surface at times, yes. Not that I'd support such a defacement of a civil rights organization's office, not for free speech as it violates other citizen's rights to not feel harassed, it is a misapplication of one's opinion as well, it's practically a threat as well as hateful graffiti. I think the act as a gesture of insensitivity, even if the perpetrator wrote the phrase on the paper as a joke- it was still obviously offensive, the sort of thing one could get suspended or expelled for- which is exactly the threatened punishment- perhaps even an arrest and so on. While I entertain the possibility of bad or even not so bad humor being the motivation- we are to assume the author says what they mean, that they do 'hate.' Where a verbal joke, with hand gestures and tonal change and inflection, sarcasm or an ironic tone can be instantly detected- the comment can be seen/heard as sarcastic or at least weighed to not be hateful. A written comment doesn't allow such possibilities, some style shows satire, but without proper context- three words just isn't going to care sarcasm or explain the author's position if it where anything different than something plainly spoken about hating 'niggers.' A written statement, especially 3 short words, is restricted. Words spread by what some may think the worst of human kind- while others might claim one are the pinnacle. The 'situation' will blow over, but the fact remains, it happened. HERE- on OUR campus, a proverbial hotbed of diversity, equality and as such we hope it is not a breeding ground for ignorance. With liberal leanings I happen to favor the comedian Margaret Cho's remarks on how to deal with racism, sexism, and various other forms of ignorance based non-acceptance and persecution, '[people are] suffering just because of who they are and that is not the kind of America I want to live in. So if we all actively just go there, if we all consistently give too much information, imagine what power that would be. What an amazing collective voice that would be, which is an example of tonight: the collective voices of so many Americans. Imagine that strength, that power, how loud we would be. That would truly be a Revolution.' I guess this is my take on it, if we remove or redirect power in a way that disarms attackers, if we accept who we are and determine that for ourselves- whatever, for instance what we'd claim our race as, then why should we be bothered by attacks from those who don't know us, who use words we took from their arsenal?

Student: Zack Miller    Date: Tuesday January 20th 2004 08:39
Journal Entry: For my journal entry I would like to discuss the video from the first day of class and some of the issues that were involved such as skin color and its implications. Close to the end of the video one of the students, who happened to be white, asked himself if he would trade his skin color for another. The student's comments were interesting because they are relevant to race relations today and race relations over the past century, especially in the south. Does the color of a person's skin have the same effect or advantages/disadvantages today as it did over the past fifty years? Would a person trade their skin color for another and if so why? These are just a few of the questions that came to mind when the student was being interviewed. Last week I was watching a television show, an episode of the 'Real World', and the topic of race was discussed in great detail. At one point three of the roommates, one white, one black, and the other Asian felt there were 'clicks' being formed within the house. The Asian woman and the black man felt they were in a lot of ways being excluded because of their skin color. It seemed like they were excluding themselves because they did not enjoy getting drunk as much as the other roommates did; however, you can not truly tell if race the an issue or if the roommates personalities or possible lack of social skills were the problem. I guess the video made think of the current race relations and prejudices that are seen in today's environment.

Student: Andrea Seay    Date: Tuesday January 20th 2004 08:52
Journal Entry: Upon entering this class I knew certain things would be expected of me. Not that I would have to pronounce incredibly intelligible responses or initiate profound conversations, but I would have to at least express concerns, opinions, and refutations. After just one lecture class, one reading assignment, and one discussion class I have yet been able to do my part. I think to some degree my time has yet come; on the other hand, I have refused to voice anything just yet. In looking at the topics discussed of biological races, inherent genes and the supposedly inferiority or superiority of them, it has, yes, been determined that they are in fact socially, man made distinctions. Yet, in order to fully comprehend the importance of this, it is necessary to begin or continue to release all of the pre-ingrained, socially taught classifications. Sure one can understand that there are no biological proven distinctions for races but it does not negate the fact that there are visual differences. Those differences can be physical, mental, social, and cultural. In these differences there still is a tendency to classify and make assumptions. Even though science hasn't 'proven' them-for it is amazing that there are far less variations in the human species than among animals of the same species-there still are differences. I have never seen 'races' as different sub-species---we are all the same. It's just that there are differences; none are better or worse---they are in fact just differences, each with benefits and must be embraced. I will continue however, to break down any former ways was thinking (most of which have been made worse through my college experience---some times more knowledge is less helpful) and hopefully contribute more to discussion.

Student: Ben Seay    Date: Tuesday January 20th 2004 11:20
Journal Entry: I have only scanned through the reading material, so I cannot give and intelligent view of what we have discussed in class. I usually do not discuss much in my classes, but I hope to do more in this class. I have always looked at everyone as the same no matter what color they are. I look more at personalities and character. To me everyone is different in those aspects and color is only the outward appearance. The way people act and perform is due to culture and the way they were raised, not because they are a certain color. But I am not perfect so I still categorize things and people for what is on the outside. I believe more people need to be educated on how race is a man made observation. The PBS exercise is a good way to show that there is a lot to learn about separating everyone by the way we look. I hope to learn more in this class so I can give a more intelligent opinion about race.

Student: Maryella Mathews    Date: Tuesday January 20th 2004 14:05
Journal Entry: During the first week of school, we have touched upon a very important key truth-we are very similar. Among the mountain gorilla, for instance, there is more variation in one single forest population, than exists among all the peoples of the world. We are the most similar of all the species, yet, we live in a racialized world. We seek out differences and attribute behavioral characteristics to them. Our America has been divided and there have been moderate changes to these differences over the years. The idea of race is a manmade fiction, which we consistently ascribe as wholesale truth. race is an issue only because we make it an issue. The burden of oppression bore by African- American and the indigenous tribes of America was a complex yoke to bear. Native Americans lived in abject poverty on reservations and Blacks suffered under slavery and Jim Crow laws. It is easier to oppress a group of people if it is believed that those being oppressed are in some way different, some how inferior, to the oppressor. As a result, there was a systematic shift in the way race had been viewed. Differences in skull shape, hair texture, skin color was used as a mechanism to divide people and in turn certain beliefs were attached to these superficial traits. There is a system established to undermine the development and stunt the achievement of certain peoples. However, it is our duty to acknowledge these constraints and find ways to conquer this very real evil, which based on the fictitious notion of race. We are responsible for never allowing ourselves to fall asleep in someone else's ancient dream and succumbing to the effects of racism and inequality.

Student: Taylre Malkemes    Date: Tuesday January 20th 2004 22:15
Journal Entry: I really find this section interesting. People have been making judgments on race and background even before there was any scientific data to back it up. I know that they scientists used measurements of skull shape, the color of skin, and the facial features to determine race; but I have a huge problem with this. I have never met two people of the same ethnic background that have entirely the same head to toe features. I find the measurement of skull shape, skin color, and facial features helpful in a superficial way, but still not very scientific. I know that I am far from a scientist but it seems that this must have been their primitive way of classifying humans. There is not a clear cookie cutter form of any human beings. I am 1/16 Indian and 1/16 Philippine and 1/16 Irish. I have to say that no one would look at me and say either of the first two choices. I understand that traveling was not as widespread as it is today, so the cultures were clearer cut back in the day; but I still find it hard to believe that every group was completely cut off from the next. Maybe I am so far removed from a clear cut society. My dad was in the military my entire life; he just retired from the Army. I have been all over and experience so many different people. My parents are both products of military backgrounds so we have been exposed to people from all different backgrounds and all corners of the world. I don't know if more exposed pulls me farther away from the idea that everyone must be something, and one thing at that. But I just find all these findings to be so far fetched. I think that the only point that I find that makes any type of logical sense is relating the size of the skull to the size of the brain which in turn reflects intelligence. I think that without detailed and sophisticated technology this seems like a reasonable assumption. The exercise that we did on our own was very interesting. I found that once I placed all the people that I thought I was sure about, there were people 'left over' that didn't seem to belong to any of the open spaces. I was surprised by my results. If everyone did an exercise along those lines I believe that many people would think again!

Student: Drew Cook    Date: Tuesday January 27th 2004 05:28
Journal Entry: We're students of Popular Culture, citizens of American Society. I see race in Movies, television, art, and literature. I hear a bit of 'racial' things on the radio too, though hardly any of that could be considered so negative, especially when there is the absence of the visual and descriptive element. I don't know what the speakers and musicians look like the only betrayals are the way they talk or lyrics. There are numerous attitudes to react to race, it is a cultural construct, racial groups exist as a part of our language of definitions categorizing people- even though we aren't as 'scientific' as Galton or even Bernier- for example we can tell the 'difference' between women of different races, or at least as far as what might be beautiful to us. I don't have to dig far to find little reminders of cultural classification of race. I can be reminded of Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction, a movie LOADED with colorful language- not the least significant are the racial and ethnic 'terms' and epithets. As if to point out a harsh reality of society and cultural- Taratino has two of his characters engage in an anecdote: 'Jules: You remember Antoine Roccamora, half black, half Samoan, used to call him Tony Rocky Horror? Vincent: Yeah, maybe. Fat, right? Jules: I wouldn't go so far as to call the brother fat, I mean he got a weight problem. What's the nigger gonna do? He's Samoan.'
Several observances can be made about such a snippet of dialogue...there's the fairly scientific observance of a Samoan Weight problem. But that isn't what jumps out; no it's the double designation of ethnicity and the mix of slur and classification in this 'casual' conversation. It isn't even the fact that Antoine is 'biracial,' No, it's the 'n' word, I apologize on behalf of Mr. Tarantino's distasteful writing. Seriously, can we say anyone ISN'T multiracial with certainty these days? Sure we like broader categories, they make things easier...but presumptions cannot just be foolish, but dangerous- socially at any rate.
The observance to be accentuated, I feel, like Franz Boas proved with his skull measurements- environment is a factor. There isn't any significant biological determinate for race or ethnic classification. I'm barely led to make that a conditional statement, as there is no line to be drawn genetically and solidly to make the classifications stick. However, Antoine Roccamora IS half-Samoan, so thusly he has an added propensity for a weight problem? But so does every other American- we all have a high propensity for obesity, its part of the lifestyle; we don't all have the so-called 'thrifty genotype' though. Now, Mr. Roccamora is a fictional character without even a visual representation in the aforementioned film, what about real people? Do we refer to them in such a manner in casual conversation? I can't say for sure, but we are very likely to recall people by whatever physical classifications we can muster- skin color and body type included. There must be a discourse about definitions, classifications, and perceptions with or without scientific observations if there is to be any 'progress' in 'solving' the 'Race Issue/problem' in this country. Perhaps the real problem is that we are so convinced there IS a 'Race Issue/Problem;' rather than just a cultural problem.
Culture IS part of the environmental factor, in so much that definitions and classifications arise with the bias of one's cultural upbringing. As Robert Boyd and Peter J. Richerson propose in a printed article I have titled 'Culture and Human Evolution' (I'll have to get a better reference from Dr. Murphy) Culture is very much adaptive, and while it may be inherited in a process comparable to Genetic transference (as they propose using jargon from genetics) social learning is very adaptive and very environmentally determined. Flipping thru my Sociology Textbook (Popenoe), I see a picture of a man and who I am to presume are his wife with t-shirts promoting the 'Ku Klux Klan' with their son on his mother's shoulders. The man 'looks' like the 'typical' member of the organization, minus wearing white robe, though the shirt has 3 major power symbols- Confederate Battle Flag, Burning Cross and White Robed Rider. The caption tells me that 'Sociologists emphasize that prejudice is learned. We learn it from our parents, at school or church, from our friends, from the books we read, and from the television we watch.'
Now, since Boyd and Richerson claim there are cultural adaptations- things we learn that help us survive in our environment (Nature and Society) cultures may also be 'maladaptive'...I am pressed to place the cultural traits such as those gathered by the man, as well as his wife and with potential their son, who Popenoe chose to illustrate 'Prejudice and Discrimination against minorities,' -I am pressed to conjecture that the traits that family displays are maladaptive- at least in today's Boyd and Richerson also mention- social learning can be mixed of individual learners and social learners that learn by watching others- an excess of the later less 'independent' thinkers lead to excessive 'errors.' While more of an equilibrium of individual learning and social learning tends to be more adaptive than one of just individual learners. Boyd and Richerson also claim that 'natural selection acting on cultural variation can cause genetically maladaptive traits to spread.' So instead of 'breeding' ignorance we should teach tolerance. While popular culture and more personal influences may lead people astray, likewise society and more personal figures can have a positive affect on people- we can remove at least the negative connotations the concept of race has from our society. I believe I have come full circle on the issue, while I may take from my exposure to the media an awareness and sensitivity to tensions that exist and accept certain peculiarities of language (like or not) while being enraged at prejudices...others may take from their environments, intolerance and the fairly seductive idea (ala Galton and subsequent Eugenicists) that there are superior breeds of man and those 'races' should preside over the inferior ones if not remove them from their sight.

Student: Drew Cook    Date: Tuesday January 27th 2004 05:57
Journal Entry: Wow, my last entry. (Rather quite sad I missed the class Monday, but it can't be helped now). race and I.Q. - While I still leave some room for possible genetic influence, my understanding of I.Q. is almost entirely cultural/environmental. Intelligence in general is a matter of social perspective and social learning even for such matters as complex as say teaching physics. If someone excels in say Musical Intelligence (one of many intelligence areas put forth by certain social scientists), is it more likely that they are that way because of genetics or upbringing? Certainly they would not flourish so well if they're 'talents' were not cultivated. As far as perception goes about intelligence, who is to say that one group of people is more intelligent than another, again I say this is a matter of acquired intelligence not so much 'potential intelligence' as I may conceive of a genetic basis. So, we have school children who can do multiplication tables, perhaps even successfully own and operate a lemonade stand- these are qualities we would encourage in a child, in addition to such talents and skills as would be developed by Andrea's examples of connecting the dots and so forth. Our 'American Culture' promotes entrepreneurship, even over academic achievement, but such academic skills to count for a lot. Whereas we value that for our culturally learned survival in our environment an individual in a hunting and gathering society- such as the Aborigines we saw in the video the other week- hunting skills and a knowledge of edible plants and watering holes is more valuable. I dare say it is more impressive to me that people exist that can live off the land in such a matter, worrying not about such things as money or even politics, but just about life- their skills are more impressive to me than any CEO's accomplishments that I read about in a newspaper like USA Today.
I recently had to take an IQ test, and from firsthand experience, there wasn't much that wasn't potentially culturally biased or simply a matter of circumstance. Time spent taking the test, personal attitude, pressure from the tester, pressure from the circumstances surrounding the evaluation, the test material, lack of outside information or tools, and just the potentially confusing wording of the standardized test may factor as more in the results than one might think- and definitely more so than genetics I think. One raw IQ score may be misleading, as I learned in Human Development- other rankings in various areas of intelligence such as Musical, Verbal, Emotional/Social, and so on may factor more in the person than one test may suggest. To me the idea that there are racial differences in IQ is laughable, but I also have issues with standardized tests in general- but there isn't necessarily a perfect test out there to be made either. I could admit that there might be Ethnic differences in intelligence, possibly, but again only with the understanding that what is encouraged and cultivated in one society or ethnic group may not be in another. However, I would figure these 'differences' would be more so differences between ethnicities and cultures, and ultimately the differences in intelligence between the groups would be entirely relative to things like nutrition, education, child care, upbringing and so on. While it has yet to be proven, or reasonably suggested to my knowledge, whether or not Television effects intelligence- the recent study I found about its effect in children might suggest a difference in future behavior, learning skills and test taking abilities. If our intelligence is naturally given, then it is still environmental factors that effect it for better or worse as we develop. I really hope to look more into topics like this in the future.

Student: Andrea Seay    Date: Tuesday January 27th 2004 08:56
Journal Entry: I will have to agree with Amaedra, that the concept of race being a modern thought is very perplexing. It is something that I have wondered about and find interesting that the subject is not brought up more in the classroom (meaning in general education all around) nor is a topic among political scholars when discussing race issues. When I think about the Old Testament era it is interesting to see how tribes and races were not identified as the same. In speaking of tribes, I found de Gobineau ideas entertaining. He speaks a lot of 'crossing of blood' and how even for some it be 'impossible to take even the first step towards civilization.' I find this very interesting when applied to today's society where some find the crossing of bloods to be beneficial. When in fact, if there are no biological differences then the crossing of bloods should not have an effect. de Gobineau pretty much says that race has a life of its own: 'human race in all its branches has a secret repulsion from the crossing of blood, a repulsion which in many of the branches is invincible, and in others is only conquered to a slight extent.' This is very weird to think about. Yes, humans may be repulsed, or rather not attracted to others (we can not deny pheromones), but does that really mean race has a life of its own? Is this a cultural construct or is there any validity behind it? As de Gobineau says that the crossing of blood is not beneficial there for humans avoid it, I find that in this weeks readings of eugenics that the crossing of blood should be beneficial. If there is in hope in obtaining a larger cerebral capacity then by all means go mix! but hey, I guess that's its point too-all this weeding out of the mixed ones. wow, how crazy.

Student: Zack Miller    Date: Tuesday January 27th 2004 09:29
Journal Entry: I just finished reading Galton Francis's article on Eugenics, and a large potion of it I found confusing. I think Galton was referring to Eugenics as a study of what makes a 'good' and how certain influences can make a race 'good'. Galton refers to a person's place in society, his or her family, and marriage all of which can spate good from bad or upper class from lower class. I know I should probably read this article at least two more times because I know I am far off from understanding the real content of this article, however; I have begun to think about how contemporary society would define a good race or family. Does a person's family background make them better or worse than others? If a person comes from money or has not had higher education, does that change our opinion of them? Galton said in order to improve over all we should acknowledge the study of Eugenics and practice Eugenics in school, but Galton makes two points that go hand in hand and maybe contradictory to each other. In a way Galton believes it is an advantage and better for a society to want to improve, such as when he makes the analogy of the animals wanting to be 'vigorous than weak', then he latter says it would be boring if everyone was the same. Galton makes some interesting points on the study of improving a race, however; I did find the article overall to be confusing.

Student: Maryella Mathews    Date: Tuesday January 27th 2004 10:55
Journal Entry: If race is a fiction-a human invention, what then is real? Yesterday, I was stopped by a Tuscaloosa News reporter to get an opinion about the recent note posted on the NAACP door. I was reluctant to say anything, since it seems I am always misquoted and misunderstood. Well, I thought and thought until I finally thought'ok'. This reporter was young and handsome, maybe it will be alright. The nasty note on door is what I called it and I treated as such. I understood the collective outrage over the incident. Given our not so stellar history at the Capstone, we must remain unified and dedicated to ending racism on campus. However, after the interview was over I began to rethink my opinion. Why was that word so inflammatory? Why were so many people outraged and why did I not care so much? I wondered if I had become immune to such verbal insults. The word is just a symbol, but what does it symbolize? Years of oppression and servitude represented neatly and succinctly with a nasty note on the NAACP door. Yet, what is more offensive, I believe, is the economic disparity between blacks and whites. The average white family's net worth is somewhere around 120.000 US dollars, while the average African- American family's net worth is closer to 22.000 US dollars. What is more offensive that a nasty note on the door, is the shrinking budget for programs like Head- Start, which is designed to help underprivileged minority children get a head start on a decidedly un-level playing field. Although, we have discovered race is a fiction, there are still very real grievances, which must addressed by all of us.

Student: Ben Seay    Date: Tuesday January 27th 2004 12:01
Journal Entry: I was reading the Darwin in reader and wish I had more time to read it more than once to get a real grip on what he was saying. It was not confusing but reading all the readers back to back I tend to get confused. But I do like what he says about how the 'existing races of man differ in many respects, as in color, hair, shape of skull, etc....' , but there are also many similarities. They way I fill is that everyone is different in many aspects, but we are all humans, so that makes us alike in many ways. I also like when he points out that inventions like the arrowhead were not handed down from a certain point, but throughout the world they are alike in many ways. I hope I can learn to grasp the readings so that my future journal entries can be of more significance. Thank you.

Student: Joseph Boumah    Date: Tuesday January 27th 2004 16:49
Journal Entry: It is fascinating to see how Francis Galton was able to come up with his system called ' The Comparative Worth of different races'. It is interesting that the system was used for all races without really favoring one over the others. As quoted: '...Because of racial differences, an ' A ' ranking in one race is not the same as an ' A ' ranking in another'. I don't know if the theory worked but I think it was well presented. Surely Francis Galton was a genius of his kind, and by introducing the basis of the science of Eugenics, he demonstrated it again. I found deplorable that scientists such as Ernst Haeckel used Darwinism and Eugenics science to support the elimination of some races (The Holocaust with the organized killing of Jews). Last, I want to touch on The Descent of Man (1871) and steatopygia from our course slide. Talking about the Hottentot women, it's interesting to see the difference in body shape between women of different race and from country to country. If you have you ever heard about Saarti Baartman better known as the Hottentot woman you my see some of the differences. It might be a good idea to find more information if you haven't heard about her.

Student: Taylre Malkemes    Date: Tuesday January 27th 2004 18:40
Journal Entry: There are many points that these scientists have made that I find hard to believe due to normal everyday observation. 'Rush (1795) claims the skin color of the Negro was derived from leprosy)'-I know that leprosy is not at all a common sickness, but how would you explain the people without African decent, with light skin, not having dark skin. This would be something that you could notice from just observation with no tests.
Another point that I thought was interesting was the races of Linnaeus. I am not sure where these cookie-cutter idea of a person come from but this point seems under supported. My sister and I come from the same parents, and although we have the same basic genes, our personalities are far from the same. I think that it is impossible to pinpoint an entire culture based on racial background. For instance, we could observe two different families that live here in Tuscaloosa. On could be of Irish decent and be Catholic, and another could also be of Irish decent but be Church of Christ. There are many ways that these families would differ in personality.
Another thing that I found that was interesting, Morton and the skull recordings. When you are a scientist, being completely objective should be part of his goal. It seems that he bent his information to fit his goal. How does he know what a regular skull in a person with a certain background was normally big and you only collected smaller skulls. A scientist is supposed to take in all information and make an educated statement about the information found. I did not see that.
I find all this stuff interesting, a have to keep in mind that exposure to other cultures at this point was not a widespread as it is now. I also have to remember that they do not have all the technological differences that we have now!!!!

Student: Taylre Malkemes    Date: Monday February 2nd 2004 11:19
Journal Entry: The first thing that struck me while watching the video today was the part about the world fair. I spent part of the summer of my Junior year in high school staying with a family in Forcheim, Germany. I went there with my club soccer team along with another boys team. First we were put right in the middle of German culture. I lived in Germany when I was younger so this was not a new surrounding to me. We traveled all over and even had the chance to go to the World's Fair in Hanover. I was interesting because here we are Americans, walking around with our German buds, with people from all over the world. There were thousands of exhibits, I swear we walked for what seemed like a million hours because there were so many countries being celebrated. We finally get to a exhibit entitled California. It was interesting that no other state in the United States of America was put on display. The side of California that the exhibit showed was of skateboarding, punk rock music, mountain biking, beach volleyball, and ice cream; I found this to be an interesting view of typical American life in California. It seems to be similar or parallel to the idea of 'living style' in which was depicted in the Worlds Fair in St. Louis. Although I know we have come far far far from the ideas of the first Worlds Fair, we still are not all clear of the ideas of race and how someone should live and conduct every day life. Some of these ideas I find hard to put my hands around. My Dad is a retired Colonel in the Army. I have lived outside of the US, and I have always been around people who do not resemble the background that I come from. But the thing is that I never knew the difference until later on in my life. The only thing that changed, was the fact that I was aware of what others thought of race and background can separate people into groups. And that these groups and help tell the intelligence level, attitude and ideals or those people included. I have never and will never let what my eyes see develop what I think about the person. You can not take a whole 'category' and judge by one person. I do not think I will ever be able to see racial background as a way to determine how people, but I think that it is good that I see that society has shaped this idea of racial differences and levels of intelligence. Sometimes education to shadow as in Morton's skull collection, etc......I would like to think opposite!

Student: Zack Miller    Date: Tuesday February 3rd 2004 08:01
Journal Entry: For my journal entry I would like to discuss Darwin's article 'On the races of Man...' and his statements about the ranking of races and the naturalists arguments for the separation of races as different species. What I would like to know is what were some concrete arguments for the different races being distinctly different species? Darwin uses evidence of cross breading and constant characteristics as his argument. He says 'even men of the same tribe, are not so uniform in character...'. He also asserts that the different characteristics among the races are of so little importance that they can not be used as evidence supporting different species, however; it is those broad similar features that makes us a common species. I guess what I would like to know is with adapting to geographical circumstances, interbreeding, and Darwin's arguments what is evidence or argument for naturalists supporting different species?

Student: Deborah Johnson    Date: Tuesday February 3rd 2004 10:58
Journal Entry: For this week's journal entry regarding, race-The Power of an Illusion Episode
Two: The Story we tell:
In regards to Robin G. Kelley's statement that, 'race was never just a matter of how you look, but it's about how people assign meaning to how you look.' I agree with that because today people do tend to equate meaning (your mental and physical abilities and characteristics) to how you look (color of skin, etc.). Proof of this was seen in the words from Thoms Jefferson himself in his writings, Notes on the State of Virginia, where he states that, 'whether originally a distinct race, or made distinct by time and circumstances, blacks are inferior to whites in the endowments of both body and mind'). Here are the words from one of this country's forefathers - who proclaimed human equality in the Declaration of Independence.
Like him, many today still feel that race is about color (how you look). This shows the importance societies have put on race (i.e. in our society the definition of beauty being from thin lips to full lips, and lean female form to a fuller more endowed form).
The Narrator states that, race was 'Created over four centuries, race has become a powerful and enduring narrative' On a positive note the establishing of race has become 'a powerful and enduring narrative' in the that it allows for the human species to appreciate some of the slight differences - like appreciating the many varieties and smells of different flowers in a bouquet. It has also served as a narrative in that it may help us to find something to identify ourselves with. On the other hand, its 'power' and 'narrative' has also been used in a negative way by allowing for one group, tribe or civilization to enslave, control or dominant another (this has always existed in mankind's history) and now with the establishment of race we've created another way, excuse or reason to dominate others. It has in some ways come to establish another way of saying, 'I am better than you because....'

Student: Ben Seay    Date: Tuesday February 3rd 2004 11:42
Journal Entry: I missed the video that was shown on Monday, but I read the material from the video. It would have been easier to write about something if I had watch it. But the biggest thing that stuck out was how race was originated in our country. How biased Jefferson was, but he only thought he knew how it really was. Another thing that stuck out was how the prejudice writings of a well known scientist could be so believed. For example how the narrator talks about how Doctor Josiah Nott was a good scientist but his beliefs and writings about race were totally personal and not scientific at all. His writings about race were only personal. To me it is amazing how our leaders and first scientist really believed that blacks and others were separate species and they were inferior to blacks.

Student: Maryella MATHEWS    Date: Tuesday February 3rd 2004 12:27
Journal Entry: It appears that this week I haven't really formulated a new opinion about race.
I read over the material for class and I was surprised by some of things I read. I was quite amazed by the language president Jackson used to justify the treatment of Native Americans.'They have neither the intelligence, the industry, the moral habits, nor the desire of improvement which are essential to any change in their condition. Established in the midst of another and superior race, they must necessarily yield to the force of circumstances and ere long disappear.' A chill went down my back as I read over his statement. I can not believe his image is on our $20. I really had no idea this man led our young country in defeating the Cherokee Nation. I am actually a little sickened. I really need more time to formulate an educated and coherent opinion. I am still trying to wrap my head around this newly acquired information. I guess since I am of Native American descent I am more than a little upset. I always wondered what happened to our culture and if we were considered a free and brave people, as Jefferson wrote, why did no one in my family ever mention our legacy. It was told to me by my mother and she would always whisper it to me-like a secret. I guess I understand why we are and are not Native Americans. We were'civilized' and given American and European names. I can never get much family history from my parents. It was as if we just began to exist around the mid- nineteenth century. I know understand why that is the case.

Student: Joseph Boumah    Date: Tuesday February 3rd 2004 15:19
Journal Entry: I like the statement said by Theda Perdue: '... We don't realize that race is an idea that evolves over time, that it has a history, that it is constructed by society to further certain political and economic goals'. race played an important role in the way people looked at you and treated you in 17th century. On the other hand, money, power and special economic interests had been also the trigger on how race had been misused. Before the exploitation of the black as slaves, people were more likely to distinguish Christians and heathens than they were between people of color and people who were white. They regarded a person's status in life as somehow more fundamental than what color they were, or what their particular background was as Perdue said. Basically, it was not about the color of your skin yet. Also motioned in the video, for the first fifty years in the American colonies history, most of the labors were Europeans. But, all this changed when the need for new labors appeared. Driven by economic profits and the desire of better life for themselves, the whites turn to the blacks. Even Thomas Jefferson found a logical explanation to all this: ' All the men are created equal' and yet went on to add: ' I advance it, as a suspicion only, that the blacks, whether originally a distinct race, or made distinct by time and circumstances, are inferior to the whites in the endowments both body and mind. Once again, economical needs influenced how race was viewed and misused. May be the faith of the blacks would had been different if they had followed the path of Indians. Indians were viewed and treated differently not only because they looked similar to the whites, but also they were warriors and free people.

Student: Drew Cook    Date: Tuesday February 3rd 2004 17:23
Journal Entry: A nation as a society forms a moral person, and every member of it is personally responsible for his society' Author: Thomas Jefferson Between the videos we've watched and discussions I've had, outside of class and in other classes, race comes up a bunch and I'm reminded to think about it in every sense and conclude that it is a social construct, not so much a cultural construct as a social one. Social order and status quo are almost dirty words to me when I think about them words come to mind: eugenics, holocaust, racism, segregation, apartheid, job discrimination and popular assumptions. Inside, outside, inside out, I think about our country, our western civilization, our history and the world's history and current state. Its not that majorities lead to genocides necessarily, but such can occur. There seems this overwhelming desire in people to belong to some group and to accentuate differences if not superiorities over other groups. We're competitive with each other as a species- and in a natural sense that isn't that bad, but we reflect it badly at times in our societies, cultures, and governments. The position of Thomas Jefferson is unique, but not without compare. He wrote that all men are created equal- we all know this from our formal and informal education about his Declaration. However, whether or not he believed this statement is actually irrelevant. Declaring doubt about any solid race may not be enough to exonerate him for owning slaves- one if not more of which he impregnated, while not necessarily without taking responsibility. As Abraham Lincoln wrote the following in 1855: 'As a nation, we began by declaring that 'all men are created equal.' We now practically read it, 'all men are created equal except Negroes.' When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read 'all men are created equal except Negroes and foreigners and Catholics.' When it comes to this, I shall prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretense of loving liberty.' There has been hypocrisy in this country over Jefferson's words, and there still is, I'm inclined to agree with Lincoln's position though it is of his period and not mine. It might be said that while 'All men are created equal,' they are not necessarily so in the eyes of other men- certainly not as far as society and its statuses would have it. Society makes designations for whatever purpose- good or ill, perhaps both- to stratify society into easier and easier to classify, groups. The work of such men as Nott would refute the possibility that we ARE all created equal, and with or without the influence of circumstances, we are not that different. We have existed as a nation, with racists amongst us, for say a couple hundred years, maybe only in the last hundred or less has the term been applied in such abundance and with such fervor. It seems that the more of an issue we make of skin color and ethnicity, the longer we'll have problems. Personally I think seeing a broad spectrum of skin color and ethnic backgrounds and cultural capital is a good thing. I don't necessarily think that affirmative action would be the best thing forever- not that it isn't needed in the current to help balance things. There is no inequality that man does not create due to his inadequacies. While a large society feels the need to stratify- have chieftains or kings or dictators, this doesn't make status classification just. While there may be a social order in a feudal society of vassals and peasants, there is no reasonable order in ASSUMING there are inherit differences other than appearances between people. There is no benefit it assigning people classes because of a very small amount of inherited genes, but people do this- they also classify people by the amount of inherited property. Which is more just? Can we even afford an ideal such as 'justice' without first realizing that we haven't been considering if we are just? Thomas Jefferson knew the order of his day, accepted it, but did write a document that we carry today as a torch of freedom. While he might make up for his passivity or acceptance of an unfair social order- it is up to us to live in our society and do with it what we can for the betterment of everyone. If we have such high ideals, even if we cannot fully live up to them, it is wrong for us to have the ideals without TRYING to live up to them the best we can. If we are to prove, once and for all, that 'Are men are created equal' which we could see looking at a nursery, then we have to dispose with the idea of race, especially as a deterministic concept.

Student: Deborah Johnson    Date: Monday February 9th 2004 10:47
Journal Entry: In this week's readings from our Human Variation textbook, chapter 7 - Human Variability and Behavior, I found it interesting how the identity of ethnic group membership may be useful for political purposes. As this has always served some purpose for government record keeping and the appropriation of funding and to see where these fundings are going. I think that now more than ever this is useful, because as our societies have advanced in technology and people from different parts of the world are traveling more than ever. As a result of this, the variation in ethnic groups has grown and is growing, so a reflection of this should understandably be reflected in the censuses. I feel that this expansion is a fair judgment call to make sure that as many voices as possible are heard. The only problem that could (and probably already) arises is that those with more financial influence have a greater 'voice' reflected on the censuses (i.e. the questions 5 & 6 about ethnic group choice(s)). This expansion, though, is only a small step in the long road of equal treatment and acknowledgment for the many cultures and groups existing in our society. I do have one question from the reading, which I will bring up in class and that is regarding the statement found on page 276 of the textbook (2nd paragraph under the subheading, 'Race, Ethnic Group, Class and Behavior': 'The behavioral variety that appears to exist is likewise categorized and confused with physical traits.' The other part of the sentence I understand, but how is it that physical traits can be confusing in the understanding of behavioral varieties?

Student: Zack Miller    Date: Tuesday February 10th 2004 09:21
Journal Entry: During the second part of the video one of the Historians discuss the fact that for the first fifty years when Africans arrived and during the development of the colonies race inferiority was not a concern; it was wealth and religion that defined a person's status. I would like to discuss in my entry and in class in a little more detail what social and economic conditions and decisions were there to transform a society into one of racism and slavery for centuries? Another Historian begins to ask how much thought was put into these decisions and were the conscience of them; or did they even remotely take into account the future results? The video also says the easiest way to deal with Indians was to make them civilized and if they didn't they posed a threat to the young and developing country. Why were the Indians allowed to be or should have been integrated into American Society and not the Africans? How could ideals of racism, hatred, and an inferior place in society be already so deeply imbedded in the colonies?

Student: Taylre Malkemes    Date: Tuesday February 10th 2004 13:00
Journal Entry: Well I was breaking cultural and racial backgrounds and I was watching BET the other night. There was this comedian on and he said something that I have been thinking about for the past couple days. The joke is ' I am was black when I was born, black when I am scared, black when I am sick, black when I am mad, and I am going to die black; white folks on the other hand are pink when they are born, green when you are sick, white when you are scared, and gray when you who are you calling colored?' That is something that I think about. Where did the term colored come from? Why are 'they' the colored ones? I think that joke is a perfect example of how society has formed these ideas. It also makes me sick to think that scientific information was helped and used with the idea of genocide. I know that science is supposed to be disengaged from the human heart, but these people must have had no heart to not tap into their souls. I know that this is going big time into things, but really......they told people it was alright to be murders. Who can say that they had the right to do that in any way shape or form? These people must have been pretty pissed off at the world and at people in general. Just as you also said in class, how could Coon measure the circumference of someone's brain when they are still alive and you can't pour bird seed in their head to see how much it can hold? Also a concept that seems pretty strange to me is how the aboriginal people are supposed to know science and language and 'book learning' if you look around and see that they don't have books, or schools. It would not take a scientist to know that if you don't even know about education then you can't be what people say 'book smart'. I just don't get it. I find it strange that people were still thinking of superior and inferior races during the time frame 1904-1981. Had Coon not read anything while he was studying? Had he read any up to date text? That idea seemed to die down when more information was out there; I guess maybe he decided to just not listen.

Student: Joseph Boumah    Date: Tuesday February 10th 2004 15:36
Journal Entry: I just want to make a quick comment about how William H. Sheldon classified people not by their races, but rather by somatotypes or physical appearances. And then, he was able to come out with three different type of body shapes Endomorphs, Mesomorphs, and Ectomophs. What is confusing to me is that he was able to make a connection between your somatotype and temperament or behavior attributes. What if over the years, you've physically changed. Does it also mean that your state of mind have changed too? At last, I read that women were categorized differently than men according to his method. Well, its all confusing.

Student: Drew Cook    Date: Tuesday February 10th 2004 20:26
Journal Entry: Race, as a social construct, exists only as people in a society define, designate and identify it. The bulk of our racial identities today involve self-identification, such as our revamped census (I found the separate segment for Spanish/Hispanic/Latino interesting). Certainly the NAACP came about over a self-identification with 'colored people,' not that the group is limited to
'colored people,' as it is generally devoted to the advancement of them, as its name would suggest. I bring this up simply because of the article in the Crimson White the other day, the President of the local chapter (correct me if I'm wrong about anything, as I don't have the article with me) voiced concern over a Rumor floating around that SHE wrote the controversial statement on the NAACP door,
perhaps to garner sympathy and media attention. Naturally she denied any such possibility, and certainly such an action would run contrary to the existence of the group. It seems important to people that we have racial identities, or rather group identities. In casual conversation- with someone who's aware there is no biological basis for race- an associate remarked how its possible for
someone to act 'white' or 'black' and that when he says someone talks 'black,' generally one knows what he means. While certainly when referring to a few individuals who might have qualities that run contrary to 'black' stereotypes, as 'whiter' than say a 'white person' is merely in jest and likely in good fun as the person the remark would be directed toward is a friend. I think that
further understanding of exceptions and perhaps increasing views of just how absurd and perhaps humorous racial designations can will lead to a more relaxed, open-minded, and less hateful and ignorant society. Again, Ethnic groups seem a more reasonable and honest classification- one entirely dependent on socio-cultural variables rather than any assumptions on biological differences or similarities, this is a 'non-committal term' that Ashley Montagu upholds in his 1962 article, The Concept of race. I'm inclined to agree with Ashley Montagu's views on race- though surely it is a rather old article securing his long held position, his remarks still have value in that not everyone has been persuaded to his viewpoint, and perhaps should be. The real problem exists in the mixing of misleading concepts that, as Montagu puts it, 'make the omelet which is the popular concept of 'race.'' Montagu reasonably suggests, that instead of using the 'virulent term' of 'race' and applying it to populations, one should learn what a population is like and 'how it resembles and differs from other populations' rather than trying to label it with a preconceived term and to rather 'operationally describe' the group.

Student: Drew Cook    Date: Tuesday February 17th 2004 06:16
Journal Entry: Since I managed to sleep through last week's discussion, I figured I'd respond to some of last weeks journals. In response to Taylre's comment about Coon, 'I guess maybe he decided to just not listen.' Yep, I figure he pretty much decided not to listen. That just seems to be the way with people who are so committed to an idea, especially one so emotionally warped as 'racial ranking.' Whether it is 'uneducated bigots' or trained racists, the problem that arises in the over all discourse is that people decide NOT to listen to contrary arguments. A racist will persistently oppose any mere thought that they're wrong. Coon might have been 'educated,' but how much of Hooten's course-load was NEW or contrary at all to the idea of race and races being of different values? race, and pretty much every other social grouping, is a learned concept. We wouldn't have racial classifications without the words for them. Being hell-bent on an idea, stance, opinion or even an argument based on statistics or carefully collected data can and will be misleading or lead a person, like Coon, down a path of fallibility. People have to chose to try and be open-minded, educated, and to reconsider and challenge their beliefs, yet unfortunately these are not the easiest choices to make.
Andrea found an interesting article that convinces me more that people really will make a mess of what they learn and that in a 'civilized world' there shouldn't be any serious consideration for ideas such as Eugenics. The idea of selective breeding is hardly a new one- but for humanity to live and perhaps improve, it'd be better to let nature take its course, at least that's what I think Darwin would suggest. And frankly, norms, families and other groups do enough for selective breeding without organized movements or governments getting directly involved in people's reproduction. People do tend to runaway from extremely bad ideas after they reach center-stage and blow up, but while we should get away from such ideas that spawned the holocaust if we're running so far away so fast- how will the proper consideration be made to keep such a horror in the past? From what I've learned of it so far in 3 classes this semester (and possibly SOC 101 class), Anthropology did run quite far from eugenics and the like, with biological determinism as a new demon, which is probably one reason why we've got such a gap between schools of Anthropology as well as the humanities and hard sciences.
As a country that prides itself on morals and self-improvement, it is amazing, and depressing, that we've harbored some of the 'greatest minds' advocating such an attempt at classification as race and all the socio-political and cultural subjugations that go with it. We make such a big deal about race now, because we have to, we can't get around our history or our responsibility as Americans in proliferating the concept. Yet it is quite likely that our problem now is that as much that we make race an issue trying to right wrongs as when we wronged making up the issue of race.
I am also partial to Maryella's conclusion in response to the Molnar reading. As an aspiring anthropology student, I try to avoid making value judgements about people and their cultures. While it is hard to avoid bias, right down to subcultures, excessive reduction of people into classifications isn't very constructive in an ever-more connected and growing world. If the world could use anything it's a little more 'peace, love and understanding.' Weird news happens all the time, I think I read as so many news and opinion articles, serious and not so serious, that I expect to find stories and comments that get me thinking about society and people and at the same time aggravate my personal beliefs concerning consumer culture, politics, social issues and general pop cultural history. Yet, this is one of those stories that I was actually almost surprised to hear about; 'It's a mad mad world,' and I'd laugh about it more, but it'd cease to be funny very fast.
AN UN-FUNNY VALENTINE: Greeting card picture evokes race stereotype,

Student: Ben Seay    Date: Tuesday February 24th 2004 12:26
Journal Entry: Like always I feel that my journal entry will be insignificant, but I am not apologizing. I was most interested in the Mutation and Natural Selection sections in chapter 2. By tomorrow I hope to read it more to understand it more. The comment that stuck out the most was that 'mutation is the ultimate source of human variation in a population.' My lack of biological knowledge confuses me, but after learning I hope to better understand human variation in relation to biology. Tomorrow I would like to discuss a story about an experience my girlfriend has at work dealing with race. She is from Michigan and is shocked how one of her co-workers perceives African-Americans. She is somewhat educated on human variation and has a great perception on people of different ethnicities and colors. She is one that pretty much intermingles with everybody. See you tomorrow. P.S. Do something for Fat-Tuesday. A lot of great music tonight.

Student: Zack Miller    Date: Tuesday February 24th 2004 17:04
Journal Entry: For my entry I would like to discuss Natural selection applied to humans along with different issues that we might face in the future. I was hoping that we might be able to go over some examples of man's survival and adapting to the environment, b/c I think the idea of survival of the fittest and natural selection has always been interesting along with the fact that those ideas are still applied to today's society. I was reading the example about the over population and breeding problem of the European rabbit in Australia and began to think how I could apply these subjects to current issues. In light of recent events and the potential threats of WMDs I began to think how the human race would adapt over a period of time if it would at all. The book cites different example of animals and insects developing genes that are resistant to viruses or bacteria and I wanted to know if there has been any adapting or mutation in our history (maybe like the plague...I don't know). The second issue I would like to bring attention to is over population. I know it will not concern us b/c it will be along time before this issue becomes severe but I just started to think about it when I read about the breeding time lines, such as the field mouse, and the effects it has the environment.

Student: Taylre Malkemes    Date: Tuesday March 2nd 2004 20:41
Journal Entry: Well I always write and then read everyone's journal. I have not learned, everyone time we write these I am always impressed or interested in what my classmates have to say. So in response to Deb's response are we heading to a more advanced species? I like to think of natural selection as the passing down of knowledge. The ones that survive are the best of the best. I know that there have been many studies on how our species are headed. I think that that fact that we are now able to cross boundaries and mate with people with completely different backgrounds that ourselves, if it does happen that we become one race or species it will be over a great great great amount of time. I think that it makes sense that things can happen like nuclear war that can cause such a drastic difference that the population drops and cause only a small percentage to survive. Just like she said, we might just have to wait and find out. On Joseph's comment on cloning, it is weird to think that people have reached this point. But you know what? I don't care if they make these picture perfect people, because they are flawed in personality. So maybe it is weird that I find comfort in the fact that the personality is not replicated. But you aren't beautiful if you don't shine from the inside!!!

Student: Drew Cook    Date: Wednesday March 17th 2004 02:33
Journal Entry: Quick response to Ben and some of the others, yes, there are always resulting effects when an organism has such a high presence in an environment. As wise as man may be, our cultural adaptation has some potentially negative effects in that we destroy the environment we seek to modify and live in. The deforestation/malaria correlation should make people think more about the consequences of cutting down even just one tree, creating a 'pond,' damming rivers or even draining or filing wetlands.
I hesitated a bit too long with my journal as I was trying to get an article packet from a TA in the Blount program, which I received this afternoon. Has a preface from Philippe Rushton's book race, Evolution and Behavior: a Life history perspective, several images from various sources (apparently not cited), and an article from the Scientific American which I skimmed over several months ago 'Does race exist?' It also has a bit about Cavalli-Sforza's ideas, but its all for what the TA's class is doing for The Great Human Diasporas, not as relevant to what we're doing, but Cavalli-Sforza wrote a pretty decent article about race, which I had to read once upon a time.
I decided to pick up the packet after engaging in a discussion with some of his students, who were requested to debate in favor of Phillippe's hypothesis about there being a strong difference between Asians and Blacks in as far as Intelligence (IQ) and other traits...certainly the phenotype differences SEEM notable, but everything has high variation and distinct are hard to find even with notable geographical separations.
I won't waste more of my time, and yours, by trying to dissect the packet at this time, but I'll put down the starting quote from Phillippe's Preface since I'm sure you'll find it interesting:
General impressions are never to be trusted. Unfortunately when they are of long standing they become fixed rules of life, and assume a prescriptive right not to be questioned. Consequently, those who are not accustomed to original inquiry entertain a hatred and a horror of statistics. They cannot endure the idea of submitting their sacred impressions to cold-blooded verification. But it is the triumph of scientific men to rise superior to such superstitions, to devise test by which the value sufficiently masters of themselves to discard contemptuously whatever may be found untrue. -Sir Francis Galton.

Student: Deborah Johnson    Date: Monday March 22nd 2004 11:03
Journal Entry: Hello, did everyone have a good weekend?
Today's lecture - very interesting as always. I learned a few things for example, I thought that when it came to skin color (especially say of a child whose parents are from different races), that the skin color of the male/or dominant gene played the main role in determining somewhat the pigmentation of the child. For example, if say the male or dominant gene was dark skinned and the mother or recessive gene was lighter, then the child/children would reflect a darker pigmentation and vice-versa for a lighter skinned male and a darker skinned female.
So if I understand correctly it is just from a variation of genes not so much from just the dominant gene. I can understand this because even when both parents are of the same skin type the pigmentation of the children can vary. This makes since, as I've seen this with my own eyes, but I thought that when the parents are of a more varied skin pigmentation defense the genes of the dominant parents had more of a determination.
Also with the discussion of how Vitamin D is an important factor in forming calcium to help bone production, would it be correct that lands where less vitamin D is consumed the effects will be a people with shorter height and more bowed legged. I'm thinking about our Asian (for my area-Japanese) brothers and sisters. Where in times past less consumption of vitamin D (i.e. milk and other diary products) a trend of dental decay, shorter and more bowed leg Japanese walked the earth and today - the more recent generations of Japanese are taller and less bowed legged - is this a correct correlation? or not? I believe I've heard that the Asian diet is what helps to effect the smaller size (i.e. smaller body size) is this related to what we've talked about today or not? Can these trends be related to a deficiency or just natural selection of their ancestors? or both - say ancestral traits coupled with the environment?
Hey see ya'll Wednesday! Deborah Johnson

Student: Deborah Johnson    Date: Monday March 22nd 2004 11:04
Journal Entry: Hello, did everyone have a good weekend?
Today's lecture - very interesting as always. I learned a few things for example, I thought that when it came to skin color (especially say of a child whose parents are from different races), that the skin color of the male/or dominant gene played the main role in determining somewhat the pigmentation of the child. For example, if say the male or dominant gene was dark skinned and the mother or recessive gene was lighter, then the child/children would reflect a darker pigmentation and vice-versa for a lighter skinned male and a darker skinned female.
So if I understand correctly it is just from a variation of genes not so much from just the dominant gene. I can understand this because even when both parents are of the same skin type the pigmentation of the children can vary. This makes since, as I've seen this with my own eyes, but I thought that when the parents are of a more varied skin pigmentation defense the genes of the dominant parents had more of a determination.
Also with the discussion of how Vitamin D is an important factor in forming calcium to help bone production, would it be correct that lands where less vitamin D is consumed the effects will be a people with shorter height and more bowed legged. I'm thinking about our Asian (for my area-Japanese) brothers and sisters. Where in times past less consumption of vitamin D (i.e. milk and other diary products) a trend of dental decay, shorter and more bowed leg Japanese walked the earth and today - the more recent generations of Japanese are taller and less bowed legged - is this a correct correlation? or not? I believe I've heard that the Asian diet is what helps to effect the smaller size (i.e. smaller body size) is this related to what we've talked about today or not? Can these trends be related to a deficiency or just natural selection of their ancestors? or both - say ancestral traits coupled with the environment?
Hey see ya'll Wednesday! Deborah Johnson

Student: Deborah Johnson    Date: Monday March 22nd 2004 11:04
Journal Entry: Hello, did everyone have a good weekend?
Today's lecture - very interesting as always. I learned a few things for example, I thought that when it came to skin color (especially say of a child whose parents are from different races), that the skin color of the male/or dominant gene played the main role in determining somewhat the pigmentation of the child. For example, if say the male or dominant gene was dark skinned and the mother or recessive gene was lighter, then the child/children would reflect a darker pigmentation and vice-versa for a lighter skinned male and a darker skinned female.
So if I understand correctly it is just from a variation of genes not so much from just the dominant gene. I can understand this because even when both parents are of the same skin type the pigmentation of the children can vary. This makes since, as I've seen this with my own eyes, but I thought that when the parents are of a more varied skin pigmentation defense the genes of the dominant parents had more of a determination.
Also with the discussion of how Vitamin D is an important factor in forming calcium to help bone production, would it be correct that lands where less vitamin D is consumed the effects will be a people with shorter height and more bowed legged. I'm thinking about our Asian (for my area-Japanese) brothers and sisters. Where in times past less consumption of vitamin D (i.e. milk and other diary products) a trend of dental decay, shorter and more bowed leg Japanese walked the earth and today - the more recent generations of Japanese are taller and less bowed legged - is this a correct correlation? or not? I believe I've heard that the Asian diet is what helps to effect the smaller size (i.e. smaller body size) is this related to what we've talked about today or not? Can these trends be related to a deficiency or just natural selection of their ancestors? or both - say ancestral traits coupled with the environment?
Hey see ya'll Wednesday! Deborah Johnson

Student: Taylre Malkemes    Date: Tuesday March 23rd 2004 13:43
Journal Entry: Can people have an asshole gene? I have been interested to know if someone that is an asshole can get it from a parent that was an asshole and then passed it on to their children so they can be assholes to other people? Or is someone's asshole side due to environment? --------Getting a little personal with the asshole stuff, but really I wonder where this person's asshole gene comes from------- I know that things like skin and eye color can be passed----what about bad character genes? I think that it is interesting to hear about 'Rickets' and how skin color can affect that. I know that people that have lighter skin are more likely to burn, just as people with darker skin are less likely to burn. I did not know that how much vitamin D someone's skin can take in can affect someone's body grow that greatly. It is almost like our skin is acting like it can perform some kind of photosynthesis like plants do. I don't know if you would know much about this, but if someone is exposed to a lot of sun, can someone produce too much vitamin D? I am a sun lover and there are a thousand other things to worry about when it comes to sun and skin, but I was just wondering. Talking about the shedding of fur, we still have 'fur' today.
Everyone talks about how the only place that we do not have fur is on the palms
of our hands and the bottoms of our feet. How come most people have a
concentration of hair on top of the head, and still show traces of hair all over
the body. Do you think that we will continue to shed 'fur' until we are
completely hair-less??? Really interesting lecture on Monday---hope that
discussion will rock----but it is really close to spring break and I am hoping
that my brain holds on for weds.!!!! Peace

Student: Joseph Boumah    Date: Tuesday April 6th 2004 13:50
Journal Entry: I just want to make quick comment on what Samuel A. Cartwright published in 1851(Report on the diseases and physical peculiarities of the Negro races). I think some scientists past to present miss some common sense. Cartwright claimed having discovered two mental diseases within the black, which caused them to run away from their master or to be disobedience to them. What surprise me, it's the way that he proposed to cure those diseases by whipping the devil out them or giving them more hard work. I'm wondering why it didn't just acquire to him that those black didn't enjoy the way that they were treated. Today, things are changed. As Dr Bindon pointed out in class, race is an important biological out come variable in health now when it comes to determine which racial group is more likely to get some type disease.

Student: Andrea Seay    Date: Tuesday April 6th 2004 21:56
Journal Entry: I'm glad I waited a little later to write my entry. The topic in my night class-Cultural Geography 377--was about Cultural Inequalities: the lecture began by defining 'Race and Unequal Landscapes' soon as the professor mentioned race the first reaction I had was...'race' doesn't exist (except as a social construct). I was waiting phrase after phrase to find something I would have to refute---only in some of the students' comments did I find an opportunity...but even then I thankfully found that the professors purpose to was make sure the students understood that race was only a social construct---I still felt glad that I was knowledgeable about certain issues on defining species and classifications as well as already educated on the history of the term of 'race'. As the lecture progressed I was able to feel more confident in the material I have learned in our class-not in anyway referring to the material in its self...only my ability to comprehend and remember it. You know those times where you surprise yourself that you know more than you thought (it happens a lot to me-I wonder if that's a self confidence issue---hmm I'll have to work on that). Nonetheless---one thing brought up in the lecture was the idea of xenophobia. I can not remember if we have already touched on this issue---the dictionary doesn't give me a clear explanation if a 'phobia' can be in having to do with a chemical imbalance or whatnot....but I was wondering...that since some may consider xenophobia to be inherent then it somehow fits into the explanations of mating selection---it would be normal for people to be 'racially' separated. I might not be making much sense. I can only assume that any phobia would not be inherited and more than likely xenophobia would occur because of a certain lifestyle and social construct. Nonetheless the issue was raised as an explanation of how race came about---since many people (speaking of earlier years, I assume during the first years the term came about) believed xenophobia to be a 'natural tendency' it excused people to have prejudices and was a explanation to why races may even continue to exist.

Student: Drew Cook    Date: Friday April 16th 2004 10:31
Journal Entry: Yeah, sorry I missed the lecture Monday, I was sickish and managed to wake up an hour later than I'd have liked. Oh well.
I do find the inheritance of complex traits very interesting, I'm eager to hear more about them in our discussion, however my journal's taking a different route. (rather than suggesting the possibility that blushing is good for X reasons, based on the release of heat);
Pulled this from the CW site:
Law professor to address Capstone's ties to slavery March 22, 2004 The Coalition for Diversity and Inclusiveness will sponsor UA law professor Al Brophy's speech on the history of slavery and racism at the University. The presentation will be Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. in 340 Bidgood Hall. The lecture is part of the series 'Opening Doors, Embracing race,' based on the theme 'Remembrance, Forgiveness and Reconciliation.' The event is free and open to the public. For more information, call Pat Bauch at 348-1167. I think it'd be important to hear Al Brophy's lecture, but there is some controversy on whether or not the University owes apologies. I'm in basic agreement with the letter to the editor Brad Sloan wrote: -as it does seem slightly unreasonable if one were to attack the University for the actions of men so long ago.
I take issue with part of the title for the series actually. 'Embracing race?' I suppose we need to think about these things, confront our history of slavery and make amends wherever possible. but What does 'Embracing race' mean, I don't agree with the idea of race as a concept, political or social from a moral standpoint and from this class and others with the idea as a classification in other areas from a philosophical and technical standpoint. I suppose, I'm fine with the idea of Embracing race, so as to disarm the concept, but the more power we give the concept as a separating force, the worse it'll get in our society. Oh well, a quick response about our 'fur.' yeah, we're still hairy apes. Our 'doos' from what I understand serve as a protective device as well as an ornamental feature. protection seems to be the general use for hair- be it for homeothermic purposes or in a rhino's case- for a horn. Its just part of our variation, and while us being furry creatures is becoming less and less important, I'm not so sure we'll be hairless all too soon.

Student: Andrea Seay    Date: Friday April 16th 2004 10:41
Journal Entry: I completely forgot about this week's entry. What I have thought about during this week's lecture was the influence of WWII on the determination of race. In discussing the numerous scholars such as Boyd, Coon, Sheldon and Washburn, how have these views of race been influenced by WWII? And maybe even a more interesting question: How did previous views of race influence WWII? Obviously we know Hitler's view of the 'superior' race and his determination to end the lesser races. What I find interesting is that, from my knowledge, many scientific tests were done to further prove the theories of race deification. How much were the findings influential to the scholars discussed in this week's lectures? Were they beneficial? Did American scientists learn from the WWII experience and in anyway try to begin and disprove some of the teachings that Hitler relied on such as Darwin and Haeckel?
This was an interesting article to learn more of the history. I just wonder these things because I find it an important issue in our timeline lecture.

Student: Deborah Johnson    Date: Monday April 26th 2004 11:42
Journal Entry: I can't believe that this is my last entry!
Today's class was really good, but I had to agree with Dr. Bindon - Frustration! These scientists are spitting out the same crap of lies and misstudies/misunderstandings. What is really sad is that even I know better and I haven't had as much formal study on the subject as these men have had! Thank goodness for open-minded and rational thinkers like Bindon, Crew and Lieberman. I wonder though, are the studies we talked about today a reflection of the majority or minority of the studies and views on race today? I realize that there will always be some who stick to these 'racial idiocy', but surely more than a handful of scientists realize that there is very little genetic differences between race measurements (i.e. IQ and so on). Or maybe because I have now taken this class, certain things just seem so obvious? I now what is it! As long as greed and love of money exists, such self-imposed and idealistic claims will exist to push or try to scientifically support attempted suppression and domination. (Ah-hah!)
Well, as I mentioned in my paper, this class has really helped me to understand our human family. I am looking forward to taking this stuff with me in my future travels. Oh yes - I will be skeptical when I hear or read claims about so-called racial characteristics. Although, I'm not majoring in the field of anthropology (my major is international studies), I hope to instill some truths into my students in the future.
Over and out Deborah Johnson(^_^)

Student: Andrea Seay    Date: Tuesday April 27th 2004 10:48
Journal Entry: I can remember taking an I.Q. test when I was eleven. I took it mainly out of boredom and curiosity. I have never been a good standardized test taker and was told that an I.Q. test was different. I could possibly do well on it since it measured a 'different' type of intellect. It measured how well I could figure out problems not how much knowledge I had. This definition insinuates that there is some innate characteristic that would lend me to have a high score on the test. In beginning the test, however, I asked myself 'what if I could not read?' It was evident to me then that I had to have some knowledge to take the test. As the questions went on, I began to give credit to my mother. It was obvious to me that I was only able to figure out that 'Sally came after Jill because Jill was first and Mark was last so Sally must be second' or that 'the wheel would turn counter-clockwise when the pulley was turned' only because of the many games I played when I was younger, and because of the numerous coloring books, 'dot-to-dots', jig-saw puzzles, and toys that taught me coordination and the use of 'the process of elimination.' The purpose of mentioning all of this is that as a test taker it is easy to recognize that I was only able to know the patterning of the problems because of prior knowledge and experience. There was nothing innate about it except that after years of practice my thought processing ability was embedded and I was able to answer most of the questions with ease-And of that is thanks to my mother's attention and older siblings who gave me an environment where I was always forced to think about the many jokes they played on me. It was about this same time that I learned of the 'bell curve' in my math class. It was around 1994 when I took the test, mentioned it to my sixth grade teacher and she too was interested. Looking back, they must have gotten wind of that book by Herrnstein and Murray. I was led to believe that I.Q. was innate and can be found distinctly in the comparison of races. I didn't fully understand it so neither did I believe it. How did it account for all my friends who where smart and of a race that rank low? If there were exceptions, then it must have fallacy-no truth at all. It's just sad. As Dr. Bindon mentioned in class, it is the responsibility of Anthropology to make known these misguidance (awkward syntax and diction I know). It saddens me that Anthropology is not taken more seriously as a science too. When I mention to others that I take Anthropology classes, they just ask 'why?' As if it holds very little importance. I began my studies with a passion to study culture, beginning a degree in International Studies I quickly realized that it was full of politics-exactly what I was trying to avoid. I had the choice and was made to study many anthropological issues and found the necessity for the combination of both politics and culture---they practically inseparable. I have grown to love Political Science. Just the same, the study of Science is a part of anthropology and should be respected as such. I am thankful to have had this opportunity to study anthropology in a new manner. (I didn't have time to I hope it is ok)

Student: Ben Seay    Date: Tuesday April 27th 2004 21:31
Journal Entry: I believe that this I.Q. issue is common sense, but that is just my belief and in the past was not backed up scientifically. But now I have a little better understanding. I never thought that I.Q. was biological at all. Some intelligence can be genetic, but the environment can alter that. Intelligence has to do with many factors. Education, nutrition, parenting, social life, etc. It is amazing to me how many scientist are studying the wrong way and how are they getting their information. I cannot believe Rushton has come up with his, so called findings, so late in history, and is still backwards. For one, he has used information from early anthropologist and changed the meanings around. I hope that made sense. It is amazing how each culture can believe that they are the smartest and it has to do with what race you are. The aborigines think their the smartest, the Americans think we are the smartest, the British think they are. This is a great example of how we are all the same, and intelligence has to do with many other things than what is written on a piece of paper. If we believe that I.Q. has to do with color, without a brief study, this shows our lack of intelligence. Thank you.

Student: Joseph Boumah    Date: Tuesday April 27th 2004 23:53
Journal Entry: I found completely absurd that some scientists ( Richard J. Herrnstein, Charles Murray, and J.Philippe Rushton ) advance that IQ is more a matter of genetic than environment. This seems more absurd especially in the 1990s, at a time when men had already walked on the moon and with such advances in the field of sciences. I would have understood those types of arguments in the 18th century and early 19th century when the scientific community was still arguing and debating on the existence of one or more races and the superiority of one race over another. But in the 90's, that's very disturbing. I would have assumed that the more educated they were the more credible would their work have been. I guess my assumption doesn't work all the time because some of those scientists lack common sense and logical thinking and God knows that most of us don't need degrees to think logically. However, I'm very grateful that other scientists such as Carl Brigham, Joseph Graves have proven them wrong. The fact that there are today doctors, lawyers, engineers, astronauts, and pilots of all races shows how race has nothing to do with IQ.

Student: Taylre Malkemes    Date: Thursday April 29th 2004 09:57
Journal Entry: I am really dorky and I like to do flash cards, and the definitions helped me last time, I am sure that there will probably be some more, but maybe this helps ya'll.
Ant Final Definition List: 1. DNA structure 2. Replication of DNA 3. Mutation 4.
Sickle Cell 5. Genotype vs. Phenotype 6. ABO blood groups 7. Polymorphism 8.
Genetic Drift 9. Hemoglobin 10. Malaria 11. Bergmann's Rule 12. Allen's Rule 13. Skin color 14. race and IQ 15. Sir Cyril Burt 16. Joseph Graves 17. J. Philippe Rushton 18. Patient profiling (how they need to not use race with talking about diagnose of patients)
I would like to thank everyone for making this class rock. I feel that everyone brought something to the table that was different. I learned so much and majority of it was just from discussions and I can't thank ya'll enough. Peace and see you kids Friday at 9:15!!!

Student: Michele Yarbrough    Date: Sunday December 19th 2004 16:46
Journal Entry: Lately I have heard a lot of people talking about the rising Hispanic population and their presence in the US is definitely being felt. Recently I have noticed commercials featuring Hispanic celebrities encouraging Hispanic Americans to send their children to college and an increasing number of businesses that display signs in Spanish or at least a single sign that says they speak Spanish. And most recently, I have heard that several television sitcoms focusing on Hispanic families will be airing this year. With a rising Hispanic population I am curious to see how the media's portrayal of this ethnic group changes. The most vivid image I have of Hispanic television characters is that of the housemaid. First I remember Consuela, the Hispanic servant of Suzanne Sugarbaker on Designing Women. Though it has been years since the show went off the air, I do watch re-runs on occasion and am struck by the fact that, though she is often spoken of, Consuela never seems to actually appear on the screen. In more recent television there is a similar character, that of Rosario on Will and Grace. This housemaid is actually present on the series, though she must endure endless abuse from Karen, her employer. When comparing these 2 stereotypical Hispanic characters, my first thought is that in the approximate 10 years between shows there has at least been some change...Consuela's character didn't even warrant an actual, physical person, while Rosario is very much a presence on Will and Grace and is an actual role which a Hispanic actress fills. My second observation is how much I am reminded of the Mammy characters from decades ago who were heavily relied upon and much undervalued. Now that there are actual television sitcoms focusing on Hispanics, I am curious to see what role stereotypes will play. On the one episode of a Hispanic sitcom I've actually seen, stereotypes seemed to be the basis for the majority of the humor. The ditsy blonde neighbor kept making racist comments and the son used the plight of his oppressed people to obtain a better job at the local country club. Hopefully these storylines will develop into something of more substance and maybe eventually we will start to see some quality roles and portrayals of the Hispanic population.

Student: Michele Yarbrough    Date: Sunday December 19th 2004 16:47
Journal Entry: 'Today the greatest divide within humanity is not between races, or religions, or even, as widely believed, between the literate and illiterate. It is the chasm that separates scientific from prescientific cultures. Without the instruments and accumulated knowledge of the natural sciences-physics, chemistry, and biology---humans are trapped in a cognitive prison. They are like intelligent fish born in a deep, shadowed pool. Wondering and restless, longing to reach out, they think about the world outside. They invent ingenious speculations and myths about the origin of the confining waters, of the sun and the sky and the stars above, and the meaning of their own existence. But they are wrong, always wrong, because the world is too remote from the ordinary experience to be merely imagined.' E.O. Wilson I was very much struck by this quote from E.O. Wilson's Consilience, which I am reading for a class titled 'World Views'. It reminded me that indeed there are many, many ways for people to carve up humanity. Wilson claims science as the most important differentiation and while I do agree that one's acquaintance with the scientific world has an extreme influence on the individual, I strongly disagree with his opinion that those unfamiliar with the scientific knowledge of our culture are somehow at a loss. I find it narrow minded to suppose that having scientific explanations for our world are somehow more beneficial than myth and religion. And I seriously doubt that tribal people in Africa and on islands consider the world at all remote from them. In fact I imagine it to be experienced in a much more vivid way than a man in a white coat tucked away in a lab with artificial lights and white walls.

Student: Matthew Hammond    Date: Sunday January 16th 2005 17:32
Journal Entry: In the past week in ANT 275 I have found that some of the early concepts of race are still believed. The media often portrays certain races in having paticular abilities. Television often uses this theory to create popular shows for the public. The athletic Afican-American, the intelligent Asian, and the ignorant Latino are still used in this way. I am appauled that such instances as appearance are still used to classify a person in many cases. I will admit that at times I have had preconcieved conceptions based a person's appearence. But to have a complete outlook based entirely on the way a person looks is primitive at best.

Student: Stella Jackson    Date: Monday January 17th 2005 13:59
Journal Entry: It has been very interesting reading the first few chapters of Graves’ book and coming to understand the origin of race and racism. Although I have always hated racism, it is something that is very real and very much a part of our lives, especially living in the South. It is an awful ideal that desperately needs to be done away with. And the first step to solving a problem is knowing how it came about, so reading about history’s early theories of race has been fascinating. Something that really struck me about all these early theories was the blatant lack of scientific proof. These men did not live too long ago, and you would think that they would be bright enough to make claims with solid scientific fact behind them, especially claims about something so important as the worth of a human being. It is just so sickening to see the real reason behind their claims, which was one of political and economic nature. It is very discomforting to see how deranged power and money will make a people; deranged enough to make ridiculous, invalid claims about their brothers in this world.

Student: Phillip Thompson    Date: Monday January 17th 2005 22:35
Journal Entry: Just a few thoughts on the the readings thus far: "Racism"- I have been all over the world and have discovered that it is every where. The ignorance extends it's grip without much regard for the facts put forth in the readings thus far. The experiences that I have had, led me to believe that racism was fallacious and I intuitively knew it was wrong. My parents led me to understand that people were equal, much like our constitution says. Does that mean we get equal treatment? No. Does that mean that all individuals have equal abilities? No. It just means that we should be considerate of all people's uniqueness and try to understand the person according to their character, or who they really are. I spent five years overseas, from the time I was about 8 until I was 13 years old. I would come back to the Southern U.S. every six months for Christmas and Summer holidays, but I was largely sheltered from U.S. pop culture and basically hanging out with "normal" American kids. My school was comprised of over 50 nationalities, but all speaking English, and we lived and learned together with no conflicting thoughts about one another's backgrounds. School activities were centered around a broadened cultural experience, and classes would encourage you to teach other kids about your background and experience. Every year, we would have a massive "International Day". This is where every nationality and cultures within would get together and throw a festival, which celebrated the diversity and magnificence of all of the different cultures- In short, every culture was represented with food, music, clothing, dance, and on and on, so that it encompassed what it meant to be a part of that culture! A good time was had by all... Outside of school, and in my uniquely sheltered home life, there were all kinds of conflict in the world and even in my "backyard". The "Race Riots" of 1992 in LA were not a big part of my life. In fact, I knew very little about it until years later. Where I was living in Thailand we were more concerned with military coups that were going on there. The first Gulf War was going on during that period, and we all know how that one ended and how the newest "War on Terror" came about. I thought nothing of it at the time of the first gulf war. I didn't even identify with Americans who were back home, or "fighting" the enemy. I did not have a strong concept of identification with "Americans". So, it was a shock to me when I first moved back home. I moved to gainesville, florida, a town not much different Tuscaloosa. I went to a school of about 1,000 kids where there were people of all different social, economic, ethnic, and "racial" backgrounds. Never had I seen such blatant racism as when I moved back to the U.S. I learned my first real lessons in racism. The lunch room was divided by lines of color, the basketball court by lines of color, the classes by lines of color, and even the arrangement of desks within a classroom by lines of color! I was gawked at by the African American kids who dominated the courts and who thought it was strange that I would walk up and try to play ball with them and could actually contend. I heard my first racial epitaphs there and didn't even know it until someone explained it to me. I had friends that were racist, and couldn't do a whole lot about it, because had I of taken the high road and denounced all racists, I wouldn't have had any one to talk to (so I believed). I felt the helplessness of being intellectually well rounded and sorrounded by what I thought were a lot of ignorant people. The feeling extends to today. To make an already long story short, I still feel this way daily... We live in a world, a country, a region, a town, that is shrouded by racism, and it changes in form and severity all of the time. There are so many questions that come to mind when entering this class: How does racism take it's shape in modern society? How will racism "evolve"? Will it ever end?! What can I do to make a difference? I have racked my brain with these questions and I have felt overwhelmed by the thought that this will never end and that I am carrying too much burden in trying to address it. I have realized a few things since first coming back to the U.S. ten years ago. One is that I am ignorant in many of my own ways, so I can't judge people too harshly for what can be considered in some ways a product, rather byproduct, of their own environment. Two, that one can be expected to act nobly in many ways in the face of something they consider wrong, but it is not as easy to do as it is to say. It is very difficult to be amidst a group of friends and denounce them all for being complete f$%cking idiots for delighting in what they think is their "racial superiority"! You catch a lot of hell for doing this, but it is sometimes necessary. It is hard for many to understand that they share genetic information with all other human beings and that there is not much difference between them and a guy in Iraq, China, Cuba. Not much but there own self-interest. Most important- it is necessary for us all to be aware of our own prejudices and to learn as much as we can to effectively derail the views of those who don't understand that: race is a purely social construct, with no scientific or moral backing; we only hurt ourselves in promoting racism; stereotypes are ingorant judgements (by definition, I swear); we are all one human race. Now we can all do that can't we?

Student: Jacob Trull    Date: Tuesday January 18th 2005 11:27
Journal Entry: In class we have been discussing the concept of race, its origins, and how the concept has changed over time. race is defined as any population that is physically different, biologically distinct, or religiously separate from ones own population. race started as a classification of peoples based on thier geographic location, even if the term race had not yet been used, and became over a relatively short period of time a distinction of physical and biological traits amoung populations. Today race is used frequently to refer to people both of different physical and geographic relations. Though I have stereotypes when thinking of other people I do not support the concept of race due to both the scientific evidence against it and the fact that some of my friends are what could be defined as other races. I hope that at some point the term race willbe thought of as an archaic principal.

Student: Lauren Ashburner    Date: Tuesday January 18th 2005 12:02
Journal Entry: I wanted to comment on the settlement last week Macy’s made with New York state after charges that racial profiling in it’s stores to detain shoplifters. Macy’s will pay $600,000 to cover the cost of the investigation into the many complaints from black and Hispanic customers of racial profiling in its stores. The complaints concerned shoppers handcuffed, searched, and detained for shoplifting more often than white customers. The investigation turned up very disturbing results of shoppers being treated very differently while shopping. Macy’s did not admit to any wrongdoing, but they said they would retrain security officers to make sure they do not use racial profiling to identify shoplifters and discipline or fire any employees it found to be using racial profiling or discrimination. Macy's also has to hire an outside firm to see if its employees treat customers differently depending on race. It’s good to know that this problem has been corrected but this was only one major retailer and there are thousands of other smaller stores that aren’t going to be investigated and where innocent shoppers will have to feel as though they’re being followed while shopping solely because of their skin color.

Student: Ashley Trott    Date: Tuesday January 18th 2005 13:46
Journal Entry: It wasn't until my freshmen year in college that I truly began to consider the issue of race. Growing up in South Florida, I was accustomed to various cultures, religions and backgrounds. When I came to Alabama, I immediately noticed the drastic decrease in diversity in the schools student body. However, this wasn't a surprise, I knew while growing up that Miami was a rather large 'melting pot' of people, and that Alabama was less diverse. Partially, due to their geographic location in comparison with South Florida. The first incident at Alabama that really surprised me were the Homecoming events that took place one year. The Friday night before the football game, there were two major events taking place at the same time. One was sponsored by the University and the other was a separate event. On the quad, Lynard Skynard was performing, thanks to University Programs and much of the student body was in attendance. At the same time as the concert, a step show was taking place at the Bama Theater in downtown Tuscaloosa, which featured a large amount of the traditionally black fraternities and sororities. I chose to attend the step show that evening, and surprisingly it ended in time for me to catch the performance of "free bird" on the quad. Personally, I think that most of the student body had a good time that night, no matter where they were, but regardless, it was surprising to me, to witness the division between who went to what event that night. This years Homecoming was slightly improved, UP paid for two bands (The Wayne Mills Band, and The Roots) that were extremely different but they probably pleased a larger amount of the student body. But the Step Show was still at the same time as the Wayne Mills Band was performing. Personally, I think the University should have all the activities on the quad, at different times throughout the evening, the student body would then appear to have more unity. Having attended two other universities Homecomings (Auburn and UF), I’ve witnessed how other campuses strive to please their entire student body and alumni. For example, Auburn set up an area on campus for blow-up games, a mechanical bull, a coffee station, etc. While the University of Florida had a comedian perform at the Swamp. UA should learn from these schools that are attempting to make it seem like a true Homecoming for everyone at the university.

Student: Marshall Bergeron    Date: Tuesday January 18th 2005 14:49
Journal Entry: I am finding Graves's book very interesting. Reading the earliest theories of the origins of race I agree with Dr. Bindon that if you wanted, the outcome of your findings on the origins of race would support your personal biases. I find it interesting in how much emphasis is put on physical appearance in defining what is your likely traits and where you are probably from. If you look Japanese and you do not speak Japanese then you are not one with your culture. I have a friend who has Japanese ancestry but has lived her whole life in Australia, and therefore considers herself Australian. One day she was eating MacDonald's at a food court and a "white" man sitting at another table across her was eating sushi. He looked at her and made eye contact and then said "is this not ironic". She thought to her self and said "No, not really, I should know that Chinese sushi sucks". In my opinion I think it was just easier for people to categorize people into a certain origin or race than to look for individual differences across a whole spectrum. It also helps to justify events and atrocities that took place in history such as the example of Polygenic vs. Monogenic and Nott's beliefs of pro-slavery. Our origins must have been different because if we did come from one origin then that would make white Europeans hypocrites. I found the PBS class video interesting because of the class's perception on whose DNA would be most like them in the class. The first thing they based their guess on was who looked most like them or who had the most common ancestry to them. This was more likely than students grouping together same interests such as a sport or a personality trait that they both carried. I also thought about if I was African American how pissed off I would get if somebody thought I beat them just because I was from Africa and therefore carried better athletic traits. Last, I saw a PBS documentary on Jack Johnson. He was a Southern black man who became famous in history as the first black heavyweight champion of the world in 1910. It was obvious in 1905 that he was the next heavyweight contender, but he did not get a chance to fight Jim Jeffries until five years later when a hundred thousand dollar fight was created in San Francisco. Jack Johnson simply did not get a chance because if he were to win the heavyweight champion of the world wouldn't be a white man.

Student: Latoya Carstarphen    Date: Tuesday January 18th 2005 14:52
Journal Entry: First of all, stepping out into a totally different environment, I knew nothing about anything. I only heard stereotypes about how Tuscaloosa did not just favor a certain race, but I knew it had to have inside issues. race has been a big issue for a long time and I felt that it was beginning to change; however, now that I realize it my feelings are just fantasies. God has his own master plans to create reasons that we will never understand or will be able to change. Slavery existed for a wonderful reason that we as African-Americans must take notice of and not be angry. Will racism ever die? Well, who knows, but God. All we as Americans can do is do our part and decrease instead of increase. I am a person that enjoy people from every race, I do not treat them different because of our past. Who am I to judge you for something your ancestors did? Love your enemies and in turn you will be rewarded with a greater gift, a gift that is greater than this world. I am proud of who I am and I would not change it for the world. I just know that I have to work harder when achieving, for that lets me know that I earned whatever it is that I have. This class has already taught me something I did not know. race was created in a strange way that I might not ever understand. I am looking forward to great understanding from this class and my classmates because you can be surprise how people feel.

Student: Kat Gillespie    Date: Tuesday January 18th 2005 15:24
Journal Entry: At the beginning of this course I really had no clue exactly what "race" was. I knew that we are all divided into races and such, but reading Graves's book and the other articles I have learned so much about humans and how the ideas of race and species have been modified and changed throughout time. A current event that has particularly brought about the subject of race is the recent remembrance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He helped so many people overcome the problem of discrimination and fought for those still struggling. The idea of racism is one that has changed even since the sixties. My thoughts could be totally wrong and I'm sure that many may disagree with what I am saying, but these thoughts are what I have observed. It seems ironic to me that people of the African American race spent so many years fighting society to be considered equals, but today it seems as if they are excluding themselves again voluntarily. The MLK festivities have made this thought more evident. African Americans have a renewed sense of their racial standings during the week of Martin Luther King Jr.'s rememberance. SOME, not all by any means, seem to willingly seperate themselves as triumphant over others instead of the equality that was fought for, thus recreating a social/racial barrier. I have noticed that the equality has transformed into individuality and the racial barrier still is evident, just in a different form.

Student: Kevin Murphy    Date: Tuesday January 18th 2005 15:28
Journal Entry: During our first lecture when we were talking about the earliest concepts of human variation, the one that stood out to me was the bible. Mostly because this awoke within me a long time beef that I have had with the bible in relation to race. Well, to clarify, my beef isn’t exactly with the bible itself, but rather popular interpretations of it. For instance, when it comes to films made from bible stories. The only people I’ve noticed in any of the films that I have seen have all been white. At least any role of significance. Since when was it written that Jesus was white, that God was white, that Adam was white, and so on. These visuals provided by Hollywood fuel the misconception that the so-called “white man” was the first and all other skin colors were a result of something that white people did. Aside from film, I feel like there is a general assumption within society that all these biblical figures where white. I feel like this is a very narrow minded and ignorant view. It creates a skewed perspective that white people are superior to all other “races.” I’m not so sure that I’ve explained what I’m trying to say very well. In essence, the idea here is that we have this book that is supposed to teach us to love each other and view each other all as equal and as the same, but instead, we use it almost as a springboard to create these racial differences between ourselves.

Student: Sam Siegel    Date: Tuesday January 18th 2005 15:38
Journal Entry: I deliver pizzas. There are areas of tuscaloosa which we, as a matter of company policy, do not deliver to. These are places where ours or other companies' drivers have been robbed, or where particularly unpleasant things have happened in the past. On calling a person in one of these areas after they had ordered a pizza for delivery and letting them know that we couldn't deliver to them, my boss was called a racist. Now, regardless of her personal views, this is definately not a case of a racist policy. Call it classist (I suppose it is discriminatory, though once again, not on the basis of skin color), or whatever. It got me to thinking about how we use the concept of racism in normal speech. It often times seems to be a catch-all phrase for any type of discriminatory behavior, regardless of the reasons for it, if the behavior is enacted commonly on a specific "race." Case in point, most people who live in tuscaloosa, if forced to make the distinction, would refer to the places we don't deliver to as the "black" part of Tuscaloosa (not that is the only place where African Americans live, nor that only African Americans live there, but there is a fairly common conflation in many people's way of speaking and thinking between "black" neighborhoods and poor neighborhoods). Of course, as an incorporated chain resteraunt, it would be very illegal for this sort of discrimination to be based on skin color. It seems though, that my boss correcting the person on the other end of the phone ("Well, technically I'm a classist," or something like that) would have done as much good as trying to correct a die-hard klan-son about the lack of biological evidence for differentiation into races. It interests me to go beyond simply showing that there is no biological basis for racial division, and into the realm of how racial division is so wide-spread - that is, why it is so succesful as a cultural object, and since the genetic level fails as a basis for it, why people generally do differentiate between races, and why it doesn't pose a problem for them to do so (that is, why it is so easy fro so many people to make the distinction between "like me" and "not like me").

Student: Amy Arizumi    Date: Tuesday January 18th 2005 15:42
Journal Entry: I am a waitress at Logan's Roadhouse. If you are unfamiliar with the restaurant, it is best described as the slop trough of Tuscaloosa's ignorant and backwoods culture,hungry for free yeast rolls and comfortable in an environment of wood grain floors littered with peanut shells. On saturday morning, during our pre-meal motivational speech, the issue of "table profiling" came up. The definition of table profiling is when a server determines whether the table is worth "working" based solely on the table's appearance, before any sort of interaction with the customer in question. During the speech, emphasis was placed on the subject of racism. Which in part, is true. It is not uncommon to hear a muttered groan of disapproval from a fellow server when a "black" table is taken to their section. What is strange, is that the same groan of disapproval is voiced by not only the caucasian but also those of African descent. Likewise, when a wife beater clad, confederate flag covered "redneck" comes in, the same groan of disaproval is evident. "Table profiling" is therefore not based so much on a racial standard, as it is assumed, but on an economic standard. But since it is commonly perceived as a racial issue, the economic distinction is skewed, allowing the eventual assumed determining factor of table profiling to be solely a matter of race. Table profiling, in any manner, is wrong. But it is easy to see how racism is a consequence of outside variables, completely unrelated to any biological significance of skin color.

Student: Casey Adams    Date: Tuesday January 18th 2005 15:56
Journal Entry: As we study the history of racial classification, I note the differences in "racial groups" proposed by researchers. Their criteria for determining different races seems arbitrary and biased. I studied in Ghana this past summer and encountered interesting cultural ideas of race. We had traveled to a small village outside of Kumasi and were given free time to roam the area and interact with the locals, most of whom spoke little or no English. Because Ghana is not a tourist hot spot, our group received many strange, questioning looks about our presence. An African-American student on the trip remarked that she was African too and did not understand why she was being observed so intensely. Her skin color was very light as compared to the typical Ghanaian. Our professor spoke with the staring children, chuckled, and explained to her that she was perceived as a "white" women by the Ghanaians. A football player was also a part of our group and he received many looks as well. While he was very dark skinned, he stood extremely tall, around six and half feet. The people of Ghana are relatively short and immediately recognized, by his stature, that he was not from their country or "racial group." In America, these two individuals would certainly be classified by an average Joe only as "African-American." In Ghana, they were considered an entirely different race, despite sharing darker skin. This demonstrates cultural biases that influence racial classification. Because people native to Ghana have little contact with individuals possessing lighter skin than they do, they discriminate skin color and races differently than Americans. Americans tend to group anyone appearing African into one group, because they have little experience discerning differences in darker skin color. Characteristics that typify racial groups differ depending on whom you are asking. This seems to be further testimony to the lack of discrete concepts of racial groups.

Student: Hood Mullican    Date: Tuesday January 18th 2005 16:24
Journal Entry: I'm not quite sure what to write about. My basic understanding of race is that it is a social contruction, with no basis in genetics, and the differences we see in our species can be explained through simple adaptation and natural selection, genetic drift, etc. I don't know how anyone can maintain racist views with a good understanding of biology and evolution. Of course, it is disappointing how few people actually have a good understanding of modern evolutionary biology. I guess my issue isn't so much the symptoms of the concept of race (e.g. bigotism (is that a word? (I just made it one)), prejudice), but I rather the cause of the near universal acceptance of this concept. It would make sense to me that, if proper education in fields pertaining to human diversity, (i.e. evolutionary biology, genetics, anthropology, world history) shows an individual how empty the concept of race is, perhaps adaquate instruction in these fields in every school system would change the way human diversity in this country is viewed in a few generations. This isn't a realistic goal, of course. Even on a logistical level this is probably impossible. The quality of a school system's graduates isn't judged on their well-roundedness or understanding of the universe, it's judged by standardized tests. I'm not sure that a person who holds racist views is any more cruel or unjust than a person who doesn't, they most likely just don't know any better, and once they are past the point at which they stop accepting new information easily, they can't be shown how incorrect they are. I know I'm being too general, and I'm making sweeping claims with no way of backing them up in a short journal entry... but come on. It's the first one. In summation, race as a social construct could be eliminated if there was an adequate understanding of the sciences and of history, and I'll go ahead and throw in literature, among the general populace.

Student: Leah Noojin    Date: Thursday January 20th 2005 08:33
Journal Entry: As much as I wish racial issues had never been born, they have. There are racial issues residing to this day in America, even Tuscaloosa, Alabama that curve one's attention. One would think, in this day and age, everyone would be looked upon as equal. Racial tension still exists all over the world. I just wish everyone could watch the video we previously watched in class. That we as Homo Sapien Sapiens have more in common with eachother than any other species. The fact that I probably have a very closely related genetic makeup with someone in Asia is mind boggling. I almost get angry when people lash out at other people because of what they look like. It just makes me believe that some people are ignorant, not racist. Apparently the concept of race is so deeply embodied in our past, that some choose to not change their views, even if science proves otherwise. In reading Johann Friedrich Blumenbach's "The Inequality of Human races", translated by Thomas Bendyshe, I found something I really liked. The author noted, "Thus mankind lives in obedience to two laws, one of repulsion, the other of attraction; these act with different force on different peoples. The first is fully respected only by those races which can never raise themselves above the elementary completeness of the tribal life, while the power of the second, on the contrary, is the more absolute, as the racial units on which it is exercised are more capable of development".

Student: Leah Noojin    Date: Tuesday January 25th 2005 00:46
Journal Entry: I found it rather interesting that 99.1 percent of non-Chinese immigrants were accepted into the United States, wereas, only 84 percent of actual Chinese immigrants were accepted because the Chinese were classified of the same race as the Indians?? What is that? At the same time the African American population was growing because they were immigrating from Europe. Stopping immigration to preserve "white" existence is rather freaky to me. It closely resembled the path of Adolf Hitler. Why not the thought of unity for a peaceful nation? I also found it interesting that claims of different intellectual capacities based on race were at this time pseudoscientific. I am glad. It does seem to me however, that poverty-stricken children might not have the same opportunity to learn as the children who maybe have more. I could even go on to say that discrimination against females in the past has made it harder for them to be seen as equal and have equal opportunity to that of the male gender. Same today for homosexuals. They are fighting for the right of legal marriages right now. I wanted to discuss one more thing that I saw on the news the other day. They were interviewing one of the guys that was working in the airport on the day of September 11th. He was working the security section where you run your carry-on luggage on this table to be x-rayed. He encountered two of the terrorists face to face. He said the first thing that came to his mind was that these two guys looked like terrorists for sure. But, instead of second guessing his instinct he thought that he was racial profiling and that he knew that was wrong. Sure enough moments later, he was watching the plane that he boarded those passengers on crash into one of the Twin Towers. Anyway the poor guy had a terrible time coping and he seemed at a loss.

Student: Lauren Ashburner    Date: Tuesday January 25th 2005 12:04
Journal Entry: The video we saw today in class left me with some questions about the roots of racism. It said that in early America racism started to help justify slavery because of the need for labor in America. Then why after the abolition of slavery did it seem as though it became even worse. What was the need for racism now? Scientists were spending time studying and writing about bogus reasons about certain races being inferior physically and mentally. Was it because they desperately didn’t want to admit that slavery was wrong or had the ideas people had come up with about race genuinely scared white Americans into thinking other people could not become civilized or it would really be bad for everyone to live together as equals. I also was wondering around this time if scientists in other countries were doing any kind of research into race that didn’t have ulterior motives to prove that races were scientifically different or did the video just not talk about that.

Student: Marshall Bergeron    Date: Tuesday January 25th 2005 12:52
Journal Entry: In the video today I did not think it was surprising that Thomas Jefferson, being a genius, questioned the morality of slaveholding and looked for objective reasoning. If blacks were equal then they should not be slaves, and therefore are inferior to whites. Unfortunately, theories like these gave validation for slavery to continue and for Americans from European descent to push their customs and lifestyles onto other cultures they distinguished as inferior. I think it was equality of men only if you could act and behave like the pioneer does. Since the early settlers could not identify with the customs of the American Indians, then they felt they should adjust the American Indians so they could coinside with settlers instead of embracing their culture as uniquely different. If whites could justify slavery as a necessary for maintaining the land then the moral thing would also to integrate their superior intellect in teaching the American Indians how to conduct themselves and be prosperous in their new society. Since the American Indians could not conform then it was figured they couldn't live amongst whites. It was for their own good to leave their sacred land so they could live their lives of savagery in peace. I think it is unfortunate that the American Indian culture has no traces in the south, because their heritage in this region goes back much farther than the short history from the time peoples mostly of European and African descent have acquired this land. The European philosophy of commandeering land from foreign but native societies and then driving them out destroyed the future of diversity.

Student: Latoya Carstarphen    Date: Tuesday January 25th 2005 14:29
Journal Entry: In response to Historian James Horton, in race: the power of an illusion, he reminds me by saying, “rationalization for slavery remains even though slavery has ended”. I felt that he could not have expressed that enough because the statement is indeed true. We have gained rights that establish us as equal to all men, yet the rationalization singles African-American to the past, our past. Also, in the video the comment was made about Blacks being inferior to other races. Personally, I would not say that we are or we are not because Blacks inferiority depends on the individual quality. I think we do more now than in the past because during the past we had no individuality. I feel African-Americans limit themselves because they have an excuse. Slavery is over and our rights have been equalized to every other existing race. Use what you have been given and what famous people, MLK, Jr., died to give us…freedom. I do not have only responses to points about Blacks, but I feel strongly about the whole issue of race in general. The video discussed studies from past anthropologists, historians, etc. that shows different races being known for specific characteristics such as: knowledge, skill, or athletic ability. I feel that every race has been known to carry out different traditions of their ancestors, yet each race has the same ability. Well, thinking of ability, the Cherokee had plenty of ability but no choice. Blacks had the choice of slavery before death I guess, but the Cherokee were forced out of their land at gun point knowing that during the journey west they could possibly die. So initially most of them died trying to relocate to regain what they have already lost. In closing, my main thoughts focus on what every body else id trying to figure out, how we were distinguished in race. How did skin tones become so different? I believe and agree with the biblical theory of Adam and Eve, so maybe the sun really did change our appearance. We all will wonder, but we will figure it out one day…Right?

Student: Stella Jackson    Date: Tuesday January 25th 2005 14:47
Journal Entry: Our discussion last week got me to thinking about my background and why I feel the way I do about things like racism. Looking from an objective viewpoint, I should have come out being an ignorant, racist hick. I'm from south Alabama, and race is not really something that was talked about very much, because the view pretty much everyone holds (yes, there are some exceptions) is that whites are better than blacks, no questions asked. From 6-10 grades I attended a private school called Dixie Academy. Our mascot was the Rebel, and we had confederate flags painted or hung everywhere you turned. We had absolutely no black kids. I heard the word "nigger" on a daily basis. It was as though desegretation had never happened in this town. Farmers would ride around in their trucks with their black "boys" riding in the back. I wonder how these things did not deeply affect my views on life as it did others. The only answer I can come up with is because of my parents, and the way I was raised at home. I was brought up in a very liberal, educated household, and I know that has made the difference. My parents, especially my father, have taught me to think for myself. And when you actually think about something like racism instead of just following along with your friends, it seems really stupid. I just feel very lucky to be one among the handful back home that actually got the chance to formulate my own opinions. It was hard, though, because I was always the odd one out. Honestly, sometimes I wished that I could just drop it all and behave like everyone else, just to fit it; but I could never bring myself to do it, because in just seemed so inherently wrong. And I'm very glad I didn't, because it is one of the few things in my life that I'm proud of.

Student: Matthew Hammond    Date: Tuesday January 25th 2005 15:40
Journal Entry: The video viewed in class on Tuesday as well as Graves' book presented many thoughts about the evolution of racism in America and abroad. From Thomas Jefferson's beliefs that African Americans could not assimilate to a life of freedom in America through the scientific racism to continually support slavery, racist thought had gradually grown in intensity. Even with the eventual abolishment of slavery, African Americans continued to be pushed to the bottom of society. The hard fought efforts of African American through the twentieth century alieviated some of this pressure. Yet sterotypes and misconceptions continue to permeate our society, not only against African American but other people as well. It is unfortunate that a socially constructed idea such as race would be engraved in our very thoughts towards others. Unfortunatly it stays with us in all aspects of life, the media, work places, and various other aspects. The deep rooted pedjudices of our ancestors continued through the generations, yet no masjority saw categorizing one by physical appeareance to be incorrect. The readings and video presentaion brought of this thoughts and made me realize how misled our past is in America. History is messy, yet many of the mistakes of earlier academics continued through the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. A man as brilliant and enlightened as Thomas Jefferson succumed to these same assumptions to justify his slaveholding this bewilders me.

Student: Casey Adams    Date: Tuesday January 25th 2005 15:51
Journal Entry: My thoughts this week concern the potential of reparations to African Americans, specifically: Should reparations be made? How would paying reparations affect America's racial mindset? In Chapter Three, Graves states: "This [slave] trade not only caused the economic underdevelopment and stagnation of Africa but also contributed to the underdevelopment of the descendents of the slaves throughout the African diaspora"(p29). I believe this to be a very true statement. Caucasians in America have had more time to build business and have never faced extreme oppression. African Americans have had less time to build economic bases because of a long period of oppression. However, it was the labor of the African American slaves that made possible the economic prosperity of many white Americans. The idea of reparations for this disadvantage and contribution is hotly contested. Does the American government owe African Americans for the wrongs that were imposed upon their ancestors? Reparations might give African Americans an economic advantage that has long been denied to them. It would function more as a helping "hand up" rather than a handout. However, the people receiving the reparation would only be an ancestor of a slave; they would never have been a part of the slave trade that caused the economic disparity and social hate that they are now subject to. If reparations are made, would this adveresly affect race relations? Many white people attack the idea of reparations because they never owned slaves themselves. The potential for heightened racial tensions would exist if whites were made to pay for the mistakes of their ancestors.

Student: Jacob Trull    Date: Tuesday January 25th 2005 15:53
Journal Entry: In the notes we had last week the European concept of race was initally viewed as a geographic distinction and in the video we saw today it explained that early in the Americas race was a difference in religion or status only later did it become a distiction in physical differences, especially skin color. It is clear that the concept of race as a physical distinction came about as a way to try and prove that one group of people were more superior and deserving of life than another and to try and separate themselves from those they saw as inferior. We can see examples of this in the way that European explorers/conquerors viewed those less technologically advanced cultures they came across in thier travels and the later sujugation/extinction of those cultures. race has been used as a way convincing oneself of the rightness of a wrongful act and a way of avoiding the blame and criticism following that act. the only major distinctions between the "whites" and the races they considered inferior were culturally and physically, and the physical part was primarily skin color. In 2004 skeletal remains of a new subspecies of man were found on the island of Flores, the remains were of group of humans that had evolved on the island and were miniature compared to modern humans, they are called Homo Floresiensis. They would probably have caused an even bigger stir in the scientific community of Europe at the time.

Student: Sandra Benjamin    Date: Tuesday January 25th 2005 21:14
Journal Entry: I would like to discuss the issue that I see on campus between black girls and white girls. I have noticed that the white girls are far more friendly than the black girls. Now I will not say all white and black girls but I will say the majority. Walking along the quad I have noticed that a white girl will speak to me faster than a white girl. I thought to myself, maybe white girls think they owe black students on this campus something because of the prejudice history of the University, then I thought maybe it is because I am not greek and I'm considered to be nobody because I do not have letters attached to my jacket. I never really came to a conclusion on this but it is very interesting to see someome of a different race make me feel more welcome than my own race. My race of people (some) makes me feel like I do not belong here but they do.

Student: Lauren Ashburner    Date: Tuesday February 1st 2005 12:05
Journal Entry: The ideas of the eugenicists like Haeckel who were for trying to biologically improve races or people through ethnic cleansing or whatever you want to call it seems so idiotic. Trying to improve one’s race trough infanticide, sterilization, or outright murder seems much more barbaric and savage than what they accuse these less superior races of being. Were they even sure what traits were hereditary and which aren’t? Hearing about this in class today made me think about certain animal mothers killing the weak in their litter for survival reasons. We are not wild animals and for us not being able to run fast or jump high doesn’t mean we are less good stock to breed from. I’m sure that neither Haeckel nor Davenport had the best vision or the quickest reflexes but things like that don't affect one’s intellect. Murdering abnormal infants to stop certain traits from being passed would also stop the birth of new great ideas. Even executing criminals to stop them from reproducing it stupid because some of the most intellectual people around have committed a crime or were criminals, and how are someone’s actions passed on to their kids? Maybe they should have practiced this type of eugenics on the people who thought it would work because to let ideas like that seep down through generations would most definitely diminish the quality of people.

Student: Kat Gillespie    Date: Tuesday February 1st 2005 14:18
Journal Entry: As we are progressing in our discussion of different racial ideas, I find each new idea or way of determining "race" more humorous than the next. I am beginning to almost laugh at some of the ideas that anthropologists have come up with. the Idea of Eugenics is one that I have yet to become comfortable with, but I found Charles Davenport and Henry Goddard interesting. At first, Davenport seems to be on the right track in suggesting that we not kill people, but rather just not let them reproduce. He then strays way off in left field, or it seems to me, with his thoughts on disease and feeble-mindedness. Goddard joined Davenports beliefs with his observation of the Kallikaks. this is the part that I found humorous. It is funny to me to wonder where these researchers/ Dr.'s come up with their ideas. It seems ridiculous that people are degraded under eugenics on the sole reason that their lifestlye is different from the "norm". I have also found it interesting that for every suggestion of race there is some way that they have found to link it with genetics. Thus far, the idea that race may actually be a cultural development has not yet reached the mind set of the time period. But as we also have learned, the scientists of the time seem to be quite arrogant and are afraid of proving themselves wrong.

Student: Latoya Carstarphen    Date: Tuesday February 1st 2005 15:12
Journal Entry: I was shocked in class today because as lecture grew longer and longer, I could only think that it must have been pretty lonely and boring in the 17th and 18th centuries. I suppose I do not understand or relate to there thoughts because I wasn’t there. Where do they come up with these wilds ideas and theories? T. H. Huxley quoted about the inferiority of Africans, but he was considered more enlightened. Francis Galton talks about how a man’s abilities is derived by inheritance, under exactly the same limitations as are the form and physical feature of the whole organic world. How can you compare people and determine if they are identical based on capability and achievement? Well, is he saying I am identical to Oprah Winfrey because her achievement is great, yet I have the same capability as she does. They really pulled my leg on this one... Ernst Haeckel admired Spartans because they practiced infanticide of abnormal infants, to improve the biological quality of their race. In this practice what was considered abnormal or sickly? The population had no opportunity to grow unless it was perfect; therefore, it would produce perfect offspring. Right now, I am lost and I am probably losing you as well...SO instead of yapping on about...._____.... Here is my close.

Student: Jacob Trull    Date: Tuesday February 1st 2005 16:59
Journal Entry: Today in class I was suprised at how many different theories were created to try and separate humans into different races using biological factors. It seems that every geneticist, doctor, and scientist in Europe wanted to be the one who found the biological factor determining race, no matter how many attempts failed or were proven inconclusive they just continued to try and find one. It also suprised me that for men who were scientists and are supposed to believe facts that they discarded, ignored, or excused evidence that would prove thier theories wrong. I think that it became sort of a race, at one point, as to who could find proof of seperate races first, due to the large number of theories circulating at one time. On eugenics, I think that this was the first point in time that it became a public and scientific force. If you look back in history you will see that civilizations, especially in the military, have always tried to improve the quality of its members. This was this first time though that it was approached with such force, like it had to be done for survivals sake.

Student: Matthew Hammond    Date: Tuesday February 1st 2005 17:36
Journal Entry: The American Eugenics movement was one of paculiar interest. found it interesting that none of its supporters found no wrongdoing in its aims. Men such as Charles Benedict Davenport and his ERO, should have seen the ability for this movemnet to turn into eradication of many types of people. The perceived notion that steralization was needed on the basis of his fieldwork was another strange event. Environmental issues were never taken into account for many of these occurences. The notion of the researchers was the individual's inadequacy in preventing the disease itself, thus resulting in the need for sterilization of the line. Stemming from this was Harry Laughlin's idea of the steralization laws in 1924. This also was the advent of the Immiration Restriction Leauge, curving the number and area of where immigrants came from. These events should have shown that the use of negative eugenics could be used for harm, and even taken further. I feel that American's involved in the eugenics movement should have seen the dangerous road this could possibly take. All these factors combined would obviously lay the groundwork for the German's idea of the eugenics movement. Ultimately the horrors of the Nazi regime would result in a connection to the idea of irradication of a lesser line of individuals. Not to say the original founders of these ideas are ultimately to blame, but their groundwork had obvious dangers in its ideas. The thought of killing off people for purification of a race began in the American Eugenics Movement. Yet sterlization would only be carried out in the events of early twentieth century. Concluding with the Nazi Germany experiments of Eugenics, one can obviously see the horrors when these ideas are completly carried out.

Student: Leah Noojin    Date: Tuesday February 1st 2005 17:36
Journal Entry: For this journal entry I feel like reiterating a little from Graves. My initial reaction to reading the chapter titled "Eugenics, race, and Fascism" is that I am finding myself a little pissed off. Not really a little, a lot. I am feeling even more angry by the minute knowing that all of these "scholars", a great deal American, had these rediculous ideas of saving the Aryan race that contributed greatly to the demise of the so-called inferior races. How in the hell did this stuff fly?? I can't even sit here and try to grasp how one could do such a thing! It just doesn't seem fathomable. Galton, Davenport, Laughlin, Hooton, Gates, these people had serious, serious problems. What about Eugen Fischer? How did those of "mixed blood" come to "bastards"? Bastard: adj. born out of wedlock; unusual or irregular so as not to be usable; not the real thing or of inferior quality- n. an illegitimate child; any hybrid plant or animal; anything which deviates from the usual in size, quality, etc.? He also illegally sterilized German African American children. "The Nazis particularly relatd German policies to U.S. Supreme Court sterilization decisions made in 1916 and in 1927 by Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes". In Germany, 1933, this act was made mandatory. To my astonishment, it was based on the "American model sterilization law". The Nazis also critized our treatment of Blacks. Especially when our government questioned their acts toward jews. Neither of us were at any time in the right, I was just amazed on how much influence we had on Germany during this time. I always thought we were in the right for going in and eventually helping them, we were, but some Americans were in fact really right there on the same page with them. I think Graves stated that overall "Germany lost about 6,850,000 people, or about 9.5 percent of its total population". I feel sick, really.

Student: Hood Mullican    Date: Tuesday February 1st 2005 17:53
Journal Entry: The basic model for the rise in the belief in separate races of man that we have all seemed to espouse in this class is that it is a fairly recent phenomenon that developed over say the last five hundred years or so, give or take a century. This coincides roughly with the mid to late Renaissance in Europe and the Age of Exploration, when Europeans were discovering new lands and new peoples. These lands were soon colonized by European powers for some mixture of economic and strategic reasons. Thus the age of Imperialism was born, and ideas about the nature of the various primitive peoples that had been conquered became one of the justifications for the conquests. Imperialism is practically the other end of the xenophobic spectrum from isolationism, but they both stem from what Cavalli-Sforza called the “Us vs. Them” mentality that we as a species seem to have inherited from our most ancient ancestors. If humans are by nature a bit xenophobic, and since ideas about race are part of our Western culture that we are instructed in, can notions of the superiority of one’s own group (whatever that group may be) ever really be eliminated? We can act as polite as we like, we can repress our aggression all we like, but will it still always be there, deep down in our minds where we can’t reach? You can’t take back 500 years of history. Of course, in the really long haul, all things are subject to change. I’m just talking about the present and the relatively near future.

Student: Marshall Bergeron    Date: Tuesday February 1st 2005 17:59
Journal Entry: I wanted to comment on Galton and his rank system of intelligence by race classification. I thought it was interesting because it was popular when this work was first published but today it seems scientifically unimportant and only members of the Ku Klux Klan would take findings like that for fact. I wonder what his reasons were for the difference between the intellect of a Northern Englishmen and an average Englishmen. But something else interesting is in a lighter form this still occurs. Some people from the South believe that they are inherently better than people from the North, and some people from the North think they are inherently better than people from the South. There are people from the North who think people from the South are rednecks and backwards. During my exchange program when I told some people I was from Alabama I think they were expecting someone more like a character from deliverance. Some people believed that in the Southern United States incest was a common practice (thanks Jerry Springer). Some people thought I would relate more to Southern Australia because they were a little bit slower than the rest of the mainland. I also think that the understanding of biological disorders has come a long way with the advancement of technology and human understanding since the beginning of the 20th Century. People like Haekel would be discredited because people who have physical disabilities like Stephen Hawkins and others have shown that physical abilities has nothing to do with intellect.

Student: Phillip Thompson    Date: Tuesday February 1st 2005 19:19
Journal Entry: Just to add also... I read someone's journal entry that expressed that killing criminals makes little sense. I agree completely- think about how many innocent people are in jail- the numbers may not be overwhelming, but it is a guarantee that there are inmates who did not commit the crime that they are in jail for- I'm not going to all of my disagreements with the law, but I think that most could agree that it serves the interests of the wealthiest few percent. It is designed to keep the lower class from revolting- if the lower class revolts, then they end up in jail. If they are killed because they are criminals, then that is a great injustice. Think about the effects on the minority "races" in our own society. Anyways, I don't agree with capital punishment at all- that's why I stay away from Texas.

Student: Sam Siegel    Date: Thursday February 3rd 2005 09:11
Journal Entry: The section from chapter 8 about the interactions between American scientists and Hitler is sort of disturbing. The way Graves lays it out (specifically the mutual influence and admiration between Hitler and the American Eugenicists), it seems like, in a not very different world, America would have allied on the other side of the war. It brings to light just how scary the application theoretical "science" to real world issues can be. All of the eugenics programs Graves discusses reek of the naturalistic fallacy (inferences from "is" to "should be"), which seems to be prevalent in a lot of socially motivated pseudo-science. What if the facts had turned out different (not necessarily heritability of supposedly racial characteristics like laziness or greed, but perhaps just a larger degree of genetic variability between races)? Would this mean that there was any moral justification for the implementation of the Nazi (or American, for that matter) eugenics programs? In the above hypothetical situation, "purity" of race becomes an intelligible concept (whereas, in the real world, it is as logically impossible as a "pure" homogenous mixture – that is, by definition), but is there really any indication that this purity has any sort of positive character? And even to take the next step and assume that racial purity could be beneficial for a society, there's still no justification for the extremity of the Nazi programs. If you've seen one member of a "race" speak and act intelligently-kindly-socially ("one of the good ones," in racist parlance), then you have ample proof that the "difference" between races is not a categorical one, but only one of degrees (bear in mind, we're still within the context of our hypothetical world), and that members of different races are, regardless of what else they may be, human. And this fact alone seems to exclude widespread murder, sterilization and exploitation from the list of morally acceptable things to do.

Student: Ashley Trott    Date: Tuesday February 8th 2005 13:35
Journal Entry: I found it interesting, in class today, how the Spanish/Hispanic/Latino had a completely separate box for their preferred selection. While all other ethnicities were located together on the previous question. Why was it necessary for the government to make this division? Possibly, because of the close proximity the United States is to these countries. It's amazing that race is still very prominent in such a diverse country as the United States and that it is so evident on something as important as the United States Census. On the other hand, the government might designate this separate box for Hispanics in order to keep track of the steady influx of Spanish migration into America. The government wants to keep close watch of the percentage of Hispanic immigrants, so this could possibly be the reason for the separate and detailed Hispanic question on the Census.

Student: Lauren Ashburner    Date: Tuesday February 8th 2005 14:19
Journal Entry: I just saw Hotel Rwanda last week and I just had to comment about it, and if you haven’t seen it you should definitely do so. I’m not going to spoil the movie, just briefly talk on what happened in Rwanda when this genocide was taking place. There were over 1 million people killed during in just around 100 days and neither the U.S. nor the U.N. did anything to help because it was in Africa. But the point of my comment was to go along talking about with eugenics and how things like this can still happen on a massive scale even today with present day attitudes about race and ethnicity. The Rwandan genocide took place in 1994, just 10 years ago.

Student: Marshall Bergeron    Date: Tuesday February 8th 2005 14:44
Journal Entry: I thought today’s lecture was interesting about how the beliefs in eugenics and biological disposition in determining behavior changed over the 20th Century. Since the variability of genetics across peoples was found not to correlate with specific races or population groups the anthropological community has taken a more cultural approach when studying human variation. I think when you take ethnocentrism out of the equation then it is easier for the observer to learn about another’s culture. I also think you can learn more by studying how societies interact rather than studying skull shapes and sizes. I think categorizing your race is strange on standard documents. I get most confused when I have the European box. I have little cultural connection to Europe. I don’t live there, I am not from there, and have never been there. I would like to go to Europe because it is an interesting and culturally diverse place, not because I have European skin color. I am Cherokee Indian but am not sure if my ancestry is close enough to categorize myself as a Native American. But I mark it down anyway to represent.

Student: Jacob Trull    Date: Tuesday February 8th 2005 15:10
Journal Entry: In today's class we discussed how the idea of race from before WW2 was quickly changed and revised after the war so as not to appear similar to any of the Nazi views of race. The new concept revolved around the idea that there were no separate races, and that any biological or physical differences were due to environmental adaptation and variation. It was impressive how the anthropologists of the time came to accept the new views on race and used the same types of evidence to prove the the new concept as they did with the old concept. You can see that the radical and excessive racial views of the Nazi's had a dramatic effect on the world's concept of race and eugenics. It was kind of sad hearing how Coon could not accept the new views on race and tried to continuosly support racial superiority, and that he was eventually shunned. It was also suprising how the census still uses the term race and not ethnicity when refering to the populace.

Student: Kat Gillespie    Date: Tuesday February 8th 2005 15:19
Journal Entry: My comment is going to be much like Ashley's, about the Hispanic/spanish/latino section of the Cenus report. Like Ashley I found it interesting that the hispanic people were put into their own seperate category under a totally different section. It seemed weird to me that the census did not include the hispanic descent or "race" under the "race" section, but then the next section was not specifically for hispanics either. It was just a general question for all people on whether or not they fit into that category. I feel that these two questions could possibly have been grouped together as one, making it seem less like the government is trying to single out people of the hispanic descent. Through such documents such as the census report, one can see that "race" is still the primary way of seperating people. Dr. Bindon himself even mentioned in class that one of the reasons for the census is so that the government can allot the correct amount of money to specific groups. I realize that many other factors are taken into consideration with the allocation of government funds, but sadly race,and often the derogatory aspects or extreme priority of the races are still issues in determining who gets how much government aide.

Student: Kevin Murphy    Date: Tuesday February 8th 2005 15:45
Journal Entry: Last friday in my intro to ethics class we were discussing the issue of animal rights. For a reason that I can’t entirely grasp, the author that we were discussing used an analogy to racism to defend his argument that speciesism was immoral. He refers to race as a biological distinction. As if that wasn’t enough to make me laugh to myself about the timeliness of this, my professor and one of the fellow students got into an argument. The only thing that they had decided to agree on is that race is in fact a biological distinction. I believe my professor even went as far as to say that there is evidence of this. I just sat there with a smile on my face as I shook my head in disappointment at the blatant ignorance he displayed right there in the middle of class. Anyway, I just thought that that was humorous considering the focus of our class. Of course by humorous I mean so sad, that it’s actually funny. Some people really are that deluded by the idea of race. Having written that has reminded me of a scene from the movie Volcano that I really like. It’s at the very end after the threat is over. The one cop in the movie is carrying a young child asking him what his parents look like. The kid looks around at all the people, noticing that ash is covering all their faces, and says “look at their faces. . . they all look the same.” I have always loved that scene because of the subtle message that that line gives. But the truth behind it is also very sad, because it symbolizes the fact that during a time of crisis, we all finally wake up and realize that we are all the same, we are all human and we work together to overcome the tragedy. The symbolism continues right after the kid says that, when it starts to rain and the ash that was covering everybody’s face washes away. This symbolizing that after the tragedy is over, most people tend to go right back into their normal way of thinking.

Student: Leah Noojin    Date: Tuesday February 8th 2005 16:57
Journal Entry: I was in Pepitos Mexican resteraunt Sunday evening when a family with a strong British accent walked in and took the table behind me. The waiter came over to take their orders and simply could not understand what they were ordering. The lady was just asking for water, but because she pronounced it differently the waiter had no idea. I guess that experience goes more along with Linguistics rather than race. On the concept of race, I was wondering for myself, where does one race end and another begin? That was a question I read and wanted to know if there was an answer. On the topic of Revival of Scientific Racism in Defense of Segregation from Graves, Carl Putnam argued that "the experience of being shunned by white classmates in intergrated schools would be far worse psychologically for blacks than segregation". This made me think about Autherine Lucy, the first black admitted to the University of Alabama's Graduate school. She was expelled after three days "for her own safety". Psychologically I think it is safe to say that segregation would have been more devastating for African Americans in the end. But the incident of Autherine Lucy was an example of how hostile the environment still was during the late fifties. It is scary to think that less than fifty years ago, although science was prevailing, racism between blacks and whites was still so strong.

Student: Sally Patterson    Date: Tuesday February 8th 2005 17:57
Journal Entry: I don't have much to say this week, except that while reading chapter 9 this week, I found it rather ridiculous that people actually segregated blood banks. I could imagine doing so if people actually had visible differences in their blood, or if different races' blood was actually incompatible, but I guess that illustrates how extremist and prejudiced people actually were. On a side note, I fould today's discussion about the census interesting, because I know so many people who are the most unlikely mix of races/ethnicities, from everywhere in the world : part greek, part mexican; part Iranian, part mexican; part Iranian, part american; part German, part Peruvian; part Thai part chinese; the list goes on. I think it is high time the government started recognizing that such diversity is very much part of the american culture.

Student: Hood Mullican    Date: Tuesday February 8th 2005 18:04
Journal Entry: I think one of the biggest reasons that racialism and racism are such die hard ideas is that people aren't as rational as we would all like to think. An individual is rational, but groups are not. How an individual's ideas are shaped by the group is an interesting subject. From a purely biological perspective, there is nothing better than pairing two individuals from two very different populations together, because it increases our species' overall genetic diversity, if I'm not mistaken. Rationally, That would be an optimal breeding pair. But, in many places, it is sort of frowned upon for cultural reasons. And, I don't think it is so much consciously trying to maintain the "purity of the race," but the frowning upon that happens is mainly about culture too. We're all proud of our own culture to some extent. But, some things I hear, like saying someone isn't "black enough" or "latino enough" or "trying to act black." This isn't making much sense... I think what I'm trying to say is that what I seem to pick up on mostly is that most people don't really seperate culture and skin tone. Man, this went nowhere.

Student: Matthew Hammond    Date: Tuesday February 8th 2005 18:44
Journal Entry: During the reading of the past week I have become very overwhelmed with the moral situation of eugenics in American and abroad in the first half of the twentieth century. It was assigned political aspects to justify it in many reasons. With the Nazi regime killing millions of innocent people in the name of eugenics and racial purification, this so called purification that American scientists wanted twenty years earlier was halted. With the 1950s arriving and race becoming a big question again, intellectuals still had not learned from their mistakes. I found the post-WWII beliefs to be even more amazing due to the fact that we had just involoved ourselves in stooping such thoughts. The United States continual second-class citizenship of African Americans was contradicting American policies abroad and the creed of our country as well. How could Americans justify racial hierarchy with all the facts pointing to no difference in intellect, physicality, or other sphere. The starting point in life was the difference, class determined one's lot in life in most cases. From eugenics to clense the world of these so called degenerates before the Nazi regime, and then the continual disenfranchisement of them until the 1950's is appauling. Even in our society today I find in strange that race has to play such a huge role. Of course I am all for racial minorities having the same opportunities, yet distinguiushing race as the primary reason to do so seems so primitive to me.

Student: Stella Jackson    Date: Wednesday February 9th 2005 23:17
Journal Entry: I thought it was interesting that Graves used the words "interracial mongrelization" to describe white southerners' fear of integrating the school systems in the fifties. Different scientists tried to drag up all kinds of hard proof and facts against intergrating the schools, but the bottom line was that they didn't want their "pure" white child sitting next to a "dirty" black kid on the bus. We live in such a fast paced world. We are constantly on the go. Americans pride themselves on being new, fresh, and cutting edge in every technology. But when it comes to breaking through an ideal so powerful that it seems almost innate, such as race, we could not be any slower. It took almost a century after the emancipation of the slaves for integration to happen. And now, fifty years later, have we even taken one step further? Doesn't everyone still look twice when they see a "mixed" couple? Do we not all smirk we we see that black man who was just made president of a company and write it off as affirmative action? I mean, how long is it going to take for this idea to finally fade away? I do not want to think that the great efforts of those who fought for what was right were in vain. So many people have fought and died for the sake of making racism go away, and they have fought for so many years. But half a century has gone by, and we are still waiting for change. How much longer is it going to take?

Student: Amy Arizumi    Date: Thursday February 10th 2005 09:05
Journal Entry: The final portion of today’s lecture (concerning the 2000 census) reminded me of a survey I took my freshman year of high school. It was called LoveMatch ‘99, or something equally lame, and the goal was to raise money for the class float by selling the names of classmates that the LoveMatch committee considered most romantically compatible with the surveyed person. How this was determined– I don’t know. Having a similar favorite fruit or color hardly seems important when determining soul-mate potential. But before I was asked whether I would rather eat grapes or bananas, I had to check one of the dreaded race boxes. The options were “white” and “black.” I remember talking to a classmate, who the AAA would classify as an Asian-Indian, about the ridiculous survey. There we were-- a brown-skinned lover of the color blue who would rather have a puppy than a kitten & a slant-eyed fan of the winter season who enjoys music but not milk shakes. Was I to be deprived of the knowledge of fellow cold-natured lactose-intolerant music-lovers because I didn’t fit neatly into one of the racial boxes constructed by the simple-minded SGA? The worst thing about the survey, was the reason behind using the 2 race boxes. Instead of taking all of the girls’ surveys and comparing them to all the boys’ surveys– the LoveMatch committee compared all of the self-proclaimed black boys and girls and separately compared those who checked the white box. This way, nobody would get upset that their #1 potential for love could possibly be (gasp)of another color. How can something like race affect something as undefinable as personal preference. I like green. Isn’t the potential for preferring green to red universal? And if you are going to make assumptions about something as vague as romantic compatibility, based on something as generic as color or food preference— why exclude half of the surveys? (Oh yeah– it’s the same method used by all racialists throughout history) What is even more f***ed up than the segregation of the surveys– was the students’ reaction to the results (top twenty chances for in-school love for the low, low price of $2). The day the results were in– students quickly purchased the silly lists of names– there is probably still an unholy amount of chicken wire and tissue paper left over from the LoveMatch profits. After about ten minutes of giggling, high-fives and the occasional “Eeeeew ” The LoveMatch was forgotten. Nobody found it strange (or even noticed) that the outcomes were formulated through blatant racial segregation. The initial promise of the survey– to find the most compatible mate attending Central High School– was not upheld. If ALL surveys had been compared, without racial distinction, probability says the list of 20 names would be completely different. Why, even in something as insignificant as interschool compatibility tests, do we still follow the flawed pseudo-scientific method of racial separatism?

Student: Phillip Thompson    Date: Thursday February 10th 2005 09:19
Journal Entry: There are a lot of good comments that have been put up so far, so it's hard to find something meaningful to talk about. I said in class today that I check all of the boxes when they ask me to what race I belong. I was kind of wondering what other people thought about that, and whether I was doing a disservice to some underrepresented groups because I am practicing a mild act of disobedience towards the cultural norms. In other words, should I just leave the race category blank, or does it matter that I check all of the boxes out of spite for the system?
I have also taken surveys that are like the census before, and instead of using the term "race", the term ethnicity is used. I am starting to question the intentions of questions like these in the first place. I understand the meaning of the word ethnicity, and how it differs from the use of the word race. However, should be lumped together into one word to describe their cultural background. Does the term "white", "caucasian", or "european descent" actually encompass anything about me? If I traced my roots back far enough I am sure that I can find a little mix of all "ethnicities", so what should I check if they ask me to tell them my "ethnicity". I mean, I have close european ancestors (italian, english, irish, and other), I spent a lot of time in asia, I grew up all over the U.S. There are many more facets to my character then the ethnic words used to describe people in these surveys. Why don't they just ask me "where would you like the money allocated?" Anyways, you get the point. If we're going to draw the line at race, why not take it a little bit further.

Student: Kevin Murphy    Date: Tuesday February 22nd 2005 15:31
Journal Entry: On Saturday afternoon I went to the quad with a friend to throw the football. On the other side of the quad we both noticed a fairly large group of people gathered around, listening to music and dancing. Now this mass of people consisted primarily of "black" people, but I personally didn't really take that into account at all. Anyway, at the time they were listening to and doing the electric slide. I don't like to dance, nor do I unless extremely intoxicated (which is a very seldom state of mind for me, just for the record). But my friend on the other hand loves to dance. We have sort of a joke between us about dancing because the few times we've been at a party together I wouldn't dance with her. So in the spirit of that joke I said "I bet you'd like to go over there and join them." To which she responded something along the lines of "But we'd be the only people like us over there." I didn't even think for a second, before beginning to tear apart what she said. I'm not entirely sure what I said to her, because it was almost like it was instinctive. Basically, I got her to apologize, got her to feel embarassed for saying it, and also insulted her by, as she says, "implying that she was racist." I made no implication. All I did was attempt to educate her on the illusion that is race. I felt that this was a fitting story, at a fitting time, considering we have just finished the first section of this class.

Student: Sally Patterson    Date: Tuesday February 22nd 2005 17:35
Journal Entry: I've been watching a lot of VH1 lately, and I thought I'd just make a note of the fact that it seems to me that racially related subjects are coming to the forefront. A lot of it is probably because of Black History Month, and maybe it's also just because of the hyper-awareness caused by taking this class(you know, like when you get a new car, and then all of a sudden it seems like you see everyone driving your car everywhere), but regardless, there's a show called 'Strange Love' with Brigitte Nielsen (6' tall Actress/Model from Denmark, as seen in 'Rocky IV' and 'Red Sonja') and Flavor-Flav (5'7" rapper from the early 90's group Public Enemy), and I think it's interesting how they interact as a couple with each other's friends, mostly because none of their friends really approve of the match. I think the producers/editors of the show try to make the audience believe that the lines are drawn along race, but really, they come from such different backgrounds that their respective social circles really would have a hard time finding common ground. Also, along the same lines, there's this new show out, it's actually coming on starting tonight so I won't be able to actually talk about it until thursday, called "EgoTrip's race-o-Rama". It seems like a race-oriented version of shows like "I Love the 80's", with celebrities commenting on racial happenings in the media and pop culture, and it should be interesting, to say the least. If anyone else watches it, I'd definitely like to hear some opinions.

Student: Phillip Thompson    Date: Tuesday February 22nd 2005 17:59
Journal Entry: I bet the comments will be a lot shorter now that we are talking about biology. This stuff is too damn confusing. I basically just have a lot of questions for now... Today in class we talked about MtDNA, nuclear DNA, and ABO blood groups (among other things). I am curious about all of the processes that are involved, and would especially like to know more about how in the hell people figure these things out. We talked briefly today about how DNA is coded in labs, but it is still way over my head. I suppose that I need to understand the foundations of DNA and its structures before I can understand fully how these things operate. I read the preface to John Relethford's book and I agree with him that our time is an exciting one because, unlike the people we have been studying so far, we have amazing modern technology and methods that can help us make definitive statements about the nature of biology (race, ethnicity, and human variation). I guess we'll see if science proves to be positive. Ultimately, I hope to learn more about the complexity of our species and about our origins, where we're at, and where we're going.

Student: Matthew Hammond    Date: Tuesday February 22nd 2005 22:52
Journal Entry: The lasting impression of the variation of human beings I have resulted is this. I found in so extremely hard to cope with what mankind has done to one another over the course of history. A book in which I read for my class in African American history really led me down this path of thought. Dr. Alfred Brophy had done instrumental research on the Tulsa race riot of 1921. It was unbelievable the extremes to which white Americans would go to justify what they were doing was right. I was appaled at the whites response to African Americans only wanting to profect another defenseless man from being lynched by false pretenses. They organized to protect him at the courthouse and tried to stop what was about to happen. Whites resist the African Americans who have, as a last resort, taking to arms to protect Mr. Dick Rowland. The stage is set for the riot. The whites drive back the African Americans and subsequently turn to killing all in their way. Men are "deputized" to fight the "agitators" and they lash out at the black vetrans of WWI and all others. These black vetrans had fought for their country and upon returning hoped to gain the same freedom they saw abroad. Yet white Oklahomans and whites across the country saw the situation different. They intended to kill the spirit of the balck vetrans and in the case of Tulsa, the vetrans themselves. The whole episode turned out to be an attempt for whites to put down the so-called "insurrection of the blacks." Though I could go on from here, the eventual result was the destruction of Greenwood, one of the wealthiest black neighborhoods at the time. White Americans had killed innocent people and for what, the African-Americans only sought freedom and equality under the law. Dr Brophy did a wonderful job in this book and his research has presented a task for me to discover other wrongs of the past. Not many people know of the magnitude to which riots shuch as this went. Dr. Brophy research aslo touched off controversy on campus here as well. He was able to have the University issue a public apology for its role in slavery. He was harrassed for doing so,as well as his work in the Tulsa findings. His research and ideas on how to apologize at the very least are vital to learn the errors of our ways in out past.

Student: Jonathan Payne    Date: Wednesday February 23rd 2005 17:45
Journal Entry: I just wanted to comment on a recent article I read on The Supreme Court just ruled that state prisons could not segregate prisoners due to skin color. This ruling come after someone took the California State Prison System to court for discrimination. On the surface this seems like a great win for equality and all that, however if you delve deeper into the issue it really isn't. The stated reason for the segregation was because of constant gang wars inside the prisons. California has 160,000 inmates, which is the largest population of prisoners in the U.S. and when they start riots inside the prison, its erupts in mass chaos, injuring and even killing other prisoners, and endangering the safety of the guards. I am not saying that segregation is right, but if the penal system can somehow form a system of seperating the gangs, then that would provide for the safety of the entire prison, guards included. I just think that the supreme court should have thought this through a little better than automatically lableing it a simple matter of race.

Student: Kat Gillespie    Date: Tuesday March 1st 2005 15:01
Journal Entry: I am really enjoying reading Relethford’s book. He seems to have written it in a more reader friendly form than most other works we’ve looked at. The one topic he has presented that has caught my attention is that of the gene flow. For some reason I found myself fascinated with the idea. For the most part I like to know exactly how things work and why they work that way. It is amazing to me that we can actually trace how humans came to be and the different possible things that cause us to be so different from one another. I also found it interesting that the more mixture there was in a society, the higher the variability was. At first I thought that the more populations grow together, the more similar they would be, but I was thinking in terms of physical appearances rather than thinking about the DNA combinations.

Student: Kevin Murphy    Date: Tuesday March 1st 2005 15:32
Journal Entry: I had an odd thought pop into my head today during lecture. When we were talking about the time period when the descent of our ancestors broke apart into several different lines, I began thinking like a polygenist. Every line except for the one that homo sapiens are at the end of eventually went extinct. But I was thinking to myself, “If I was a polygenist, I would probably try to use these different branches of the hominid tree as evidence of biological races.” I would say that the lines didn’t die out, but rather produced the different “races” that we now see amongst human beings. And as a “racist polygenist” I obviously would state that the homo sapiens line produced the “white man” while the other lines produced the other “inferior races.” Of course this idea is absolutely, to put it quite simply, stupid. But then again stupidity is the essence of polygenism and pseudo-science in the first place, so I feel like I probably would have fit right in.

Student: Lauren Ashburner    Date: Wednesday March 2nd 2005 23:29
Journal Entry: This week I wanted to talk about anthropology as a discipline because there were some interesting things in the readings about how some of the prejudice ideas about human variability coming from leading people in the field. I hear of so many disagreements about dates in the past and what species was one or two of our ancestors form anthropologists, I was thinking that there might still be people thinking that different races are different subspecies in the field today or has our progress in genetics completely invalidated this. Is the reason we devote a whole class to this because we want to reinforce the idea of the human race and not separate races, because it just seems as though this would be accepted without question. Coon was the president of the largest anthropology association in the world and with Eugenics being practiced in the so recent history it seems we might still have disputes still today.

Student: Jonathan Payne    Date: Thursday March 3rd 2005 02:42
Journal Entry: Um, I was trying to be good this week and find some spectacular biological arguement and issue to astound the class with... but all I found was the arguement that race isn't a genetic issue.. and all of the sources I found don't dispute that there is no genetic difference between the races; no one race has more of a biological advantage than any other race; so I guess I will see what everyone has to say in class and that might spark something. Sorry!

Student: Kevin Murphy    Date: Tuesday March 8th 2005 16:17
Journal Entry: An interesting idea comes to my head when thinking about the neanderthal debate. Although the thought itself doesn’t relate to the debate over whether they are a separate species or not. It follows along a similar vein to what I was talking about last week, in regards to attempting to make a relationship between what we are currently learning and what we have already learned. What caught my attention today was when professor Bindon was telling us about the primary distinctions used to designate the neanderthals as a different species, and more specifically the fact that cranial capacity isn’t one of them. Unless I’m mistaken, the average cranial capacity of a neanderthal is actually even larger than that of the average modern human. I could have miss read or heard something, at some point, but I’m pretty sure that’s right. Either way, it is still at least the same size on average. Now to relate this back to the earlier section of the course, and the various racial theorists who attempted to create a racial hierarchy based on cranial capacity and intelligence. Was not the primary argument along this line of reasoning that the “superior” races possessed larger brain capacities and that natural selection had chosen them to in fact become “superior.” (I don’t think I worded that part the way I wanted to. I should be able to do it better in class). Well then using that reasoning, how would they explain us still being here instead of the Neanderthals. According to this logic, Neanderthals should still exist and in fact, again relying on me not being mistaken earlier, be “superior” to us. I guess what I’m really trying to do is use knowledge of neanderthals to refute racial theorist claims. Again, if I didn’t explain myself very well, I’m sorry. I’ll try to do better in class.

Student: Stella Jackson    Date: Tuesday March 8th 2005 17:14
Journal Entry: The lecture in class today got me thinking about the future of the human species. If at one point in the past, there were as much as four different species of humans existing, isn't it possible for different species to exist again? And not just different "races" that we've been debating--I mean real, distinct species. I guess there's just too much interaction between us all now for speciation to happen again. I just hink the possibility of it is interesting to think about. Because undoubtedly we are going to keep evolving; but will we all evolve in exactly the same way? And, I wonder...if a new species does emerge, which population would it be? Those on isolated islands? Those in extreme climates? I've never heard anyone address this topic before, and I just thought it would be very interesting to talk about.

Student: Ashley Trott    Date: Tuesday March 22nd 2005 12:29
Journal Entry: I really enjoyed the video series we watched last week, regardless of the stupid comments made by Wells, the video definitely had potential. The video was very helpful for me because I am a visual learner, and it helped me better understand Wells theory on the 'journey of man'. I definitely agree with what he was attempting to prove or re-trace. I found it admirable how he stepped out of his comfort zone to prove his research, even though he wasn't extremely humble or culturally sensitive. He definitely needed an anthropologist colleague with him on his journey. So, after viewing the video, all I can say is that I'm shocked and truly amazed at the journey of our ancestors, where we came from and where we are now. When I attempt to think about it all, I'm just in awe, it's pretty awesome!

Student: Jonathan Payne    Date: Tuesday March 22nd 2005 16:14
Journal Entry: I'm on time today... I can feel the ground getting colder. Anyway I wanted to talk about last weeks video. I thought it was really cool that there are actually markers in our DNA that we can trace to see where we came from. It wasn't a new idea to me, but it was impressive the way it was presented. It helped the text make more sense because I saw it visually. The only real question I had was how long did the reduced sea levels last? Because it seems like our ancestors spread pretty fast. Either way I'm impressed that they made it. Well thats my post... Kind of short but on time! P.S. Wells should stay in the lab. He was the biggest artard through out the movie; it seemed like he was hell bent on discrediting the natives theories and opinions which pissed me off. Never send a child to do a grown ups work. If he was going to be dealing w/ the natives he should have studied a little bit of Anthro. It almost made me not want to read the book... but then i realized that i would get a bad grade, so my silent protest ended there.

Student: Marshall Bergeron    Date: Tuesday March 22nd 2005 17:04
Journal Entry: This last weekend I went to a funeral with my grandmother for a distant cousin who was a native of Tuscaloosa. He was my grandmother's first cousin and his burial was at Evergreen Cemetery behind the Bryant-Denny Stadium. I later found out that my grandmother had another older cousin who had recently passed away who was also buried at Evergreen cemetery. It was interesting because my grandmother told me a lot of her mother's family, whom are from Tuscaloosa were buried in this cemetery. Her mother's last name was Brown and there were a lot of Brown's all over the cemetery. This was interesting because I could trace my ancestry on my grandmother's side just by referencing Brown family members located here. I have been passing this cemetery for years and never knew I had any personal history there. I also wanted to commit on the situation of the Son tribes in Southern Africa and other hunter-gatherer tribes that still exist around Ethiopia. I was wondering if they have through history kept small numbers due to their lack of migration or if they are actually dwindling into extinction. I have seen in videos that their biggest problem is coming into contact with growing industrialization and logging which are moving further into regions that have resources they rely on. I also was thinking that because of their harsher lifestyle that younger tribal members choose to migrate to places with more opportunities and end up mixing their genes within larger populations who have less of a variation in their DNA. Is one reason for the lack of variation in our DNA because of the constant blending of genes and migration which makes DNA less unique like admixing languages?

Student: Latoya Carstarphen    Date: Tuesday March 22nd 2005 21:10
Journal Entry: What an amazing video on our past, indeed The Journey of Man. Spencer Wells, did an awesome job with explaining what and how our past traveled. I admire him for taking a stand to discover how all of our ancestors accumulated from the same place. Wells shows a powerful determination to make history and define himself as he went. Wells provided me with a totally different view of my ancestors. He went places and found cultures that I never knew existed. His theory of what route they took to cover so much land seemed true; however, the more he traced their paths the more he found different possibilities. The video was also hilarious because as he traveled, some cultures had no idea what he was doing or what he was talking about. Even though they had no clue of his purpose they were very willing with fun personalities. These foreign cultures always seem to be happy as if they have no worries. Wells was so excited when he came across the Bushman culture. I thought they were very unique especially because of the clicking sound of their language..............................................Personally, I enjoyed the video with a passion. It really made me think more about the past, our past.

Student: Lauren Ashburner    Date: Wednesday March 23rd 2005 22:40
Journal Entry: This week I wanted to talk about this bottleneck event 70,000 years ago. It seems that when humans experienced this bottleneck in population, this is what enabled us to trace these genetic markers more easily. Using these markers we can trace human’s path as they left Africa. I wonder if this would have been possible without Mt. Toba erupting and also would humans be really different than today if this hadn’t happened. It’s like looking at a family tree that goes back 1000’s of years. It amazing that we can actually trace this lineage from ourselves.

Student: Kevin Murphy    Date: Tuesday April 5th 2005 14:36
Journal Entry: I would like to offer up a possible answer to the question that Dr. Bindon asked during class today. He asked the question, “where did we[people] come up with this race concept?” I did not offer this answer in class because to be honest, I have been thinking about it since then until now. It is a great question. My answer is based on the idea that we as humans have an innate desire within us for competition. Almost as if it was a side effect of natural selection. After all, the main idea behind the concept of natural selection is to select the most adaptive traits for a species to survive and continue to reproduce. Therefore, modern humans and all other species of hominids were, unknowingly at the time, in competition with each other to survive and outlast the others. Our line of hominid evolution won the championship so to speak, and we now reign as the champions of the hominid evolution tournament. Now that we had defeated all of our competition, humans still had this innate lust for competition so we turned on each other and started to compete with one another. Well we needed a way to break off into teams so that it wasn’t everyone for themselves and utter chaos. Our skin color became our team uniforms. The problem was that the “white” team forget to let all the other teams know that they were signed up for the league, so they happened to win every game by forfeit. But in their minds, they beat the other teams pretty badly. You’ll have to forgive the analogy. I still have the NCAA tournament in my head. Hopefully something I said has relevance to the question I was originally attempting to answer.

Student: Leah Noojin    Date: Tuesday April 5th 2005 16:50
Journal Entry: Where did we come up with this race concept? I looked it up in the Encyclopedia and found a good answer. It says," Attempts have been made to classify humans since the 17th cent., when scholars first began to seperate types of flora and fauna. Johann Friedrich Blumenbach was the first to divide humanity according to skin color. In the 19th and early 20th cent.,people such as Arthur Gobineau and Houston Stewart Chamberlain, mainly interested in pressing foward the supposed superiority of their own kind of culture or nationality, began to attribute cultural and psychological values to race. This approach, called racism, culminated in the vicious racial doctrines of Nazi Germany, and especially in anti-Semitism. This same approach complicated the integration movement in the United States and underlay the former segregation policies of the Republic of South Africa."- (The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed.)I also wanted to quote a passage from a book called Science and Creationism: A View from the National Academy of Sciences, second edition..." Creationism, intelligent design, and other claims of supernatural intervention in the origin of life or of species are not science because they are not testable by the methods of science. These claims subordinate observed data to statements based on authority, revelation, or religious belief...This contrasts with science, where any hypothesis or theory always remains subject to the possibility of rejection or modification in the light of new knowledge."

Student: Kat Gillespie    Date: Tuesday April 5th 2005 17:04
Journal Entry: My post for this week is going to be pretty much just comments about others posts. I sat down at my computer and had no clue what I was going to write about, so i looked at what everyone else had thought about... makes sense :) but anyways, I believe it was Kevin's post that I found the most interesting. I really enjoyed his analogy of race and our concept of Team athletics. I agree with what he said about humans having a competitive nature and that our way of classifying race is just the same as the way we classify our favorite sports teams. It is certain that we are different from each other and there are clear variations throughout culture. When you think about it, this concept is quite an abstact idea. As we have discussed already, skin color is continuous and there are no clear boundaries or margins to each different step on the color scale. in addition, we can't seem to find a valid biological reason for the differences either. The whole idea seems to be a big jumble of environmental, biological, visual, mental, genetic, and evolutionary changes and influences... so I guess what I am saying is that "race" is the only way that our simple minds could come up with a reason for these differences.

Student: Stella Jackson    Date: Tuesday April 5th 2005 17:45
Journal Entry: In class today, Dr. Bindon posed the question why the concept of race is such a deep-seated issue, since it has been proven that there is no genetic evidence to prove that we are different. I'm thinking it's because a lot of people simply don't know that these genetic studies have been done and that race has been disproved. If you ask any layman on the street if there are significant genetic differences between the "races", he would probably respond with a resounding "yes." I have known several people that are very intelligent to say that there are significant genetic differences among the "races." It seems like these studies have been kind of swept under the rug. Is it because of political reasons? Do the white men not want the world finding out that the black men they have so long kept underfoot are actually just like them? I mean, I honestly had no idea that human similarities amounted to such a high percentage until I took this class; so I'm sure that most everyday people have no idea, either. I mean, what's the deal with this? Why aren't people shouting it from the mountaintops? It seemed like if anything could break down the race barrier, it would be science, because science is unbreakable. It's not just a belief or an idea--it is solid, hard evidence. So, why do so many people still not accept the fact that race is simply an ideal? I guess that people are just too happy with the way things are now, because the change this would bring about if people actually listened or cared would be phenomenal.

Student: Latoya Carstarphen    Date: Tuesday April 5th 2005 22:57
Journal Entry: During the biological portion of this course, the explanation of race becomes more real, but more confusing as well. I am totally confused as more ways are created to possibly find out a true definition of how we were distinguished. It is very unique that race was distinguished between texture of the hair and the shape of the nose. Every texture or shape meant a different region or different meaning. How amazing is it that rules were created to determine how temperature had an affect on size. During the lecture today, I understood more about race than I have ever understood. Well, I really started understanding it during Wells video, but these theories some how make it more real for me. I agree totally with Dr. Bindon when he said, “People see race”.

Student: Marshall Bergeron    Date: Tuesday April 12th 2005 12:29
Journal Entry: I read the article Culture, not race Explains Human Diversity. I think the article challenges people to look at the bigger picture when trying to understand people whom come from different backgrounds, and not just knowing what kind of music they listen to. I feel like my cultural background is much more similar to an African-American from the South than some surfer dude from California. I don't know where I am trying to go but I guess where you are from is personally more unique to me than what you look like... but I think I understand students who struggle in school because they do not have the same background as other students and it not having anything to with intelligence, or even language, but cultural background and certain topics being more emphasized in that culture because those studied topics relate more to that place. I wrote a paper in an Anthropology class and failed. I thought the topic was pretty general and I don't recall the topic but it was something like how has Anthropology been effective in understanding human cultures and how can it be in the future. I got an F and a commit "This is more of a personal diatribe on the War on Terrorism" I thought I had included the basics on why Anthropology is worthy of academia and then gave an analysis on why an anthropological perspective should be considered in making future decisions on how governments study terrorism. Bad idea. Intelligence may or may not have had something to do with me getting an F but a lot of it probably had to do with my cultural background and what was important to me, even though I spoke the same language (somewhat) and generally had the same education.

Student: Sam Siegel    Date: Tuesday April 12th 2005 13:33
Journal Entry: The three descriptors used in hospitals (age, gender, race) really do seem like convenient ways of parsing patients and saving time. We discussed the fact that there will be people of European decent not treated for sickle cell or people of African decent not treated for CF. But these things don't happen all the time. If race were not a fairly efficient way of narrowing down the number of possible ailments that most patients could have, it wouldn't be used. However, just as the other two categories can sometimes be misleading (men can have breast cancer, children can develop conditions that are normally later onset conditions) but are most often an efficient way of parsing up the number and types of diseases a patient might have, ethnic background does save time when used in this context. Basically, until a complete genetic analysis - or some other method that accomplishes what the "race" category attempts to - is as cheap and as quick as the current method (which might not be that far off. Still, the sort of information needed is neither cheap nor quick to obtain at this point in time), the politics of overcrowded hospitals aren't going to allow the use of something else.

Student: Latoya Carstarphen    Date: Tuesday April 12th 2005 14:28
Journal Entry: Race and Health is an excellent topic to have a lecture on, I think. Well, I guess that’s why I enjoyed class so much today. Now I feel that I understand more about how we are perceived with sickness dealing with our race. I have so much to say and ask that I am afraid I might confuse all of us...................................................................................First of all, I want to explain to you’ll what understanding I have. Well growing up as an African American, I was taught that I have to protect my health. One reason why was because we were prone to high-blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. My parents always told me to watch what I ate because blacks have a high percentage of being obese. I am understanding that blacks are more likely to have sickle cell anemia because of biological reasoning and not genetics? I feel that these diseases are likely to have but more likely if your parents or grand-parents have traits of them..............................................I agree with the three key descriptors in Medical History because it seems to be such a mind set. I think I better stop here because I am confused between what I’m really trying to say and what I should really believe.

Student: Ashley Trott    Date: Tuesday April 12th 2005 16:10
Journal Entry: It's amazing how even the NEJM can't seem to distinguish the difference or properly use the terms race and ethnicity. I found it very interesting how in class today, Dr. Bindon showed us the excerpt from the NEJM, and they used the terms interchangeably. Also, in today's lecture I found it interesting how doctors find it easier to think only in DNA terms rather than taking into account possible social causes. Their short cut answer is to look at the color of skin. This is a really sad issue and it seems to me that because of this problem, possibly more cultural or medical anthropologists should be hired to work closely with doctors, and to give them insight on their understandings of other cultures. I enjoyed this quote by Cooper that seems to conclude the argument of not using only race for a diagnosis, "An unintended result of categorizing people according to race can be to foreclose the question of why they have ill health, leaving us blind to the meaning of the more relevant local and individual context."

Student: Leah Noojin    Date: Tuesday April 12th 2005 17:11
Journal Entry: I especially enjoyed reading the article "Why Genes Don't Count (for Racial Differences in Health)". Maybe it was because I read it outside and it is such a beautiful day. It really struck me as interesting though. This article was by Alan H. Goodman. He started out in this article refering to an Intro to Anthropology class he had taken under Professor George Armelagos and throughout the article gave insight to his initial views on race that parallels to a lot of ours in beginning Anthro. He said he recollected that it made almost instant sense to him that human races are social constructions. He really built up his professor in explaining that he really helped him understand that human biological variation is continuous, complex, and ever changing. This class has really helped me understand some of the same things. Bindon is to us what George Armelagos was to Alan Goodman. I liked the reasons he gives us,considered together, that suggest that race-as-biology is obsolete. The first was 'The concept of race is based on the idea of fixed, ideal, and unchanging types, second, Human variation is continuous, third, Human variation is nonconcordant,fourth, Within-group genetic variation is much greater than variation among "races",fifth, there is no way to consistently classify by race, and lastly, There is no clarity as to what race is and what it is not. Under each of these reasons he went into more detail. I can read and take in information, but I am not really good at relaying it so I apologize. I would like to write a little on evolution and variation of diseases, but I really don't know where to start. When we are in discussion maybe I can throw something in. Peace...

Student: Kevin Murphy    Date: Tuesday April 12th 2005 17:37
Journal Entry: I had two thoughts today in regards to Benjamin Rush and his theory of how leprosy was the cause of the black skin color. The first one was that couldn’t someone make the argument for the exact opposite to be true. Couldn’t someone say leprosy was what caused him to loose his dark skin, and that leprosy in fact caused the whit skin color. That has about as much scientific basis as Rush’s way of thinking. The other thought was that in a backwards way, Rush’s theory could actually be used in support of the idea that we are all one single race of human beings. By saying that leprosy causes dark skin color, he’s saying that underneath, we are all “black” and on the surface we are all “white.” I don’t know, maybe that is just me attempting to put a positive spin on his stupid theory.

Student: Jacob Trull    Date: Tuesday April 12th 2005 17:42
Journal Entry: I am amazed at what people, especially scientists, could come up with to attack others with or to justify their own biased views. First they justified the enslavement of another population of people by using the color of their skin as an indicator of inferiority and then after the slaves were emancipated they tried to justify it by creating false diseases of which enslavement was the cure. These people sound both incredibly desperate and partially insane to think that they could reinstate slavery by using this. You would think that those doctors who look at blood work and do the analyses at the time would eventually see that if they did not know the supposed race of the patient beforehand they would see no difference in the blood make up between those of differing skin colors. I think that just by knowing the supposed race of the patient that scientists and doctors would even unconsciously begin to look for and find made-up differences or symptoms. I already know the sicklecell anemia is passed on by genetics but is a mutation created to deal with malaria not a trait of those with black skin color.

Student: Casey Adams    Date: Tuesday April 12th 2005 18:08
Journal Entry: My post this week is a little bit off-topic; I have been writing a paper about US foreign policy and apartheid in South Africa. Apartheid was a system of "seperateness" in which a white minority (1/4 of the population) controlled all aspects of the country and the lives of the South African natives. Legislation was enacted to classify every citizen of the country by race; the Group Areas Act told Africans where they could and could not live. Apartheid was one of the worst instances of racism being offical policy of a government. Did ya'll ever study apartheid in school? I did not; it was never mentioned in one class I took. Perhaps my high school had bad cirriculum, but it surprises me that apartheid is not discussed more than it presently is. The reason for this may be the fact that the US was seldom active within the international community in the discussion of the issue . In fact, the US repeatedly refused mandatory and voluntary sanctions against South Africa despite the strong support the motion received in the United Nations. As the rest of the world was taking action to reform South Africa's government, it was business as usual for the US in that region. We even decided to a build military tracking station within the country and also aided the white minority National Party in developing its nuclear program. South Africa is a rich place, abundant in natural resources such as gold and many US firms jumped at getting access to this country. It seems that as much as America loves freedom, it loves its money more. Economic sanctions against South Africa were internationally supported. The idea was that the South African government would realize its dependence on international trade and be forced to reform their government to avoid the worsening of economic conditions. The US oppossed this, believing that such measures would only negatively impact the African natives. As we, once again, went against the will of the international community, the US, both the government and the private investors, continued pumping money into South Africa. Do you guys believe the US was wrong in the choices they made? How could a country built upon ideals of equality, liberty, and justice not only ignore but also fund a government that defies all of these ideals? Should America have taken a proactive role in ending apartheid in South Africa? I believe so. I'm all for the US keeping its nose away from places it doesn't belong, but this situation is different to me. The coorperations investing in South Africa were the reason the US refused to get involved, fearing it would damage monetary returns. It seems to me that globalization may have similar repurcussions as colonialism in terms of hurting native populations. As coorperations stride into foreign countries claiming they will help, they often walk all over culture, people, and happiness. We are so often concerned with improving the quality of our life with tangible goods, that we may miss an opportunity to gain a better standard of living for all people.

Student: Hood Mullican    Date: Tuesday April 12th 2005 18:10
Journal Entry: I don't read very many scientific or medical journals very often, but I thought it was kind of odd that any legit peer reviewed journal would edit articles in such a way that it changed the real message of the article. Maybe I misunderstood, but it seemed to me that the line about disease not being determined by populations would be much more powerful if it had said that race was not a biological factor in a persons susceptibility to disease. Or, that serious scientists still maintain ideas about race being a biological classification or a biological concept with logical legs to stand on is also a little weird to me. Maybe I'm not as cynical as I once was, but I sort of thought that scientists always tried to limit their own bias in their research and in reviewing others' research.

Student: Sally Patterson    Date: Wednesday April 13th 2005 11:40
Journal Entry: Once again, I apologize for my late entry, Prof. Bindon. Yeesh. I still don’t know what to think about all the information we were presented with this week. I have many thoughts, and I’m doing this after an all-nighter, so I’ll try to make sense of them. For all the way the material seems to have been presented so as to come across black and white on the issue of race and disease, something in my gut causes me to have a few reservations and insecurities. Maybe it’s the way the facts were presented; I just feel like doctors have been shortchanged a little, made to seem worse and more ignorant as a whole than they actually are, especially with the way Graves writes. Something about it just rubs me the wrong way; he tends to present his opinions and interpretations as fact. I’m not denying the validity of the points he makes, just pointing out that he seems a little too cocky and self-righteous when making them. A lot of what we talked about, when you get straight down to it, is the fact that different people define the terms ‘race’ and ‘ethnicity’ different ways, and there is a lot of confusion of the terms in studies and the likes. It seems to me that while the use of ‘race’ as a defining term when describing biological basis for disease may be incorrect, I still think that some of the underlying inferences/information may have application, and I'm confused as to whether this is true or not. Naybe I just need to take a stat class or something. For instance, Graves uses the example of an osteoporosis notice on Tums packages; he points out that all people have some risk of osteoporosis, and all people could benefit from such a warning, thereby stating that the ‘races’ mentioned in the warning were un-necessary and backwards. My opinion is that if there is a significantly statistically higher risk for certain a group, it is completely appropriate to warn about something like that, for the lay public’s benefit. Whatever the cause of the statistical risk, whatever environmental/social factors go into it, it still remains that that group (as defined by the study) has a higher probability for whatever the disease is, which I think merits at least a cursory consideration. Maybe someone of Asian background sees that warning and didn’t realize that Asian women are at a higher risk for osteoporosis; maybe they decide to do research or go see a doctor as a preventative measure. Maybe what I’m trying to articulate is that there may be certain truths buried in the ignorance, misunderstandings and jargon. Maybe a slight positive spin could be found somewhere? I don’t know…I’m sort of thinking out loud, trying to explore other options. It just seemed to me that everyone who has an opinion on these things has a very strong one on one of two sides, and that there isn’t any kind of gray area or middle ground. I hope this made sense; I recognize that there is no biological basis for race, etc. etc., and I agree that ‘race’, i.e. superficial physical characteristics should not be used as an identifying factor, but I think it would be dumb to overlook the fact that more people of African descent have sickle-cell disease than those of European descent, and all the things that the situation implies. Also, food for thought ~ if two doctors are in a tense situation with limited time for communication, it seems to me that saying “41- year- old black male” would be a more expedient way of giving another doctor a superficial understanding of the patient than saying something like “41 year old male whose parents are both of African descent and who grew up in poor housing, has a low income, doesn’t eat well, and performs hard physical labor to make a living.’ Granted, any number of things could be implied by the usage of the word ‘black’, so here we are at the communication problem again. Oh well, just thinking. And these other factors definitely come out further along the line when more thorough examination/analysis is done, so using the generic ‘black’ could probably be corrected for in the long run. I'm not trying to excuse anything, just trying to wrap my head around the situation, walk a mile in their shoes. One last thing – all of this talk about CF got me thinking, because my dad is a pediatric pulmonologist and CF is THE main thing he deals with; If I get a chance before discussion, I’ll try to pick his brain about a few of the topics covered, maybe try and get a physician’s first hand opinion on all this stuff. HAHA that was a really long post. :-)

Student: Lauren Ashburner    Date: Thursday April 14th 2005 08:51
Journal Entry: I saw something on the news today about an implicit association test or IAT. The scientists that developed this teat say that people don’t always know their mind or hide their feelings. The test measures attitudes and beliefs that people are unwilling or unable to say. One IAT sees if you have a preference toward blacks or whites. It measures it with a slight, moderate, or strong preference of one race over the other, or no preference at all. The test shows that most Americans have an automatic preference of white over black. There are other tests on the website like age, gender, sexuality. The website for the tests is

Student: Kat Gillespie    Date: Tuesday April 26th 2005 14:45
Journal Entry: I've noticed that in today's society we seem to have basically three groups of people, those who are racist and will always be, those who are not, and those who just really dont seem to give a flip. Through this class I believe that I have been changed from the last group, to the second group. I've always been pretty open minded, but without a reason to really think about race and what a silly idea it is, I never really gave it a second thought. i know that this post is supposed to be about the race and IQ lecture from last week, but i really wanted to say something about the video. After watching the video today I found myself extremely disgusted with American society. To sit and watch the different excuses and reasons that they came up with on why immigrants could not become citizens was embarrassing! Those people came over to america to have a free and equal chance at life, and upon arriving learn that, those ideas are true only to "white" people. Society basically was saying, if you're not white, screw you... it is sad to think that after all of the fighting and struggles that people endure for equal rights, that there are still people in the world that will always be closed minded and arrogant, thinking they are better than everyone else. but anyways, the second part of my post is about the IQ testing. I admit, I don't know much about IQ testing at all. I've never taken an IQ test, that I know of, and really couldn't tell you the purpose of one besides that they are supposed to determine how smart you are and what your potential is. I believe that giving tests to determine those type of things is not the greatest idea anyways. I use myself as an example. I'm not a good test taker, especially standardized tests, never have been never will be. Took both the SAT and ACT and scored average on them,but not enough to recieve any recognition, but yet the guy half a sleep sitting on the other side of the room gets a full ride to princeton because he guessed lucky... you get the idea. i think kinda the same thing works for the IQ testing especially with races. one could score higher on the IQ test simply for guessing the correct answer, along with the consideration of what race he or she is, while the another person may have gotten confused by the questions. guess what im trying to say is that they are not an accurate measurement of intelligence, but yet, we may never come up with a way to measure it. thsi semester has been great, I've learned so much and enjoyed it! peace out!

Student: Kevin Murphy    Date: Tuesday April 26th 2005 14:51
Journal Entry: I think it was fitting to have race and IQ at the end of the course, because in a way it brings us back to the beginning when the debate on races focused around cranial capacity and intelligence. In regards to intelligence testing, I see it as being the easiest and most obvious way that a racial theorist could show a bias toward the results they are shooting for. They can create an intelligence test that is grossly culturally biased toward “whites” and use it as the measure of intelligence of all different “races”. When the “whites” score higher than everybody else, the theorist has empirical data in front of him that says that “whites” are smarter. The problem is that the empirical data is based on crap, to put it simply.

Student: Ashley Trott    Date: Tuesday April 26th 2005 16:10
Journal Entry: Mark Nathan Cohen’s article “Culture, not race, explains human diversity” is an excellent article that does a good job explaining how culture is an important aspect to look at when trying to explain human variation. The average American would probably be shocked to read Cohen’s statement that the genes of black and white Americans probably are 99.9% alike. Cohen stresses the importance of anthropologists and other academics doing a better job of communicating these facts to students and to the public, even though he feels racism will still occur unless we provide a better explanation, such as culture. The conclusion of Cohen’s article is very powerful and should not be taken lightly. He explains the importance of cultural relativism. He states that “it is the only road to tolerance and real freedom of thought, because it lets us get outside the blinders of our own culture.” He goes on to stress the importance that this issue be built into the core curricula at the level of higher education: “not taught only as an elective frill if a student happens to sign up for an anthropology course.” Cohen is very passionate about how anthropology and higher education function together towards the goal of educating students more about the importance of understanding and being aware of cultures. Now, I'm going to stray from the assigned topic, I was watching music videos on VH1 the other morning, and the new Dave Matthews Band single, "American Baby" came on. I really enjoyed this music video, I think it sends a great message to our nation. Ya'll should watch it, you can go to the websites of MTV, VH1 or Rolling Stone to view it.

Student: Latoya Carstarphen    Date: Tuesday April 26th 2005 16:55
Journal Entry: I want to first start by saying “Where is the world going an how is it using its time”? Anthropologists ranked us into groups first by skull size and shape, but a century has allowed them to upgrade to intelligence testing. If I understand correctly would these test have the same results. If for example, African Americans and Asian Americans have small to medium skull size, then they score below to average in IQ scores. These test could be read vise versa, or maybe my theory is wrong. The racial idiocy that people see race will not go away indeed. IQ testing is a more professional way of distinguishing races, so less excuses and explanations are needed. Therefore, which ever race scores highest is the superior race. The percentage of outside races that manage to score what the superior race scored does not equal out to matter. I have went from understanding to not understanding to understanding again and now I do not ever know who I am.

Student: Phillip Thompson    Date: Tuesday April 26th 2005 17:23
Journal Entry: Race and IQ- It seems that there are too many exceptionally gifted minorities to claim that a certain "race" is genetically predetermined to be more or less intelligent. If you do a keyword search on the internet for African American inventors, or Asian inventors, then you shouldn't be surprised to see many of our invention and ingenuity comes from a variety of different "races". But IQ tests are a joke. I did a search today on the internet for IQ tests. I found one website that was for the IQ elite- you take a test and if you score above 126 then you give them $50 per year and you are "elite". It's the cheesy shit I've ever seen. They also have a magazine "IQ" something or other. I took a couple IQ tests, then they wanted money to give me the results! The ones that I took asked questions like this: "If john is taller than jack, and ralph is taller than john, then jack is the shortest of the group- True or False". Well, I can guess and I have a 50/50 chance of getting it right. This means that I may score between 0-50% of the questions right just by putting all true or all false. Well that's ridiculous. I agree with what's been said in class about IQ tests. They are culturally biased, knowledge based, and they are geared towards people who are good at standardized tests. If I'm sick on the day of my test, I will do poorly. But, if I'm in good health I usually do pretty damn well. I'll tell you all a secret- I completed a GED at the end of my senior year and dropped out of high school. My GED score was good enough to get me a scholarship to a community college and I went on to complete college and get a job in my field! I was never very interested in high school and I was glad that I was finished because I didn't feel that I really learned anything there, except social skills (if you want to call them that). However, I essentially covered 4 years of schooling in about 3 hours and was rewarded for my good work! Only in America! Well, I did well on that particular standardized test, but it certainly did not reflect my knowledge from high school and my ACT scores did not reflect my grades in college. I was brought up with books, ideas, opportunities, etc. But what about kids that are not- studies show that they do poorly on IQ tests, standardized tests, etc. I don't think this reflects their innate abilities. I agree with what has been said in class- poor people are in a deficient environment most of the time. It's hard to read when you don't have a light bulb! I heard a story on the news today that was uplifting and had to do with our topic of discussion. This 5th grade teacher in Los Angeles, Mr. Esquith, has been teaching inner city youth for 25 years and has had remarkable results. He's won teaching awards, been honored by the British Empire, won medals, and has even been honored by President Bush (wow...). He has been teaching poor immigrant children for these past 25 years, and he has "taught" them to excel above societies low expectations. His students arrive two hours early for class, they work through recess and stay until 5 PM. They even come to class on vacation and holidays. Over 90% of the kids at the school he teaches are below the poverty level. All of his students are from immigrant families, primarily Hispanic and Asian, and none of them speak English as a first language! After all that is against them, they still score in the top 5-10 percent of the country in standardized test scores. At the end of each year, his class performs an unabridged production of Shakespeare! Mr. Esquith's explanation for the children's achievement is "hardwork". There are a lot of implications to all of this. Since I accept that standardized tests measure familiarity with the "subject" or with test's creator, then I also have to accept that what these kids have done is become familiar with the testing grounds. They are not actually smarter or innately genius in comparison to any other groups. "Hardwork" as Esquith said it, is all that seperates them from other children. You don't even see kids in private schools reading Shakespeare and performing his plays at age 10! You don't see many kids who can play concertos at age 10 and actually take an interest in learning over recess and holidays! But, the hardwork and the familiarity with language, mathematics, science, history, etc. gives them the edge they need to succeed at standardized tests. Regardless of the tests, Esquith is doing a great job. He had to work 4 jobs at one point just to keep the equipment and learning tools in the classroom that he thought were necessary (books, instruments, etc.) We also see that poor, immigrant children (who speak english as a second maybe even third language) can succeed in the American public school system and can do well on standardized tests. But the rest of us, who probably had a lot of luxury and access to knowledge growing up, did not have to work as hard to afford opportunities. These children, although bright and hardworking, will still have many barriers growing up in our society without money and without the right "race". That's really sad... Anyways, that's enough writing for me.

Student: Hood Mullican    Date: Tuesday April 26th 2005 18:09
Journal Entry: The chapter made enough sense to me. It's funny, I've never really questioned the concept of IQ before college. I always just accepted the belief that some people are born with more lights on upstairs than others. But, I can see how living in substandard conditions could blow some of those bulbs out early on. Standardized tests measure how well you can take standardized tests. In Language and Culture, we read a book about a small mill town where the ideas of race and IQ came into play. Not so much "Race and IQ," but more like "culture and classroom performance." The town was pretty racially divided, there was an area of town where most of the Black people lived, and there was an area of town where most of the white folks lived. The whole town was pretty poor, but the whites were still on average better off economically than the black families. The main focus of the book was on the culture a child was brought up in, specifically the linguistic culture (e.g. ways of storytelling, rules on how to express thought, comprehension), and how that culture manifested itself in the performance of the children in school. Both groups, the black children and the white children, showed signs of learning disabilities (compared to children in the larger neighboring cities, the "mainstreamers"), but there were differences between them. For instance, the black children were very active, and each one seemed to want to be the focus of attention all the time. They would "make up" stories, or raise their hand just to talk, not necissarily because they knew the answer to the question. The white children, on the other hand, showed very little creativity, never volunteered to speak, and rarely answered when the teacher called on them. Both of these groups would have been in special education, but they weren't mentally handicapped biologically. Their respective cultures just didn't equip them with the tools that they needed for a mainstream American classroom. There's a lot more in depth descriptions of the cultural backgrounds of the two groups in the book, and it's really interesting, I just can't really reproduce it all in print. I don't think anyone will actually read this whole thing, other than Dr. Bindon. I'd cite the book, but I loaned it out to a friend and forgot the title. It was something like "The Invisible Culture," or something.

Student: Sally Patterson    Date: Tuesday April 26th 2005 18:33
Journal Entry: Wow, seems I'm hit and miss to the end with deadlines! I just have a little story that my mom told me that reading all the race and IQ stuff reminded me of. As I've said before, I was in an International Baccalaureate Program for high school; we had to take some standard entrace exams (math, english, and this weird logic thing) and score at a certain level to get in, combined with grades and recommendations. So my mom was at a parents meeting early my freshman year, and a smartly dressed white man was there, sitting near my mother, protesting the fact that his child had not been admitted. He became more and more irate as the meeting tried to continue and finally someone told him that his child had not scored high enough and he just needed to get over it. He then turned on my mother, who is fairly dark, raving about how suscpicious it was that so many minorities were included in the program, and very rudely asked her, "My child scored __, so how did your child score? ", as if her response would illustrate his point, that minorities were being let in because of the color of their skin and not their test scores. My mother, startled out of her wits, blurted out my scores, which needless to say shot his theory straight out of the water. Just goes to show you, even in an area that considers itself very liberal and enlightened, misconceptions and prejudices are still around.

Student: Marshall Bergeron    Date: Wednesday April 27th 2005 08:41
Journal Entry: Race and IQ. I agree with the class that since their is no scientific basis for race then race couldn't indicate your likely intelligence. But that is something I probably could gather before this class. I think race and Intelligence really hits home in Alabama, but I probably like a lot of other Alabamians just never really thought about it. I grew up in a middle to upper class suburb outside of Birmingham called Vestavia Hills. Their were African-American's that went to school with us but not to many. Most of them took the bus to middle school and high school because that was okay if we let them go to our school but that didn't mean we wanted them to live with us. There were no African-American households in our neighborhood or any of my friend's neighborhood. I had no experience as I grew up to become friends with anyone but a white person. I went to highschool in New orleans and I never really took to much notice to this issue until I came back my senior year and attended Mt. Brook High school and it hit me in the face. I lived with my grandmother who bought a house in 1957 for 19,000. There was one African-American who attended the school. And there is nothing wrong with Mountain Brook, it is a really nice place, but no African-Americans? My mom, who grew up in Mountain Brook tells me still to this day African-Americans are encouraged not to buy, or real estate agents are not encouraged to sell a house in Mountain Brook to your average middle class African-American. This is implied segregation just like the movie was talking about. Residents of Mountain Brook are getting the spoils of living in one of the nicing places in Alabama, having among the best houses, and most importantly, having one of the best education programs. And people wonder why African-Americans score poorer as a group on their IQ scores. People are scared things will change just like the movie said if places like Mountain Brook get integrated. They believe what they are told, and people move out of places that are closer to Birmingham like Bessemer and Fairfeild to some utopia suburb like Mountain Brook. Not saying Bessemer and Fairfeild have a bad education system but their educational resources lacks that of Mountain Brook giving their students less oppurtunity. This makes it hard for African-Americans to get the same opputunities as whites around the city of Birmingham when it would be extremely difficult just to buy property in an area that is considered premium. If African-Americans started buying property in Mountain Brook residents would get pissed about dropping property values and take their gobs of money and annex some land or run away. Its segregation and it is crap, and I guess people just don't think about it who live in Mountain Brook because its not a problem when you live in a great area and have the best education oppurtunities for your children.

Student: Rachel E. Cunningham    Date: Thursday January 12th 2006 21:57
Journal Entry: My grandmother grew up in the South during the early half of the twentieth century, which unfortunately has given her some prejudice ideas when it comes to interracial relations and race in general. In every other aspect she is a wonderful person, but this is one facet of her personality that I think is outdated and is based solely on what she was taught as a young child. Although she is not outrightly racist, in the privacy of our family things she says when talking of blacks, asians, mexicans, or anyone, sometimes truly astound me. I am aware of her heritage, and the fact that she was brought up to think this way (the civil rights movement occuring when she was about 35 or 40, well accustomed to her ways), yet I think if people's perceptions of racial relations have come as far as they have in the past 100 years, she should rethink some of the comments and suggestions that leave her mouth. Her general behavior towards african americans and any other race besides caucasians is one of suspicion, disdain, and generally chooses to keep her distance or have as little interaction as possible.

Student: Jeffrey R. Gonzalez    Date: Monday January 16th 2006 12:55
Journal Entry: One thing I have noticed is the progress being made that is eliminating racism. I learned this by simply taking a look at my own family, and seeing how differently my grandparents, parents, and I view racial issues. My grandparents who were born in the 1920's have very narrow minded views and still remember things the way they were in their younger days. I can remember my grandfather asking a waitress at a resturant if we could move tables if a black family was seated next to us. I do not really feel he can be blamed for his thoughts, he is just a product of the times in which he was raised. My parents are in no way free of some bias towards people different from themselves, but there are still times when racist comments are made. They do however, work with and and have several close friends who are of color. Now I am not going to sit here and say that I have never made racist remarks, or laughed with a crowd at a racist joke because that would make me a liar. I do see myself as much more open-minded, and accepting of people than the older generations of my family. I have several friends from various races who I hang out with regularly. Anywhere I go they can go and anywhere they go I can go. From time to time we do get strange looks from mostly older white people, but that does not really bother us. I know my mind is not completely free of bias, but just by looking at the generational differences in my own family, I can see that progress is being made and maybe one day racism will be a thing of the past.

Student: Chad C. Hammock    Date: Monday January 16th 2006 17:43
Journal Entry: A lot of people seem to make excuses for their grandparents or parents for any extend of racism they may exhibit. They try to write it off as a product of the society at the time and an entire “that’s just how they were raised” type mentality that only serves to justify the entire idea of these people being racist. The fact is society has changed and these people have changed with society in almost every other facet why can they not change here as well? What is it that makes race such a big issue that it is almost unchangeable for these people? My grandparents grew up in the same generation as everyone else’s but they are not racist. My grandmother has never said anything even borderline racist and has in fact on numerous occasions proved that she has no problem with anyone but some people would make it seem like she could be blatantly racist and perfectly justified with it. My father grew up in a very southern town, but in the black neighborhood so he really does not see any difference at all between anyone. He works internationally with every race in the world and nothing really fazes him; he even overcomes culture shock remarkably quickly. My point really is that racism is not a dwindling problem that is just going to go away as we move on in time. Instead it is a persistent ideology that certain individuals keep alive and are intent on keeping alive. Unfortunately, racism is one of those things that will haunt humanity until its end.

Student: Meredith E. Ware    Date: Tuesday January 17th 2006 00:26
Journal Entry: Race is an issue affecting people on a daily basis. It has been my experience that people use race as a defense mechanism and an excuse to differentiate themselves from individuals they identify as a member of another race. It often seems like this differentiation is made to satisfy their lack of security in themselves and a desire for social superiority. Many argue that it is human nature to surround one’s self with people physically resembling him or her. As was mentioned in the first reading section of the Graves book, children are seemingly unaware of the racial prejudices found among adults. For me this is one of the clearest indications that race is an idea ingrained by society as a person matures and not a biological or social divider. Additionally, on page 15 Graves writes, “If racist behavior is genetically programmed, then social and cultural programs designed to retard it are likely to be ineffective.” This statement is fitting for the observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. I believe that the civil rights movement discredited the claims that racist behavior is genetically programmed. I was raised in a family where people were to be treated with respect no matter what the color of their skin. My parents told me to live by the “Golden Rule” and in the words of Thumper (from Bambi), “If you can't say something nice... don't say nothing at all.” While I noticed there were people of other ethnicity around me, the thought that they were fundamentally different from me never crossed my mind. It was only as I got older and learned about the civil rights movement and its causes that I became fully aware of the scope of the race debate and the differences that people saw in each other.

Student: Athanasius D. Isaac    Date: Tuesday January 17th 2006 09:12
Journal Entry: "You can't fool all the people all of the time!" This statement is proving itself ever more powerful as time progresses. Through the reflections on several generations I have seen how the illusion of race, slowly dissolves in many areas (yet it seems to remain very powerful in others). Being identified as an African American and growing up in the South I have experienced remnants of segregation and some racism to some degree (oh yes there is a difference) which has made my more race conscious than one might care to be. But after having children with a European American race and ethnicity have taken on a new dimension. I have two children, a boy and a girl (5 and 9 respectively, and they both currently attend public school. As a public school I expect the institution to transmit some a culture that is positive and full of growth and potential for all they children attending. What I have found has been quite interesting. My children have been given a race designator by their expectation and sex (or maybe gender) by the school. Although we have always referred to the ethnicity and race of the children as "other" the school always refers to my daughter as "white" and my son as "black". This is quite disturbing and it is a battle we have been fighting for quite some time now. But there is hope, as my 9 year old has expressed many times she doesn't see people as "black" or "white" but more "brown" and "pinkish" or really dark. As a matter of fact she even thought many people who are viewed as African Americans were in fact Germans. She thought this because I was born in Germany and she saw no reason to think of me in no other way than designating me as part of where I was born, apparently she has her own illusion or maybe she is on to something, either way the school is not helping to make thing better in the short term because they still are followers of the old illusionary model of human classification; but not all of us are fooled or fools.

Student: Rachel Rozanski    Date: Tuesday January 17th 2006 11:18
Journal Entry: I feel that racism and discrimination are still a big part of our culture. I feel that we have come a long way from the days of Martin Luther King. Realistically, that was not too long ago. Racism is still a big part of our culture. There are racist remarks being made from the jokes people make, to how they treat other people from different races. I really never thought about discrimination in different races until I entered high school. I feel that the high school I attended looked very segregated. I do not feel that it was because people of different races were being mean to each other, but because people did not feel to find friends outside their race. You could tell by going to our pep rallies and even our lunch room. It seemed like each race would always sit together in the same section every day. I do not know if this is because we related better to people of our same race, or because some people are just being racist. I guess another reason was because my high school was so big that it may have been easier to fall into just one group. Going to a big school exposed me to many different people. I think it was a very good experience for me, considering that my other school i went to was not very diverse. I think that it is a good experience to be exposed to different kinds of people. Many schools across the United States are not very diverse. I think it teaches young people to be tolerant and have respect for these other races.

Student: Amy L. Dalton    Date: Tuesday January 17th 2006 11:18
Journal Entry: I'm from Greenville MS ( not to be used as an excuse) and race was a huge issue growing up. By huge I mean that we were all so adjusted to certain things we had been taught that it took me until college to realize how much more broad racism really was/is.When I think about race and racial issues I usually only think about it from my point of view. I'm not saying that everyone is not affected, but it is hard to try to identify with another perspective. I forget that every country has there own racial issues and it stems much farther than just black, white, asian, and mexican in our own country. It's especially odd to think about racism dating all the way back to biblical times, and I'm still not sure how I think it came about. I thought people were darker closer to the equator, and lighter as they moved farther and farther away and that was just how it was viewed. I'm extremely interested in looking at the Bible for references about race and how it came about on a more specific level than just the Sunday school version of Adam and Eve and different suggestions about language and race.

Student: Emily N. Roberts    Date: Tuesday January 17th 2006 11:42
Journal Entry: Something that I have noticed in just the first few days in this course that I never took into consideration before is how quickly our society (myself included) tends to judge and classify people based solely on observations. The tendency to put people into categories of races not something I do consciously, but it happens all the same. The “Sorting People” exercise was strong evidence of that. Even though I tried to be objective, I still found myself basing my decisions on skin color, hair type, and facial attributes, as was the point of the exercise. I was surprised that I did not get many of the classifications right. The impossibility of everyone to fit nicely into a category lends to the argument that humanity is different in all of its forms, but we are, at the same time, all similar. I have never given the idea much thought before, but now it is unavoidable.

Student: Justin C. Hicks    Date: Tuesday January 17th 2006 13:34
Journal Entry: The current condition of the entire issue of race remains very different depending on who you talk to about it. Within my group of friends, there are people I consider very open-minded and accepting of everyone, and at the same time, people that still hang on to certain prejudices. For a lot of the people I know "biased treatment" is wrong in their opinion, but at the same time, many of them would never consider marrying or dating someone of another race, or allowing their children to do so. I think that in a lot of cases, behaviors and ideas that could be classified as prejudicial are circumvented by making excuses that they aren't really "all that bad." When I questioned one friend about his issues with dating outside of his "race", his response was the classic "oh, I don't think theres anything wrong with it, I just wouldn't do it and wouldn't like it if my kids did it." To me, that statement is contradictory, and sadly represents a large portion of the mindsets of the people in this country, and especially in this state. It almost feels like people are striving to not be known as racist, no matter how they actually feel, so they qualify everything they say. It really strikes a nerve with me to see this kind of hypocrisy, if your words say one thing, your behavior should follow. I can understand if its a matter of "I haven't met a person of a different 'race' that I'm attracted to, but if I found someone that I was really compatible with I would be open to it", but to simply rule out someone because of more or less melanin, or other "traits" is ridiculous. Sometimes its almost like they are saying "I'll give you the same bathrooms and restaurants, 'equal' job oppurtunities, but I still don't want people different than me in the most personal aspects of my life."

Student: Rachel E. Cunningham    Date: Monday January 23rd 2006 12:58
Journal Entry: In reading Graves chapter 2, I found it interesting the fact that so many slave owners who upheld the idea that black slaves were inferior to the white race routinely had secret (or not so secret) sexual relations with slave women. So either many slave owners realized that was no hierarchy in the races and a black woman was the same as any other color woman, but were too afraid to outrightly engage in inter-"racial" relations with black women, or were just hypocritical. Also, it was also interesting that a drop of "black" blood classified a person as being black (even if that person looked white), but a drop of "white" blood could not classify someone as being white. That conclusion does not make any sense at all, because if you could trace your family history back far enough, everyone would eventually find that they in fact had an african ancestor. This also relates back to my earlier statement--children of a slave, although fathered by a white slave owner, were considered to be black and treated as any other slave (unless able to pass for a white woman, like Thomas Jefferson's daughter). In a patriarichal culture like the South at that time, most children would be identified by their father's lineage and not the mother's. But again, the mere fact that they contained some "black" blood condemned them to a life of hardship and slavery regardless of their father's standing.

Student: Meredith E. Ware    Date: Monday January 23rd 2006 19:44
Journal Entry: Someone mentioned in discussion last week that race is used as an excuse to separate people based on physical characteristics in order to maintain power and control over "inferior" people. I kept reflecting on that this week as I was reading the Graves material and the two articles. What struck me most was that while early scientists and anthropologists focused on the differences between human populations, many of these same people noted qualitative similarities. One of my favorite passages this week was on page 40 of Graves. It mentions that while Blumenbach believed that there were five different racial categories, the races could not be placed in any particular order based on information known at that time. However, this did not stop him from ordering them in an order he saw fit based on his own biases. Blumenbach even admired some of the writings of Negroes, and he did not consider them to be lacking in any intellectual sense. Graves also mentions a Negro mathematical genius admired by Blumenbach. Blumenbach is the most interesting person I have read about so far concerning race. From his excerpt in the reader, he classified people into one of five varieties. Yet, he also argues in section 80 that there is no variety of people that can be singled out as possessing enough unique characteristics to justify their separation into a distinct biological category. Based on the writings of the early scientists, the goal was to separate people into categories while formulating biological, social, and political excuses for white superiority. I was surprised by some of the statements by early influential Americans on the issue of race. One that sticks out dealt with Abraham Lincoln. In his famous debate with Stephen Douglass, Lincoln stated he believed that even if slaves were freed they would be unable to function in a society dominated by whites. This seems ironic in light of the legislation he pushed for in later years. I guess it shows that even early politicians pandered to popular sentiment.

Student: Allison Jenks    Date: Tuesday January 24th 2006 04:24
Journal Entry: The idea of race is so deeply embedded in this society that the government and school systems base very important decisions on your color. When filling out college applications my best friend who is a white or caucasian female never once marked her race. Her parents told her she had a lesser chance of being accepted to an Ivy League school if she was considered caucasian. This confused me. These schools that can afford to pick the best of American students are not picking based solely on merit. They have other factors at work when deciding who will attend their schools. These schools are more concerned with the appearance of their student population than with the actual students. The administration tries its best to keep an even ratio of the races of their students by consciously choose applicants with lower GPAs and test scores (while still being within acceptable range) to complete their "equal" ratio scenario. How is this fair to anyone? race does not determine ability and race does not determine your social background. So why does the administration of these univerities pick applicants based on color? To please the social standard and keep their campus looking politically correct when in fact, they are practicing racism. I understand that our government is trying to correct the years of opression that African Americans faced even after slavery was ended but that does not mean that these universities are picking their students based on their backgrounds. Our society makes assumptions about you, your family, your background, your heritage based on your skin color. These decisions obviously do not affect only racial "minorities".

Student: Christina J. Butt    Date: Tuesday January 24th 2006 09:00
Journal Entry: While trying to think of something to write for this entry, I came across the problem that I don’t really classify people into racial categories. I guess that’s not really a problem, but it makes writing about race a little hard when you don’t really view it as there. Instead, I find myself, more and more, looking at people in terms of culture. Doing this enables me to classify people by their personality, way of thinking, and other general (non-physical) characteristics. I generally find different cultures fascinating, so by looking at people as part of a culture instead of part of a race, it helps me to really take an interest in everybody. I think doing it this way gets rid of most of the bad stereotypes that racism brings about, but at the same time, it’s not flawless. While this breaks down a lot of the walls between black and white, I find myself categorizing other people into what culture I think they would be based on by their physical appearances. Luckily, I’ve had the opportunity to get to know a bunch of people from a lot of different countries, and I’ve been able to (to some degree) break down most of the stereotypes I find myself thinking about.

Student: Lindsey M. Johnson    Date: Tuesday January 24th 2006 10:58
Journal Entry: I found that the readings and the lecure for this week was very interesting. Mostly because of the so called science that was presented by these "scientific" men in the Niniteenth century. The mention of races of men who supposedly still had tails was honestly humerous. As we talked about in class today, this was obviously not an observation that was actually made, but something that must have been read about in some book. I guess that really proves that you can't believe everything that you read! I also found the bit about the Hottentot Venus and her "teeth" to be quite disturbing. The most interesting fact to me so far in this class is that the most genetic variability between peoples can be found in Africa. I suppose that information would really have put people like Linnaeus and Morton in their place.

Student: Jennifer Myers    Date: Tuesday January 24th 2006 11:05
Journal Entry: For a Blount class last semester, I read an article by Micheal Crighton from a 1998 speech where he criticizes the general public, but particularly scientific scholars, who accept without question or challenge "scientific discoveries" such as the theory of global warming. People willingly accept these theories on the basis of faith and/or ignorance. Crighton briefly discusses some of the reasons why people so readily accept these discoveries, largely due to the lack of exposure to the alternative. After completing the readings for this week, I find it interesting and almost disappointing that after these supposedly accredited, well-known scientists were so wrong about their theories that people continue to blindly accept science, in general, (for the most part) without question. These theories on race and racial hierarchies provided the foundation for not only the Holocaust, but slavery and segregation in the United States. After having experienced what we have experienced, it seems that people would be more eager to question science to insure that history did not repeat itself. Sorry for the ranting...this was just something that hit me all the sudden.

Student: Amy L. Dalton    Date: Tuesday January 24th 2006 11:48
Journal Entry: After reading our assignments this week I wasn't really sure what to bring up as an astounding point. I decided to list some new interesting facts I learned and how I'm still trying to place all of these racial concepts. I think it is so interesting to read concepts as they were based on the Bible. For example, I had no idea that it was interpreted that Moses was married to a woman of color ( how it was best explained), or that Lincoln actually thought slaves were inferior beings. When you're growing up Lincoln was always the person that you came to associate with emancipation, and " people are all equal" or he wouldn't have wanted to free the slaves. The fact the he held them below common worth just shocked me. I knew that Jefferson was either a hypocrite or just really confused on his issues because he had a child ( or children) with one of his slaves, but it was odd that in later memoirs his son Madison wrote about how because his sister was so light that her children were not thought of as African American. Doesn't that idea itself disprove the "one drop of black blood makes you black"? To explain, how would people have reacted differently to Jefferson's daughter and family if they knew about her "black blood"? It is also crazy how these scholars reached these conclusions on race based on scientific measures such as filling a skull with grain. It makes you wonder if our society today believes the most ludicrous theories just because we're being told about it. The society then was obsessive about race I think because they wanted a specific place in the hierarchy and wanted to make sure that it was proven so that everyone could be comfortable where they were in their social status. It really worked out well for the white Europeans.

Student: Emily N. Roberts    Date: Tuesday January 24th 2006 11:58
Journal Entry: In the 1700's, the view of humanity was Eurocentric. Superiority was determined by comparison with what was thought to be the pinnacle of society. The society, intelligence, and ideas of beauty of Europeans were used as the standards of measure for all other people. The divisions of "races" was based sometimes purely on whether or not the writer found a certain group of people attractive or beautiful according to his standards and even personal prejudices, as in the case of the Laplanders. Scholars were, however, concerned with understanding humanity and attempting to answer the question of whether or not there were separate species of humans. By the 1800's and especially in the U.S., the question seemed less important, and attempting to prove that people of African descent are inferior becomes the main issue. I believe slavery, being an important issue of the time, affected this heavily. Scientific thought leaned more to forcing the belief of inferiority rather than trying to understand humanity as a whole. Many scholars began to believe that there were separate species of the human race only to prove the point of inferiority. I believe that advancement in this school of thought began to deteriorate in the 1800's and is only now, with the help of technology, beginning to be restored.

Student: Erica J. Stratton    Date: Tuesday January 24th 2006 12:00
Journal Entry: Since I missed the first journal entry last week in which every one in the class discussed their experience with/feelings of race and racism I would like to first explain that racism has always confused and bewildered me. My family is from Northern Alabama (specifically Scottsboro Alabama) a notoriously prejudiced area but my family really never saw any differences in people based on "race". My mother's family decended from poor tennant farmers and intermarried with the some of the remaining Cheerokee indians and worked side-by-side with poor blacks in the cotton fields. As my mother grew up her parents taught her that a person's skin color should not determine their worth or place in society but their character should be considered all important. As she grew up, my mother was very good friends with the African-Americans of the area and was often enraged and confused when her choices in friendship brought threats of violence to her family. With that being said, it has been essentially amazing to me to discover how, according to the social construction theorists (which I am thus far inclined to agree with) prove that race in antiquity was not seen as a big deal, and that only once the "Age of Discovery" heralded in European "discovery" and subsequent conquest of the America's and the beginning of the African slave trade, did race become an issue and a means for Europeans to assert their beliefs that they were superior and were doing the native inhabitants a favor by "civilizing" them. To put it simply the more that I read of Graves chapters 2-3, the more I became disgusted with past theories and beliefs; almost to the point of outrage when I read the sections pertaining to slavery and attitudes held towards African-Americans and Native Americans during the 1800s.

Student: Athanasius D. Isaac    Date: Thursday January 26th 2006 08:06
Journal Entry: In the semester I have a class titled Social Inequality, and as part of an assignment we had to interview different people and discover concepts and notions about inequality in our society (such as ways inequality manifests itself and where it beginning). It should not surprise anyone that one way inequality is seen by the masses is through a race lens. So I took the opportunity to also aid this class. I asked 17 people from 3 to 96 years old questions about race. The group consisted of 1 Asian (age 70), 1 Hispanic (age 63), 10 African Americans and 5 Caucasians (ages varied within this group but the oldest person in the study (96) was African American. Two main questions were asked “What is race?” and “What is the best race?” The 3, 5, and 6 year olds in the focus group when asked the above questions responded something akin to “a race is a game; a running game; and race is like sports.” To the question of What is the best race the 3,5, and 6 year olds response were almost identical, “the best race is the race I win.” The oldest in the focus group were between 63 and 96 which were 6 people (1 Asian, 1 Hispanic, 2 African Americans and 2 Caucasians). The responses from this section of the group varied slightly. For the African Americans\s their answers were akin to, “race is the way God made us different, and how Whit folks keep us down.” As for the best race question, the African Americans answered that Blacks were the chosen of God chosen to suffer like the Jews, but the Whites were on top in this world. The Hispanic answered similarly,” race is our distinctive differences that are used by governments to control us” This informant also said that colored skin people were the best race. The Asian informant stated, “race is our natural differences and all races are equal in ability (where there is no abnormality) but not so equal in access to resources.” As for the best race this informant said’ “according to the information on testing Blacks seem less intelligent than Whites, but that both groups (according to testing) are less intelligent than Asians, probably because Blacks and Whites are more lazy than Asians. As for the Caucasians race was, “the natural order of the division of people. And the best race was the White race because they have helped advance the world in technology and information. It was very bad what Whites did to Blacks…but that is all in the past now and Blacks are allowed to go to the University.” But he most interesting answers came from the informants between the ages of 11 and 14. For these informants race was, “Black people and White people and Mexican people.” As far as the best race component, Whites were best at business, Blacks were best at basketball and football, and the Mexicans are the best for work (manual labor).

Student: Chad C. Hammock    Date: Monday January 30th 2006 14:24
Journal Entry: Someone mentioned something last Thursday about skin tone and it got me to thinking about the Dominican Republic and what I know of the racial situation there. In the Dominican Republic it is the worst thing in the world to be black, so much so that no one ever identifies themselves as black. Instead, they are mostly Indian or native or have European roots, but never, ever, are they black. This goes along with skin tone because the lighter you are, the more white you are considered and the better off you are socially. So much so that people try to marry others who are lighter skinned than themselves so they can ‘whiten’ their children. It is even considered ‘whitening the race’ when two light skinned individuals procreate. Something I considered to be peculiar is that people considered to be white in the Dominican Republic would never pass as anything but black in the United States. A film I watched about this subject followed a man from the Dominican Republic who spent some time in the U.S. and vividly depicts how horrified he is when he repeatedly is identified as black while he is in the U.S. When he returns home, his mother is equally as shocked that he has been called black because he is ‘so obviously not.’

Student: Rachel E. Cunningham    Date: Tuesday January 31st 2006 07:49
Journal Entry: In chapter 6 of The Emperor's New Clothes, I found it interesting that the Immigration Restriction League began limiting the number of immigrants in an attempt to keep the "American pure blood" undiluted by the "beaten men from beaten races" (102). General Francis Walker, a member of the IRL, even suggested that these "pauper classes" would not be able to assimilate into the native American (meaning Anglo-Saxon) classes. The thing that caught my attention though is that these men had to have family that immigrated to America, because none of them are by any means Native American Indians. So in reality, they are prejudiced against people who are exactly like them, only a few years behind. This is the same mentality that is behind most prejudices everywhere-fear of the unknown, of the different. Even though less than a hundred years ago (probably even less than that), these men had relatives coming over in search of a chance just as these immigrants, they believe that somehow the immigrants are inherently different from their pure blood americans and unable to meld with current society.

Student: Jeffrey R. Gonzalez    Date: Tuesday January 31st 2006 10:58
Journal Entry: What surprised me the most from the readings this week was found Gobineau, race, and Civilization in chapter six. Gobineau believed that several great civilzations of the past ultimately fell because of their racial composition. He believed that uniting of tribes and intermarriage were the key factors in the decline of these nations. Even more disturbing than that was Gobineaus claim that no great Negro civilization had ever been formed. When explorers found the Shona city of Great Zimbabwe it was concluded that the stone cuttings and architecture were to intricate and sophisticated to have been created by these people. When credit for this city finally was given to the Shona people, the artifacts found were labeled New Stone Age rather than Old Stone Age to create the illusion that their technological advances came after those of the Europeans. It amazed me how long it took for the Europeans to admit that this great city was created and inhabited by a Negro civilization. Even once the evidence was found it was nearly another seventy-five years before it was published.

Student: Meredith E. Ware    Date: Tuesday January 31st 2006 11:01
Journal Entry: I found an interesting report from researchers at UAB about heart transplant success rates. Here is a link to the article: and to the .pdf (if link doesn’t work, copy and paste into browser). The researchers report that African American children do not respond as well to heart transplants when compared to the longevity and success rates among Caucasian and Asian children. While the article claims to have factored in socio-economic status, health insurance, and background, there seems to be too many other factors that could contribute to such findings. First, less than 1/5 of the transplants were performed on African American children. Second, subjects were taken from a national registry where patients are classified by their "race." The trouble with this method of classification has already been discussed in class. The original report indicates that while socio-economic factors were accounted for, more work concerning this data needs to be performed. Also consider the fact that minorities do not always have the same quality health care that is afforded to many Americans. I believe it is highly possible that post-transplant medical care (even months/years later) should also be considered in light of the study. As we have heard, African Americans have 1/8 the net income of white Americans. It is possible that due to the financial disparity many African Americans are unable to afford the highest quality health care. Frankly I was appalled at a statement by the lead researcher, William Mahle. He said, "We need to be honest with families when we counsel them about a transplant in a child who is African-American and tell them that they cannot honestly expect the same survival of that heart as a white or Asian child." Should it be concluded then that the life of an African-American child is less important than that of another child simply due to the color of his or her skin? Absolutely not.

Student: Jennifer Myers    Date: Tuesday January 31st 2006 11:12
Journal Entry: Growing up in the Bible Belt and in a Southern Baptist home, for the most part I was taught that Charles Darwin was basically the Anti-Christ of Science and evolution is the liberals’ way of discrediting the theory of creationism. There was virtually no discussion of evolution in my biological science classes all the way through high school until AP biology. Even then my teacher framed her Darwin spill with a “I have to teach you this because they make me” speech. However, after the readings for this week, I tend to give him credit for his theories going against everything that is engrained in my upbringing. His analysis of Camper’s drawings of bodily characteristics of the different “races” makes complete sense to me- the variants between the people’s physical characteristics were not only relatively few and far between but also supports his own evolutionary theories. By these readings, it only seems fitting (and logically sound) to present Darwin’s theories in the classroom (if for no other justification than to offer an alternative to creationism.) To me since every detail of neither theory (creationism nor evolution) can be proven as fully fact nor fiction; neither should be presented in that light, but rather the individual should be allowed to decide for him or herself. Taking away either theory takes away the choice for an individual to make based on lack of exposure to alternatives. Basically I am arguing for both theories to be taught (without a bias towards either) in schools.

Student: Emily N. Roberts    Date: Tuesday January 31st 2006 11:31
Journal Entry: The disregard for social factors in assessing intelligence and success were the major downfalls of thinkers in a post-Darwin world. Graves indicates this when, in chapter 6, he talks about pseudoscience. “The practice of building whole theoretical constructs on false or untestable assumptions is a hallmark of pseudoscience…” says Graves (87). These assumptions leave out key social and economic factors that govern such things as performance, intelligence, and the ability to be prosperous and fueled Eugenics. Graves gives a good example of this when New England’s decline in birthrate was blamed on immigration and “biological decay” of the so-called “native” peoples. The other factors of westward expansion and an epidemic disease were not considered. Ideas like Eugenics might not have been as popular if some scientists had included all factors into their conclusions and had not emphasized that inherited defects and social misfortunes were a result of “race”.

Student: Erica J. Stratton    Date: Tuesday January 31st 2006 11:44
Journal Entry: It seems that the more we delve into the history of race/racism the more disgusted, and I mean utterly disgusted, I feel myself becoming with past theories. The material that we read for class this week disturbed me in a way that not many things have. What got me the most was from Graves Ch. 6, Gobineau, race, and Civilization. As I read the material, Gobineau’s views greatly confused me, I mean wouldn’t it make more sense that a civilization would have a better chance of survival if there was a greater variation in its genetic pool? Also the fact that Gobineau pretty much refused to give credit to the Shona people of Africa for the city of Great Zimbabwe is outrageous! His prejudice is a prime example of how white Europeans continued to deny African and other “barbaric” peoples any semblance of respect for fear that it would challenge white supremacy. As far as Eugenics is concerned, the whole concept is crazy and the negative results (sterilization, and eventually the Holocaust) are one of the most frightening concepts that I have yet encountered in my education. Very sorry I know this probably reads like a rant but that’s what it is, I’m just overwhelmingly appalled.

Student: Amy L. Dalton    Date: Tuesday January 31st 2006 11:45
Journal Entry: In the reading this week in “The Descent of Man” Darwin discussed the different races as different sub-species, all graduating into one another. I wanted to discuss on Thursday what would have classified these “sub-species” if there was no distinct line between the different races. ( his idea of blending) He says that some races are more fertile together. I noticed the Mulatto example specifically. Supposedly if Mulattoes intermarry, they produce few children that are fertile and are as pure as “pure whites” and “pure blacks”. Was this a biological or social ideology or both? Another question that was brought up during class was based on Eugenics. I know that the person who decided whether or not someone should be, for example sterilized, was the one who determined the criteria for the procedure. ( which was a federal decision) I was wondering why this horrible practice was allowed to happen if we had such a problem with Nazi Germany. Was this procedure kept “quiet” because of all of the controversy it would have caused, or did people just accept it and move on?

Student: Gerald V. Dixon    Date: Tuesday January 31st 2006 11:50
Journal Entry: Through out the readings and the book titled The Emperor's new clothes all the So called great minds from the beginning of time haven’t come up with anything concrete on the biological theories of race or human physical traits that link there crazy theories. Why is so important to put People into categories. I think the may reason why you put people into Categories is just to hold something against the person or oppress a group of people. For the simple fact all cultures do different things and look physically different. As humans we still believe if you're different there has to be something wrong wit you, go figure.

Student: Athanasius D. Isaac    Date: Thursday February 2nd 2006 13:23
Journal Entry: Talking to small children about racism can be tough, but its one case where the truth helps, not hurts. I found this article online about findings by researchers from the University of Texas who as the article says,” recently followed 200 Black families with preschoolers and found that kids whose parents didn't acknowledge racism were more likely to be depressed or anxious. “As to why this is the case the article said, “Researchers say that kids may witness signs of racism around them and become upset when what their parents say doesn't match what they see.” Well the other day my son, who is 5, all of sudden, after having been struck by an impressionist piece by Picasso, said, “that blue boy is different from me.” I immediately asked does his difference mean he cannot do the same things but you do?” Jacob replied yes at first but then said,” No, all kids can do the same things.” So I asked if the boy’s blue skin meant that he should not be allowed to do the same things as you can because of his difference. And Jacob replied, “No, boys can do what boys can do. “ Lastly I asked Jacob, “where is the boy with blue skin from. And he said the picture; that ended our discussion. But I found a two things interesting in the dialog; first for my son the color not the impression of the boy caught Jacob’s attention and I wondered if the way children are taught to color pictures at school has racial underpinnings and the second was ability and privilege were determined by sex and not race with Jacob. I wonder what this means and if the multicultural environment is a major factor in Jacob’s assessment or is it something else.

Student: Meredith E. Ware    Date: Sunday February 5th 2006 15:51
Journal Entry: The idea that struck me the most this week in the reading was the definitive role that the leading eugenists played in furthering the race concept. I could not believe that eugenists were able to maintain their scientific credibility in the face of countless contradictions and errors in their findings. I was mostly struck by the lack of opposition to the published findings of well-known eugenists. There were other anthropologists such as Boas who did not agree with eugenics, but if they showed any opposition is was minimal. This shows their influence over the prevailing thoughts of the day. Davenport, while proclaiming the quality of eugenic research also realized the continuity of human variation. Davenport is quoted in the book as saying that it was impossible “from observation of skin color alone [to] draw an accurate conclusion as to the genetic constitution of a person.” How is it that men such as Davenport could proclaim their fallacies while knowing they had no validity? Most of the reading made me angry, both toward those who practiced eugenics and those who did not speak out against the falsehoods promoted by leading eugenists. I found it hard to believe that eugenics was given such credibility without any large scale research being conducted. Surely, scientists knew that eventually their works would be tested, and while they believed in their work I believe they underestimated the ultimate power eugenics could play in eliminating entire populations. What were they thinking would happen? This period for anthropology and biological research is one that many would like to forget, but I believe it should serve as a strong reminder of the errors that can occur when human variation is used as a biological bargaining chip. Look at this website I found that promotes the use of engenics today. Disturbing.

Student: Amy L. Dalton    Date: Sunday February 5th 2006 17:13
Journal Entry: In response to the Gerald’s journal entry, I don’t understand why there is a black history month either. I agree that you can celebrate your race/nationality everyday, and there doesn’t need to be a specified time frame. I think all the things we as a society do to help celebrate and protect different races may in fact keep them separated versus unified. I don’t see how having for example a black history month without a Mexican history month or Asian history month is uniting anyone. I think so much emphasis is placed on this issue that it makes it more difficult to overcome.

Student: Chad C. Hammock    Date: Sunday February 5th 2006 17:56
Journal Entry: Seeing as everyone is talking about black history month, I might as well too. It’s just odd to me that a particular race is given a specific time to celebrate their heritage. As Gerald said, why not celebrate it all the time? But on the other hand, why not have a myriad of race history months, such as Mongoloid history month. I’m sure that’d go over really well. But in the same vein, how much more upsetting would a white history month be in an ever PC conscious society. I’ve heard it argued that a black history month is needed because most of the time in schools, white history is studied. In my high school we never even touched on European history; in fact, the only European history I know is the history I have read and studied on my own. In school I always studied American history, which included settler history and, limited though it was, Native American history. I realize and concede that American history is vastly white people settling America, but it also includes race riots and civil rights movements and times and events that were dominated by a group other than people of European descent.

Student: Lindsey M. Johnson    Date: Sunday February 5th 2006 20:49
Journal Entry: I met someone this weekend while I was out one night and we began talking about what he does for a living. It turns out that he is a college professor and he is trying to get a grant right now which will help him and his research partners go to Africa and do some work on finding out more about the AIDS virus and who it affects and how. He wants to find out more about the disease and how it spreads. I found it quite interesting that he actually asserted that he had found through his own research that there are several different strains of the virus. The reason that I found that to be so interesting was because he seemed to think that certain “races” of people get different strains because of their genetic make-up. He said that “white” people were more likely to contract a specific strain that a “black” person wouldn’t be likely to get. I can discuss it further in class this week, but this guy had some very intriguing ideas about his research!

Student: Megan Myers    Date: Sunday February 5th 2006 23:34
Journal Entry: I will begin by commenting on Meredith's shock in the fact that after repeatedly being proven wrong, eugenicists continued to obtain support and funding for their research. I think this has to go along with what I commented on two weeks ago. People hear what they want to hear and believe what they want to believe. If you are a white person who is looking for a way to prove you are better than other people (presumably of other "races") then of course you are going to support Eugenics because it seems like the scientific justification for your feelings of superiority. She also mentions that there were accredited scientists who were in opposition to the theory of eugenics and yet they did not speak out against it. Actually, we might not ever know even if people had spoken out against Eugenics because it was so popular among those in control of the flow of information that anything contrary probably would have not received publicity. I agree with Meredith's feelings about how with the scientific facts sitting in front of them people still chose to accept Eugenics as the right thing to do. It's not only disappointing but disgusting that people would be okay with such a revolting practice.

Student: Rachel E. Cunningham    Date: Wednesday February 8th 2006 16:48
Journal Entry: There is an article in today’s USA Today newspaper that I found very interesting. The title of the article is “Colorblind: A new generation doesn’t blink an eye at interracial relationships.” The main focus of the piece is about how my generation is one of the most diverse in terms of friendships, relationships, and has the most accepting view of race in America. However, it points out that this taboo against even mentioning race so as not to offend people often causes us to also ignore the rampant inequalities that still exist among the different ethnicities within our culture. While it is true that my generation is more accepting of “mixed race” couples, and tends to have friends of many different backgrounds, I do not think that we as a group are blind to the fact that there are still discriminations and stereotypes perpetuated today about certain ethnic groups. If by the sole fact that we are taught to see past the color of a person’s skin by our parents and current society, it also teaches us to focus on the fact that those “racist” ideas have even less of a reason to existence than before. If I were to befriend a girl by looking beyond the color of her skin and recognizing a similar person with similar interests, why would I look beyond the fact that she might be treated differently (and usually worse) than I am? If anything, the colorblindness of my generation only enhances our awareness of racial inequality, not diminishes it.

Student: Athanasius D. Isaac    Date: Thursday February 9th 2006 07:18
Journal Entry: Billed as “Reality TV make-ups” BBC has a show called Trading races. The show has been running since 2002 I believe and is seen as a success. Trading races ambitiously billed itself as exploring how people’s attitudes and feelings change according to the color of their or others’ skin. The participants change their skin color by using prosthetics and makeup, and then they are filmed while spending time in everyday situations as members of a different race. There have been transformations from Asian to white, White to black and Black to White. The article reports that prosthetics were used for changing the nose shapes. Many of the participants report liking the experience but none said that they would want to permanently change their “race”. In March there will be an American version of Trading on FX. Apparently, filmmaker R.J. Cutler and actor/hip-hop artist Ice Cube are teaming up to produce "Black. White.," a six-episode series in which an African-American family becomes white and a Caucasian family becomes black through detailed makeup work. They then go out into the world and see what life is like in another person's skin. According to the thread: “The Sparks family of Atlanta, who are African American, and the Wurgel family of Santa Monica, Calif., who are white, shared a home in L.A.'s Tarzana area for the duration of the six-week filming period last summer. After several hours in the makeup chair each day, the family members experienced life as a member of a different race. What I find interesting is that both shows are interested in showing how important skin color is to race (what is seen). But the shows do not seem to want to show the institutionalization, policy, and naturalization of race in England and the U.S. For me this is a deflection from the real culprits of race perpetuation and social control: centralized governing elites.

Student: Gerald V. Dixon    Date: Tuesday February 14th 2006 11:34
Journal Entry: Watching the film during class on Tuesday I really believe that as a culture the so called thinkers really don't have a clue about the differences in each culture. Even the great Thomas Jefferson didn't have a clue. Even at one point blacks weren’t even allowed to vote but that’s believable. What wasn't believable was the idea of the different fraction of black blood wish made u black or white in different states. The more I think about the thought of slavery, the more that I see it’s a it was really a social equality issue. Even great anthropologist such as Coon didn't have a real clear cut of race at all. For example the 10 races and 9 sub races. The more I reed and studied the note I thought each anthropologist was just trying to prove every crazy idea that they came up with. The only anthropologist that had a clue was Montagu. During the mid 1900's Montagu called for the to racial thinking in scientific and political thought he was one of the first anthropologist to call for ethnicity rather the race so I take my hat off to him.

Student: Meagan Myers    Date: Tuesday February 14th 2006 15:29
Journal Entry: I found the concept of 'antirace' from this week's readings and notes to be quite interesting. But I was kind of confused: did Washburn, Dobzanshy and Montagu believe that race did/does not exist? Or did they just not want people to discuss it? If they did not believe that race exists, then koodos to them, they were extremely progressive and forward thinking. But why did they just not prove these other 'scientists' wrong? It seems like they just wanted to quell discussion when really they should have encouraged it to reveal their findings or explain their beliefs. If it was just that they were sick of discussing race, then this decision was not to anyone's advantage. Another thing I found interesting was Coon and his work. How could he possibly earn any respect for his work after the world had just experienced the Holocaust? How did he receive any sort of media attention and what kind of publishing company would actually support such blatantly racist research? I agree with Dr. Bindon when he said he was a 19th century guy living in the 20th century....Sorry I am posting so late! I had class all day and I had totally forgotten to post this morning before I left!

Student: Jeffrey R. Gonzalez    Date: Monday February 20th 2006 23:11
Journal Entry: One thing that has been getting alot of press lately is the low number of black athletes at the Winter Olympic Games. Anchorman Bryant Gumble has been receiving alot of bad press in the past few days for his comments on this subject. He basically said it is laughable to say these are the worlds best athletes. His reasoning for this was based on the low number of black athletes represented at the games. Why is it so hard to understand that some races simply excell at different sports. Saying these athletes are not the best simply because the majority of them are white is appauling. The Summer Olympics are overwhelmingly dominated by black athletes so is the same true there? Are those not the best in the world simply because there are few white athletes?

Student: Amy L. Dalton    Date: Tuesday February 21st 2006 01:25
Journal Entry: I recently watched an episode of Oprah that we have actually talked about in class, “Trading races”. These two families painted their entire families the opposite race and lived a week in there shoes. The black dad (dressed as “white dad”) commented on how he went into a golf pro shop and was amazed that the salesperson actually fit him for a shoe, not just handed him the box. He said that this had never happened to him before and it amazed me. He was also hired as a bartender in an exclusively white neighborhood and when he asked one of the locals the standard of the neighborhood the local replied that they had basically kept it white, and were fighting to keep it that way. I’m sorry that I missed the white family talking about turning black, I would have liked to have seen their experiences also.

Student: Rachel E. Cunningham    Date: Tuesday February 21st 2006 11:55
Journal Entry: I saw this week an advertisement on television for a new show called Black.White., where two families, one black and one white, trade the colors of their skin to see how life is from the prospective of a different race. The first few times I saw this commercial, I didn't think anything of the show, but I realized yesterday that our society's concept of race can be seen in this short preview. The families, to change their races, only need to add makeup and wigs? If race, which scientifically means that there is a genetic difference between blacks and whites, can be changed not by genetic mutation but by a couple of coats of foundation and a hairpiece, then obviously something is wrong. The premise of the show should not say changing races, because in actuality they are doing nothing of the short. No one on the show is magically changing into another form of human being-they still have their same DNA, only the color of their skin is either darkened or lightened thanks to Covergirl comestics. Our society needs to re-evaluate the true meaning of race, and stop presenting it to the public in a manner that suggests skin color is the main difference.

Student: Lindsey M. Johnson    Date: Tuesday February 21st 2006 13:04
Journal Entry: My journal entry last week was about the guy that I met who was trying to get a grant to study about the AIDS virus and its different strains, which he said affected different races. This week I found an article on the CNN website about an HIV study which had been done. The results of the study, according to the doctors who performed it, found that the HIV virus hits black people harder than any other racial group. I found it kind of funny that they took their sample form only 33 states, and that the population of black people in each of those states was no higher than 13%. Yet, still they say 50% of the people with the virus are black. It may just be me…but something about that seems kind of odd. Just something to think about.

Student: Meredith E. Ware    Date: Tuesday February 28th 2006 02:54
Journal Entry: I must say that I am extremely excited about the next half of the course. The technical and biological side of the race issue intrigues me, and I find the discoveries in genetics to be much more authoritative and rewarding personally than the rants of racist scientists on white superiority. I believe the discoveries that have been made in the past 50 years have revolutionized modern theories of human variation. Wells does a good job explaining the three controlling factors in population genetics – mutation, selection, and genetic drift. I especially liked his explanation of genetic drift and the example he provides about the rapid rate of mutations and its impact in a small but expanding population. On the bottom of page 39, I believe that Wells sums up the history of human variation with, “But does the placement of the root of our family tree in Africa mean that Coon was right, and Africans are frozen in some sort of ancestral evolutionary limbo? Of course not – all of the branches on the family tree change at the same rate, both within and outside of Africa, so there are derived lineages on each continent. That is the reason we see greater diversity within Africa – each branch has continued to evolve, accumulating additional changes. One of the interesting corollaries of inferring a single common ancestor is that each descendant lineage continues to change at the same rate, and therefore all of the lineages are the same age.”

Student: Rachel E. Cunningham    Date: Tuesday February 28th 2006 10:54
Journal Entry: The biological process for creating a human is unimaginably complex, and it is unfortunate that the process for tracing an individual's personal genetic history is only generic in its findings. Using either the mitochondrial history from the mother or the y chromosome material from the father, scientists can only give 1 or 2 individuals out of thousands as possible ancestors-and these numbers have variability within them also! However, if the creation theory is to be believed, it would seem that all individuals who have their genetic history traced would arrive at the same ancestor, whether the mother or father's lineage is traced. The findings should at least arrive at a similar region or geographic location for that ancestor, rather than giving up to three possible responses. Hopefully within the next decades science will be able to manipulate the genetic data to provide more accurate data, and be able to settle a debate that has raged since the early 19th century.

Student: Meagan Myers    Date: Tuesday February 28th 2006 10:56
Journal Entry: I am very excited to be moving into the biological part of studying race (or a lack thereof). I took two biology courses in high school but that was four years ago, and we definitely did not address how genetics, or biological makeups are consistant or vary among humans. I am interested to investigate why certain groups of people can be affected by certain genetic mutations, but other groups are not at risk of it. Or, what causes some people within that particular group to have a genetic malfunction, but others might not? I heard a commercial the other day on the radio that I thought was evidence of our time on some many levels. Bascially, it was for if you wanted to know who the father of your children is. You can send in a swab sample of the suspected males mouth; and, for $300, you can have a test run on his DNA to determine who's the daddy. Was this possible 30 years ago? 5-10 years ago, only Montel Williams and Sally Jesse Rapheal shows could afford to have this done, then they would center entire shows around it. Now anyone with some cash can have this 'simple' procedure down. I just thought this was an interesting marker of how far we have come both technologically and scientifically we have come (and perhaps how far we have to go culturally).

Student: Amy L. Dalton    Date: Tuesday February 28th 2006 11:21
Journal Entry: My question for this section is the explanation of the origin of the species in a biological sense. If man evolved from apes, then what is the proposed timeline that suggests a gradual change where humans would emerge but the family of monkeys and apes would remain the same. ( Chapter 1 in Wells- Wilberforce) The question of what our genes had to say about racial differences was proposed, and blood typing and mutation introduced. Are different mutations an explanation for race in different populations?

Student: Diana R. Sheffield    Date: Tuesday February 28th 2006 11:24
Journal Entry: I was always under the impression that sickle cell is a disease that effects certain races. Today in class when we briefly went over the facts about the disease it got me thinking that maybe the disease is not one that targets primarilly African Americans. I searched around on the internet and found an interesting article about the disease. I had no idea that sickle cell can effect people who had ancestors living in regions where there are high cases of maleria. The article said that sickle cell is more prominent in Northern Africa than Southern Africa. It also said that people in Greece, India, and the Arabian peninsula have a chance of developing the disease as well. It is very sad that just because Americans see that the disease turns up in more African Americans than any other type of Americans, people just assume that the disease could not effect them because they are not black. The most interesting thing that I found in the article is 11 out of 12 African Americans have nothing to do with the disease, so I am just wandering why it is commonly reffered to as a black disease.

Student: Gerald V. Dixon    Date: Tuesday February 28th 2006 11:31
Journal Entry: I am not that excited with this second part of the class because I’m not that interested in the biological aspect of anthropology. The only time I really want to hear about DNA is when I watch CSI, Maury show or Law and Order. But the more I read wells book the more I might find some interest in genetics. I am every fascinated in my genetic mapping though I can’t lie about that. The only problem I have in genetics mapping is how much of the information is the truth, you can never tell now a days what’s false information and what’s not. I hope over the next couple of weeks of studying the biological aspect of race in genetics I can come up with a more concert answer to all my questions.

Student: Jeffrey R. Gonzalez    Date: Tuesday February 28th 2006 18:31
Journal Entry: What I found to be the most interesting from the reading in the Wells book was the accidental way in which biochemical diversity between humans was discovered. The book stated that when Karl Landsteiner combined the blood of two unrelated people, it would sometimes clump together. This finding led to the classification of blood types we now know of. People with the blood types A and B were thought of to be pure races. Through racial mixing they believed AB types were formed. It just amazed me how an accidental mixing of blood types led to the classifications we still use today.

Student: Rachel E. Cunningham    Date: Monday March 6th 2006 18:08
Journal Entry: The two ways in which someone can trace their genetic history use the y chromosome and the DNA in the mitochrondria. A man can use either of these methods, while a woman's history is mainly traced with the mitochrondrial DNA because of the lack of the y chromosome. I wonder though if an accurate genetic history for a woman can be traced using her father's y chromosome history, or another male relative's. Obviously if a man can trace his history back to an ancestor, his daughter, sister, etc., would have the same lineage. Since this is a more accurate form of genetic tracing, why is it not used more often for a woman? If a man can have both the y chromosome and mitochrondria traced, then why not a woman?

Student: Amy L. Dalton    Date: Tuesday March 7th 2006 11:49
Journal Entry: Sorry about the confusing entry last week. We discussed most of what I was looking for in lecture. This week in Wells I found a lot of things to be very interesting. Like Emily, I knew that the number of ancestors an individual had would be a huge, so I never really thought about it in an actual mathematical sense. It amazes me that we can actually trace lineages as far back as Africa using DNA today considering that you only have a 6% match with your grandparents. Just going back 1000 years, calculations say that we would have had over one trillion ancestors, more people than existed in human history. Obviously people share a large portion of ancestry, the actual math just made me think how much closer we are all related than I ever imagined.

Student: Athanasius D. Isaac    Date: Wednesday March 8th 2006 20:07
Journal Entry: Here I am again continuing to insist on finding out what the social implications are to the biological findings surrounding race. While searching for information on Black Nationalism for another class I came across and article titled No Biological Basis for race, Scientists Say Distinctions prove to be skin deep by Charles Petit, Chronicle Science Writer, written in San Francisco Chronicle, Monday, February 23, 1998. The article says that a coalition of experts (who knows from where) say. “The concept of race is a social and cultural construction. . . . race simply cannot be tested or proven scientifically,'' according to a policy statement by the American Anthropological Association. ``It is clear that human populations are not unambiguous, clearly demarcated, biologically distinct groups. The concept of `race' has no validity . . . in the human species. Although few people would mistake a group of Arapahos for Finns, or Malays for Tutsis, anthropologists can find no clear racial boundaries to show where one ``racial'' group stops and another begins. “ I remember a mentioning of something similar to this position in class, I think. Now I am looking deeper for the social implications. As I showed the article to some friends, and they seemed very nonchalant and blasé about the article. So when I asked if they had heard about this, many said no but they know race is social. So then I asked if they knew that race concepts help perpetuate inequality, but biologically we are in essence the same. So they begin citing how strength and endurance are biological things and there were variations there. I immediately stopped the conversation and told them that they were just about to try and justify race thru a lens of difference using biology as a reference and then I left. As it seems the biology helps me understand “race” it will still be a long time until others understand.

Student: Justin C. Hicks    Date: Wednesday March 15th 2006 23:04
Journal Entry: I think the whole idea of neanderthal and homo-sapiens interbreeding is strange. Aside from the physical differences that are obvious, isn't there also a difference between the development of the frontal lobe, which would have left the Neanderthals drastically culturally different and maybe deficient from the homo sapiens around them, making for a huge difference even outside of the physical differences. Also, I have been watching the show brought up by other journals called Black and White, in which a black and white family "trade races" and experience life as the other race. It is overdramatized to some degree, as all television is, but it is also an interesting example of how the things we discuss come up outside of the academic world. One of the more interesting things is the differences between the different generations, the parents seem to keep bringing up race no matter what in certain situations, while the children seem much more open about the ideas. There also seems to be much more conflict between the people changing positions than those who are pretending to be one race and those they are trying to "blend" with. Both sets of parents seem to blame each other for the racial issues around them, while the children seem to be the only ones actually taking it as a learning experience, and as a chance to see things from another perspective.

Student: Athanasius D. Isaac    Date: Thursday March 16th 2006 07:08
Journal Entry: While doing research for another class, I fond an article that I was shocked to see. The article is listed as a European ethnocentric view. In the article there was the following quote, “Race is perhaps best-defined as, in Gregory Cochran’s words, "a group that has been subject to strong enough selective pressures for long enough, with low enough gene flow, to end up demonstrably different from other groups." This seems to go along with all that we have studied so far, but then the article goes on to say, “(Perhaps the most ridiculous argument that "race" has no genetic meaning is one found on the internet. The genetic basis of race is denied because "races can’t interbreed" while Blacks, Whites and Asians can. But for a hundred and fifty years biologists have used the term, "race" to describe sub-species that can interbreed. The internet author might as well have argued that there are no "families" by claiming that families can not interbreed.) This article is disturbing and I am wondering how Wells would or could refute these assertions. Lastly why do people still think this way about the biology of race; could it have something to do with the social implications?

Student: Meredith E. Ware    Date: Tuesday March 28th 2006 11:01
Journal Entry: I found the article this week very interesting. While the majority of credible studies show that there is no substantial correlation between race and genetic markers, there are still researchers who try and tailor their studies to prove that race is inextricably linked to a person's genes. What was even more surprising was that the results of studies trying to show a genetic link to race ended up showing the complete opposite. The best example is of this flawed method is that by Bowcock and his colleagues. I still believe that it is impossible to successfully classify individuals into a particular race given the history of the human race and gene flow patterns.

Student: Emily N. Roberts    Date: Tuesday March 28th 2006 11:24
Journal Entry: I was very excited that we discussed sickle cell anemia in class Tuesday because I have a story that relates perfectly to that lecture and this class as a whole. In my discussion section for my History 102 class the Friday before spring break, we were going over our assigned reading of excepts of Charles Darwin's Descent of Man. Well this is the south and anytime Darwin is involved people get antsy. We compared Karl Marx's idea of how society should work with Darwin's view and how the social climate of the times led to things like eugenics. Because of this class, I was an "expert" on the subject. The TA leading the discussion wanted us to try to weigh the pros and cons of an idea like eugenics (what pros!?) and to think about the implications of selective "positive" breeding. Some one mentioned the idea of selectively breeding out certain disease as an acceptable application of eugenics and that brought up "racial diseases". That's where I got very excited because I was able to say that there are no diseases genetically linked to a certain so-called race. Sickle cell anemia was then brought up as an example of a racial disease because supposedly only black people have sickle cell anemia. Sometimes the world just makes me sad. Between this class and ANT 411, my medical anthropology course with Dr. Dressler, I know a lot about sickle cell anemia. I was able to explain that the condition is also found throughout the Mediterranean and India and was not exclusively limited to Africa. It is found almost anywhere there is a very high prevalence of Malaria because it can be argued that sickle cell anemia is an adaptive response to the disease. So, saying that a particular disease only affects a certain group of people because we decide to put that group into a box defined by physical appearance and social constructions is complete lunacy. I continually find multiple ways to apply the things I learn in this class to my life in ways I never even dreamed of when I signed up for it. With every new group of twenty or so students unleashed upon the world every spring this class is taught, I have the confidence that the ignorance that surrounds the idea of separate genetically defined races in the current human population may one day be, if not eradicated, at least threatened a little bit.

Student: Amy L. Dalton    Date: Tuesday March 28th 2006 11:31
Journal Entry: I always find it interesting that we can actually trace the migration patterns of early humans fairly credibly along with their population and genetic makeup. I was wondering if we knew why they were moving. Did they know where they were going? If they could survive, for example, on the shorelines of the beach like we discussed in class then why did they keep moving? We always address it so it sounds like obviously they would migrate, but is it simply because of weather patterns, events, or just a nomadic way of life?

Student: Chad C. Hammock    Date: Wednesday March 29th 2006 13:07
Journal Entry: I was reading Emily’s posting and I continue to be amazed by the ideas that some people -the people in her class, not Emily specifically- have. I had never heard of any disease being specifically linked to a certain race or being found exclusively within an ethnic group. I know a couple kids, presumably of Mediterranean origin, with sickle cell anemia so the thought that it was exclusively a disorder found in Africa ever occur to me and I cannot recall ever being presented with any such claim. My question is where do people get these ideas? The only sort of thing I have ever heard that could be linked to race is that certain diseases and disorders are more likely amongst certain ethnic groups, but I am fairly certain that has a lot more to do with average size and body weight than gene makeup.

Student: Justin C. Hicks    Date: Thursday March 30th 2006 00:10
Journal Entry: I wanted this entry to be about an article I saw recently on a fossil found linking modern homo sapiens with homo erectus, but I cannot find the link, so im not sure exactly what was found, but it is a very interesting story to consider. Even with as much as we do know about the evolution of our species, there is still so much to find out. Some of the things we discussed Tuesday were very interesting, with the sudden drop in our population size and how close we were to slipping into extinction. Was it our developing cultural aspects that helped to save us from that (such as our ability to make tools to adapt to climates) or just blind evolutionary "luck?" On a different note, over the break I spent the week in New Orleans helping gut houses so they can be rebuilt. It was interesting to be immersed in a city where the race issue has been so huge in the recents weeks and months (especially with Nagin's comments on the "chocolate city.") It was interesting to see, with as much as the news focuses on "racism" in the city, the hurricane has actually lessened some of the racial issues that were normal before. As often as the issue with churches has been brought up in class, we visited a church in the city that had been traditionally white before the hurricane and has now blended with a traditionally black church that was destroyed in the storm.

Student: Athanasius D. Isaac    Date: Thursday March 30th 2006 07:48
Journal Entry: I have always wondered about the understandings that we have about sickle cell anemia. For years I was told that this only occurred in Black folks. What I never questioned was how do they know this. Some years later I met a guy who identified himself as white but he had recently been diagnosed with sickle cell. That was a shock! I asked him if he now considered himself black or something else. He told me that he always wondered if he had African ancestry and now he could authenticate it with the anemia. After calls I called him in New York and talked to him about this class; he was excited that I would be able to take a class like this in Alabama. But he asked me some questions that lead me to this one; if sickle cell for the most (ignorant) part been considered a Black people’s condition why is there only fairly recent discussion regarding “race drugs”? And, why isn’t the race drug theory as old as the concept of race itself and what are the contemporary implications given all we know about “race”?

Student: Meredith E. Ware    Date: Tuesday April 4th 2006 09:16
Journal Entry: As I was reading the article for this week, it reminded me of another article I had read last week online. The premise of the online article was as a response to an Op-ed piece in the New York Times from March 14th of last year. The article was written by R. C. Lewontin whose work was mentioned in last week’s article. The Op-ed piece, written by Armoand Leroi, made an argument that the social and medical implications of race are a good thing and therefore racial classifications should exist. I have to disagree. While some good might be garnered from the research, I don’t see any worth to promoting divisions among people. Leroi points out that researchers are actively looking for a race connection to rates of certain diseases such as prostate cancer and multiple sclerosis. However, Leroi’s definition of race is unclear. He jumps back and forth between a definition encompassing a large geographic area to that of a small isolated population as pointed out in Lewontin’s argument. race cannot be studied if it cannot be defined. I tend to agree with the Crews and Bindon article. Ethnicity is a better term, but it too presents similar problems as “race.” Here are links to the two articles. You can decided for yourself.

Leroi’s article

Lewontin’s article

Student: Meagan Myers    Date: Tuesday April 4th 2006 10:56
Journal Entry: Always having heard "she's black" or "he's white", it was interesting to see the chart from today's class. With 22 groups of people tested from different geographic locations, the scale of median skin colors (represented by the dots) pretty much made a straight diagonal line. Sure, there was variation and the difference between a Sudanese person's skin and a Dutch person's skin is great,but overall the variation was gradual. I thought this was interesting that knowing how small each variation is, people (the general public and anthropologists) still use skin color as a determinent factor for dividing people into races. --Random Question: What's the difference in hair and fur? I understand why we would lose fur, but how or why would it change (texture etc) to hair?

Student: Gerald V. Dixon    Date: Tuesday April 4th 2006 11:43
Journal Entry: In class today I was reminded that there isn’t any race gene. Now the question that I have to ask is why we still use physical characteristics to put people into categories. What really stuck out to me in today literature was the idea of the hair form. The example that I have to use that shows the theory is kind of off is my brother and I. my brother has bushman hair and my hair is more like Eritrean so does that make us that different, or am I closer to one age than he is, or can I still call him my brother. I wasn’t shocked that skin color was the first trait people looked at to racially categorize people. I’ve been up and down that ladder. But now I have new come back when someone says that i'm too dark, I’ll tell them to blame it on my environment. Another point in the literature that also stuck out was the skin percentage chart, it’s my first time hearing about but I would like to learn more about it.

Student: Amy L. Dalton    Date: Tuesday April 4th 2006 11:57
Journal Entry: After reviewing this weeks readings, I remembered last semester’s discussions ( physical anthro) about melanin and environmental factors being the main cause for skin color. I thought that we disproved this theory however due to groups being of different colors even on the same longitudinal lines, or distance away from the equator.(I need to refresh on these concepts because I find it very interesting). I looked up some articles about skin color and races and found it interesting that almost every article attributed differences in color to different levels of melanin including a Christian group (which I thought was odd). If this is so widely accepted shouldn’t we determine race by location, not the color, since it too is determined by the environment?

Student: Athanasius D. Isaac    Date: Wednesday April 5th 2006 19:32
Journal Entry: Natural selection; How does this work again? I am very interested in natural selection of albinos. Barring a cultural explanation, is there some condition or set of conditions that would make albinism more probable for natural selection? I went to a web site called NOAH - The National Organization for Albinism and Hypopigmentation to get some information that might help me and found some other interesting stuff. According to the website ( “the word "albinism" refers to a group of inherited conditions. People with albinism have little or no pigment in their eyes, skin, or hair. They have inherited genes that do not make the usual amounts of a pigment called melanin. One person in 17,000 in the U.S.A. has some type of albinism. Albinism affects people from all races. Most children with albinism are born to parents who have normal hair and eye color for their ethnic backgrounds. Often people do not recognize that they have albinism.” Ok, so could we please discuss again the differences between natural and cultural (mate) selection and can we also discuss this in reference to albinism. I am curious about the use and definition of “race” and “ethnic” on this website as well as the low vision common among albinos. The4 site said, “People with albinism always have problems with vision, and many have low vision. Many are "legally blind," but most use their vision for reading, and do not use Braille. Some have vision good enough to drive a car. Vision problems in albinism result from abnormal development of the retina and abnormal patterns of nerve connections between the eye and the brain. It is the presence of these eye problems that defines the diagnosis of albinism.” Is this accurate or is there some other reason such as the lack of melanin and the penetration of sunlight or something else.

Student: Stephen B. Collins    Date: Wednesday April 5th 2006 21:17
Journal Entry: After reading the article for this week I am left with two primary questions. First, why is any delineation needed, even for the purpose of medical diagnosis? Second, will it make any difference in the degree of fear, mistrust, jealousy and hatred to change from the common use of “race” to the common use of “ethnicity?” I have observed one group after another change the name of their particular group during my lifetime and it never had any significant impact of structural policies or deeply rooted feelings. What indication – if any – do we have that convincing people to use ethnicity instead of race will have any meaningful or positive impact?

Student: Justin C. Hicks    Date: Wednesday April 5th 2006 23:26
Journal Entry: This week has just kind of reinforced what we have been talking about already in class about the "drastic" differences we see now as simply being due to our rapid modes of travel. It makes perfect sense, as it is described in historical accounts of travels, for the basis of differentiation to be more about "tribal" or "national" affiliation, because on the ground level just travelling through, that is the most obvious different within small areas. I think Stephen's comments about the way we call it a "race" or "ethnic group" or whatever making no difference are interesting. I agree with his point that, whatever we call a group of people, the underlying feelinds are not going to change until A) we stop seeing "them" as "them" and not just one big "us" as humans and keep trying to classify ourselves for seemingly arbitrary reasons and B) the general public has more of an understanding of the subjects we discuss in the course of this class.

Student: Meredith E. Ware    Date: Tuesday April 18th 2006 13:20
Journal Entry: I read this article and thought it was interesting. Just as Graves discusses the continual use of race in diagnosing health problems, Kaufman argues against the use of race. He writes about the Slave Hypothesis which basically attributes the high rate of hypertension among African Americans to the treatment of their ancestors when they were brought to the Americas. To me, the idea that this type of health problem is blamed on such a short-sighted idea is bizarre. Maybe there is some validity to it, but I think there are other compounding factors. It seems that the proponents of this hypothesis do not factor in current environmental, economic, or social conditions that could also contribute to the high rates of hypertension.

Student: Lindsey M. Johnson    Date: Tuesday April 18th 2006 13:20
Journal Entry: I was completely appalled in class this morning when we went over the new "race drug" BiDil! I could not believe that any person could promote such a worthless crock of **** on the market with absolutely no worthwhile basis for its use! The fact the that the government allows it to go on and unsuspecting Americans are bound to be sucked in by the product's inventive advertising make me want to scream! I can be a little more understanding with men like Hoffman and Cartwright and their ridiculous theories because of the time period. But today, with all the scientific studies and evidence we have to prove that the old beliefs were false, I feel that it is inexcusable for quack doctors, scientists, and government officials to get away with down right deceit! The whole thing makes me sick!

Student: Emily N. Roberts    Date: Tuesday April 18th 2006 13:20
Journal Entry: From the lecture and readings, the thing that surprised me the most is how willing we are to make assumptions based solely on what we see, and to completely ignore the truth even when it stares us in the face. It would seem that in today's supposedly wonderful modern world, our society would have become as advanced as the technology. But as the article in the New England Journal of Medicine shows, some of us have not changed one bit from the ideas of the last century. Turning a blind eye to such matters as a genetic basis to race and the effect of environmental factors on health are lazy and profit minded. I do have a few questions that I've always wondered. Did the fist modern humans have cancer? Do we not know all of the causes of cancer, or do we just not have a cure, or both?

Student: Amy L. Dalton    Date: Tuesday April 18th 2006 13:20
Journal Entry: I really enjoyed the first part of the video last week. I thought it was great that someone actually retraced the steps of mankind all the way back to the first tribe. I thought he did a good job explaining commonly asked questions, and simplifying the more complicated theories, but I don’t know if the tribe he talked to and the man he found with the common link really understood what was going on. I thought it was interesting that the Australians believed that they were originally from Australia and then moved, (and were very defiant) even with all the evidence presented. I hope we can finish this video at the end of the semester.

Student: Gerald V. Dixon    Date: Tuesday April 18th 2006 13:21
Journal Entry: I really like the video last week. I felt like someone thought it was important to retrace our step to see how we really connected to each other. But I have a question being easter weekend when does the religious aspect come into play. If the steps looked that easy why didn’t someone attempt tracing our steps along time ago.

Student: Chad C. Hammock    Date: Wednesday April 19th 2006 10:15
Journal Entry: I have a real problem with doctors being taught and arguing amongst themselves that race is an important factor in making a diagnosis. I was watching House last night and noticed that they did not use the standard “27, white, female” to describe their patient just “27, female.” I’m really not sure what the writers are trying to convey by this or if they are just attempting to avoid rubbing anyone the wrong way by leaving out race altogether but I was hoping that they were doing it because they are a team who tackles special cases and they have moved beyond classifying people into narrow racial categories to make their diagnoses.

Student: Athanasius D. Isaac    Date: Thursday April 20th 2006 09:16
Journal Entry: Vitamins To Match Your race? Last Update: 4/13/2006 9:56:20 AM From the website network news station. Christine Webb - There are all sorts of vitamins for different needs, but how about vitamins based on your ethnicity? One company says they have come up with such a product. The Genspec Company says that their multi-vitamins are made specifically for African Americans, Hispanics, Asians or whites, tailored to the unique traits of each race. One of the vitamins contains more vitamin D because darker skin reduces the amount of vitamin D the body makes. Critics say there isn't enough scientific evidence to support the company's claims. The company responds by saying its products will revolutionize the way people take vitamins. I found this article and wondered if I had read it right. Are there still even more efforts aimed at making people identify themselves as a certain race in order to maintain their health? Surly this is only an advertisement strategy. And it is a shame that the majority of the people do not understand that race is biological especially the Medical Professionals

Student: Stephen B. Collins    Date: Thursday April 20th 2006 09:18
Journal Entry: There is a fascinating article recently published which provides an in depth analysis of many of the issues we have discussed in class regarding the uses of race in diagnosis and treatment of disease. Categorization of humans in biomedical research: genes, race and disease can be found on the Internet at the following address: The bibliography provided at the end of the article offers additional sources for the debate over the use of racial categories in biomedical research. Even though this particular article seems to indicate that there might be some circumstances for using racial distinctions the subject is handled well and much of what we have covered in this course is incorporated into the argument. My only question is can there ever be – in our time – a legitimate reason for racial distinctions that will not continue to contribute to the many other problems looming beneath the surface when racial categories are used for any reason.

Student: Rachel E. Cunningham    Date: Tuesday April 25th 2006 10:59
Journal Entry: In the chapter in Graves's book about the fallacy of race and IQ, the actions of William Shockley in fact, shocked me. As a Nobel laureate from Stanford University during the late 20th century, I would have expected his views on the genetic implications of race to be completely opposite from his proposed opinions. Even as late as 1966, Shockley believed that the genetic basis of race to be valid, and to have influence over a race's intellectual abilities. He even proposed to do a study on the nexus of heredity, crime, and poverty, saying that african american genetic data would be more prevalent in criminals and the poor. Shockley even had the gall to say that critics of his racist ideologies and his study to be antigenetic and only wanted to 'stifle the free investigation of scientific hypotheses.' I think he overlooked the fact that prior to this blatantly racist study, the genetic basis of race had already been disestablished by the science community, so basically his entire study was unnecessary. Except, of course, for the fact that science had already found the answer, but it just wasn't the one he was looking for.

Student: Brian H. Robbins    Date: Saturday January 20th 2007 16:22
Journal Entry: I was thinking about the nature of race in Greek and Roman cultures as we’ve discussed them. Though this may be jumping ahead, I thought the link between these civilizations and Victorian England (and the 19th Century in general) was interesting. During the Romantic Movement, Greek and Roman ideas proved to be a major source of inspiration for art, novels, and various other forms of entertainment. Latin became the language of academia and the general feeling was that the new British Empire was the successor or offspring of the Roman Empire. Rome has provided the foundational ideology for many ‘empire’ attempts in Europe. Napoleon adopted the Roman Eagle as his symbol, and hoped to build France in the Empire’s image. Even Hitler used Roman symbology as the visual language of the Third Reich. The question is why were the ancient views on race not adopted as well? Some scholars in the 19th Century held Rome and Greece to grand standards, marking them as pinnacles of ancient civilization, and witnessing them as sewing the seeds of European Colonialism and empire-building. Even with the sudden appearance of superficially different people during the age of exploration, elements of Roman culture existed in the same form in which it exists today: the Catholic Church. Whether or not the Church apposed actions such as slavery or racism, it made no effort to stop them, at least not to the same extent that it was able to coerce the beginnings of the Crusades. This is not to blame the current Church, but it begs the question. Why did the most benevolent aspects of ancient cultures die out, while the idealized ‘heroic’ aspects of them survive? Why did the Church and Europe in general continue the Roman tradition of religion and conquest, but cast aside their views on people? It seems strange that for all the cultural treasures gleaned from the Romans, their views on race, something that could have aided in avoiding racial slavery, apartheid, and civil rights suppression, were the ones which were snuffed out the quickest, and to some extent, are only being re-learned today.

Student: Brian Cornelison    Date: Sunday January 21st 2007 19:49
Journal Entry: race is not a matter of reality but rather the fact that we, as humans, allow it to exist in modern times. I understand that ancient civilizations did not have race, but these cultures did categorize people based on nationalities, most likely, wither the people were of allied or warring states. These prisoners of war would then become slaves and would be looked upon as inferior, this was not uncommon. I also understand that when great distances could be traveled in short amounts of time that the obvious difference of people could form the thought of race and could have caused the attempt to categorize people by perceived superiority. This to is flawed because it is based on the group doing the categorizing and their personal opinions. For example, I rank my roping horses higher in value than the million dollar racing horses, this is based on the fact that the roping horses can work cattle, allow me to open gates without getting out of the saddle, or just take a pleasure walk down the trail while the racing horses can do nothing but run fast. Many may not agree with me, but it is my personal preference, just as the people categorizing others may have had experiences with people of a certain ethnic group or disagrees with their religious beliefs. The presence of these thoughts and personal preferences could be thought of as the founding block of the idea of race however flawed this belief might be.

Student: Lizzie Weber    Date: Monday January 22nd 2007 16:40
Journal Entry: It is disturbing to me to think that in his day Francois Bernier could have been considered a valid scholar and his writings could be respected and read as being based in scientific observation. He arbitrarily divides the world into races going so far as to even include peoples that he himself has never seen. He is attempting to divide the human race into smaller subsections before he is even able to clearly define what constitutes a human being. He is writing in 1648. In this time period Europe is just emerging from the Middle Ages, when it was considered perfectly acceptable to keep dwarves in cages as pets because, due to their diminutive stature, they were clearly not human. Bernier refers to the Lapps as “wretched animals” and compares them to bears rather than comparing them to other races as he has when describing each of the other “species.” I also find it amusing that Bernier claims to classify the Africans as a separate “species” in part due to their “thick lips and squab noses.” Yet when he describes the beautiful women of the world he claims to have encountered some very beautiful African women who do not have “thick lips and squab noses.” Based on his definition of Africans, wouldn’t this indicate that the women cannot in fact be African if they are missing the defining African facial features? Furthermore, Bernier’s attraction to women described as resembling French women with jaundice is reason enough to make me doubt this man’s credibility. The idea that the origins of our understanding of race are based in the “research” of men such as Bernier is reason enough to make me question the validity of our modern day concept of race as a biological truth.

Student: Robert S. Clauss    Date: Monday January 22nd 2007 17:54
Journal Entry: Even as I wholeheartedly agree that biologically, race does not exist, I know that I still buy into it. For instance, after moving out of California at an early age and growing up in Virginia in a primarily white neighborhood, I never thought of myself as Hispanic until I reached middle school. Did I feel different? No, but for some reason I thought it made me different from others. Playing with the race identity chart on the PBS website was a great reflection on my personal experiences. One of the Hispanic ladies commented that as a “mixed” Caucasian/Hispanic, when she’s around her Hispanic friends, she’s Anglo, and when around her white friends, she’s Latina. I am in the exact same boat. In Virginia/Alabama, I am Hispanic, while in California among my familiares (family), I am certainly white. Further pulling from personal experience, I ran track through high school, and was quite good – good enough to get to Nationals. So whenever I went somewhere to race (400 meters), the field was overwhelmingly black and it was always, “Who’s this white kid… what’s he doing?” Because people always bought into the superior black athlete stereotype, I was constantly underestimated. However, even after these experiences, I know I will continue to adhere to the concept of race. It is a manner of dividing/categorizing people. We do it with men/women – which now causes me to wonder if we should also attempt to end the concept of gender. After all, between the two genders, there is only one chromosomal difference. I think neither will happen – categorizing humans – based on differences genetic or only perceived can be useful in the modern world.

Student: Sean P. Phillips    Date: Monday January 22nd 2007 18:44
Journal Entry: Since there appears to be a small amount of people in the United States who actually understand that race does not exist, but is merely a culturally constructed “phenomenon”, is there anyway to spread this information to the masses? I’m not sure that you could convince a whole lot of people of this fact due to the way that they might or might not have been raised up, but if the majority of people could come to know and understand this fact, I believe many of the racial issues that exist in our country may come closer to being resolved. Sean Phillips

Student: Megan L. Buchanan    Date: Monday January 22nd 2007 19:19
Journal Entry: Prior to taking this course I honestly don’t think that I had once thought about race on a scientific/genetic level. Which of course now I am thoroughly embarrassed about. But I think my lack of knowledge says something. Although I’ve only taken one biology course (in high school nonetheless), I don’t consider myself devoid of knowledge when it comes to general scientific academia. I also read the daily news etc. and feel that I am fairly well-informed in that respect. So I am perplexed as to why I have had this lack of scientific discussions of race as opposed to societal and cultural-based discussions focusing on racism. I could be wrong, but as I see it there is a huge lack of knowledge on the part of the American populous as a whole concerning the origins of race and how there is no genetic proof of race; that it is indeed a social construction. I imagine that if everyone were to be more informed on this fact and on the origin of race, the instances of racism (systematic and personal) would decrease.

Student: Danielle N. Sims    Date: Tuesday January 23rd 2007 09:10
Journal Entry: Last semester I had a job in which I faked a German accent the entire time I was working there. My boss even believed I was of German decent. Naturally, I was asked quite often where my parents were from. Even before that job, the question came up in conversation a bit. My father is from South Africa, so whenever I gave my answer, I was always surprised at the way people reacted. Their follow-up remarks usually convey disbelief, because they see my white skin, and the majority of people would keep prying until they discovered his Afrikaaner descent. Most people are shocked that he is classified as caucasian, even though he comes from sub-Saharan Africa. Even after the convincing is done, I sometimes get grief once people realize that he’s a part of “white South Africa,” and was in the army no less- the part of the population that ruled the government during Aparthied and forced the natives out of their land. Racial constructs and preconceived notions about race in this country and abroad have actively created rifts in the human body since the beginning of color-variation, and it will continue to do so until we disintegrate.

Student: Courtney L. Green    Date: Tuesday January 23rd 2007 09:35
Journal Entry: Even though the whole concept of dividing people into "races", to categorize them by physical traits and geographical location has no real standing, it's still interesting to see how it effects society. We discussed in class about Bernier and how he divided humans into his own races, but it's funny to watch just your average joe do the same throughout the day. When we meet someone new, sometimes you find yourself wondering where they come from, or what ethnicity they are. I found the race matching chart on the PBS website amusing. Most of the people displayed on the chart were of mixed ethnicities, so it was hard to tell most of them what category you could place them in. With my own experiences, I've had people ask me if I'm Native American (and guess what kinds too), Italian, Greek, and even someone asked if I had Asian background (yeah, sure I am, being 5'10" and all). I'm predomenantly white, but I do have about a 1/4 Native American background. It's funny to watch people try to categorize other people by the same racial categories, when most of the time, they don't get it right. Since America is a big melting pot, most people have mixed backgrounds anyway, and it's very interesting to note that if a person has a couple of different "races" in their background, they often look like a completely different "race" that they actually do not descend from.

Student: Kathryn J. Zekoff    Date: Tuesday January 23rd 2007 09:37
Journal Entry: I consider myself more aware than most of the different cultural identities that exist in today’s world, and I do not consider myself a racist. Saying this, I must admit I was a bit shocked when I only correctly placed 8 people into the “Sorting People” exercise on the PBS site. I was slightly distracted by my roommate who had locked her keys into her car, and the size of the pictures did not help, but I still expected to get more than 8. It is just an example that the concept of “race” truly is a social phenonmenon and is more present today than some people realize. We may choose to ignore its influence in the way we think and live our lives, but it is still there in the shadows.

Student: Emily S. Naderi    Date: Tuesday January 23rd 2007 10:59
Journal Entry: I feel dumb saying this, but prior to this class, I had no idea that there was no genetic evidence of race. I don't mean to say that I believed every stereotype about any particular ethnic group, but when one looks at all of the physical differences between people in the United States or any other country, the starkness of the contrasts would lead anyone to infer that if we are different on the outside, we must be different on the inside. Scientists already know that there are genes coding for hair and eye color and even predisposition toward diseases. These traits are much more subtle than those differentiating race (hair texture, skin color, eye shape), I am still amazed as to how there can be no genetic variation between races. The existence of variation, for me at least, would not imply that one race is better or more evolved than another, rather, it would almost be a necessity. That said, as much as I disagreed and even laughed aloud at the stereotypes in Graves's book, I was not surprised by the majority of them (although the one about Jews having tails was a stretch). In the 18th and 19th centuries, the field of human genetics was not advanced enough to prove that there was no genetic variation between races. Now that we have the technology and proof to know the truth, it should be our responsibility as a society to educate one another and break down stereotypes.

Student: Lindsay C. Scruggs    Date: Tuesday January 23rd 2007 11:11
Journal Entry: While I was reading the chapters, I started to wonder why the word race was invented. I also was amazed while I was trying to attempt the sorting races activity from the PBS site. I would sometimes got close to getting them all correct after trying to memorize them all, but in the end I resulted in taking a picture of the correct answers just to get them all right. I found the section from chapter one about Noah and his sons interesting also. About him cursing his son Ham because he would not help his father while he was at a bar. The section said that he cursed his family or ancestors to become part of the Negroid race. But in the end, there was no evidence of his ancestors being part of the Negroid or African race.

Student: Challice A. Freeman    Date: Tuesday January 23rd 2007 11:28
Journal Entry: I had originally planned on commenting on a couple of points from class, but a specific journal entry about the psychology of race and how we as humans perceive race caught my attention. I agree that the idea of race and the inevitable classifications of species can be traced back to the very primitive origins of psychology and the development of the human mind, but time has allowed much more to come into the scene, like civilization, exploration, education, etc. I feel it is simple to shrug off beliefs, traditions, and even social development back to psychology, but we cannot leave it at that. We as humans perceive the world, and others in it, through our own eyes, and consequently that means we see others in the world as different from ourselves. How were early humans supposed to differentiate between themselves and a foreigner? They referred to their appearance, their color, hair, height, etc. That it the natural, biological, psychological beginning of it, but the modernization of science along with some biased scientists, philosophers, and anthropologists have brought a new view of race. These views have been passed down through the generations and have, unfortunately, turned into racism, hate, and prejudice. Final point, yes, race is simply a way of perceiving the differences among humans, there is no other way to explain why another person is so unlike from you other than to classify them as ‘different.’ But, this psychological explanation cannot supplement the world’s problem of “race.”

Student: David L. McDaniel    Date: Wednesday January 24th 2007 10:31
Journal Entry: In class we have discussed the fact that there is very little to no biological differences between people when it comes to the idea of race. I began to wonder, then, why has it been in only recent centuries that man has created such barriers between groups of people based on skin color, hair texture, or other physical traits. In one of my Psychology classes the other day, we began to discuss the process of stereotypes and how people use stereotypes as a shorthand and time saver to understand people. For example, if an individual claims that he is a "Yankee" some assumptions could be made that the person is industrious, enjoys cold weather, and speaks quickly. I then began to think about combining stereotypes and race and began to wonder that this idea could be used to explain the invention and use of race. If someone walks down the road and notices another individual that looks like they could be from China, it is easier to make assumptions about the person, even if the inferences are wrong, then it is to intently study and observe each person that we encounter. I then came to the conclusion, and am not arguing that this is morally right, that race is used as a time and energy saver to understand other people, even if the assumptions are incorrect.

Student: Krissy Loveman    Date: Thursday January 25th 2007 08:58
Journal Entry: Journal Entry #1,7034,21095751%255E15702,00.html This internet article comes from Townsville, Australia. It addresses an issue that police authorities think they are helping, but rather, are ignorantly missing the point, according to some. The problem deals with crime suspects on the loose and the descriptions of the criminals released to the public. The media has been encouraged not to give out racial descriptions of criminals in order to avoid racial discrimination and profiling from the public. However, the other side of the argument is saying that this move is a bad one, and that all details of criminals’ physical appearances should be included in crime reports. Supposedly though, the media is recently changing their race-avoiding tendencies in order to give better accurate accounts of criminals on the loose. Personally, I agree with the media’s decision to include racial descriptions. It is in the interest of the public that they know what a threatening person looks like in order to protect themselves; if racial discrimination occurs, it is the fault of the public to think in such terms. Krissy Loveman

Student: Krissy Loveman    Date: Sunday January 28th 2007 16:54
Journal Entry: The “Confederate States of America” was a movie released in the Fall of 2006. In short, the film imagines that the Confederate States had won the Civil War, taking a hold of power in America. The purpose of the movie, I inferred, is to reveal the absurdity of racism and a state which is based upon around racial-thinking. The movie is portrayed as a British-run documentary about the history and progression of The Confederate States of America, abbreviated CSA instead of USA. The Confederate States of America is dramatically portrayed in what seemed to be the worst case scenario. For example, as the documentary traced through history and reached WWII, The Confederate States of America allied with Nazi Germany’s social darwinistic-principles about the rankings of men; the only difference is that CSA thought the non-Germanic peoples should be put into slavery instead of concentration camps. Also, commercials were made part of the “documentary” in order to advertise racist products such as hotlines one can call in the case that someone is approached by someone of unidentifiable race, as if it were a dangerous situation to be in the presence of a non-white. Perhaps the film was overdone, but, the path of a real CSA could have been just as disastrous. The film had its distasteful moments, such as making comedic moments out of ridiculous portrayals of African Americans. However, the absurdity of the racism in the idealized CSA would blow your mind as to how ridiculous people could draw lines between “races”.

Student: David L. McDaniel    Date: Monday January 29th 2007 21:37
Journal Entry: In the most recent episode of the hit TV show, 24, one of the CTU workers, Nadia Yassir, is trying to encode documents and legal papers that are connected to a recent nuclear bomb that has gone off in LA. Because the government knows that the terrorist is an Arab, they have begun to quarantine and racial profile people of that decent. This causes a problem for Nadia, because even though she has lived her whole life in America, her parents were born in the Middle East and she is now unable to do her work effectively because of the new barriers that are set up. This got me to thinking about racial profiling. I searched it on the internet and found the website,, which introduces the idea and takes a stand against the act. In the article, racial profiling is defined as, "any police or private security practice in which a person is treated as a suspect because of his or her race, ethnicity, nationality or religion". After thinking about it some more, I came to the conclusion the racial profiling is nothing more than a legal form a racism and prejudice. It singles out a group of people, based solely on their skin and body structure, and not their past.

Student: Sean P. Phillips    Date: Monday January 29th 2007 22:13
Journal Entry: In Chapter Six of the readings, it discusses how pseudoscience led to the concept of eugenics. By implementing this concept, scientists hoped to control human traits by only developing those traits that were viewed as positive or desirable. In the years during which the philosophy of eugenics was the strongest, scientists performed an extremely high number of experiments and tests in order to determine exactly what the normal traits for different races of humans should be. Something that I realized however, besides the fact that eugenics is completely ridiculous, is that the people conducting these experiments in eugenics went about their experiments already believing that they were going to find profound differences in our species. When they could not find any distinct differences, these people became very good at fabricating results in order to make their theories look plausible. This is where we get things like the drawings of Robert Knox and other things of this nature. Sean Phillips

Student: Lizzie Weber    Date: Monday January 29th 2007 23:22
Journal Entry: Let me begin by saying that this is my second attempt at this journal entry. The first one was incredibly profound and insightful (haha, you’ll have to take my word on that) and it was a page long and somehow disappeared…so here is my second version. Please forgive its shortcomings. I’m really sick of writing…. Our discussion on Thursday made me think about my experiences with racism in my own life. It seems odd to say that I have been racially discriminated against because we generally only concentrate on racism against African Americans or maybe more recently people of Middle Eastern descent, but racism I have learned is not so limited. I attended public schools until the 7th grade. The schools were terrible, but my parents couldn’t afford to send me anywhere else. As a white student, I was part of a very small minority. I was constantly made fun of for “talking like a white girl,” “wearing white-girl cloths,” and other similarly “un-cool” things. I hated being white. I just wanted to fit in and I didn’t really understand why I couldn’t. For the “cool” kids, everything about me revolved around race. Every good grade I earned on a test or reading award I received or science fair project I did well on was immediately attributed to me being white not the fact that I worked very hard and really cared about my grades. There were white kids who were academically at the very bottom of my class and black kids who were at the very top of my class and yet our teachers were still racists according to my classmates. Our performance had nothing to do with race and everything to do with culture. race was just a crutch that my classmates had learned how to use at a very young age. I wonder how often trends we attribute to race may actually have more to do with culture. Do African American student have lower academic success rates because they are discriminated against or because it is difficult to perform in an environment that uses standard English when you were raised using a cultural dialect? In the workplace, was a person not hired for a job because they were black or because they embodied the rapper, thug culture that has been glorified by many members of the African American community? I think it is hard to say, but I do think that it is an important question to ask.

Student: Courtney L. Green    Date: Monday January 29th 2007 23:45
Journal Entry: A few days ago, I watched an episode of Seinfeld that was as comical as it is true. Seinfeld is eating at the diner when he runs into his dentist. His dentist states that he is a Jew--he just recently converted to Judaism. While taking trips to see his dentist, the dentist constantly makes Jewish jokes the entire time. This annoys Jerry and when he confronts him about it, he justifies it with an "our people" speech. Jerry realizes that his dentist converted to Judaism just so he can tell Jew jokes and get away with it. So in turn, he tells a dentist joke in which the dentist takes great offense to. The dentist claims that they are both Jews but only he is a dentist and then accuses Jerry of being an "anti-dentite". This was a really funny episode, but it reminded me of how true this is in life. People can easily rip apart their own race with racist comments, yet no one else's. Of course we shouldn't rip apart anyone else's, yet why are we so inclined to rip apart our own? We can be just as racist towards our own race without the same repercussions...why would the fact that belonging to a race justifies racism towards it? Just because you belong to that race doesn't mean you aren't offending others of your race with the same jokes or comments. I'm not trying to say "this is how it should or shouldn't be" but this is an interesting observation that can be seen in daily life, as well as watching the comedians on Comedy Central.

Student: Megan L. Buchanan    Date: Tuesday January 30th 2007 00:30
Journal Entry: The New York Times posted an article on Friday January 26, 2007 entitled “Colleges Regroup after Voters Ban race Preferences.” The article explains how colleges that have recently banned Affirmative Action, such as Michigan, are finding new ways to get around the ban to attain a more diverse campus. Some of their tactics include using minority students as recruiters, giving more “points” toward acceptance if a person has overcome discrimination or prejudice, and also targeting more minority schools for recruitment…all done without ever mentioning race. Although I am conflicted on my feelings towards Affirmative Action I believe I'm mostly in favor of the system; I do believe that individuals who have gotten the short end of this country’s slanted educational system deserve to have a boost to an equal ‘playing field’ to those who have had a stronger education due mostly to economic factors. I do think that Affirmative Action-affected admissions can keep out deserving non-minority students and that this is unfair; but I more strongly believe that some of the actions I mentioned earlier that are being taken to get around the “race ban” should be utilized regardless of an Affirmative Action ban or not. Recruiters need to pay equal attention to minority and under-funded high schools as they do the mostly white and well-funded schools, and if the college has a minority population at all that needs to be represented by the recruiters. Diversity is a great asset for all colleges; everyone needs to interact with and learn from those of different colors, backgrounds and upbringings. I believe that striving to achieve diversity through non-Affirmative Action paths needs to be more prevalent at all colleges, regardless of whether an Affirmative Action system is in place.

Student: Danielle N. Sims    Date: Tuesday January 30th 2007 08:54
Journal Entry: The other night I went to a meeting that I attend weekly in a predominately black part of town. My friend and I are usually the only white, young people who show up. She and I are both comfortable with the setting, and so we didn't think anyone else would mind either. Every week, however, someone throws a racial slur our way at least once during the hour. On top of that, we usually do not feel welcome or accepted because someone in group, at least one person, says something that implies that we shouldn't be there. Last week I finally spoke up and said something about how all this was making us feel. From that point, our discussion group entered an open conversation of race and everyone's ideas and feelings on it. I was surprised at how uncomfortable our presence had made most of the people there feel. In the end, we talked about unity in our cause and reached a point of compromise, but there are still feelings of mistrust there from some members. As we continue going back, I hope that more walls can be brought down over this issue, because until that happens, no work is going to be able to be completed within our group.

Student: Brian H. Robbins    Date: Tuesday January 30th 2007 08:56
Journal Entry: I came across this news story and it made me think more on the topic of race and stereotype, especially in the context of humor, imitation, offense, and intent. What is the relationship between race, humor, and intent in the modern world? Why can race be a source of humor and hatred all at the same time? Today, race provides the source material for several television programs. The two best examples are the now extinct ‘Chappelle’s Show’ and the animated series ‘The Boondocks.’ The MLK party which the news story refers to is seen by all as offensive, and I can’t say that I disagree. However, when racial stereotypes are presented on screen, in the context of humor that is, they are often highly rated. Both of the above-mentioned series were and are highly acclaimed for pushing the boundaries of race and humor. Are stereotypes considered funny by the masses only when they are presented in an over-the-top, comical manner? Does such presentation create a vehicle for destroying stereotypes by demonstrating how ridiculous they are? It seems that attempts to be humorous can actually be dangerous to both the ‘actors’ and the ‘target.’ This is, of course, not to support what these students were doing, but it does ask the question: why can race be funny and taboo at the same time, and how does the orientation between ‘insider,’ ‘outsider,’ stereotype, and audience work?

Student: Lindsay C. Scruggs    Date: Tuesday January 30th 2007 11:13
Journal Entry: After reading the chapters, I made a conclusion that there are people out there today, that still believe that the African race is still inferior to the White race. I thought that was interesting because today you see African Americans in movies, writing bestselling novels, heads of top notch jobs,and etc. They have overcome what everyone back in the 17th, 18th, and even the 19th centuries that they should be: slaves. I was watching a movie a couple months back called "Blood Diamond" and it made me sad because in Africa even today there are rebel groups kidnapping children to make them soldiers and fight the government and kidnapping their parents to work in diamond fields as slaves for them. It frightened me that someone could make their own people do that to each other. But then again were seeing it right now in Iraq and North Korea, and many other places.

Student: Jacob B. Lange    Date: Tuesday January 30th 2007 11:47
Journal Entry: When reading Blumenbach's essay it is nice to hear a hint of equality despite overtones of placing value on race. By describing all mankind as being one species Johann Friedrich Blumenbach returns to previous ideas that to a certain extent espoused equality. The fact is however by seperating and categorizing races one begins to create a paradigm that eventually will bring about negative discriminatory thoughts and actions. Blumenbach's writings fit nicely with what we have been discussing but in order to truly value what we read it is nice to think about the mistakes these documents and thoughts have caused. For example think of how many armed conflicts throughout the world were caused by Europeans views on race. These ideas led to European imperialism and the Berlin Conference- the latter of the it can be argued still causes ethnic violence in Africa. Thinking about some of the things that have been done in the name of race and ethnicity, and not just by Europeans, is truly horrifying. But it is nice to think of a world where every ethnicity is allowed to define itself freely and not be classified into Blumenbach's five variations or Linnaeus' taxonomy. However spending time thinking about what the world would have been like if each ethnicity defined itself and were treated equally is mere day-dreaming. All of the readings thus far have shown how the idea of 'race' has been ingrained in society and despite Blumenbach's belief in one species his categorization still prevented true equality and led more scholars to create racial hierarchies.

Student: Robert S. Clauss    Date: Tuesday January 30th 2007 13:04
Journal Entry: After hearing a bit about Josiah Nott in class, I decided I wanted to learn a little more if I were to take classes each Monday in 293 Josiah Nott Hall. I did not find terribly much more than I already assumed about him. But we share a birthday, and according to race – Power of an Illusion at (, it says he viewed blacks and whites as not only separate races, but also species. I began to wonder if we had other halls with such personal significance, as I had previously assumed names on buildings were for just big contributors, such as Richard Shelby, who has a “monument to himself” (as says my Tuscaloosa native roommate) within sight of my dorm window. I know we have the mounds on the quad which are viewed as hallowed ground by some (per my experience, overtly proud Southerners), so I wonder if our other buildings’ namesakes have any such racial significance. It’s worth checking out… by Thursday, I’ll perhaps have found some things.

Student: Amanda K. Owens    Date: Wednesday January 31st 2007 11:53
Journal Entry: Last night on comedy central, I heard a random comic make a joke about supporting the black community by buying the sickle cell anemia bracelet. This reminded me of the same old stereotypical assumption we been talking about each week in class. Personally, I too, fell into this unknowing category of people for quite some time until I found out the actual facts. So it made me think about the actual Sickle Cell Anemia Foundation, the organization designed to educate and help fund research on this disease, and I wondered since they research this disease if their website helped to denounce this stereotypical viewpoint. So I googled “Sickle Cell Anemia Foundation” and the website for the Sickle Cell Anemia Association of America was the first hit. So naturally I clicked on it to find a slide show of a whole array of pictures, all of which appeared to be dark skinned people. So I watched it scan through a few times and then near the end I saw what may be a light skinned child in a tiny picture in the bottom square of the show. I even clicked around the website and they do say somewhere in one of the paragraphs that not only black people are affected, but their website pictures still make you believe that it is a “black disease”. However, I still found it quite entertaining that the people who are supposed to inform us about sickle cell anemia contribute to skewing our view of the disease. Web site address (

Student: Courtney L. Green    Date: Monday February 5th 2007 20:21
Journal Entry: The prior post reminded me of a news article I read a few months ago. It was about a group of Germans who were meeting and had a common past--they were part of Hitler's Lebensborn program from WWII. Basically, it was the Nazi attempt to create a pure breed of the Aryan race. Women were selected who possessed the ideal traits and bore children. The children were then given to the family of an SS officer and were thoroughly indoctrinated in Nazi culture. They were discouraged from knowing their true parentage. This program was kept so secret that many didn't find out their true past until years after Nazi rule had ended. This was a less known aspect of Nazi rule, one you don't hear about in history class. Those who found out they were Lebensborn children were made to feel ashamed most of their lives and didn't come forward with it. Now many of these people are in their 60's, many have found their biological parents, and are looking for their story to be included into history now. I thought this was a very interesting article, and I had never heard about such a thing until I read it. And this was no small group either. It is estimated some 5500 were part of this pure breed program. It's a crazy and unthinkable today to think of such a program existing, to the point of treating humans like lab rats, yet it existed.

Student: Megan L. Buchanan    Date: Monday February 5th 2007 20:27
Journal Entry: One thing that has stood out to me from the beginning of our readings for this course has been the purely subjective observations used by the leading scientists from the 17th century up until Darwin’s time and even after Darwin. It really shows how far humans can take the “us versus them” mentality. The scientists had this mentality before and during their research and it strongly affected their findings. And the readers held this mentality and had it reinforced while these works were being published. It is puzzling to me how humans can always find and focus on the differences we have between us even though our similarities are much more common…and more important. I believe that it has a lot to do with the human nature of wanting to feel superior. Humans had established themselves as superior to other living things, and once they came in contact with humans that looked different from themselves, they had to find ways to be superior to them as well. But what surprises me most is how there wasn’t a large cry of “BS” when these subjective scientific findings on race were published. I understand that some people believed these findings, or at least didn’t question them, because these humans were found to be superior. But it just really confuses me as to why there wasn’t a larger outcry against these publications during their time.

Student: David L. McDaniel    Date: Monday February 5th 2007 21:19
Journal Entry: I found it somewhat humorous in the Darwin reading the way that the author presents his points of the inability to classify people into different species in a clever and intelligent manner. First he reenacts a scenario in which each one of us has found ourselves in, meeting a group of people from a different part of the world, and not being able to tell them apart from each other. I had to laugh out loud at this, because I too have been in that same situation. But as Darwin points out, all of a sudden it clicks, and I stop noticing the superficial similarities amongst the group and instantly they do not look alike at all. We, as people, are such a visual oriented group that it sometimes gets us into trouble. I also appreciate the point that Darwin makes that if each race, as we know it, were indeed a different species, then we would not be breeding with each other. This, we know, is definitely not the case. America is a perfect example of this because most people in the country are not "true-blooded species" but are mixed from various cultures and ethnicities. If we were indeed distinct species, this interbreeding would not occur.

Student: Chris Campbell    Date: Monday February 5th 2007 21:27
Journal Entry: In response to the previous post, I don’t find it particularly surprising that people largely swallowed contemporary assumptions about race in past decades. It doesn’t seem so different to me, really, from what we have now—it’s not like most Americans today can be considered particularly thoughtful or intellectual when it comes to analyzing contemporary culture. Anyone who doubts this can look to the lack of participation in the American electorate, the popularity of cable news networks (CNN and FOX), and the general apathy that characterizes our population. Additionally, the average person is always inclined to trust the “experts”—when one doesn’t know much about a given subject, one will generally listen to the people who (theoretically, at least) do. So really, it’s not that people back then were immensely gullible and swallowed things that are obviously false. Rather, our society has improved in that specific regard, and we (some of us, at least) are now taught to think otherwise, and occasionally have access to the facts that discount racism. People believed the scientific experts before with regards to eugenics and racial superiority, people believe the experts now.

Student: Jessica L. Dean    Date: Tuesday February 6th 2007 00:44
Journal Entry: I understand how it would be easy to classify people into many/two different categories, such as Darwin tried to do. However, with the evolution of technology comes the changing of cultures and people. People have become more wrapped up in the ever changing world of pop culture, and in that world everyone is taught to be independent because he/she is their own individual, free from anyone elses physical and genetic characteristics. This creates boundry lines. For example, everyone is raised, taught, and believed to be equal. But if this were true, there would be no need for affirmative action. While I have nothing against affirmative action, it does show that there is a difference between people. Maybe not all people, but it is "catagorized" as hope for all minorites. This is an example of haw race is defined (which was discussed in another class of mine this past week) through policies which are meant to help people, but end up creating "different" races of people.

Student: Amanda K. Owens    Date: Tuesday February 6th 2007 01:10
Journal Entry: The more I think about eugenics, I can see how people of an earlier time liked the idea. Honestly, who doesn’t want a perfect world? It seems like a perfectly logical idea that a perfect world would come along with a perfect race because then there would only be the smartest, most productive people existing. In today’s times, however, I think we’re a little more intelligent than in the olden days. I really don’t understand how people can still be planning for a perfect race. First of all, history shows that attempts to create this dream world have failed. Second, science proves that is idea is not possible. Like Graves reported in Chapter 7, due to new studies of how crossing over, and DNA recombination occurs proves that there is no way to only breed one kind of people. Even if one could get it down to one skin color, mental defects, sexual defects, cancers, etc would still be present. This is because there are thousands of ways a gene can combine when uniting two people’s DNA composition. Children can come out looking like the mother, father, aunt, uncle, or nothing like any of the above. Furthermore, their mental capacity can vary as well as their personal health. That doesn’t sound like much of a perfect race to me. Therefore, I think it just shocks me to think that people are still ignorant enough to think that we can create a perfect race. We can’t even mate within our own households and control the outcome of our own offspring, much less control the outcome of the world’s population.

Student: Kathryn J. Zekoff    Date: Tuesday February 6th 2007 01:45
Journal Entry: Recently I have received several e-mails containing surveys or questionnaires about various aspects of life as a college student. In each of them I was required to give a bit of information about myself before I got to answer the real survery questions. Some wanted my name, age, class standing, etc. while others allowed me to remain an anonymous female. All of them, however, asked me about my ethnicity or race. They all had pull down boxes that contained a list of 4-5 races from which I could choose. All standardized tests also require you to record your ethnicity on your registration/information page. My question is why? Will my ‘ethnicity’ affect how my survey is counted or test is scored? My best friend from high school is Chinese, and we have an inside joke that I am Chinese as well. So if we both consider me, who is self-described as glow-in-the-dark white, to be Chinese does that mean I can mark my ethnicity as Asian/Pacific Islander and White? My dad’s heritage is Russian and Bulgarian, while my mom’s is English, Spanish, and many more. A more accurate description of my race would be a European blend (kind of sounds like a fancy coffee, doesn’t it?). Should immigrants from Africa who are not necessarily dark-skinned mark the black/African-American bubble? I want to know how my ethnicity affects the people who make all the surveys I took and the standardized tests inflicted upon me throughout grade school. Next time I have to fill out my personal information on a test form I will be very tempted to fill in all the bubbles when I come to that question.

Student: Robert S. Clauss    Date: Tuesday February 6th 2007 03:57
Journal Entry: “… and so it was with a full-blooded Negro with whom I happened once to be intimate.” No matter what anyone thinks about the races, nothing will ever stop a “superior” race from gettin’ it on with a designated lower one! Jefferson, Darwin, Thurmond... all seemed to have been enthralled with the exoticness of another species! Anyways, on to Galton – that is one of the most ridiculous things I have ever read in my life. How can that have been taken as real science, with little to no actual data presented, only spoken of or could be provided at another time. His ideas seem as if they are coming right off the top of his head as he’s writing – namely his expertly-made grading scale for the races. Now I can see why sourcing information is important today.

Student: Danielle N. Sims    Date: Tuesday February 6th 2007 09:18
Journal Entry: When researching the history of eugenics, I recently came across some information that I found shocking that had to do with Canada and two of its provinces. The website claimed that two provinces in the country carried out thousands of “compulsory sterilizations” in the 1970s. I was rather shocked to read that the governments of many countries were not only allowing these practices, but were usually the ones responsible for them. I was also surprised to read that the group mostly targeted were First Nations, or the indigenous natives of the country. It’s strange to me that the genetic group that was seen as inferior was the actual natives themselves, the group that should seem the most “pure.” How do governments get away with such sterilizations? And how do they determine the basis for which groups should be genetically halted? I think any form of sterilization is wrong, but to make a distinction based on race enters a whole new moral realm.

Student: Challice A. Freeman    Date: Tuesday February 6th 2007 10:54
Journal Entry: I was talking to my boyfriend the other day about the Holocaust, and some of the horrible procedures the Nazis performed on Jews. One in particular that I was telling him about (I saw this at the Holocaust Museum in D.C.) is where people were put into rooms and the pressure was increased or decreased then they would see how this affected the brain. I would consider this incredibly inhumane and terribly painful. Why is it that Jews have always been persecuted and hated? ( I know this may seem more of a religious question, but Hitler hated the whole Jewish “race”) I know there is a long history among all the people of the middle east, buy why have people of Jewish heritage around the world been treated so terribly? I will never forget reading about that in the Museum; it made my eyes tear up a bit. If anyone ever has the chance to go to D.C.; make the Holocaust museum a priority because it will shed a whole new light on the events that took place and the torture these people endured.

Student: Sean P. Phillips    Date: Wednesday February 7th 2007 13:43
Journal Entry: In the Web CT reading, Darwin believed the fact that all humans were divided into different races and that each of these races could exist as a stand alone species. He goes on further to state that “on enquiry he would find that they were adapted to live under widely different climates, and they differed somewhat in bodily constitution . . .” He doesn’t seem to take into account that these differing climate conditions are actually the reason why humans are as varied in appearance as we are. Furthermore, I believe that Darwin is too quick to want to separate the “races” in to different species. Sure, there are obvious differences in appearance between different ethnic groups, but anyone can obviously tell that they are still human.

Student: Kathryn J. Zekoff    Date: Tuesday February 13th 2007 02:16
Journal Entry: Everyone has heard the phrase “think outside the box.” Usually we say this when talking about something lacking in originality or is very cliché. But there is another way of looking at this saying: humans, particularly Americans, tend to lump foreigners together by the way they look. In other words, we box people into certain groups based on many factors, such as skin tone, nationality, etc. I was talking about this to a friend of mine who is in another anthropology class, and he told me about a story his professor used in one of his lectures: Two black guys are talking to a white girl in the hallway. When she leaves one guy turns to the other and asks “Is she in our class?” The other responds “I don’t know. They all look the same to me.” People are very ethnocentric; they oversimplify races other than their own. Many times anyone from the far east is referred to as Chinese or Japanese, when there are actually many other nationalities included in that region of the world. Americans seem to be the worst when it comes to ethnocentricity and xenophobia. I can’t even tell you how many times I have heard someone boxing foreigners into large descriptive groups – Chinese for all people of Asian descent, arab for people who are not hispanic but whose skin is neither black nor white – and then justify it by saying “they all look alike.” However, if an American were to hear such a description of himself, he would be apalled and say the describer was ignorant. We are all guilty of thinking like this at one point in time, but this ethnocentrism can be changed if we force ourselves to “think outside the box.”

Student: Robert S. Clauss    Date: Tuesday February 13th 2007 09:05
Journal Entry: I never knew Joe Louis lost his first bout against Schelming, but thank God that he won so decisively in the second try. Of course, white America made up the new stereotype that blacks were closer to the apes and so, were more athletic, but what did the Nazis have to say (internally) about their losses? What do psychologists have to say about racial divisions/human variation and those who fear others? Hitler himself was not a member of the Aryan race, so how did he plan on making it through into the next generation of Super-Humans? Said to be homosexual AND the son of a Jew himself, I think that has a lot to say about those who make the most ruckus on the differences in people.

Student: Lizzie Weber    Date: Tuesday February 13th 2007 09:08
Journal Entry: I think Ashley Montegu makes some very good points in her article. I agree with her completely that the word race carries a meaning and expectations with it that are untrue and therefore the term should be abandoned. She talks about how researchers should conduct their research beginning with a blank slate, not by trying to fit the world they are studying into their preconceived notions of what the world is like. Reading Montegu’s work made me think of an unpleasant experience I had a few years back with a drink called “apple wine.” My siblings and I found it at a country store in North Carolina and bought it. We assumed since it was called wine that it contained alcohol. As we drank more and more of it we started to get “drunk.” However, we later discovered that “wine” was just a name and the drink did not contain any alcohol. We felt very stupid, but it just goes to show how much words and labels shape our expectations and how powerful those expectations can be.

Student: Courtney L. Green    Date: Tuesday February 13th 2007 10:59
Journal Entry: There has been some discussion before on racial profiling in police reports in order to find suspects of crimes. There has been debate on whether race should be used as a description or not. Some find that it is discriminatory and cements stereotypes. My personal view on it is to use it. Yes, the continued use of race will not do anything to curb peoples views on racial stereotypes, but when it comes to crimes, any type of physical characteristics should be used by any witnesses in order to find the criminal. This includes race. It's a sticky situation between cementing racial stereotypes yet finding a criminal. But in these situations, any description of a person should be used in order to better find someone.

Student: Challice A. Freeman    Date: Tuesday February 13th 2007 11:23
Journal Entry: I was watching The Daily Show with my boyfriend last night, and there was an entire clip dedicated to Obama and his announcement to run for president. The man John Stewart was interviewing was introduced as the “black reporter,” and he continued to talk about Obama and his scant chances of winning this presidency. I think its great that Obama is running for president, and I think it’s a shame so many people are putting so much emphasis on his color. The reporter talked about Obama’s supporters, or lack thereof, saying only 20% of African Americans support Obama because he is on Kenyan heritage. He also pointed out that he is not technically an “African American” because he can not be African and American at the same time. He later refers to him as a ‘hybrid.’ I just find it interesting and sad that people put so much emphasis on color and heritage and background. Now, people of the same race don’t even support each other because of technical, little differences. I wish Obama the best of luck.

Student: Emily S. Naderi    Date: Tuesday February 13th 2007 11:41
Journal Entry: This week I am writing about Ashley Montagu’s “The Concept of race”. This is probably my favorite reading assignment so far because I have been anxiously awaiting the use of the term “ethnic group”. I agree with everything Mantagu says about the word ‘race’, it carries numerous connotations. Even worse, the connotations are different to every person who hears the word because of his or her individual experiences with race, so there is pretty much no hope of redefining the word at this point. I especially liked Montagu’s statement that when we hear the word race, we think in terms of race rather than seeing an open-ended version, which has the potential to lead to new ideas. “It is claimed that ‘ethnic group’ is a term of heuristic value. It raises questions and doubts, leading to clarification and discovery. The term ‘race’ since it takes for granted what requires to be demonstrated within its own limits, closes the mind on all that.” Using terms which are prejudiced from the moment they are spoken can cause great miscommunication of ideas, and, on a larger scale, impede the progress of ideas within a society.

Student: Jacob B. Lange    Date: Tuesday February 13th 2007 11:50
Journal Entry: I was thoroughly impressed by Ashley Montagu’s 1962 essay about the problems inherent with the use of the word race. He declares that “Race is a word so familiar that in using it the uncritical thinker is likely to take his own private meaning for it completely for granted, never thinking at any time to question so basic an instrument of the language as the word race.” He seems to have hit the nail on the head with that statement. I often find myself using the term ethnicity and race interchangeably without even thinking of the genetic implications of the word race. That makes me assume that he is right and other “laymen” use the term without thinking about the negative connotations of the word; but if someone didn’t know the word and were to look up a synonyms at the first two would be “blood” and “breed”. And despite the fact that the definition is “ethnic group” the synonyms are proof enough that the word is maladapted for use by the everyday person.

Student: Jessica L. Dean    Date: Tuesday February 13th 2007 13:31
Journal Entry: This week I read Ashley Montagu's "The Concept of race." While this was one of the best reads of the class,some of her ideas to fix the "race" problem would not work with modern society. She makes a very good argument about ways to fix the terminology of the word race, such as focusing it on biology or hereditiy. Adults would have a hard time adjusting to this. Its one thing to raise a child under this concept of defining race, but twlling adults to changeconceptions that they were brough up with would never work. It would for some but not all. And if it didn't work for all, then in the long run, it wouldn't work for any. The idea/concept of race is such an overwhelming category to tackle, it will be hard to find a solution.

Student: Danielle N. Sims    Date: Tuesday February 13th 2007 14:07
Journal Entry: I just checked back and saw that my response didn’t post. I know it’s after the time, but it’s saved on my computer so I’m going to go ahead and repost it anyways. When I was reading Ashley Montagu’s piece, I found it interesting how she deals with the term “race” and it’s use by two different groups. The second group she mentions is the “man-on-the-street.” I wonder exactly who falls into this category. The factors she throws out that the man uses to determine race include many of the same factors that are used by public figures today, such as nationality, heredity, nation, sometimes even physical type. Those factors are things that many people are proud of, and classify themselves with pridefully. How wrong it is for someone to distinguish their so called “race” if they are doing it with good intentions? Does it matter that it’s not correct terminology to the every-man? I also found it interesting when she said that race implies something definite to the man-on-the-street. It is a ready answer the any questions he may have. Before he even gets to know that person, he can distinguish key traits about the other man’s personality , background, and intelligence. This is where it does become wrong for people to distinguish another based on “race.”

Student: David L. McDaniel    Date: Wednesday February 14th 2007 10:40
Journal Entry: I began thinking after last week's readings and discussions about eugenics and wondered where the issue stood today, in the year 2007. After a quick google, I found multiple essays supporting the idea of breeding a better race. One such essay, by Marian Van Court, found at, was vehemently in support of the idea of eugenics using 5 main points. These points included human intelligence is largely hereditary, civilization depends totally upon innate intelligence, the higher the level of civilization the better off the population, at the present time we are evolving to become less intelligent with each new generation, and unless we halt or reverse this trend our civilization will invariably decline. The article proceeded to support these claims through citing research articles and listing respected individuals who are/were in support of eugenics. Although the idea of a superior people sounds like a solid idea, questions arise, such as who decides which characteristics are more valuable than others? Is it a person whose immune system fights off disease, a body which is athletically inclined, a sharp mind, or a good looking face? Then, once the characteristics are determined, who determines which people can breed? In essence, who will be playing God? That is one job I would not want to have.

Student: Sean P. Phillips    Date: Monday February 26th 2007 22:12
Journal Entry: I thought it was kind of interesting how Wells was able to relate Herodotus’ observations to a modern day point of view. When reading about Herodotus’ writings before, I was able to piece together a picture in my mind of how skin colors would vary across a large geographical area (the world), but after reading the first chapter in Wells, I am able to see these differences in a much better way due to his descriptions. No matter which way you look at it, be it from a past perspective or a modern day one, both of these men are absolutely correct in their observations that skin color changes gradually as you travel up from the equator and this points further to the fact that we are not divided into races at all.

Student: Amanda K. Owens    Date: Monday February 26th 2007 22:19
Journal Entry: The beginning of Chapter 2 in Wells’ book came as a breakthrough point for me when I read the clip from T.S. Elliot. Throughout this class I have been made aware that race is and has been a huge study subject for decades. I truly do not believe there is a biological difference between the races, but I can see how color variation does attract attention. To me it seems that most “reasons” for color variation teeter between the idea of environmental causes or genetic causes. Logically I can see how people arrive at both because color variation is sometimes genetic such as in plant color variation; however, environmental factors can play huge roles in colors when dealing with butterflies and hares. This made me wonder why someone has not been able to prove their case and T.S. Elliot summed it up. It is true that we think these race studies are the beginning when in fact we are studying the end result of years and years of human existence. When I thought about it I realized we started this study too late; to unwrap human race mysteries is like separating the bloodline of a mutt. We weren’t there for the beginning of Homo sapiens existence. Therefore, no one has a clue what kind of “differences” they are looking for. Essentially, this debate seems like the old which came first the chicken or the egg question, both sides can be argued forever and no answer will even come out of it because we weren’t around to see it.

Student: Chris Campbell    Date: Tuesday February 27th 2007 02:16
Journal Entry: As usual, I was reading the news; this time, Secretary of State Rice is on the news (although apparently not in the headlines) for her comments about race in the US. Secretary Rice was on FOX News Sunday, where she was asked about Barack Obama’s presidential candidacy. She expressed the opinion that race is becoming less of a barrier to advancement in American society, and said that soon it won’t be a barrier to becoming President. I’m really not sure what I think of this; whether it’s her real opinion (quite possible) or a political statement for the use of FOX. Oh well. I should probably go to sleep before I become incoherent.

Student: David L. McDaniel    Date: Tuesday February 27th 2007 08:34
Journal Entry: After preparing a while for the upcoming ANT 275 exam, I decided to take a break and revisit the PBS website,, and retake the sorting people exercise. Because I had previously done the assignment, and had attended the lectures for the class, I was optimistic about performing well on the test. Confidently placing the faces of the individuals into their appropriate boxes according to what I thought would be their ethnicity, I clicked the "next" button. To my dismay, I did not get any of the African American or Hispanic people correct. In addition, I only got 2 correct in the other categories. I was shocked because I had already done the assignment and thought I knew where each person went and had intently listened to the lectures and knew that one can not be certain of an individual's ethnicity due to facial features. This leads to one of two thoughts, either I am a failure after receiving loads of information and still unable to perform or people can not be certain of a person's ethnicity due to phenotypic features. I like to think it is the latter option.

Student: Lizzie Weber    Date: Tuesday February 27th 2007 09:08
Journal Entry: I’m not really a science person at all and I haven’t studied biology since my sophomore year of high school, so I found that I got pretty bogged down at times reading the Wells chapters. However it was nice to see the discussion of race move from being an intellectual debate, as it seems it was at least until Darwin’s time, to a scientific inquiry based on empirical truth. I was especially interested in the section regarding Rebecca Cann’s work. I knew that human life began in Africa, but I’ve never known how scientist came to that conclusion. Africa’s greater genetic diversity enabled scientists to pinpoint not only that human life originated there but to set an approximate date. I think that is absolutely incredible. I never imagined that genetics could be used in a historical context like that. I was previously only familiar with using genetics in medical and health care situations. I also think it is funny how nearly the exact opposite of the beliefs European racial thinkers in the 19th century is true. I can only imagine the shock Buffon or Morton would get if they were alive to discover that life in fact originated in Africa.

Student: Courtney L. Green    Date: Tuesday February 27th 2007 11:25
Journal Entry: I know we are now getting into the biology aspect, but I learned something a couple of weeks ago in another class that was interesting. In my theatre history class, we talked about a type of theatre that existed in the US during the 19th century and actually extended into the mid 20th century. It was called minstrel shows, and they were shows that had no plot and consisted of comic show, singing, and dancing. White performers would dress in "black-face", which means they would paint their faces black using cork and exagerrated the lips by painting them red and outlining them in white. They had wid-eyed, silly expressions on their faces and essentially stereotyped african americans. The characters of Mr. Bones and Tambo came from these shows. African American performers started performing in the minstrel shows as well after awhile, but they too also dressed in black face. These shows were widely popular and lasted a good century. It gives a good description on wikipedia of these shows. Also, black performers would make fun of upperclass white people as well. They did something called the "cake walk", which was an exagerrated dance/walk that stereotyped the upperclasses walk. there is also another article on wikipedia about it as well: This dance also was performed by white performers as well by the end of the 19th cent. This is funny because it shows 2 different forms of performances based off racial stereotypes, yet find its way into the performances of the races they make fun of. I hope that made sense.

Student: Megan L. Buchanan    Date: Tuesday February 27th 2007 11:52
Journal Entry: I was going to write my entry on merit scholarships and how many are geared toward “under represented students” (ethnicity based) as opposed to under-privileged students who still perform well (economically based). But during today’s lecture class two major realizations struck me: how little I know/remember about biology and DNA, but also how amazing and intricate the human body is. The fact that microscopic nucleotides not only account for the differences between humans but also that they can be used to trace humans through history truly confounds me. The fact that such intricate processes done by proteins in our bodies take place all the time but with such little error is also an amazing fact that, for me, is hard to comprehend. Basically, I'm shocked at how phenomenal the study of genetics is. The small amount that I know and understand seems hugely amazing to me, but yet there is SO much information that is even more amazing that I cannot even begin to comprehend.

Student: Robert S. Clauss    Date: Tuesday March 6th 2007 00:07
Journal Entry: This week’s readings seem to have given me more enjoyment than most, as AP Biology was one of my favorite high school experiences. With all the talk of the African Eve and Adam, I could not help but note that because they are the farthest back that our heritable genes go, doesn’t necessarily mean they are the founders of humankind. I feel like I am playing devil’s advocate, but in my mind I feel like, could there not have been a mass die-off of humans – a bottleneck of extreme proportions, that when coupled with eventual inbreeding, would lead to this conclusion? What I mean, is that just because we are all related to these two individuals, that cannot mean it’s as far back as Homo sapiens go. Right? More pressingly, I feel like Wells is affirming the genetic validity of race… or inadvertently giving it credit when he talks about a European Adam and the genes that his offspring have or do not have compared to Africans.

Student: Kathryn J. Zekoff    Date: Tuesday March 6th 2007 11:04
Journal Entry: This weekend I went home for the first time since Christmas. On Sunday evening, while my mom and I were waiting for my younger brother to get out of choir practice, we were chatting with a family friend. The friend was asking me about school and life in Tuscaloosa, and I was telling her about my classes this course came up. As I was summarizing what we’ve learned in class, I could feel myself get more excited and also annoyed at the ignorant view about race held by most of the world. I had to stop myself before I went into a whole diatribe about it. There was a somewhat shocked look on the faces of both my mom and the friend. I’m not really sure if they were surprised that I seemed to have such a strong opinion about the subject or that I has actually learned something in class, who knows? (sidenote: Thinking back to one of my previous posts, I now find myself getting irritated every time I see the question of race or ethnicity on a questionnaire or survey and refuse to answer it.) I have learned a lot in this course, and I’m really glad I was talked out of dropping it at the beginning of the semester.

Student: Lizzie Weber    Date: Tuesday March 6th 2007 11:13
Journal Entry: In general I have no reservations in believing that humans are evolved from more primitive ape-like species. However, it was strange for me today sitting in class to trace the real evolutionary line and see actual bones of our predecessors. I think that really brought it home to me that we as a species are just an animal like all other animals. We fit into the biological and evolutionary framework just like all of the other species do. Looking at the chart of species related to man and the time spans they lived in, I began to wonder if we, the Homo sapiens, are just another evolutionary step that will have a finite existence and be replaced with some other species more suited to the environment. We are not the masterpiece end product of evolution we are just one more step. I've never really considered this before. It seems so strange to me because I think we humans tend to view ourselves as somehow exempt from the laws of nature because we are so capable of altering our environment. It was interesting today to get a better perspective of where we fit into the grand scheme of things.

Student: Challice A. Freeman    Date: Tuesday March 6th 2007 11:24
Journal Entry: I don't think I'm even going to comment on Wells because it confused the heck out of me, but I do agree with Kathryn...everytime I go home or visit family, I always end up talking about this course. I think EVERYONE needs to take this course. So many people need to have a crash course in our culture, the evolution of it, and why people are different. I was a very open minded person to begin with, but I was extremely ignorant about this subject before I took this class, and it has helped me immensely. I think our society needs to be educated in this subject because it changes they way one looks at others. You tend to not put yourself (or your race for that matter) on a pedestal and realize we are all really one species existing together on one earth. In my astronomy class, we are studying the formation of the solar system, planetary systems, and evolution of earth as we know it. This has tied in well with what we're studying in Anthropology right now. Im able to see actually how small and insignificant we truly are on this earth, and how all the prejudice between races is rediculous.

Student: Jim Bindon    Date: Wednesday March 7th 2007 08:44
Journal Entry: Two items: First, I ran across an article in the Tuscaloosa News and I got the URL from the NY Times site so that you could read it. The article deals with using DNA to trace the history of the population of the UK, and how it differs from the story that the historians tell. Here's the article As you can see, I'm not putting you on with the Wells book--this is a serious course of inquiry into human migrational history.
Second, another item in the Tuscaloosa News carried an AP report on a travelling exhibit from the Holocaust Museum that links the holocaust to eugenics. Here is the link to the online version of the exhibit: I look forward to discussing these with you.

Student: David L. McDaniel    Date: Monday March 19th 2007 21:58
Journal Entry: After going through the website that Prof. Bindon posted on the Nazi eugenics movement, my mind is flooded of memories and feelings of seeing that exact exhibit in DC. I am reminded of physically seeing the utensils used by doctors to dissect human eyes and other body parts. Vivid images of laboratory videos showing the dehumanization of individuals all for the sake of "science" come to mind. What I find curious this time on the virtual tour, though, is something that really stuck out to me. In the Mass Sterilization Program section of the website, I noted that certain people were sterilized: schizophrenics, feeble minders, manic depressives, etc. The Nazis saw these people as problems and a hindrance to the furthering of the ideal race. What I noted is the change in mind in the way that "we" look at "these" people today. It is routinely grounded into our heads in the department of Psychology that someone is not a schizophrenic or a manic depressive; rather, they are a PERSON with schizophrenia or a PERSON with a manic depressive disorder. Hopefully this change of mindset will prevent future mass graves and degradation of individuals.

Student: Danielle N. Sims    Date: Tuesday March 20th 2007 02:41
Journal Entry: The site Dr. Bindon provided on Nazi eugenics was quite enthralling. As I was going through the artifacts, the section on the crime of Racial Defilement appalled me. Even after intense exposure to the subject through this course, it is still upsetting to know that there were laws demanding the separation of races in marriage, much like the current laws forbidding homosexual marriage in our country. Anyhow, what I meant to write about is the current location of the exhibition. It is being housed at the Deutsches Hygiene-Museum, also known as the Dresden Internationale Hygiene Museum, which is the institution that promoted many Nazi ideas of racial superiority and eugencis during World War II. One of the photos from The Biological State section is actually of an exhibition at the museum that Nazi officials are viewing. I found it quite interesting that the museum, which had the strange original purpose of promoting hygiene and healthy living in Germany, was on the list of places to host the exhibition, so I researched the institution on it's home website. I wasn’t sure if the museum represented in the poster in the Artifacts section (and in the photo) was the same one housing the exhibition, so I searched for confirmation. I couldn’t find anything to connect the two names, Deutsches and Dresden, except for the dates created, even in the section on the history of the museum. The museum seems to hold shame in it's promoting of Nazi eugenics, and as Sara Bloomfield of the Holocaust Memorial Museum said, “That the German Hygiene Museum chose to host Deadly Medicine now is courageous and important."

Student: Sean P. Phillips    Date: Tuesday March 20th 2007 06:53
Journal Entry: I found it interesting that Wells could trace where his ancestors emerged from based entirely upon information stored inside his genetic makeup. By the presence or absence of a particular chromosome sequence, he could determine that most of his male ancestors had come from Europe and that they had come out of Africa even earlier in time. I find it fascinating that our knowledge of evolution and the human genetic makeup has advanced to the point where we are able to have a generalized idea of exactly where our very first ancestors lived upon the earth.

Student: Jessica L. Dean    Date: Tuesday March 20th 2007 10:52
Journal Entry: I thought chapter 5 was the most interesting chapter by far. Not only because it made provided some interesting theories, but it has been the easiest chapter to understand for me, personally. Wells begins to discuss on page 83 the possibility that every geographic group has a "founding father," who was the strongest leader of a particular clan thousands of years ago. For this fact, we can all trace our ancestory back to this one person. I read these pages over a couple of times to make sure I really understoond what Wells was tryig to convey, and I agree with him. It makes sense for two different reasons. The first being survival of the fittest. The dominant member of a clan thousands of years ago would have comlete contol over a group, and decide where they would locate, what food they would eat, and who he would marry to continue the line of descent. Secondly, it is an alternate view, in my opinion, to Biblical origins of Adam and Eve. Not everyone living today beieves they are direct descendents from Adam and Eve, but this theory (also known as the Great Leap Foward theory) gives everyone an ancient ancestor that gave rise to a distribution of people over time who eventually produced the people we have today. I know it sounds odd, but maybe it will be easier to explain it during class on Thursday. On another note, Wells makes the comment that infants' first words could possibly be words that have been passed down and evolved from a primtive language. I just want to go ahead and say I disagree with this because not all children have the same first word (such as mama or dada), and I personally believe that childrens' first words come from repetition by adults.

Student: Lizzie Weber    Date: Sunday March 25th 2007 21:41
Journal Entry: We talked a lot in the first part of the class about the stereotypes we have regarding different races or ethnic groups, but I don’t think we realize very often that we have a set of stereotypes regarding our modern ancestors as well. As children, a certain image of “cave people” is ingrained in us through cartoons and children’s books. I think most of us have an image of “cave people” as grunting, animalistic beings who lived in caves in the jungle along with dinosaurs and killed animals to eat by throwing rocks at them. This is an oversimplified depiction of how most people view our early ancestors, but at the same time I do not think we have a clear picture and adequate respect for the intelligence and ingenuity that our ancestors must have possessed. I had no idea that our ancestors lived in the harsh artic climate that Graves describes. At one point he compares the temperatures in the areas inhabited by our ancestors to the temperatures of the surface of the moon. It is absolutely incredible that they were able to survive in these environments. We pride ourselves on being modern and very technologically advanced, but areas that we now consider uninhabitable were settled tens of thousands of years ago by people we generally think of as primitive and much less intelligent than ourselves. I think it is time that we reevaluate what we teach our children about our early ancestors. The situation reminds me of the Geico commercials where everyone is surprised by how intelligent the cave men are and the cave men like to point out that they were intelligent enough to invent things like fire.

Student: Lindsay C. Scruggs    Date: Monday March 26th 2007 23:42
Journal Entry: I find it interesting when learning about the evolution of men. I enjoy watching the history and discovery channels to watch how we interpret how they interacted with each other and how they survived the world then. It is fascinating to know that once a upon a time humans were once just like the Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons and etc. I also find it interesting to trace the paths that the neanderthals and their predcessors went on their search for food and shelter.

Student: Challice A. Freeman    Date: Tuesday March 27th 2007 11:42
Journal Entry: I haven't gotten a chance to do our reading yet, but I was intrigued by the film we watched today in class. I have never understood how scientists and geneticists actually extract DNA, so that was very interesting. But, the one thing that peaked my interest was the linguest and his comments on how language is the source of all human behavior. I have been studying languages(s) and its composition and use for quite a while, and I agree that without language, modern human life would be impossible. It was interesting to see the Sonne (spelling?) Bushmen and hear them speak. Could their language possibly have been the first human language? It seems possible, seeing as how Dr. Spencer traced their lineage out of Africa, plus their manner of speaking seems slightly primitive and undeveloped. I've also been thinking about the "Quantum Leap" in intelligence that he was talking about. Could this time period have been when humans developed ways of speaking and communicating? It all seems to make sense from a linguistic view, seeing as how language and communication are one of the most important factors in human intelligence.

Student: David L. McDaniel    Date: Tuesday April 3rd 2007 11:33
Journal Entry: I believe that it must be human nature to compare himself to a new group that he encounters. "How do I match up with them", "What do I do that is more efficient than them" and "How are we different" are some of the questions that man seems to ask. I think that since the history that we learn comes from the bias-eyes of Europeans, it will always be "we" compared to "them". Likewise, I would not be surprised to find out if the native Hawaiians' history has it flip-flopped and from their point of view with "WE were on this land and THEY showed up one day". Similarly, what we learned from the first part of the class when dealing with trying to find a "superior race" was that whomever is doing the study will inevitably find his people to be on the top. I believe this is true when we write history.

Student: Krissy Loveman    Date: Sunday April 8th 2007 15:12
Journal Entry: I have never understood the nature of scholarships which are aimed at certain racial groups; that is, one of the requirements of the scholarship is race. What is the purpose of this? I have done a little research on racial scholarships and have gathered the qualifications for the scholarship, concerning one’s “race.” It is rather interesting. 1. National Italian American Foundation Scholarships. “To be "Italian American" the student must have at least one ancestor who has emigrated from Italy.” However, I must add that the scholarship also gives money to students of “any ethnic background” studying Italian. 2. United Methodist Ethnic Scholarship. “Born of African American, Asian, Hispanic, Native American, or Pacific Islander parentage (at least one parent).” 3. “Bill Gates said that the $1 billion racially-discriminatory scholarships (or the more accurate $350 million) will be administered by a racial triumvirate comprised of the United Negro College Fund, the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, and the American Indian College fund. Notably absent from Gates' list of scholarship administrators were organizations dedicated to the benefit of disadvantaged white students (European Americans) and Asian students. Bill Gates' message to students thus appears to be two-fold: "(1) Only persons of certain races are deserving of my gift. There are no disadvantaged white kids out there. (2) race is the most important criterion for determining charity." 4. Werner Scott Scholarship. “Annual awards for Hawaii Caucasian residents (not of Polynesian blood) who are undergraduate and graduate students attending the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).”

Student: Brian H. Robbins    Date: Tuesday April 10th 2007 00:51
Journal Entry: This post is in response to Krissy’s posting. I am a McNair Scholar, having received the award last year and completed and published my research project summer before last. The McNair Scholars Program is a small initiative with the goal of providing graduate school preparations and opportunities to certain groups. The main criteria for consideration, other than academic standings, are as follows: 1) member of an ethnic group that has traditionally been underrepresented in American graduate schools, or 2) a first-generation college student (parents/grand-parents didn’t attend), or 3) both, and 4) exhibiting financial need. They are selected after applying and being interviewed. I had never heard of the Program. They contacted me, and in the end, there were only about a dozen of us at UA. We each conceived and carried out a research project, credited much like an internship, and published our findings, after presenting them at the conference at Penn State. We now have ten years of graduate school tuition available to use any time at the University of Alabama, with similar promises available at other institutions. What can I say about racial/ethnic-based scholarships? Well, obviously as a recipient of one I can’t say anything directly negative. Anyone, regardless of ‘race’ would be appreciative of such a gift. However, this does point out a dilemma for the American government. Having wronged many groups in the past (Africans, Native Americans/Hispanics, Japanese, Pilipino, etc.) the government seems willing to ‘fix’ everything by doling out money to those who can pass their race test. Likewise, if nothing were done, they would be considered insensitive, having profited off many minorities to build their modern ‘free’ society. This seems to follow the same formula as that of ‘slave reparations.’ Like the reparations issue, the government really has few good options in front of it. What remnants exist from the unequal footing the government established would continue if nothing was done, or at least many communities would lag behind for some time. It’s equally true that the government doesn’t solve problems by vomiting out money to wherever they think it’s needed. Yes, the government may help minorities by offering scholarships to some, but what about the schools that these people passed through? If only a few come out to acquire these scholarships, what does that say about the original grade schools they attended? I benefited from the government’s classifications of race, there’s no doubt, but I still recognize that this will only continue to divide groups. Some receive a ‘free ride’, while others don’t. But those that do receive said ride have to be committed as well, if not more so, to rise above the standards that exist in their seemingly forgotten school systems. The point is, there were ‘white’ people amongst the McNair Scholars, if that word has any meaning any more. Those that apply themselves and are driven deserve scholarships, not just those that fall into a particular group. Likewise, many more people, of all colors, would be potential college graduates if all schools operated on a standard footing, but it seems these scholarships wouldn’t be needed if the school systems produced equally qualified students. I think it’s a political band-aid, present to stop the endless flow of bleeding-heart interest groups, but at the same time, not addressing the cause. If everyone had equal access to education, then everyone could have equal potential to attend college. Not everyone in college is from a rich family, nor are they on a scholarship. Those that apply themselves are the most deserving, and they are the ones that find a way no matter what. Scholarships help them, but only to a degree.

Student: Amanda K. Owens    Date: Tuesday April 10th 2007 02:06
Journal Entry: After reading the topics about race and scholarships I took time to think about the ideas. I can see where we have scholarships to help minority races since as a whole those “groups” were pushed aside by Americans at one time or another. In that aspect I can see Brian’s point out it just being a band aid to make everyone feel better about their actions. However, even though the people appreciate the gesture I still find it to be kind of offensive if you look at it from the “patch it up” point of view. Therefore, I think it would make sense just to give scholarships on the basis of performance and financial need. Since schools are all at different levels I think that performance should be based on what you do within the school and throughout the community because then that would give a better chance to see how dedicated a student is. Like with the McNair scholarship even doing a project isn’t a bad idea either. race shouldn’t matter when it comes to helping people attend college considering drive is what makes one successful. I think it would be a good idea to reevaluate the basis on which scholarships are given in order to allow those who truly want to go to college a chance to attend.

Student: Lindsay C. Scruggs    Date: Tuesday April 10th 2007 10:18
Journal Entry: I think that the scholarship system in the university systems today are based on race more than grades. They have more scholarships today for minorities than they do for academic reasons. I was looking on the internet the other day researching scholarships for myself and most of the ones i found were for first borns (not me because i am the youngest of five) and minorities( not me either). It fathoms me that there are no scholarships for those students who do not make the best grades. Today's race plays a huge role in today's race for college scholarships.

Student: Emily S. Naderi    Date: Tuesday April 10th 2007 10:29
Journal Entry: I’m writing about Brace’s “Region Does Not Mean race”. Brace opens by saying that some people are accused of denying race just because it is a politically incorrect idea, not because there is no scientific evidence for it. He says that human variation occurs on a continuum around the world, and thus the concept of race did not appear until after advances were made in shipbuilding and navigation. We studied this idea before the first test, and I was in agreement with it then too. If traveling distance is limited by lack of technology, there are only so many miles one can travel in a day, and not many at that. Having to make frequent stops in a long journey enabled explorers to observe neighboring populations one at a time, and in “geographical order”. When shipbuilding and navigation became advanced fields, people took shortcuts to other regions, and rather than seeing gradual changes that blended in to one another, they got on the boat surrounded by their own people, and when they got off, they had never seen anyone similar to the people of the other continent. I think it makes since that the idea of race was perpetuated for a while after colonization began, but now that the whole world has been “discovered”, and we know what caused the idea of race to come about, we have the power and the duty to correct our mistakes.

Student: Megan L. Buchanan    Date: Tuesday April 10th 2007 11:24
Journal Entry: This journal is a bit off topic but does relate to man’s origins in Africa. For some reason, I developed a very strong interest in Africa’s rich history and culture during middle school. I honestly have no clue where this came from, it just happened. And I’ve always found that history classes throughout high school only covered Africa during its colonial period and slave trade, nothing before or after that. I was excited to get to college and take a class devoted to African history, not just history from a Western perspective dealing with slavery and African-Americans. But alas, there is no such class here. I’ve tried to search online for how many colleges do offer African history courses and the results were mainly from more prestigious universities such as Stanford and Oxford or smaller liberal arts schools (mostly up north). Why is there such a lack of African history? I think it deserves much more attention considering that all humans trace their origins back to Africa.

Student: Kathryn J. Zekoff    Date: Tuesday April 10th 2007 12:02
Journal Entry: Last night I was watching The X Files on television (there isn’t much to watch on late night TV). In one scene Agent Fox Mulder was watching a television special about Ashley Montagu and his thoughts on possible life forms somewhere other than Earth. This has nothing to do with what we are discussing in class now, but it was just quite surprising to see someone that we had studied in a random TV show. And just to add my two cents in about scholarships/financial aid – It doesn’t seem fair that scholarships are available for certain people just because of their skin color; however, that is the kind of society in which we live. Like Chris said, it is unfortunately true that more of the populous that has access to better, college-prep grade schools is “rich and white.” So the scholarships that are based on race usually do benefit those students who might not otherwise be able to afford to go to college. In my opinion scholarships/financial aid should never be solely based on color of skin or supposed race, especially if it comes directly from an institution of higher learning. If an outside organization that benefits a particular ethnic group or “race” decides to make that one of the qualifying factors for a scholarship, then it seems more fair. There should also be other mitigating factors, such as scholasticism, contribution to the community, or leadership. This would better assure that the right candidate who would appreciate and use the scholarship well gets it.

Student: Jessica L. Dean    Date: Tuesday April 10th 2007 12:23
Journal Entry: I commented about this subject earlier in the year, so I am excited we finally get to talk about it now. In response to Krissy's posting, I disagree with what Gates had to say about "there is not such thing as a disadvantaged white student" (or something along those lines). People tend to focus on race as the main focus of scholarship giving because it is a stereotype that minority races are automatically poor. I have already talked about the crazy evolution beliefs of my high school, but until graduation I believed that most scholorships were given to those of a minority or poor status. This is because in our main office, there were scholarship boxes for the seniors. These boxes were not covered, but looked much like an open, fancy shoe box. When your scholarship form was completed and you needed a guidance counselor signiture or another faculty signature you put it in the box that was labeled by your race. There was caucasian, african american, asian, latino/mexican, asian american, and other. The schools justification for doing this, as well as leaving the boxes wide open, was in the hopes that minority students who did not want to attend college would see how empty/full the particular students race box was. If it was empty, the student would put one in so that his/her race would not seem ignorant. If it was full, the student would put one in for competition. My high school had many "race" issues as you can tell, thats probably the reason I decided to take this class.

Student: David L. McDaniel    Date: Wednesday April 11th 2007 20:20
Journal Entry: I appreciated Brace's comment toward the end of his article, "Region Does not mean 'Race'..." concerning America setting the stage for the world. He stated, "Everything that happens here [America] has momentous and often unexpected impact on the rest of the globe." I think that it is a reminder that what we do in this country effects others in various countries. Brace argues that our music style, political stances, and even scientific studies create a stir in other countries. Because of this, we must be cautious of the "made-in-America 'racial' categories"; rather, we need to continue to thoroughly study groups of people throughout the world and gather information from other scientists in a joint effort. As a sense of accountability with each other, Americans need to be reminded of our influence and make sure we are studying from all view points, instead of just our own.

Student: Krissy Loveman    Date: Sunday April 15th 2007 11:46
Journal Entry: I had to read the NCHS document twice. It is really hard to believe that a process so messed up could be happening, and yet it is not surprising, knowing that this is coming from the government. Everything about the process of collapsing the ethnicities into just four final races was completely flawed. I was especially startled by the last example on the slideshow, where the NCHS ignored that the person filled out Mexican (along with white and black) on his form, and in the end, the person was reported as black. And am I misunderstanding the inverted digit system? Is it even a system?

Student: Jessica L. Dean    Date: Monday April 16th 2007 09:40
Journal Entry: I just want to go ahead and comment on the discussion in class last thursday. I am sorry, but I don't know the girl's name who said this. Nevertheless, I completly agree with your comment about how people classify African Americans into two groups. It is acceptable to call one group horrible names because they "act" that way, while the other group (I guess) is more "civilized." I have friends who do this, and it's something I've never really thought about until you said that comment. So I just wanted to say I agree with you. Reguarding the Goodman reading, not that it was complicated, I just felt as if he had all these passionate feelings about the idea of race and didn't go into as much detail as he could have because he assumed the reader knows what he's talking about. However, I do like this remark he states about race. "The concept of race is based on the idea of fixed, ideal, and unchanging types"(2). race is too much of a common stereotype that needs to be changed, the only problem is how to go about it. Many say the concept should be done away with completly, and while Goodman disagrees with its usage, he doesn't think the term is going anywhere. The fact that he said fixed and unchanging says to me that this is a permenant problem that needs to be worked on, but will never go away. Also, he states "there is no way to consistently classify race" (2). To me, this sentence is to the point. From his very realist perspective, everyone tries to classify people into races based on individual beliefs about what one "race" should look like. Because everyone does it a different way, there is no real way of doing it. (not that it should ever be done in the first place.) And because there is no real way, it creates a me vs. him environment because everyone has different standards reguarding race variation. While this article was a little complex, it was a really good read for me because he's not saying "stop the use of race" (necesarily), but instead; "watch out, because if we continue to use this term it will have negative effects in the future."

Student: Amanda K. Owens    Date: Tuesday April 17th 2007 02:11
Journal Entry: Racial slurs hurt people on a day to day basis. When I think about it I’m rather interested in how people have invented this concept of race and made it personal. I think what really stands out to me about this idea is that even though race doesn’t truly exist it does affect us emotionally because we are judged daily based on outward appearance. Ignorance is unacceptable in this case. Racial issues aren’t something that should just be blown off. If people were more educated then our society would be a much more pleasant place to live. I can’t even imagine the difference it would make if people stopped critiquing others based on their skin color and just treated everyone the same. Hopefully, more classes that teach the truth about race will be implemented across the US and people will change their false ideas about race.

Student: Robert S. Clauss    Date: Tuesday April 17th 2007 09:05
Journal Entry: Ok, the race code list is ridiculous. 656 – chocolate 658 – coffee 672 – half breed Unfortunately, I did not see a vanilla race. And the Hispanic races were ridiculous. Whose idea was it to make races out of states? On Monday in a class, we were asked to write an essay about race and what it means to us. The teacher seems to understand that race is not a genetic thing, but didn’t actually explain – I think he wants to see where we’re all coming from. It was interesting to hear one student say, “Oh man, there are so many races, how am I going to begin?” And came the reply, “Well really, I don’t think there are that many, ‘cause where do were really separate them? In the United States, people that are considered Hispanic are considered white in South America.” Their short exchange reminded me of the class. I hope that when we discuss our writing, I get to educate a whole class on the truth about race!

Student: Kathryn J. Zekoff    Date: Tuesday April 17th 2007 12:15
Journal Entry: As I was reading through the race Code List published by the CDC only about a year ago, I could feel my jaw drop in sheer astonishment that a document so racially prejudice is still used today. I think I’ve commented on a similar topic in a previous journal, but it still just floors me that our government is so blind to the realities of race. First, it amuses me that ‘white’ is always the first race listed on almost any race-related document. Isn’t there another government document that says all people are created equal? As I was reading through the list of ‘white races’ I was trying to determine with one I would fit into according to the government, and I couldn’t come to a definite answer. Since when did nationality equal race? If they were trying to fairly assess everyone’s ancestry by listing race by nationality they left out several necessary choices. For example, they listed Czech and Czechoslvakian, but not Slovakian. I also didn’t see a choice for Kurd, which if my memory serves me is a pretty big group of people in the middle east to forget. And the ‘other race’ category is quite amusing. I thought that Cosmopolitan was an alcoholic drink and a magazine, not a race, and coffee is what my mom drinks every morning to start her day. And who wants to list themselves as half breed? I really wonder how our society has drifted so far away from the basic truths upon which our country was founded.

Student: Danielle N. Sims    Date: Thursday April 19th 2007 07:50
Journal Entry: In C.L. Brace's piece he mentions a time when he was at the Circum- Pacific Prehistory Conference and there were papers dealing with base-pair sequences of mDNA. Some of these series were referred to as "Mongoloid." Brace says he pointed out that the term was seriously misleading to use when talking about all of east Asian, including Japan, China, and Korea. He instead suggested the term "eastern Asian." His colleague then rose to argue Brace's point and corrected that it was fine to use the term. He then concluded with, "If it's a fish, let's call it a fish." Although it struck me for different reasons, this dialouge reminded me of the many times I've heard someone use a derogatory racial term, and then claim that it's fine as long as the person really was a "w***ack," for example. I'm sure we've all heard "it's alright to call him a n***** if he is one. A white person can be a n***** just like a black person can be white trash." Although the colleague Brace is talking about is insisting the term Mongoloid be used for a different reason, he is still classifying and being rather general in his defense.

Student: Krissy Loveman    Date: Monday April 23rd 2007 19:45
Journal Entry: I am reposting from last week, as I did not realize we were not supposed to do so last time. I am really interested in it- I had to read the NCHS document twice. It is really hard to believe that a process so messed up could be happening, and yet it is not surprising, knowing that this is coming from the government. Everything about the process of collapsing the ethnicities into just four final races was completely flawed. I was especially startled by the last example on the slideshow, where the NCHS ignored that the person filled out Mexican (along with white and black) on his form, and in the end, the person was reported as black. And am I misunderstanding the inverted digit system? Is it even a system?

Student: Sean P. Phillips    Date: Tuesday April 24th 2007 06:56
Journal Entry: This week’s reading is basically a rehash of the ideas behind race as a culturally constructed phenomenon. Because the concept of race exists, people are quick to alienate themselves from others who may not have the same ethnicity as themselves. People will automatically view those from a more “primitive” culture as inferior and will act toward them accordingly. Using cultural relativism allows us to take a back seat and just observe how other cultures interact rather than jumping in and condemning them based upon our own way of life.

Student: Robert S. Clauss    Date: Tuesday April 24th 2007 08:54
Journal Entry: Well, this week I am struggling to find words – mostly because this reviewish… only a few more reactions to go. I remember the feeling of realizing George Washington was a slaveholder, but gosh, now I find out that was also speculators out to profit from the Revolution. It kind of dilutes the whole concept of liberty or death. But in other news, I am in concordance with the idea of cultural relativism. I think we stand to benefit from taking as many of the positives from other cultures as we can – America already does that – but I think she could benefit even more if this concept were better embraced by its citizens.

Student: Jacob B. Lange    Date: Tuesday April 24th 2007 09:07
Journal Entry: It was humorous to look at the CDC racial classification knowing that it is culture and not race which plays such an integral role in health. I was amazed at the sheer amount of codes they had; for a second it gives hope that the government is recognizing more ethnic variation but in the end they simply collapse it once more to four major race groups. And either way they were to process it, this class has really shown how ridiculous those divisions are. It seems almost as ridiculous as using IQ tests to prove "superiority" between different races. These tests are designed by a specific culture to test for aptitude in what that culture considers intelligence. This makes the administration of these tests to cultures with different needs and skills ridiculous. I.Q. tests can even be detrimental to members of the culture who designed it. My friend thinks he is borderline retarded, because of this test, when in all actuality he is one of my smartest friends. The generalizations used in race seem similar to those used in standardized tests and the ideas behind both seem unfit at recognizing and humanizing people.

Student: Amanda K. Owens    Date: Tuesday April 24th 2007 09:11
Journal Entry: Last week I posted this comment after thinking about the ideas I was going to include in my paper. Racial slurs hurt people on a day to day basis. When I think about it I’m rather interested in how people have invented this concept of race and made it personal. I think what really stands out to me about this idea is that even though race doesn’t truly exist it does affect us emotionally because we are judged daily based on outward appearance. Ignorance is unacceptable in this case. Racial issues aren’t something that should just be blown off. If people were more educated then our society would be a much more pleasant place to live. I can’t even imagine the difference it would make if people stopped critiquing others based on their skin color and just treated everyone the same. Hopefully, more classes that teach the truth about race will be implemented across the US and people will change their false ideas about race.

Student: Megan L. Buchanan    Date: Tuesday April 24th 2007 11:02
Journal Entry: The first slide of today's lecture really struck me as surprising and rather disheartening. After learning of the practices used during the 18th and 19th centuries to categorize and rank races I had assumed that these types of practices had ended. But I hadn't realized that they are still happening currently with IQ and standardized tests. Although these tests aren't as blatant in their goals to categorize humans into races of differential worth, that is still part of their main goal. The cultural bias in these tests is still occurring and greatly affects the outcomes, just as it had in the tests and measurements that were taken during the 18th and 19th centuries. I understand that colleges still find these tests (such as SAT and ACT) necessary in attempting to put all students on an "equal academic ground," but these standardized tests are just as unequal in their socio-economic and cultural bias as the inequalities found in the high school courses offered and taught in different schools around the country. I cannot think of a way around these inequalities other than starting from the lowest levels of education in the country. I don’t imagine that all students will ever have equal academic training, but I believe that reforming our education system from the ground up will help to make a better and more equal education environment across the country.

Student: Challice A. Freeman    Date: Tuesday April 24th 2007 11:15
Journal Entry: The discussion of race and health (and healthcare) last week sparked a few questions in me. It is hard to believe that through all the years of research and studies that HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONALS, the people who are supposed to be the smartest and top of our society, still base their care on race. I understand identifying an individual with age and gender, and even race can be beneficial on some occasions, but breaking human populations into color to treat them is not professional nor is it healthy. So much money come from healthcare and pharmecutical sales, and our lives today rely on the honesty, intelligence, and integrity of the people who run these facilities. Using race to distribute healthcare and medicine is simply a way to arouse people and get them spending their money. race is such a sensitive issue that people will do whatever they can to protect their identity, even if it means emptying their pockets. I think healthcare professionals should stay away from the race issue. Men and women are different, and children are different from adults, but black humans are no different from whites, or anyone else for that matter, when it comes to health.

Student: Kathryn J. Zekoff    Date: Tuesday April 24th 2007 11:25
Journal Entry: I enjoyed reading the Cohen article. Finally, someone explains human variation in a “language” that I can understand. It is important to study the biology of humans to show that race truly is a social phenomenon with no biological basis, but there is a reason I am not a science major. Speaking in terms of language and culture makes much more sense to me. As I was sitting in class this morning listening to the explanation of Burt’s theories, I found myself arguing in my head with just about everything he tried to prove and his reasons for doing so. It goes back to the nurture vs. nature debate – what affects someone’s personality (or IQ, from this morning’s lecture) more, genes or environment? Genes may play a small factor, but I think that how a child is raised affects the person they will grow up to be and the opportunities they will have later on in life. Burt’s and Jensen’s twin experiments even support it.

Student: Jessica L. Dean    Date: Tuesday April 24th 2007 11:56
Journal Entry: Along with everything I already stated from last week, I have a comment to make about the comment posted by Brian Robbins. While I do agree that the government is ignorant in some of its choices, especially those reguarding the census listings, I do not believe the government is ignorant about the "race" issue. I believe the census is the way it is because it makes it simple, not because of ignorance. There are too many cultures, ethnic and regional groups to please everyone. Someone is always going to get left out. Everyone, including the governement knows this. But the race issue has become such a topic of concern that no more fuel needs to be thrown into the fire. I am not saying in the slightest the governement is justified, it just makes since why they wouldn't try to change it.

Student: Lizzie Weber    Date: Wednesday April 25th 2007 23:15
Journal Entry: ahhh! i forgot to post. i just realized it, but i decided to add something anyways even if it is too late because the issue of race in healthcare has kind of been on my mind all week and i would like to discuss it. I am having some difficulty believing that doctors, well-educated experts in their field that is, would persist in using race in their assessments if they did not in some way find it benificial. I believe that a doctor should use all of the information at his disposal in order to properly treat his patient. If some of this information is related to race, i do not think i really have a problem with that. Last time i went to the doctor he gave me a stern warning about wearing sunscreen because i am of Irish descent and Irish women have very high rates of skin cancer. I have no problem with him trying to help me based on the satistics associated with my background. Similarly if african americans have higher rates of disease A in our society, it seems logical that the doctor would begin by testing for disease A. It is undoubtedly the case that disease A is more prevalant amoung african americans for cultural reasons rather than genetic or biological reasons, but none the less i do not think the statistics should be ignored if they do actually help the doctor. I do see however that the danger in this is that people could be misdiagnosed due to racial steriotypes and this should surely be avoided. It might also be the case that race is not at all helpful to doctors but they just hold on to it out of habit, but i am an optimist and prefer to trust in the wisdom of doctors.

Student: Paige Poole    Date: Monday September 1st 2008 11:46
Journal Entry:

I have to say that my eyes have been opened a lot in the last week and half since we started class.  The books we have been reading (Race: The Reality of Human Differences and The Emperor's New Clothes) along with the material we have gone over in class have made me think about the concept of race, its implications, and how I feel and think about the matter.  I think by growing up in the south the concept of race has always been something very present in my life. Since I was very young I have heard racial slurs and jargon used, not in my house but in my schools and with my friends and their parents. Growing up my best friends were all African-American and so I, too, felt bad and was made to feel bad when people called them names or made racial comments towards them. I have always felt, and been taught by my mom, that the color of someone's skin does not change the fact they are a person, a human being, like me.  Furthermore, my mom always told me that the only real difference between African-Americans and whites was that the color of the skin looked different, but that in every other aspect we were equal and alike.  I am surer now than ever that that is true. After having read the first few chapters of Graves and Miele, I definitely believe the evidence put forth showing that there is no real scientific basis for a race concept.  I think people like to hold on to the idea that "race" really exists because it allows them another method to make themselves better than someone else, another way to categorize humans and rank them from civilized to non-civilized based on skin color, or simply to generalize about different groups of people making generalizations such as "African-Americans are always going to be more athletic than whites," "Asians are always going to be more intelligent than any other race," or "Caucasians are always going to be the only pure race." I am deeply offended by how deep racism is rooted in the United States, and especially in the south.  Even so, it's not just the white-black racism that I have seen first-hand. I have seen the Latino-black-white racism and also the "white" Latino-mestizo racism when I was living in Bogotá, Colombia. I am convinced that racism exists in every part of the world in its own form with its own implications depending on the place, time, and culture involved.

Student: Caroline Nabors    Date: Monday September 1st 2008 17:54
Journal Entry:

When I signed up for this class I really didn’t have my own true definition for race and I’m still not sure I have one or that there is one.  However, I feel like I have learned a lot about feelings and thoughts on race these last couple of weeks, and I was really shocked at some of the past scholarly views on it.  I really enjoyed the video we watched in class and I feel like it was very informational and eye opening on many issues with race.  I cannot even begin to fathom how people could have once thought that African American’s would one day be extinct!  It is sad that there is biological evidence proving we are all very similar and people still use race as an excuse to be hateful.  I believe that race is a problem all over the world, and it saddens me that people, here in the south where I grew up, were and sometimes still are treated badly because of there color or physical features.  I experienced issues with race first hand this past weekend while I lived/worked in a shelter for hurricane Gustav victims.  Instead of everyone pulling together in a bad situation, people would complain about other victims mostly because of their “race” or their inability to speak perfect English. I truly believe that race is just a social crutch people use because they cannot believe that all humans are more or less biologically the same.   

Student: Grace Telehany    Date: Monday September 1st 2008 20:27
Journal Entry:


I think Graves presents a set of information that, for the most part, evades our daily thoughts and even our education. Where did the acknowledgement of physical differences begin and with whom? Graves gives biblical examples as well as examples from the Greek and Roman cultures where physical differences and skin color did not necessarily determine one’s race or origin; rather it was a cultural placement. I think Graves points out the importance that the idea of races and superiorities within them started with chattel slavery when Europeans sought to justify the enslavement of African peoples and others. He provokes the question of racism and its origin and notes that it is a fairly new term and ideology. From what I have learned, the view of certain races as superior or inferior began with the sale and purchase of humans which encouraged them to be viewed as possessions.

Student: Phillips Thomas    Date: Monday September 1st 2008 20:44
Journal Entry:


                If English teachers and professors can demand their students provide clear definitions of terms with multiple interpretations, then anthropologists should be able to demand the same of their colleagues.  In an ideal setting, there is an exchange of knowledge, experience, and opinions between a teacher and a student.  For both, the exchange is supposed to create new opportunities to stop and consider anew the focal point of the discussion. 

               For anthropologists, especially with theses concerning race and ethnicity, I agreed with the Crews-Bindon article.  Regardless of whether one believes in “race” as a socially-separating factor and/or as interchangeable with the term “ethnicity” (neither of which I do), one cannot defend a term that lacks definition.  For you to defend something you think exists, it has to have a definition.  Giving Brace a modicum of credit, though, the Brace article contained a simple definition that I felt I could accept and could use to nearly summarize how I consider the term “race”—Brace defined it as “local kinship on an expanded scale (par. 19).” 

               Reading the chapters, watching the documentary, and reading the articles have all contributed much to the body of knowledge from which I base my opinions on the existence, symbolism, and use of the words “race” and “ethnicity.”  My interest in traveling by the slower options, like by boat along a coastline or by horseback, has always mystified my friends and siblings.  Reading the assignment brought a revelation to me the second time through—Brace’s article made it clearest when explaining how “the jumbo-jet…reinforced the categorical nature of our perceptions of the world, and this has been further magnified by means of the lens of the television camera (par. 14).” I had only been told by parents or chaperones on trips that the direct travel options of trains, planes, and automobiles were more convenient, cheaper, and safer; I had never previously considered the social consequences of leaving behind the traveling styles that savored the journey and people you would meet along the way.  By never experiencing other cultures and the people who lived them for myself and only through the media of television and radio, I feel as if I have allowed myself to slowly be trapped in my ivory tower of education and the socially exclusive realm of stereotypical American middle-class living.  The factors mentioned by Crews and Bindon of dress, nationality, and proximity are all immediately foreign from my life experiences because of the American emphasis on country-wide conformity to something. 

               After finishing the last paragraphs, I came to a consideration.  It seems that for cultures who Sarich and Miele would consider subordinate because they lacked the technological, medical, scientific, and/or artistic upper hand(s), supporting the opinion that races of humanity both exist and that they are one such race is the only “calling card” they have to present to the rest of the world.  By refusing to be similar enough to others that any cultural differences are considered minor details, they retain unique interest and have a better chance of gaining attention from others and possibly enthralling them by creating a nest in which their curiosities can rest, for however long that may be. 

               For the sake of keeping administrative peace, I have always simply filled in the convenient bubbles on standardized tests.  It has provided awards and scholarships for me, but little else.  I feel no recognition from the people requesting to know of any value I possess to my culture, my community, and my country.  I am not only pigeon-holed, but held to a lower standard because they are not willing to research and craft a new measurement standard that can chart my potential as a person and not just as an African American/Black, Female, or Other. 

               In conclusion, the readings had interesting points, but the pro-race opinions had some comments or supporting arguments that really made me angry.  Sarich, Miele, and especially their cohort Bernard Lewis all have much work to do before I will consider their stance as non-racist and inoffensive. 

Student: Tim Poorbaugh    Date: Monday September 1st 2008 21:21
Journal Entry:

This week reading offered a look back into history to see how non-Europeans veiwed raced and its content. It took a look at the ancient Egyptians vewied other races. The Egyptians had the four races in their paintings, which showed Egyptian, Leybains, Asiatic, Kushitic. The authors tried to use this that Egyptians used raced to categorize people, and that how it was in the begining. To the authors contradiction they also stated it was what "races" they knew at the time. Thus they are providing that aleast their are more than four races throught out the world, which brings up many questions. They also used the Indian caste system that color is the very fider of Indian cutural and that they use color as this bases. To support the arugment that race is categorized by those who benefit from the term race and racsist ideals(PBS movie). This caste system was implaced to keep the aircsotic control over the lower class individals by color, to supress them from succeding. Another way to support this idea of race is by using the book for an example. The book showed that they were beating the Africans and slaughtering them in battle thus surpressing them into hardships(43). This also proves that the one who controling are dominating the battle will be able to characterize the other "race" to their benefit. Thus, proving the arugment that the term race is to the benefit of those who create it(PBS).

Student: Christa Wininger    Date: Tuesday September 2nd 2008 01:09
Journal Entry:

As several other students have said, I wasn't sure what to expect when I signed up for this class. I'd asked several friends and coworkers if they'd taken it but none had.  A week and a half in, I am shocked at what I now realize that i didn't know and the things I thought I knew but have learned to be incorrect.  Thus far, the history from the readings is just astonishing. The thought that people created the idea of race to justify slavery and colonialism is unreal and the fact that this has promulgated and still exists today is simply absurd.  After watching the video in class and seeing how people who appeared so different were really genetically very similar was very eye opening.  Then with the exercise we did in class trying to classify the pictures I realized how we all try in our everyday lives to put people in nice little categories but in reality, it isn't that easy at all. I'm very interested to learn much more about all the things we think race is, but really isn't.

Student: Anisha Oden    Date: Tuesday September 2nd 2008 09:51
Journal Entry:

    race is a very "touchy" subject, due to the reasons that this one word has caused discrimination, hate, and bigotry towards others, amongst  many other issues. However, by growing up overseas I had never really come to face this issue until I had returned back to the United States. By living overseas, I had always come face to face with those of different races, nationalities and language barriers. I had never really thought of their differences because when moving to a new location, those that I had met had not judged me upon my race, but rather judged me in terms of "likeness;" meaning that they did not want to get to know because we were the same color or nationality but rather wanted to know me based on commonalities each other had shared. The reason this may have occurred might have been caused by the limited number of people within my own grade level (about 31) or it was because people were genuinely interested in finding out more about me and others, because we were all different yet all the same due to the fact that we were foreigners, in a foreign country and in an international school.

   However, when coming back to the states to attend the University of Alabama, I was never so aware of my race. Even though I am mixed, I have come to learn that since I have a drop of black in me, I am considered black not just by those who aren't black but even those who are of my same race. As my grandma said to my dad, "If she has a drop of black in her, she is black!" in reference to my dad saying I wasn't black. But, I do believe race to be a way to categorize people, due to the fact when you first meet a person, you won't know their life story, so when describing them to others we often use physical differences to isolate those we talk about. Even though this  may be the case for some, race is a way of finding commonalities with others; we tend to seek others who may be similar to us, so the easiest way to do that is by skin color because we assume that if we have the same skin color, we must have something in common and those that do not are far different from us. Thus, creating the very issue of race and relations amongst each other.

Student: Jessica Robinson    Date: Tuesday September 2nd 2008 10:28
Journal Entry:

Over the past few times we have met I have opened my mind to the realization that race is very diverse. There is no real definition that classifies what a race is, simply a subliminal stereotype that tells us race is based merely on the color of one’s skin. I find it surprising that even in the court of law there is no real definition for it and race is based entirely on how a person looks. I have asked myself many questions about what determines race: is it based on variations? Is it based on physical appearance? Is it based on hierarchy? Do we base it on economic status? Mostly, what do we consider when determining someone’s race? Should we compare race and ethnicity? Could they be considered the same thing? I hope I will be able to more thoroughly understand the idea of race and answer some of these questions through this class.

Student: Korey McLeod    Date: Tuesday September 2nd 2008 10:41
Journal Entry:

One of the more interesting anecdotes I pulled from Sarich and Mieles “Race” was the message inscribed on a stele found in Pharaoh Sesostris’ tomb. “The Nubian [black African] obeys the man who puts him down. When you oppose him he turns tail; when you give ground he becomes aggressive. They are not a people of might, they are poor and faint-hearted.” Prima facie, I think we want to say that Sesostris is degrading a whole race of people (Black Africans) but on the contrary I think Sarich and Miele draw the wrong conclusion. A traditional and very affective African battle strategy during that time period was to advance the enemy, and during the height of battle turn and run as if retreating, then after the opposing force has followed, turn around and flank the enemy(Battle of Makurian Plains). This idea seems to present a better justification for Sesostris’ so called ridiculing of the Black African, I think he is simply talking about a battle strategy or battle behavior, and not the actual behavior of all Black Africans.

 Korey McLeod


Sarich and Miele continue to say, Sesostris III’s raised history’s first color bar by stating that no, “Negro shall cross this boundary by or water or land”. I think we must ask the question, is Sesostris referring to Black African as a race or is he referring to Nubian invaders? The conclusions that I drew from these two passages on Egypt/Nile Valley, don’t seem to point to race, but to neighboring and warring tribes. I think in Sarich and Mieles rush to dispel the notion of White Europeans creating race to justify oppression and slavery, they may have misinterpreted some of these historical anecdotes (whether it be intentional or unintentional). Furthermore, whether or not Europeans created the “race” concept is a moot topic to me. Whether they borrowed it from Antiquity or created it themselves, they still used it, and continue to use it to promote oppression and white supremacy.


            Although I don’t agree with Sarich and Miele thus far, and I would like to check there references on some of there studies, I am still in the middle. I am not able to say at this time, that race is a social construct, or that it is a valid biological concept.

Student: LJ Moore    Date: Tuesday September 2nd 2008 11:26
Journal Entry:

Reflecting on the first day of class, it was hard for me to come up with my own definition of “race.” When the word is spoken within a conversation, it seems so simple a word and easy to understand. If we take the findings of Graves—that in ancient times discrimination was more so based on factors other than race—it is somewhat difficult to think about the idea of race becoming a determinant factor in how superior or inferior a group of people may be to another. Also, I do not know that I have ever thought about the idea of humans being biologically the same; however, I have never seen myself as fundamentally different than any other—because of my upbringing.


As with Paige, my mother also taught me to see people as human beings. Also, on the flip side of Paige, most of my close friends from high school were white. Looking back, I find that the people that were most interested in the things I liked just so happen to be white. My mother instilled in me certain morals and values—not to think that I was above or better than anyone else—but at the same time, I meshed with those that had those same values. Now that I’m starting my fourth year of college, my values and morals haven’t necessarily changed, but they have grown. I have never been one to disassociate myself with a group or a person based on race. I believe that there are much more important aspects of a person to focus on with respects to associating with him or her.


          I also agree with Carline’s belief that many people use race as a “social crutch.” Just a few weeks ago, my family and I had a little family gathering and a cousin made the exact same statement. I don’t remember the exact conversation, but he stated how he was “tired of black people using the color of their skin as a crutch.” I also had a similar experience with the husband of my mom’s piano teacher—Ms. Sydney. He’s a retired, older African-American man who still has those sentiments from the Civil Rights Era.  Ms. Sydney had told her husband about my recent study abroad trip to Italy and wanted him to meet me. One of his first questions was how many other blacks had gone on the trip. I told him that I was the only one, and he immediately jumped to the conclusion that it was because “they” didn’t want many blacks going on the trip. For whatever reason, I am unsure.

Student: Brooks Walker    Date: Tuesday September 2nd 2008 11:53
Journal Entry:

I have found many topics in this chapter very interesting. race started as a classification of peoples based on thier geographic location, even if the term race had not yet been used, and became over a relatively short period of time a distinction of physical and biological traits amoung populations. Today race is used frequently to refer to people both of different physical and geographic relations. Though I have stereotypes when thinking of other people I do not support the concept of race due to both the scientific evidence against it and the fact that some of my friends are what could be defined as other races. I hope that at some point the term race willbe thought of as an archaic principal.

Student: Katie Madden    Date: Tuesday September 2nd 2008 12:35
Journal Entry:

As well as the few others that have added a post already, I also had no pre conception about what this class was going to be about. I knew that race was involved but never to the extent that I learned thus far. I already can not remember what I wrote on the piece of paper that we were to all fill about what race meant, and now readings, the video and lectures in class the definition of race has already changed if I were to write it again. in Race: The reality of Human Differences, by Vincent Sarich and Frank Miele, chapter two is all about race and history. What I found interesting within the chapter is that "race' was constructed by Europeans in the Age of Exploration to justify colonialism and slavery...our review is contradicts this social-constructionist view." I agree that race is a " human invention." In the movie as well watching the students decode their dna seeing who was more "genetically similar" to others, I found it so interesting that there are people, who society today claims to be of a different race by skin color, hair, facial features and so on, that when the results came in, by that piece of dna, some students were off by like one or two at the most. Those they thought to be of a "different race" were actually more similar to those they thought to more closely related. I also found it interesting that within the chapter the Ancient Egypt had painted what seemed to be pictures of people with different skin tones, and this was said to be a "representation of the four races." The skin tones were  red, yellow, black, and white. The question to me that needs to be answered through out this class is does being a member of one race means the individual can't change into a member of another race? Why does there even have to be a race? Throughout the chapter the whole history from culture to culture surprised me of how the issue of race has been going on within their culture for centuries long before any of us were here. race is a topic of discussion...or really is it just something we feel more comfortable having around?

Student: Evan Heckman    Date: Tuesday September 2nd 2008 17:49
Journal Entry:

On the first day of class, when Dr. Bindon asked us to give a definition of race it took me a while to write down my thoughts. It never occurred to me that I haven’t given this issue a great deal of concentration and this class has already broadened my view on the issue. I had mainly perceived the idea of race to be one group of people that’s different from another group of people. But that changed after the first exercise, when I had to guess what racial category someone belonged to. Many of the Native Americans in the exercise, which I believed they belonged to an Asian background, but were not. The exercise taught me that one person might predetermine what race someone belongs to and their guess might be two or three continents off from where they are actually from.

In our readings from “Race: The Reality of Human DifferencesI am not too sure I understand the whole meaning of chapter 2. For the most part, the chapter seems to pin the origins of racial classifications on people from the ancient world. I guess I do not understand this, because it is not most substantial evidence due to all the interpreting that has to be done. In the book they use the example of Sati, which depicts four men with different skin tones. Without a definite answer key, how do we know that the Egyptians were not just portraying their neighbors or classifying races?     

Student: Gina Lowe    Date: Tuesday September 2nd 2008 17:55
Journal Entry:

Gina Lowe

After watching the film in class today what I needed to say changed or best described expanded. First, I have to explain that I am the oldest student in this class and I can see and hear how different my thoughts and experiences have been from the younger students I am so happy to hear speak in class. When I was born, people like me could not attend this University. Now, not only am I returning to a school that in the past saw a governor "stand in the school house door" to prevent the first negro student from attending, but my daughter begins her freshman year thanks to the people who took the blows for our right to walk on this campus. As a young lady who grew up outside of Chicago it has been a bit of a culture shock for her to move here and see how race is uniquely handled in the deep south. But that is not  to pretend we did not experience the north's version. Racism will remain with us because we still celebrate and speak respectfully and patriotically of those who practiced and perfected the use of racism to build this country. To hear Jefferson's words opened one of the most difficult features of American life today. This man can not be criticized without the one who questions his character being considered unpatriotic. And the pain of racism has to be swallowed whole. It is dangerous to talk about it if you are the victim.

A note about how far we've come with racism....A friend of mine who lives in Chicago and just happens to be white, tells me what he hears daily on the political scene. White males who work with him or who he plays racketball with are clear about who they won't vote for come November. They don't trust "him". They won't vote for a ni****. These racist attitudes are heard coming from people who are not white as well because when they come to America they bring with them the stereotypes and prejudices they have absorbed from Amercian news, politicians, and other foreign born CITIZENS. But this is a country where we say daily how fair and free and good we are even as the American Indian's loss is ignored. Now, you might think that I am an angry black person but I am not. I am just one person who knows how dangerous it is to ignore history for in history are the answers to the challenges we face now. We are a great nation with many good people of all races that want to see racism die and I am very fortunate to be among the best of the best.

Student: Haley Wells    Date: Tuesday September 2nd 2008 17:57
Journal Entry:

It has been illustrated that race has historically been used to further the white peoples’ agenda by the mass publication of scientific proof that one is superior to the other - and other such conclusions.  “Important” people with high reputations wrote and spread their ideas throughout the public with considerable ease.  And as the general public read it and soaked it up and applied it effortlessly to their lives and motives, we can trace the first doubtful statements on race as they turn into undeniable fact.  It was so easy.


I can’t help but apply that knowledge to the current state of affairs in the US today.  After 911, it did not take long before huge racial prejudice against any Muslim could be heard on a regular basis – and was socially acceptable.  Many assumptions and generalizations have been placed into our everyday society about the growing Hispanic population.  It takes no effort to find this prejudice in our society and it seems that it has been accepted as readily as the thought that black people were another species.  It leads to question how far we have really progressed and what we actually learn in school.  We all know that basics of the US history (trail of tears, etc) but the rest was not an answer to bubble in on any test i have ever taken.

Student: Patton Tutt    Date: Tuesday September 2nd 2008 17:59
Journal Entry:


Because there is not specific definition for "ethnicity", there does not seem to be a uniform understanding of what exactly ethnicity actually describes, or means.  According to the Crews & Bindon article, the definition of ethnicity seemingly changes from one person to the next. This is problematic mainly due to the thousands of applications and reports asking for a description of a person's ethnicity, as well as race, or uses these words interchangeably.

-Patton Tutt

Student: Adam Austin    Date: Tuesday September 2nd 2008 18:00
Journal Entry:


            Within the readings are interesting concepts on the idea of race and its place in our world. It seems that there is a noteworthy complexity to the explanation of the race issue, particularly in the issue’s ability to alter perceptions. Some of the most remarkable, or popular, occurrences in history are tied to the relations between varying peoples, be the variance large or small; and, due to limited resources and increasing numbers of individuals, this interaction between the human populations has been inevitable and oft violent. The ongoing competition is theorized to be parallel with the rest of the natural world, with natural selection being significantly influenced by an organism’s need to consume, reproduce, and survive as long as necessary. The suggestion that there is a biological basis or even a genetic coding within us that forms the idea of race and leads to discrimination, prejudice, violence, etc., thus associates itself with natural behavior of life. As we all know, this is an assumption, one lacking specific empirical evidence due to the vastness of natural laws and the homogenous qualities of such an association. The point I would like to make is that we are one species within the biosphere, our animal instincts hoping by governing our everyday lives to ensure survival and further evolution, but it is nonetheless our current evolved humanness, providing ability to have arrogant, greedy, malicious, and confused ideas all at the same time, that is mostly to blame for the notions of race that have only harmed countless people and ultimately endangered our species' viability and civilizations throughout history.

Student: Jeanne Laurent    Date: Tuesday September 2nd 2008 18:00
Journal Entry: After reading chapters one and two in race: The Reality of Human Differences, I am starting to believe that Sarich and Miele may not have the same definition of race that I have in my mind. It seems their arguments for pre- European notions of race are nothing more than distinctions of nationality. While it is quite clear that some cultures did attach negative connotations to particular groups of people, most examples given in the text are physical descriptions given to characterize the people that civilizations came into contact with. Nowhere do these ancient civilizations claim that said differences are distinct enough to account for seperate "races." It is impossible to expect the cultures studied throughout history to completely ignore variation and appearance. To assume that these physical descriptions are implications of racial thinking shows that Sarich and Miele lack sound evidence for their argument.

Student: Paige Poole    Date: Sunday September 7th 2008 06:44
Journal Entry:

After reading more of The Emperor's New Clothes and reading the first chapter in The Journey of Man, I am still amazed at the way in which people have been categorized, studied, and judged based on varied physical aspects. It appears particularly strange the way in which many scientist and anthropologists alike began to compare bone length, skull size, skull capacity, etc... to prove the hierarchy of the rates.

Also, I thought the information Graves provided about Fredrick Douglass was super interesting. I had read writings by Douglass and background information about his life during high school, but never heard the details Graves discussed such as Douglass' beliefs about being able to legitimately compare "Negroes" to "Europeans." Douglass argued that it was absolutely impossible to accurately compare the two "races" when there was a high level of "disparity in the physical conditions in which the races lived" (Graves  49).  I think this is a very interesting point to make. The living conditions of blacks and whites in the United States during Douglass' lifetime were completely opposite. For example, blacks were not allowed to learn how to read and write, nor attend schools, where as whites were given the option to enroll in school, providing they had the money to pay tuition. Tell me how the intelligence level of blacks could really be studied if the "intellectual" and "educational" realm and environment was completely different from that of white Americans? I believe Douglass made a very valid and mature point, and it's incredible he made that point at the time he did, when really he did not have the technology nor scientific background we have nowadays to work with.


Student: Anisha Oden    Date: Monday September 8th 2008 21:40
Journal Entry:

     After reading this weeks topics, it was quite interesting to see how many people had tried to explain what race was before the Darwinian era. There was an idea that race or color was determined by the geography of where populations of groups lived. Georges Buffan stated that, '...the dark color of blacks resulted, he suppposed, from the intensity of the sun in tropical climates and had been inherited in blacks through the generations" (Graves, 40). Other ideas included: that skull shape and size determined the intelligence and superiority of a race (usually whites perceived as more intelligent); as well as, views stating that there was only one human species but, with a variety of forms.

    However, after discussing with my friends about whether race was a biological "trait" or a social construct, I believe that it is a combination of both. I believe that the human species has variations amongst its population, just as any other mammal, insect, or amphibian; along with many others, has variations amongst themselves in their species. But, what makes race a social construct is the concepts and ideas that we put beind people of certain races. There are stereotypes that accompany people of different races, such as the view that many African Americans are lazy, loud, and uneducated; hispanics are hard workers in accordance to labor skills, and thus forth. These stereotypes can come from labelling people according to what "our" own cultural normality is. In Well's book, Darwin states in The Descent of Man, "In regard to the amount of difference between the races, we must make some allowance for our nice powers of discrimination gained by long habit of observing ourselves" (9). Thus, my conclusion is that race is a social and biological construct; however, the social dominion is much stronger in determing the definition of race in anyone's culture.

Student: Phillips Thomas    Date: Monday September 8th 2008 22:24
Journal Entry:

Phillips Thomas


If the most intelligent men of the 1600s were credible enough to just switch from plant analysis to studying our very origin, I shudder to think what kinds of opinions students of ANT 275 will have in future centuries…decades even. 


Bernier and Blumenbach were so close with such little information at their disposal; I finally had people to cheer for when I read! I still cock my head to the side in confusion when I look at all the drawings and reports published concerning the measure of skulls and facial angles to determine superiority or inferiority of populations.  This chapter definitely provided a new perspective on the word “variation” for me.  I could read it in connection with their research and not feel that all of humankind was some kind of lab rat in a cage for their observations alone to them.


Every pro-race argument made in this chapter made me wonder if Spike Lee read similar reports before he directed all of his movies.  If this has not occurred to you, please do so and let me know if it amuses you as much as it did me. 


My favorite argument made was Douglass’ contradiction of the supposition for the rule of hypo-descent.   However, Graves’ suggestions about what caused abolition in his final paragraphs were the most compelling.  That so many suffered for so few is just so appalling to even consider it was real, but the undeniability is in books, magazines, photo albums, and socioeconomics of societies all over the world. 

Student: Tim Poorbaugh    Date: Monday September 8th 2008 23:33
Journal Entry:

In these two reading for today explore the idea of race in two different ways. In the Soencer Wells chapter expolres the world as constant with similar features that makes us all conntected. Wells  states, " They are clearly realted to the Africans, but differ in obvious ways"(2). What this provides for the audience an idea that no matter how the obvious differences we still have a similar gene pool. In this the author is trying to prove that their is no "race" or different species in humans, because of these similarities. Futher along in this chapter, Mr. Wells begins to show history to prove the arugment that race as a seperate sepecies. Wells states, "Darwin clearly veiws theam as being members of the same species, albeit with his Victorian class-infulenced view of humanity"(7). The author does this to pull from history to agrue that not all scienctist did not believe that different people should be a apart of different sect of humans. This manuscript will play into the argument that as one will travel through the world, the human race is contiunum rahter then different species.

In Graves book, he takes a total different outlook on to the issue of race and how one should veiw the idea of race in the world. Graves goes through out history and science and pulls information that best suit the form of his agrument that race has been apart of Humans. Graves looks at Thomas Jefferson to pursuade the agrument that race is who we are. In the Novel, Graves shows that Jefferson thought the Africans as seperate people, and not as equal to the white Europeans(42). This idea is persuave, but does not indicate the underlying reason for Jefferson for saying this and that is money. Also, Mr. Graves trys to pull idea out of polygeny that there is difference in the shape, size, capticity of different races in human sturturce. The author gives historical documents that Samuel Morton experinment on head size. Morton findings show that Europeans were the highest and the blacks the lowest(45-6).  Even in this arugment it does show the actual genetical makeup of differences, any two peoples head sizes can be different no matter the race. The evidence lies within the proof DNA comporse of the different groups and comparing rather then physical difference.

Student: Jeanne Laurent    Date: Tuesday September 9th 2008 02:55
Journal Entry:

In chapter 3 of the Graves text the auther begins to address the beggining of race as a socially contrived idea (Pre- Darwinian). Much of the information presented in this chapter was mentioned in the last video we watched in class. What I find particularly interesting is that the idea of race was initially approached from a religious perspective- the one aspect of humanity that should be free of judgement and inequality. The effects of religion on race are also addressed in the Wells text. I especially like the fact that Wells begins chapter 1 by taking the reader on a literary journey throughout several parts of the world allowing the reader to witness the gradation of human variation. I feel this was a good approach to prove to the reader that humans are not lumped into distinct catagories but rather display slight variations across a large scale. I also like that Wells clearly states that the idea of race as seperate and unequal entities really flourished in the United States in order to justify the opression that was occuring at the time (and even now). This is something that should be discussed and taught more often so that more people realize that the concept of race was created by man (particularly the United States) and can also be destroyed by man.

Student: Katie Madden    Date: Tuesday September 9th 2008 10:58
Journal Entry:

I have to agree with Paige in the fact that after reading each on of these chapters I am still taken back at what I learn and what people can say and publish for that matter. In Well's The Journey of Man, chapter one, a quote from the book of Genesis is presented to the reader before we start to read the chapter. The quote is about how God create man and in the end we should be fruitful and multiply, well what ever happen to that thought of mind. We are still stuck on the issue about interracial marriages and such. How can we possibly talk about multiplying with our country still in ups about what race is right and what race is wrong?

In the Journey of Man, it was suggested that Charles Darwin "demoted humanity from divine creation to a product of biological tinkering". Though it was also said that Darwin did not know that this is what would result from his research, but now we have to read about how we are biological different that subject us to different classifications around the world. In my opinion. Another question was brought up by Well's "how do we define a species?" Well's responded with the simply answer that is you are able to reproduce together then you have to come from the same species. Well then why are we still debating the fact that we are of different races with some tend to think therefore different species? What still gets me the most is the classification process where there end up being only like 4 to 5 subspecies you can be. For example, quoted in the Journey of Man, a man name Carl von Linne (Linneaus) who "recognized that all humans were part of the same species but added additional subclassifications for what he saw as the races, or subspecies, of humanity".That is unbelievable to think...There people were so closed minded and to me have no heart. The "subclassifications" were African, Native American, est Asian, European, that's it no in-between that its. I can amazed every time a comment like that is made in a book. It makes me so mad to think that everyone in the world falls into one of these subclassifications when really, even at that time, there were so many different families and backgrounds of which where people came and its hard to believe that people are still making comments like this.

Student: Korey McLeod    Date: Tuesday September 9th 2008 11:02
Journal Entry:


After reading the other comments I see several people struggling with the ideas of Thomas Jefferson. The question seems to be, how could he hold the viewpoint that all men are equal, father children with a woman of African descent and yet still say that people of African descent are inferior? I think its important realize that White Supremacist like Thomas Jefferson create their own epistemology (philosophy on the acquisition of knowledge) when encountering non-whites and matters on race. For instance we can assume Thomas Jefferson was a very rational person, the book lists him as writer, philosopher, politician, scientist etc, but when we get to race it doesn't seem to follow. This is because Jefferson held one epistemology for dealing with one sector of his life and a second irrational epistemology of ignorance for dealing with ideas on race. Instead of saying my ideas on race and white superiority are invalid; they simply increase the dissonance, and hold two contradictory ideas at the same time. Once they have increased this dissonance, they can then continue with their White Supremacist agenda. These psychological ideas help to explain how earlier scientist and writers were able to arrive at some of the same illogical, and contradictory conclusions on race, and believe they were rational.

Student: LJ Moore    Date: Tuesday September 9th 2008 11:27
Journal Entry:

           I really don't find it odd that physical aspects were used as a method to categorize people, because I think it's somewhat natural to put certain things that are more similar in a particular category. That being said, however, I feel there's a strong difference in categorizing someone or something and using those categories to justify assumptions that have no firm support. Although it's somewhat hard, I try to remind myself that today's technology and ease to gather information was not the same 150 years ago-or even 40 years ago for that matter. It's really funny to me how anyone would come up with the notion that a particular race was not part of the human family. It's like me saying that a Shih-Tzu isn't part of the canine family because it looks different from a Labrador.

            I find it interesting the point Graves states about Agassiz-that even though he disliked blacks, he didn't support the mistreatment of any human beings. The fact that someone is able to look past a dislike and see the reality of what is really at hand shows something about a person's character. Also on page 8 Wells states, "Darwin, ever the objective scientist, noted that our outward appearance has been over-emphasized in classifying humanity." It just reminds me of what I mentioned last week of how I was raised to examine someone's character without preconceived notions of what's on the outside.

Student: Patton Tutt    Date: Tuesday September 9th 2008 11:42
Journal Entry:

In chapter 3 of the Graves book, my favorite philosopher or scholar on race, is Johann Friedrich Blumenbach (1752-1840). Graves contends that during the 18'Th century, Blumenbach served as one of the lone ‘voices of reason' in the debate over racial classifications. Blumenbach considered the differences in physical characteristics, like skin color or skull size, to be facilitated by the environment; therefore, races could not be ranked higher or lower within the human species. As a result of my interest in Blumenbach, I did a Google search specifically within the news archives in an effort to find a fairly recent article that references "Blumenbach".  To my surprise, the search returned two articles but only one in English: "Do White People Really Come From the Caucasus? How Caucasians got their name" by Derek Thompson, published in Slate magazine on August 19, 2008. After reading this article I have a number of questions and concerns. The first is this article claims that the term "Caucasians," in reference to white people, was the ‘popularized' in 1795 by Johann Friedrich Blumenbach. My other concern is that according to this article, Blumenbach named his first classicfication of humans after the Caucasus Mountains (modern day state of Georgia) because he "considered the skulls of Georgians to be the epitome of the white race"

 Maybe I have completely missed something (which is probably the case) but if this statement is true how can it be that Blumenbach, who supposedly did not rank races as being better or worse, rank skulls within a race as being 'epitome' ?

Thompson, Derek. "Do White People Really Come From the Caucasus? How Caucasians got their name" Slate magazine. August 19, 2008.


Student: Jessica Robinson    Date: Tuesday September 9th 2008 11:51
Journal Entry:

How much do social and cultural factors influence the formation of scientific hypotheses?

How much do scientific debates influence the course of social and political debates?

These were the two questions asked at the end of chapter three in The Emperor's New Clothes. Graves writing shares that scholars, philosophers, theorists, and experimentalists throughout history have tried to understand biology and race through research and observation. Even though most can be considered "confused," "inconsistent," and biased in their findings, they still looked for answers. With the bad comes the good, and humanity can learn from it.


Some things I found interesting-

Western explanations of race/ scientific ideology not independent of Christian theology

Jefferson was a creationist

Eighteenth century naturalists/ saw a hierarchy of human races and all races were members of the human species

Agassiz suggested polygenist views were not to be taken as justification for any mistreatment of the human race

"It is not a great leap of logic to assume that if scholars were confused and inconsistent about the nature of race, then the lay public must have been much more so." P50

"Public policy, therefore, could not help but be driven by views concerning the position of the races." P50

Student: Adam Austin    Date: Tuesday September 9th 2008 11:58
Journal Entry:

The picture painted by our genes, described by Wells, is a microscopic wonder. To be ableto  sense the innate unity of human beings in our childhood show me how nature would like us to perceive each other. As we age and society makes its mark on us, most lose that pure image of the singular human race. I'm proud to live in a time when so many modern concepts promote the abolishment of racism; however, it seems the path to full understanding will take communal child-like thought, if the world is somehow unable to receive the genectic knowledge that Wells and many others share with us.

Student: Paige Poole    Date: Sunday September 14th 2008 12:37
Journal Entry:

So, I decided to write about the Anthropological and Ethnological Societies of London because 1) I am a little confused about what they actually were 2) The ASL seems a little hypocritical?...
First, what did these two groups actually do/accomplish through their existence? Were they really just sort of like "think tanks" for their time as far as investigating and applying the newly published/discussed writings and ideas of Darwin?
Secondly, on page 61 of The Emperor's New Clothes is says that the Anthropological Society of London believed it "was not possible to apply the civilization and laws of one race to another race ‘essentially distinct." However, right after, Graves begins to describe their support for the incidence with John Eyre, governor of Jamaica, who massacred Jamaicans when he declared martial law against the rebellion at Morant Bay. How could the ASL support this obvious application of "British" laws and culture in Jamaica if they believed it was impossible to apply the laws of one culture and civilization to another??? I mean, I would surely say the Jamaicans were and are different from the English. The other thing was that they obviously supported slavery and the Confederacy during the Civil War and then later reprimanded America and started advocating for the return of slavery. Supporting these two incidents does not seem in line with the quote taken from page 61 explaining one their credence.

Student: Tim Poorbaugh    Date: Monday September 15th 2008 23:33
Journal Entry:

There are many ways in which scientist throughout history tried  to explain variations with the human "race" such as the color of one skin or many other anatomical differences.  One person that tried to explain the variation was Charles Darwin in his manuscript the Descent of Man. In this monograph he argues that all men have descended from a common ancestor. Drawin tries to prove an argument that Men were very similar, but yet some of the other races have stayed in a more primitive state. What Darwin does is argue against the polygenist theory that each set of races have a different creationist and come from a different ancestor. Darwin argues against this idea by proving through evolution.

            One of the main ideas that is created through out Darwin's Descent and in  his other monograph Orgin of Species is the idea of survival of the fittest. What this argument tries to prove that other humans have not yet evolved and stay in this primitive way of life.  In this fact creates many social justices and laws that were past during this imperialist idea. Darwin father the science that allowed for leaders of the world to come into these "primitive" societies and help out. What happened was abuses of land, power, and people. This idea allowed justice for the equality in all aspects of life for the ghettos of New York to the jungles of Philippines. The aristoic society saw this as assisting the less civilized people to become more like the higher up on human evolution chart. One can see this point on the cartoon on page 67 of graves monograph.

            This reading offers many question, how can one society be civilized when they are using harsh, horrible treatment to create civilized people? Also, how can American society hold this standard when America had segregation and social inequality during the imperialist  movement?

Student: Meghan Baynes    Date: Tuesday September 16th 2008 09:15
Journal Entry:

The Eugenics movement became hugely popular in the early 19th century.  Without the sophistication of modern science, people were led to believe that a person "bred" could inherit all these wonderful traits and create this superhuman who would be flawless.  The desire for "perfection" became an obsession.  It's amazing to think of how widespread this movement became.  There were films at local cinemas, sermon's at church that were deemed "perfect" by the American Eugenics Society, and of course the judging and discrimination of families in the Fitter Families' Contest at the local state fair.  Eugenics was in Biology textbooks that had its own chapter on "immigration restriction, sterilization, and race segregation."  All this seems completely far-fetched to me.  But however immoral and unethical it may seem to our modern eyes, it did exist, and it exists today.

Take a particular sperm donor, for instance.  He is listed as Donor 401 at the Fairfax Cryobank in Virginia and is a popular donor indeed fathering up to 12 children.  He is listed as being "6 foot 4, of German heritage, has a master's degree, is athletic and is very close to his mother."  He even goes to say that his mother is a "ray of light" in his personal essay.  Some of the donor recipients have commented on Donor 401 as being "such a nice guy" ... what if this is all bullshit?  What if Donor 401 is a short fat slob with his G.E.D and is (oh no!) Irish?  Would he be as popular, then?  Probably not. 

This idea at achieving perfection will probably never go away.  Everyone wants to attain the unattainable.  But at what risk?  We can never create a society of just Aryans, so why not just be happy and grateful for what we got?

Student: Brooks Walker    Date: Tuesday September 16th 2008 11:12
Journal Entry:

The Graves reading was very informative. When Darwin arrived on the HMS Beagle to the Galapagos Islands to survey. I thought it was very interesting that he found from each island the same species of animals that were different but resembled each other. I did not know that was how he came up with the theory that all human races no matter the skin color are the same. That all humans are equal. The "transmutation"' theory was also a very interesting concept.

I believe we have grown today to better understand other races and to not be negative towards each other. We still have a long way to go, but it has improved a great deal since Darwin's time. Darwin truly was ahead of his time.

Why do so many people have "closed ears" to Darwin then? Was it because they found it to far fetched or did most not want to give up their slaves or property?

Student: Katie Madden    Date: Tuesday September 16th 2008 11:28
Journal Entry:

In chapter five of Gave's Emperor' s New Clothes, it talked about race and social Darwinsim. I found this to be the most interesting out of all the readings and for that I decided to comment on it. Each and every time I still read these books I find myself, mouth wide open, wondering who could write such material. First off, it was stated in the chapter that Darwin " did not claim that colonialism was a virtuous activity ; rather he saw it as the result of the difference in ‘mental' abilities, which were related to fitness and, thus under the power of selection"(76). If this does not scream racism then I don't know what does. He is taking the fact that if you do not have the same "intelligence" as I do or the ones around me then you lack in the selection process or being inferior to the rest of us. Then Graham Sumner goes to write that "human progress was ultimately moral progress, as measured by economic virtues, such as the accumulation of wealth" (76). So on one side of things there is Darwin arguing that the selection process goes by your "mental" abilities whereas Sumner claims it is all measured by your economic process. At this point of all the readings I was laughing at these statements. Mental ability or wealth...these are the ideas that sparked race, this is pure proof in my opinion that made it right for the rest of the world to judge based on and intelligence?

Ok then I start reading on and not even a page later I am back to my wide open mouth state. Lester Ward, a professor at Brown University, goes on to say that he believes races are divided into two categories: "those who have been favored (whites) and those who had not (yellow, brown, red, and black races)" (77). Once again this is just astonishing to me, these bold and blatant statements that are being stated by what history regarded to be intelligent men of our time. Ward goes on to then talk about rapes and that " he saw this behavior as a biologically ingrained attempt on the part of blacks to improve their stock" (77). You have got to be kidding me. This statement has no proof and no evidence to be relevant what so ever.

If anything I am having my eyes opened truly for the first time in a way that I thought I knew but really didn't. I am learning that these highly regarded men are giving people false information which in return is helping destroy the slight dignity these races have. The fact of the matter is that races developed by word of mouth in my opinion by men who regarded themselves as better than the rest.

Student: Jeanne Laurent    Date: Tuesday September 16th 2008 11:40
Journal Entry:

Wow! I dont know if I would call reading the Galton text entertaining but it was interesting to say the least. I dont understand how he could consider Africans to be inferior on an evolutionary level simply because they were not as intellectual as the Europeans. Also, Galton often refers to classes such as C, F, and X... what does that even mean?? Throughout the assigned readings I could not help but think what exactly makes someone one particular race and not another? I think we touched on this a little last week in regards to Frederick Douglas. As I was trying to wrap my head around this conundrum I soon thought of Sandra Laing. I am not sure if you have researched her but she is a South African girl born to two white parents but due to a throw-back gene was born with typical African features. In this situation what makes her white or black. In her society she was treated as "black" although her parents tried to fight for her "white" status. Its also strange that her parents cut off all contact with her when she ran eloped a black man- the only group of people that would accept her! A movie is supposed to be made about her life and I am looking forward to watching it. There is also a book written about her and after typing this journal entry I am going straight to the library in hopes that the university has a copy.

Student: Jessica Robinson    Date: Tuesday September 16th 2008 11:58
Journal Entry:

            I have been trying my best to record subtle remarks and comments about race for the past week. There were two that stuck out in my mind.

            My friend and I had stopped at her favorite gas station to fill up her tank last Thursday. Over the past couple of months, my friend has gotten to know the owner of the station and always says "hi" whenever he is working. There have been several occasions that she has gone to pay and his son is working. She always comments on how good-looking he is. On Thursday, she was pumping gas and I was sitting in the car. I noticed that there was a young guy at the register and asked her if it was the owner's son. She shot me a glance of utter disappointment and said, "No, that guy's white. The owner's son is Iranian."

            The other occurred Sunday, when my friends and I were discussing the party we put together in twenty minutes the night before, after the Alabama football game. We laughed about how we were able to get sixty people in the house and about how the guy to girl ratio was uneven. One of my friends brought up something that I had not heard since high-school and had completely forgotten about. She was joking about how the party had a "token black guy and a token Asian man." I was shocked at the remark because it did not even occur to me to think about it that way. She is African American and we have known one another for about six years and I have never heard her say anything about "race."

            I talked to my two friends about their comments and my first friend shrugged it off. My second friend said that in high school it was not as difficult being in a predominately white school but coming to college has changed her out-look and she can notice an underlying feeling of racism, and being "the token black girl" in situations.

Student: Phillips Thomas    Date: Tuesday September 16th 2008 12:06
Journal Entry:

There has been much discussion lately in other classes of mine that have tied to the concept of race and slavery. 

In one, there was a discussion of how a Jane Austen character likened herself to a slave because her social position outside of marrying could at best allow her to become a governess.  She considered such women to be "intellectual slaves" of the employers and their children.  Though many governesses in Austen's time were not fortunate to have positions in households that were pleasant, they still enjoyed a status of humanity.  Regardless of how badly paid, how wretched the children, how isolated from family and staff she might be, a governess still could go to sleep at night knowing that she could choose to quit and pursue other options (albeit the options are seamstress, prostitute, or actress/singer/mistress, but they are options nonetheless).  For a slave of the physical, psychological, and spiritual nature, the discomfort of the position is a little more intense.  For the physical slaves, there is no recognition of humanity and there is no consideration of options beyond the present.  No pay, no warm affection from family or staff, and very little opportunity to rest and relax are to be expected for a human being who's very humanity is devalued and brushed aside for their convenient ability to do the bidding of one's owner in an almost human-like fashion. 

            In the other, an example from the textbook for a comparison-contrast speech was the debate on whether women or minorities are more oppressed.  The argument for women was based along lines of suffrage and social expectations in the West while the minorities could claim immigration biases, educational schisms, racial oppression, suffrage, and social mobility in just the United States.  The example speaker's conclusion was not listed, but the teacher refused to even use it in class because she saw such an example had great potential to serve as a land mine for classroom discussion and participation. 

Reading more about Darwin and Galton, it's easier to consider the writings of the 19th century scientists, politicians, and "thinkers." What Darwin put forth for science (and anthropology) must have completely rocked their world.  Galton obviously wasn't really moved in his opinions of others, but I have to give him credit for his consistency.  He didn't just turn his nose up at people with darker skin, he also had great disdain for anyone he felt were "people of altogether lower grades of mind and interest."


Student: Anisha Oden    Date: Tuesday September 16th 2008 12:06
Journal Entry:

Even though we had read a lot for this week's discussion, I wanted to know how people felt on certain issues, especially pertaining to one of the presidential canidates.

For this week's assignment I wanted to talk about Barrack Obama; due to the fact that we had touched on him in one discussion lecture before. What is interesting to me is that Barrack Obama is half white and half black, but many people do not acknowledge this fact. Actually, many people consider him just black and I was wondering if this was due to the hypodescent rule that many people, even today, still use to determine what race they are or other people are?

Also, I was curious about how Obama would rank on one of the early "scientist's" scale of intelligence. Since he is mixed, and very well-educated, would people of that time consider him to be an acception? They might see him as an acception because they may believe that his "white-side" gave him his intelligence and wit. Thus, this allows him to be ranked higher on the scale of intelligence than other African Americans but still not as intelligent as white people? Even though I greatly disapprove and disagree with the quality and basis of many of the early research done about the "worth" of different races, I was curious about how it might be viewed and used today and was wondering what other people's thoughts would be on this subject.


Student: LJ Moore    Date: Tuesday September 16th 2008 12:07
Journal Entry: The standardized test argument has always been interesting to me. I personally am not a great standardized test taker—at least not to my own standards. On the other hand, written tests are normally more my “cup of tea” and are a lot easier for me. I’m not completely sure to which argument I would agree, however.  


Lester Ward’s two categories of favored versus non-favored races is interesting. I guess I’m just a person that doesn’t care for stereotypes or labeling. So, to say that one group is more developed than another when it comes to things like sentiments and intelligence kind of irks me. And I think the whole idea of his assumption that it was innate for a black man to want to rape white women to “‘improve’ their stock” is absurd.


One of the things I do recall from my 12th grade biology class is the moth example surrounding natural selection. It’s fascinating to me how an organism can adapt to its environment in such a way in order to survive.

Student: Megan Yancey    Date: Sunday September 21st 2008 21:13
Journal Entry:

I have found the beginning of Chapter 3 in the Sarich and Miele book pretty offensive. There are countless arguments on why the Christian faith is wrong and different stances on passages in the Bible being wrong; however, as a Christian it is understood that not all things are going to make sense. The beauty of the faith is that we will never understand everything. God is the only one who should understand how everything works according to His plan. I believe that science and religion go hand in hand; however, most commonly it is found that scientists are atheists. This bothers me because many scientists are all about a broad perspective and being very accepting; yet, they refuse to let Christians have their own firm beliefs without being criticized. For example, "According to Paracelsus, the book of Genesis was not philosophy or science but theology, written ‘according to the faith, for the weaker brethren.'" I do agree that it was very wrong for those who did not agree with Christianity to be tortured or punished. Religion should be a guaranteed freedom. This is the first instance that I have even been made aware of the monogenesis versus polygenesis debate within the church. I liked the phrase, "All the world is human" as an argument for equal treatment of all peoples. It is an important fact of all humanity that no matter the ethnicity of a person, they are still human. I also think that it is important that this chapter notes many differences in written belief and actions carried out by the American government. Not until now have the Federalist Papers been pointed out as not having a racial agenda other than the counting of slaves as property.

Student: Tim Poorbaugh    Date: Monday September 22nd 2008 21:20
Journal Entry:

In this weeks readings discuss many scienific reasoning for the term race and the benfits of that term in socitey. The readings indicate a lot about what society vewied as a norm and extreme. The begining chapter for graves tries to point out that using Mendel's chart of chracteritics for race. Graves states, " all morphological features in humans show condiserably more variation within than between the so-called racial groups"(87). Even though this arugment is proven to be true today the sceintific community took this the other way when implying it to soceity and social context. This idea went to the table to prove to the world that less groups are inferior to the European race. This idea is shown in Graves manusricpt on page 95, what this tries to suggest is that the ability of congitive reasoning of the norm for a " nergo" is that equal to below average Englishmen(95). One idea that suprisesed me in the Graves, reading was the American realtion to the Nazi's in the idea of Eugenetics. It shows that the Nazi took centuries of awful science in American trying to prove that White people as seperate race, but also as higharchy one. This proves to the Nazi's that other people shared this idea that their was one supreme race the Aryan race. The hundreds of years of trying to prove the justice for enquality cause the demise of a whole popualtion of Jewish community in Europe.

Something that has been on mind is how none of these scientist and antropoloist tried to research the impact of their discoveries on the "race" that was below them or enqual(up to this weeks readings). A test that I would like to bring to the attention, is the Kenneth Clark's doll test. In this test Mr. Clark put three dolls infront of black childeren in the Jim Crow south. One was white, one look little darker but still white and the other was black. He asked a seris of negative questions like which one was dirty, rude,or unfitt and the majority of the childeren said the black doll. When asked postive questions such as which one is pretty, clean, or one you would want to be like, the majority said the white doll. When asked which doll best represents you, some said the white but the majority cried and fit in anger with the realization of the fact that they are who they did not want to be.

Student: Grace Telehany    Date: Tuesday September 23rd 2008 09:25
Journal Entry:


            I found R.C. Punnett’s research contradicting the idea of eugenics rather interesting. Considering what we know about variation between humans being 0.1 between any two humans, Punnett’s conclusions were an important step at the time. Since the concept of Eugenics was primarily used as “negative genetics” as noted by Charles Benedict Davenport, it seems peculiar that there were not more studies done that corresponded to the fallacies of eugenics. The information presented by Punnett is certainly new to me and seems to make a big point about not only the variability between humans but also about the misapplication of eugenics. Davenport noted that urging defective people not to marry would be problematic because that would include most of us. To me it seems that the idea of “negative genetics” completely contradicts the concept of the human race because we are all flawed in some way and we all eventually die. It seems that the idea of Eugenics somehow morphed into the idea of creating the immortal race. Anyhow, it seems that Punnett had the right idea at a time where more ideas like his could have helped prevent tragedies such as the Holocaust.

Student: Anisha Oden    Date: Tuesday September 23rd 2008 09:50
Journal Entry:

The article from this week's readings, The Concept of race, written by Ashley Montagu was particularly intriguing. The reason why this article was so interesting to me was because I was reading about how adament Montagu was against using the term "race" because of its negative conotations. As she states, "Here physical type, heredity, blood, culture, nation, personality, intelligence, and achievement are all stirred together to make the omelet which is the popular concept of "race (3)."  And, I believe this to be very true, race today has not just been defined by our color, but the meanings of what it is to be of that color. However, if race has such a negative conotation, how would we describe others that are different from us, if we were to ban the word "race" all together? Would our differences be described in terms of nationality, religion, culture, or place of origin? If so, wouldn't this still carry along the same, if not worse stigma as "race." With any word used to describe a person or peoples there are negative ideas behind it. For example, if a person was to be described as Australian, in terms of their place of origin, many would say, "Oh, their ancestors were outlaws...," (mind you that is a very menial example, but you may understand my thinking). People attach stereotypes to everything, including race, nationality, place of origin, along with other descriptors, but is it possible to take out the negative ideas behind such differences between people. And, if so, how is this possible and what word(s) would we use? This is very puzzling to me.

Student: Phillips Thomas    Date: Tuesday September 23rd 2008 10:11
Journal Entry:

Phillips Newbern Thomas
ANT 275: September 23, 2008

During my readings, I took the longest pauses over three things that were in the Graves chapters:
1. Harry Laughlin's list of recommended categories for sterilization
2. The ERO's ability to use even members of their own "race" for test cases
3. The fascists' scientific conclusions, especially those such as Judaism as a Mendelian trait and not a culture or religion


Ironically, in my research for a speech, I found that Herman Melville considered the white man as the world's most ferocious animal. He said:
"The fiend-like skill we display in the invention of all manner of death-dealing engines, the vindictiveness with which we carry on our wars, and the misery and desolation that follow in their train, are enough of themselves to distinguish the white civilized man as the most ferocious animal on the face of the is needless to multiply the examples of civilized barbarity; they far exceed in the amount of misery they cause the crimes which we regard with abhorrence in our less enlightened fellow creatures."

( August 27, 2005. Accessed 20 September 2008.)


Considering the truly heinous crimes we as living organisms have committed against ourselves and each other, I can understand how an overview of history displays violent swings from one extreme to the other with very little equilibrium where cultures have met and at least one has something to gain from it. We call each other savage, defect, degenerate (in the modern denotation), trash, worthless, ignorant; worst of all, there are those who presume they have the right to not only control how others live their lives, but also determine another's right to choose to live and perpetuate life.

I admit that I have met people who have made me want to see the government administer "Permission to be a Mommy" or "Procreation Potential" tests because I have seen or heard them add to my store of observations things that I feel children of tomorrow should not have to see or hear. Nonetheless, the right to choose how an individual lives rests within him or her alone and I hope will all of my being that no scientific research, government propaganda, magazine article, or credibly published abstract will convince future generations otherwise.


Student: Evan Heckman    Date: Tuesday September 23rd 2008 10:41
Journal Entry:

In my class, History of the Age of Exploration and Conquest, the topic of slavery and the African slave trade came up. In Spain, before the discovery of the “New World”, slavery was widespread, but was not associated with any one particular race or ethnic group. Many of the slaves were; non-Christians, Moors, Spaniards, and other Sub-Saharan Africans. When the Spain to started to colonize the Americas, the Spanish used that same makeup of people as their slaves, plus with the addition of the local tribes. The Spanish treatment of the Amerindians at best was hostile, and one monk, named Bartolomé de las Casas came to the natives cause. He opposed the treat of the natives by the colonist and suggested that Spain should bring more slaves from Africa so the natives wouldn’t have to be subjected to that treatment. So this is initially why the Spanish started to bring slaves to the Americas (The Portuguese had been bringing slaves over to the Americas much earlier).  I found it interesting that las Casas fought for the suffering of one group of people only to make another group share that suffering.

Student: Korey McLeod    Date: Tuesday September 23rd 2008 11:17
Journal Entry:

If you will, I would like to quote Megan's post for my comment today.

"I believe that science and religion go hand in hand"

    I disagree; I believe that science and religion do not go hand in hand. From the first few pages of Chapter three there are several instances where new ideas were tossed out because they did not agree with "The good book". More often than not Religion and Science don't go together because Theology or Religious Institutions think they have things already figured out, even in spite of contradictory evidence.

"This bothers me because many scientists are all about a broad perspective and being very accepting; yet, they refuse to let Christians have their own firm beliefs without being criticized."

    On the contrary, I think Scientist are some of the most accepting and tolerant people on the planet. In my opinion, Scientist don't care If you believe in God, unicorns, fairies, leprechauns, vampires, or anything else for that matter. In contrast religious people for centuries have in no way been this tolerant. In chapter three Sarich and Miele include several instances where scientist and free thinkers were imprisoned and even burned at the stake. Religious people in this country and all over the worlds have for centuries not only been concerned with how they think and act, but on controlling the thoughts and actions of other people around them. For reference, just take a look at the political climate of our country, Gay marriage, abortion, prayer in schools, intelligent design in school curriculums, euthanasia, these are all instances where religious groups in this country have sought to impose their belief system and ideals on others. In my opinion nothing is wrong with criticism, and Scientist who criticize aren't doing so maliciously. Scientist criticize to further knowledge and understanding, and most if not all scientist are on an objective search for the truth. This search for the truth, may require implementing new ideas, or as one quote in Chapter three states "shaking off the intellectual shackles of biblical theology".

    I also found Montagu's piece on the term "race", very interesting. I won't take up anymore space by expounding on it, but if I'm correct his conclusion may be a very impractical one, that only makes matters worse.


Student: Katie Madden    Date: Tuesday September 23rd 2008 11:21
Journal Entry:

Chapter three of Sarich and Miele keeps reminding me of how much I do not like to read their book. Though they are providing a very interesting insight to people who may not know a lot about race, they are completing filling minds with one sided opinions. In my opinion. The chapter first starts off with talking about polygenists and monogenist. Polygenist are those that believe in differences in appearance between races and that they do not come from a common origin. Whereas monogenist see where the races interact and how they are similar to one another. Is this really how we have come to see the world? Where there are just two groups...the chapter goes on to explain that the polygenist ideas came from those that were "independent thinkers who dared to cast off the intellectual shackles imposed by biblical theology (62)." What I keep finding to be so interesting in this book are the historical figures that we know and learn about, and their true motives in the way we see the world today. For example with Charles V and the debate to whether the colonization of the New World in the Americas was justified? Well Aristotle was brought up about his idea of "natural slaves." Natural slaves?...You have got to be kidding me! Men in this debate really thought that "Native Americans are inhumane barbarians who thought the greatest gift they could offer to God was human hearts." And yet here we are taking everything away from them, leaving them with nothing and expected them to move over so that we could have their world. It makes me so mad that these "respected" men of their time are tearing apart the world with every debate, meeting and speech they present. Voltaire was yet another voice for supporting polygenist. He claims that " the races were so different in appearance, behavior, and even sexual anatomy that they should be regarded as distinct species (65)." And then of course there is Thomas Jefferson who basically gave no chance for freedom right from the start to our country. He was said to be the first person to really articulate a theory of race in the United States, and in effect, he has to do so.

In reading all of these books and articles and I am learning more about race then I knew from the start. Which I know is the point of the class, but for me it is a eye opening thing. I am learning each time I open one of our books that people were truly mean and felt that their way to justify oneself was to put down others and basically take over. I am learning more than I thought and for that this will help all of us in this class go about and correct those that are still stuck in the same mind set of racist.

Student: Jessica Robinson    Date: Tuesday September 23rd 2008 11:52
Journal Entry:

After reading "Anthropology as the Science of race" in Sarich and Miele's race, I decided to look into one of their discussed anthropologists, Milford Wolpoff. In the text, they say he has "championed a theory of regional continuity of traits (but not of races)." The web pages I found were as follows, (each with a description).

- "a paleoanthropologist, with primary interests in evolutionary process and theory, and in functional morphology"
- "developed the Single Species Hypotheses early in his career, established the
pattern of marked australopithecine megadontia and sexual dimorphism and
documented the adaptive pattern of changes in sexual dimorphism during human

- "this research has helped to develop the multiregional framework to explain
human evolution. That is, Wolpoff believes there was not one single ancestor, but
several different ones all over the world"

- discussion on origins
- "view that humanity emerged as much as 2 million years ago in many places as
people colonized the world and gradually evolved to their modern state"

- "major proponent of the Multiregional Evolution hypothesis that
attempts to explain the evolution of Homo sapiens."

Student: Haley Wells    Date: Tuesday September 23rd 2008 11:57
Journal Entry:

In the midst of Sarich and Miele's unsupported conclusions, their mentioning of Meritocracy in the opening statement was brought to mind while reading. They take a very bold stance on what race is, in terms of biologically or not, but at the top of page 11, they seem to hold a really balanced view of how they can interact. They suggest that "people can gain on an absolute basis even as differences between individuals and between groups remain the same or even increase." To me this sounds very reasonable. They go on to suggest how the government should deal with races by "removing all reference to group identity from both statutory and administrative law, and to focus instead of enhancing the potential for achievement by individuals." I am curious to know if anyone else finds these sentiments as incongruous.

Student: Jeanne Laurent    Date: Tuesday September 23rd 2008 11:59
Journal Entry:

Over the weekend my boyfriend was held up at gun point and robbed. Luckily he was not hurt and after I collected myself one of the first things that entered my mind was who and where?? After hearing the entire story I was not surprised that it happened in a poor and predominantly black part of town. I know I shouldnt feel that way... something like that can happen anywhere and ever since i've felt guitly for holding such oppinions. Although I don't consider my self racists I guess I didnt realize how my culture (even the bad parts) have seeped into my mindstream. Instead of being angry and holding resentment Ive been trying to rationalize why such people are stereotyped. Yes, it is more common to see something like this in an area of lower income and in this part of the country the people that live in those areas happen to be black. However, the reason a majority of them are in that situation in the first place is because we (white people) played a large part in putting them there. Inequality may have come a long way since the civil rights era however, its repercusions are stil seen today. I am not trying to justify what this guy did- it was sick and immoral; but I have realized that there is much to be done to bring the level of equality to a more level ground. Instead of thinking that people in these areas (whatever race thy are) are inherently bad I should realize that this is a direct result of the descruction that the concept of "race" has created.

Student: Christa Wininger    Date: Tuesday September 23rd 2008 12:24
Journal Entry:

I was shocked by the very first paragraph of Graves' chapter 7: 'the fatal flaw of all late-nineteenth century arguments concerning the relationships between intelligence, human culture, and race was the lack of a correct model of the inheritance of genetics traits and how these traits related to evolution.' I still cant grasp how, so recently, so many people had such an insane view of race. As if the only problem thus far with the ideas that had been perpetuated was simply the fact that the model was flawed and not inclusive enough...'otherwise, we're right, we just need a more inclusive model.' NO!!! And then the article that was so focused on terminology seemed so closed minded and pointless. the term itself doesn't even matter! the whole idea (which was wrong) is what should have been in question, but people continued to focus on the unimportant aspects of 'race' instead of figuring out a real, logical way to tackle the underlying problem of dealing with the socially constructed issues of the matter.  And then reading all this on one hand makes me realize that in some aspects, we have come so far since the time these things were written, but on the other hand, we haven't and there are still leaps and bounds to go until the beliefs that have so long been held are challenged enough to be overcome and changed.

Student: Gina Lowe    Date: Wednesday September 24th 2008 00:48
Journal Entry:

Gina Lowe

As we contemplate the origin of the human species, must we begin with the search for the definition of race? Coon wanted to replace the use of the word "race" with "ethnic group" but it all remains the same: intelligence or mental ability as the determing factor in how and where we land in the human pyramid. But running parallel to intelligence is the question of the physical superiority of each "race". Graves writes about Jesse Owens and Hitler's Olympic defeat. And of course Joe Louis against Max Schmeling was a defining moment for all Americans. I began to wonder what beliefs and attitudes are held today about physical ability among the different "races". What I see today is the acceptance of black athletes excelling in many areas of sports. Can the question of race and physical ability be discussed today? Can it be explaind as environment? Opportunity? Or is it racial characteristics and strengths?

The great Bear Bryant in an earlier day said he did not want "those boys" (black athletes) on his team. But winning revised his thinking. I would love to know what other Crimsonites think about this.

Student: Paige Poole    Date: Monday September 29th 2008 21:07
Journal Entry:

Today I thought about race a lot. In fact, my day started out with race. I am taking a UH class about Gandhi, Bonheoffer, and Martin Luther King Jr. Right now we are talking about Dietrich Bonheoffer, but before we actually get into a discussion about his writings we are watching a film about his history. In case you don't know, he was a prominent theologian during Hitler's time and became a staunch opponent of Hitler's policies.

I still do not know too many details about his beliefs nor his writings, but I have read a lot about the holocaust and Hitler and every time I talk about the holocaust and WWII with people, it never ceases to amaze me that one person's policies and beliefs about race could cause so much damage to so many people. Hitler was one person; one living organism who caused the torturous executions of millions of other human beings. BUT not only did he cause these deaths, but he also was able to convince thousands, maybe millions, of people to take hold and firmly believe in his policies and beliefs about race... conservatives, liberals, Catholics, protestants, Germans, French, Americans, Englishmen... people from all different backgrounds. I do not think I will ever be able to fathom how one person becomes so influential.

Along the same line of thought... I am still amazed, too, that a lot of the Nazi policies and laws about extermination, sterilization, and Eugenics came straight from the United States... straight from a country where, supposedly, everyone is free and equal and born with inalienable rights. I think if this information about how the Nazis based their laws and policies on laws and writings from the United States appeared in high school history books and was talked about and taught more, people would be surprised-I know I sure was.

Student: Tim Poorbaugh    Date: Monday September 29th 2008 21:09
Journal Entry:

     I read the script from the website, I think that is what we have to post on...but I am not to sure. In this reading one can see the evolution of racism throughout history. Once in the reading the narrator stated that race is determined by the group who is making the race. This offered great insight into how the society veiws the other race. It indicated also that if it were to be that society saw these different groups as culture we would view them as similar rather than as separate people.

      In other fact that was brought up was the social-economical factors in today's society rather than race. Instead of having a society truly using race as way of separation it is now the wealth one can accumulate. The story use countless examples as white and blacks as having similar amount of income will have similar opportunity to succeed in life. I feel that this is not true because their is still a stigma against African Americans in society through years of racism that have engraved in the minds of society.

Student: Grace Telehany    Date: Tuesday September 30th 2008 00:04
Journal Entry: Through this course, I have learned that environment has so much more to do with the outcome of one’s personality, work ethic, gestures, speech, attitudes, etc. than I previously thought. I guess I can accredit my unawareness to the lack of time studying the subject. However, I feel that just studying or reading makes little change until the person consciously attempts to view others not by what shade their skin is but rather think of where that person came from, what their family values are, how many brothers and sisters they grew up with, what type of household were they born into. Those are the things that shape us and help us to understand others better. As we probably all can agree, skin color tells us nothing about an individual’s character. From last weeks readings Graves states that “all parents initially give two things to the children that they raise, their genetic material and their lot in society (with all of its environmental detriments or benefits).” The argument here is not nature versus nurture (I wouldn’t try and get into that) but just simply, understanding people based on where they come from and how the events in their lives have shaped them. Skin color, hair texture, shape, and size do not define what an individual stands for. These are frustrations I have experiences with people in passing but also with people that I know well. I like what Melvin Oliver said about race being a created thing, a social construct.

Student: Gina Lowe    Date: Tuesday September 30th 2008 00:57
Journal Entry: I know that we have discussed race as an inaccurate desciption of who we are and what we physically see with our vision. It is the reason I am eagerly waiting for Dr. Bindon's classes on biology. With all that I have seen and experienced as a result of how this country has used race, I am still fully comfortable with its use as descriptive information and prefer to keep its reality. From my earliest memories I have always been interested in our differences. Growing up in this college town, the University brought people from all over the world and this expanded my life experiences and gave it true color. I loved hearing the different languages and seeing many distinct cultures. I was never uncomfortable, afraid, or disrespectful of differences, only intrigued and fascinated. As I read 'The House We Live In' I remembered seeing the film on PBS several years ago. And again knowing the stories racism has caused (especially the discrimination in housing), I can understand anyone's desire to eliminate race and the ugliness that so often comes with the use and recognition of our distinct identities. I can even speak about living in a suburb outside of Chicago and how race and housing became central to unfortunate changes in the area when HUD decided to tear down the projects that had for many decades been home to thousands of  African-Americans. Without much forethought or preparation, thousands of families were being moved and the communities surrounding the city felt the impact. It is a very sensitive subject but falls into the stereotypes discussed in the film about white flight when blacks appear in an area. I have said all of this to be clear about my understanding of how uncomfortable race has made us all in this country. But the  quote from Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun is one I wholeheartedly agree with: "To get beyond racism we must first take account of race. There is no other way." My way is to embrace people as they are. I prefer knowing who you are, where your people are from, what language you speak, what food you eat, music you love. And I would hope you would allow the same for me. In that way we will come to respect  our individuality and color will be one of the many details we learn to accept about each other.

Student: Jessica Robinson    Date: Tuesday September 30th 2008 07:24
Journal Entry: One of my guilty pleasures is watching Hugh Laurie on Fox’s “House.” Even though it is not the most accurate or educational show, the commentary and far-fetched medical methods seem to keep me entertained. I have been wanting to journal about “House” for a while but I am new to the TV series (it has been on for almost five years and I just started watching it this past May) and did not know which of the shows would be best to reference. As of late, my best friend and I have been able to watch multiple episodes at a time- DVR is great. For those of you who have not seen or heard of the show, I recommend checking out the Internet Movie Database for more information.
The following is a web link to a guide for “House.” It uses quotes to discuss the relationship between Dr. Gregory House and his former team member, Eric Foreman.
The quote I have decided to use is found in episode #216 of the second season, entitled "Safe."
House, snatching the marker back from Foreman who was writing on the board: "Sorry, there's a reason they call it the white board. It's not my rule. What ties both of these conditions together?"
Foreman, when the others can't come up with anything that ties the two conditions together: "OK, we can all stare at each other or we can investigate what caused the heart failure. Just the heart failure. You want to give me that black marker?"
This is just one instance of the reoccurring comments directed towards race. In conclusion, I do not think that the show is racist but I do think it is an example of how the living generations perceive and react to race in everyday circumstances.

Student: Phillips Thomas    Date: Tuesday September 30th 2008 09:14
Journal Entry: NARRATOR: The more the newcomers were forced into low paying jobs and diseased tenements, the more these conditions were explained as natural consequences of their innate racial character. Biology was destiny. Which side of the racial divide you found yourself on could be a matter of life or death. Between 1890 and 1920, 2500 African Americans were lynched in the South. In 1915, Leo Frank, a Jew living in Atlanta, was also pulled from a jail and hanged by a mob for allegedly killing a white girl. Writing about the lynching, a Black journalist wondered, "Is the Jew a White Man?"

-from the transcript of race: The Power of an Illusion, Episode Three: The House We Live In

      Biology as destiny has appeared to serve as a major point of discussion for anthropologists and scientists alike during the nineteenth century and as the transition to the twentieth century occurred. As industrialization spread from Great Britain to other countries, there seemed to be an exacerbation of racial differences. Whether intentional or not, negative divides began to fragment cultures and fragment indigenous nations like the cracks of a shattered windshield.

      Today, there continue to be several opinions on initiatives like affirmative action to resolve the long-term, negative effects of social divides that were "racially" based. According to the groups that believe most in races and their inequality, it seems there are as many rankings of race as there are stereotypes about them. From the ability to guess the employment, the socioeconomic status, and the success or failure of a person based on their gender and "race" because of Jim Crow laws and similar statutes, it is easy to see how the narrator could say that the racial divide could be lifesaving or death-delivering.

      I find it interesting that the superior "races" in place throughout time had such trouble understanding that no one could fully grasp the inconsistent orders of races, especially in the United States. Between 1890 and 1920, one would think that the people in power would prefer the "devils they knew" (African-Americans) to the "devils they did not" (immigrants of non-Aryan "races"); however, this proved to not necessarily be the case for Leo Frank's lynching, which caused some African-Americans to question whether or not physical appearances were what mattered for determining "race."


Student: Anisha Oden    Date: Tuesday September 30th 2008 09:23
Journal Entry:

Who is someone to tell me who I am? Who is someone to tell me what I am like and because I am "black" I will behave a certain way? It really perturbed me the way that people once had to go to court to determine what race they were. And, the insinuation that if you were any part black you were thought to be "unpure," dirty, had no morals, and the list goes on.

JAMES HORTON, Historian: And here's where it really gets interesting. You got some places, for example Virginia, Virginia law defined a Black person as a person with one-sixteenth African ancestry. Now Florida defined a Black person as a person with one-eighth African ancestry. Alabama said, "You're Black if you got any Black ancestry, any African ancestry at all." But you know what this means? You can walk across a state line and literally, legally change race. Now what does race mean under those circumstances? You give me the power, I can make you any race I want you to be, because it is a social, political construction.

-Power of an illusion

Even though this quote doesn't outwardly state that black people are "unpure," dirty, gives the conotation that we are because if you had one drop of black you were thought to be tainted. It reminds me of that movie "Queen," I believe it was called, where Halle Berry was a mixed woman of black and white decent, who could pass for white. But, when they found out that she was mixed with black she was treated and thought to be an animal. I don't know what makes a person believe they are better then anybody just because of color and that irritates me in the fact that if you were not "white" you could not be an American. What a bunch of crock.

Student: Korey McLeod    Date: Tuesday September 30th 2008 10:56
Journal Entry:


(On White Privilege/White Supremacy)

“powell: And the thing that's really, uh, slick about whiteness, if you will, is that most of the benefits can be obtained without ever doing anything personally. For whites, they are getting the spoils of a racist system, even if they are not personally racist.”(Part III)

 This point is very important, because whites must realize that you don’t have to sign on to the idea of race or call your self white in this country to benefit from White Supremacy, and White privilege. The United States is already structured around White Supremacy, so pretending as if race (social construct) doesn’t exist, only entrenches us further in the problem.Presently some Whites in this country take an illusory approach to race and act as if it doesn’t exist, they say things such as "Were all one race,the human race".On the contrary,as an African American male, it is psychologically impossible for me to not see race, and how it affects my social status in America. Confronting White supremacy head on and fighting against is the only way to fight it, not pretending as if it doesnt exist.

Student: Meghan Baynes    Date: Tuesday September 30th 2008 12:08
Journal Entry:

Alone, we are all scared.  Scared of our own vulnerability and weakness.  Scared of our own inferiority to the giant world around us.  To compensate for this fear, we gather in the masses, particularly in groups with like similarities and we find comfort in these familiarities.  This is natural.  This is our crutch, our maternal safety net of what is the same.  Differences in this sense, stick out.  Such is why we try so desperately and in vain to define "race," to define what is different than our so-called norm.  Frantic is the desire to define the undefinable that we then label and point out with accusing fingers and menacing eyes that "YOU do not look like me, YOU are different, YOU are scorned" and thuts riots are performed, wars are enacted, hate is born.  But what a goup of people looks at as different, that they must loathe and even despise, is merely what they see and fear within themselves ... being alone. 

Next time you walk into a room, see who you tend to gravitate towards and ask yourself "Why?"  Like it or not, people are naturally going to gather in groups with like similarities.  You can claim to be the most sensitive person when it comes to race issues, but when it comes to your own lonliness, it is then that we recognize our own weaknesses.   If we can't be comfortable with our own identity, completely independent from external crutches, how can we be trully comfortable with others especially when it comes to the concept of race? The End.

Student: Jeanne Laurent    Date: Thursday October 2nd 2008 12:57
Journal Entry:

While doing some research at the library I stumbled upon a book by Montagu entitled Natural Superiority of Women. I enoyed hearing his take on the race debate and thought it would be equally interesting to see what he has to say on sex. The title was the first thing to jump out. For montagu's time it was rare in itself to agree that both men and women are equal; however, Montgagu is actually proposing that women are better than men. He even admits that men are jealous of women's ability to menstruate and bear children- this being the reason why men have constantly turned "these capacities into disabilities." By turning women into "unclean" and inferior beings women's cultural status is automatically lowered based on their biology. Montagu also mentions the parallels between sexual prejudice and racial prejudice, stating- "everything that has been said about any alleged infereior race has been said about women." He then goes on to say that like the Negro's problem is the white man, women's problem is men in general. Until men solve personal difficulties that they have created, both women and Negros will continue to be used as a "convenient scapegoat".

Student: Patton Tutt    Date: Thursday October 2nd 2008 14:54
Journal Entry:

William Patton Tutt

As a result of missing class on Tuesday due to a near nervous breakdown and mainly because I am basically an idiot; I unfortunately missed watching, “The House We Live In,” the third episode of “The Power of an Illusion.” Consequently, I printed out this episode’s transcripts, but before doing so I read over the summary and this first descriptive phrase stood out: “If race is not biology, what is it?” I hoped the rest of the world was aware that "Race is not Biology." Specifically, I wanted to find a current article, not in a scholarly journal which discussed or recognized this fact.  After searching, "Race is not Biology" into the Google news archive I came up with nothing! I was furious. So I did something I never do, a regular Google web search; which I am completely against because they always produce results from some radical group’s website or a Wikipedia article.  Ironically, I found an article, or really a post entitled, “If We Learn ‘Race,’ We Can Unlearn race,” with the tag, “Race is Not Biology.”  This news website is called “Jezebel” and looks like something my sister would subscribe to because its primary concern is celebrity gossip.  In Carpentier’s post, she describes the purpose and successes of “The Innocence Project,” which employs DNA technology to exonerate people wrongfully accused of a crime.  One specific example is the impact of this program is Ronald Cotton, who was convicted based upon the eyewitness testimony of the victim, was fully exonerated through DNA testing as a result of “The Innocence Project.” According to Barry Scheck, the co-founder of “The Innocence Project,” this case exemplifies the fact that:  “The majority race is not as good at identifying minorities as it is its own race. This is hard-wired in some way that we don't completely understand.” Carpentier agrees with Scheck, that the racial majority in the United States frequently misidentifies those in racial minority. However, Carpentier is outraged that Scheck, an expert on DNA, considers this distinction to be “hard-wired” into humans, or on a genetic or biological basis. She specifically recognizes this as an imperative distinction because: “if you're saying that racial prejudice is (or prejudices are) hard-wired, then they are impossible to eradicate and take on an air of social acceptability.” While Carpentier appreciates Scheck’s efforts to inform jurors and the public that eyewitness identifications are fairly undependable regardless of race, she gently reminds Scheck not to tell anyone else that “how racial prejudice is ‘hard-wired’ into us”

Carpentier, Megan. “If We Learn ‘Race,’ We Can Unlearn race.” Jezebel. 11 Aug. 2008. 1 Oct 2008.

“ABOUT THE FILM: Episode 3- The House We Live In.” California Newsreel.

Student: Paige Poole    Date: Sunday October 19th 2008 22:10
Journal Entry:

So, tonight I was flipping through the channels on tv and saw that Spouse Swap was on. I started watching it and it turned out that a white mom went to live with a black family and the black mom went to live with the white family. The whole episode ended up being centered around race, especially in the household where the white mom was living with the black husband and daughter. The black husband wanted to talk about race allllll the time. He threw out statistics about black men on death row, educated black statistics, etc... He also made the comment that "music is another thing you whites have taken and messed up," in response to the white mom talking about hip hop and Eminem. He said that he hated when white people tried to do "black music." The black husband was pretty much ridiculously. Even after the white mom told him she lived in a "color blind world" and saw everyone as equal and did NOT want to talk about race all the time, he continued pressing the topic 24/7. The topic of race was not as pressing with the black mom and the white family, but some issues definitely came up when she had to host a luncheon for the white mom's friends. They criticized the black victims of Katrina saying that a year was plenty of time for someone to get back on their feet and if there were always jobs available to maintain a family-"why can't they just go flip burgers at McDonald's???" was one of their comments.
I thought the episode was interesting and the "racial tension" between the whites and blacks was overtly evident throughout the entire episode.

Student: Grace Telehany    Date: Tuesday October 21st 2008 08:24
Journal Entry:

Last week, we learned about the alleles (A,B,O) that are responsible for our different blood types. It was mentioned then that the O allele is actually a mutation that has occurred over time. Can this mutation be traced back to a certain time, continent, people group, etc? Also, how can the prevalence of a mutation become rather common within the entire human population? The idea that the O allele is actually a mutation was really interesting to me because my blood type is O positive and so I guess that makes me a mutant. People like learning about themselves and I think the biological aspect of what we are learning is interesting and essential to understanding ourselves.

Student: Anisha Oden    Date: Tuesday October 21st 2008 09:48
Journal Entry:

   Even though I posted last week, I wanted to expand my thoughts on the subject of race in general. We have said we have made progress in the fight to gain equailty and fight against racism in this day and age. But, how much progress can we say we really made? It seems that we still face the same problems today based on skin color and stereotypes as we did during the Civil Rights era, except instead of this BLATANTLY being put in our face (forced segregation...etc) in our face, it has been "watered down," for lack of a better phrase, as to where we are immune to it. I was watching the CNN the other day, and they were talking about how race could be a factor in determining who people vote for. They explained about this effect (the name slips my mind, but was after a former senator) where he was ahead in the poles, but when it came down to really vote, he lost because people had changed their votes. Thus, people are saying they are voting for the black candidate, as in the case of Obama, in order not to be accused of racism but in turn when the election comes around, they turn around and vote for McCain because they do not want a black candidate. This lady who was interviewed even said that she was afraid about the blacks running the country if he was to get into office (these were not her exact words, but basically what she said). Even though progress has been made, it not as much as I had hoped for, especially in this day and age.

Student: Phillips Thomas    Date: Tuesday October 21st 2008 10:02
Journal Entry:

Phillips Newbern Thomas
Dr. Bindon
21 October 2008

I like science, my mom's a doctor, and I've had biology since high school. However, that was a lot of biology. I felt like Wells was the better review of the science because of his sympathy and clear efforts to make it understandable. Sarich was just too preachy and I will not be mourning the final pages of his and Miele's book.
There were two outstanding points in all of the complicated science, name-dropping, and self-references for me:

1. The experiment discussed in "Why People Gesture When They Speak" was pretty cool. I never thought about considering if the blind gesture because so many of my other classes taught that different cultures gesture in different ways and some prefer much less movement when speaking. Then again, the experiment excerpts did not mention the kinds of environments in which the children lived. Some parents might teach the children certain gestures out of safety (like holding up the hand to emphasize "no" or "stop"), or victory (like both hands up in the air as if riding a roller coaster, or a fist pump), or even general daily activities (holding hand out to receive or offer items, like snacks or vitamins).

2. The concluding sentence for chapter 6 was eerily familiar. After a moment more of thought, I realized it was practically a photocopy from Jefferson's writings on waiting for science to solve the question of race and the humanity/equality of slaves.

Now, I highly doubt Sarich's ego would allow him to wait and let everyone else figure it out, and the few sites I visited after researching him via Google proved that was so. The words "conservative" and "controversialist" came across all the pages I selected, and still Jefferson's image stuck in my head. Can we really have come so far, if we're still asking all the same questions?


Student: Gina Lowe    Date: Tuesday October 21st 2008 10:04
Journal Entry: Sarich and Miele in the chapter, "Resolving the Primate Tree" give Morris Goodman credit (and respect) for developing the data supporting the three-way split among African apes. It would then seem to me that classification and grouping would be front and center in the interpretation of human development for those so inclined to want explanation for human differences. In the two lectures we had on human biology I was sure of one thing: no matter where we began, how we began and no matter our current status, we are part of the most complex universe imaginable. It causes me to wonder if we now in the early years of the 21st century have evolved enough to know all about the answers we now discuss. Is it possible that as it was with Darwin we have some knowledge of who we are but have more to learn? For example, what would Darwin have done or been able to understand with DNA technology? Sarich and Miele also criticize the "no race" group for not explaining or having a clear definition of what it is they don't believe in. And it is that very subject I would very much like to discuss. For example if I were to attempt to explain why the term race is no longer scientifically supported by what science now knows about human biology, how could I explain in layman terms what makes the use of race archaic and obsolete without using the words haplotype or polymorphism? (Possible?) Can we also discuss the chronology of the races'(term used in books) development? And yes, this class has revolutionized my thinking on race!

Student: Korey McLeod    Date: Tuesday October 21st 2008 10:53
Journal Entry:

I read Paige's post about the T.V. show and she quoted one of the characters in the show who said that "she was color blind", or "lived in a color blind world."(whatever that means) I posted on a topic similar to this a few weeks back and I wasn't able to discuss it, but I will re-address it because Cornel West offered some new insight on the idea (my perspective centered around Racism/White Supremacy). In his lecture last week he pointed out that some Americans feel as though they are colorblind, they make statements such as, "I don't see color", or they say things like "I don't see gender, or sexual orientation". Cornel West's response was that in order to love humanity or to love another human being you have to see their color, their gender, and their sexual orientation. I remember him saying something along the lines of, "What am I, some colorless, genderless object, some platonic form just floating through space?" To love you embrace every aspect of that person, and you don't embrace them because of those attributes, and you don't embrace them in spite of those attributes. I think he would agree with me if I said you love them because they are a human being, while at the same time recognizing that they are distinct and different from yourself.

Here is another mistake I see some people make that follows the same line of reasoning:

"When people like me, they tell me it is in spite of my color. When they dislike me, they point out that it is not because of my color. Either way, I am locked into the infernal circle."

Frantz Fanon


Student: LJ Moore    Date: Tuesday October 21st 2008 10:56
Journal Entry:

Like many others, I have always been taught that the human species started with Adam and Eve. Now that I’m older, it’s interesting to think about the idea that we are descendeded from this one common ancestry.  As much as I don’t like science, it’s also fascinating that we can trace origins to a single continent. I actually had a friend of mine bring up the subject of us all being from the same ancestory. He mentioned issuses surrounding the election and such. But mainly he—like many others—is disturbed by the fact that there is so much division among races of people. Again, I guess it comes back to the idea that race is a social construct.

I actually happened to read through some of the other posts this time before I posted my comment…and WOW is all I can say about Anisha’s post. I guess I should not be surprised at all. I’m not one to be easily angered, but that is quite absurd that someone would post such foolishness.

Student: Gina Lowe    Date: Tuesday October 28th 2008 08:53
Journal Entry:

Gina Lowe

Last week my thoughts were about finding a way to discuss evolution which being here in the deep south Bible belt is not an easy thing to do. But I realized coming from a very religious family, that Adam and Eve might just be the way to start. Of all the writers we have read in this course, I relate to Wells best. If the discussion can center on Eve and the power of her mtDNA and Adam and the detailed history of his Y-chromosome, I can simply point to the proof in the millions of examples of us living today. Now I don't start religious conversations (I know better than that). But if a question is asked I feel it my duty as a citizen of the species to speak for the ancestors. So here's to history! And that is how I have come to be comfortable with evolution. It is history and we are all part of that history.

And race continues to control everything in this country. We are in a period of great awakenings and heavy denial. We are all linked by our DNA but now will not be the time we will come to an understanding of the power of the discoveries of science. We seem to be at Basic Human Interaction 101. I am anxiously and excitedly waiting for November 4 so that we can move forward and find out what's next. I want the best we have in our DNA to take a great leap forward.

Student: Katie Madden    Date: Tuesday October 28th 2008 10:46
Journal Entry:

"The Original African soup ( 81)", a very clever name that jumped out at me when beginning to read Wells, Chapter 5. Wells's thought about the "original African soup" was what he used to describe "the changes made by preceding generations to the ultimate source of the recipe (81)". What is amazing to me is to think that everyone could or might have come from the same source. But the bottom line is, we don't know. Certainly you could trace back your ancestry for as long as it could go but then what happens when you run out of this case you assume. The story in the chapter about the son, very much opened my eyes about how generations could have evolved and spread out over time. But the thing that confused me what that how come he becomes the founding father what happen to his parents? I know that Wells explains that "superior tool-making ability that give his clan such an advantage on the hunt (84)," however would his not start with his own father as the founding father who gave birth to him? Because really if this son is so advanced to be able to give his clan such an advantage wouldn't that mean that the actual founding father would be his father giving the clan such a smart son? I found that to be a little confusing when reading. However, as the story went on it made sense that whenever too many people lived in the same areal, and there was not enough food, some thought to move away which lead to the generations being spread throughout all of Africa.
Another interesting point was that of Richard Klein, who stated that there were strong theories that supported the " Great Leap Forward," which allowed for significant archaeological shifts. The firs that was mentioned was that of tools used by humans became far more advanced and much more efficient. Second, art makes its first appearance, conceptual thought. This to me is so interesting as a art history major, to actually read that one of the major archaeological shifts was art. And third theory was that of humans beginning to exploit food resources in a far more efficient way (85). These changes that seem to be so plain and ordinary actually turn out to be the greatest theories that support the idea of the "Great Leap Forward." All in all it makes sense how our ancestors acted. The became more developed in thought and because of that it leads to all of these changes that end up changing who we are now.

Student: Anisha Oden    Date: Tuesday October 28th 2008 11:47
Journal Entry:

I decided to comment about Paige's post during this week lecture. I read the article, and for the first time I was not shocked. I guess my naivete has been diminished and unlike Dr. Bindon rather than being a pessimist, I am an optimist but, when it comes to dealing with race I guess you could say I fall under the same category as Dr. Bindon. Also, I believe that this proves what I was trying to say last week, that this presidential election is going to be largely based upon race rather than credentials; which to me is truly sad. And, as time comes closer to elect a president, the more radical people become because of their fear and uncertainty of such a tight election race; and the POSSIBILITY of us having the first black president. My friend was talking to me one night, and she was saying that someone who has oppressed a race and who has been discriminatory towards us because of our skin color has the audacity to hate us, she said that she should hate you; not the other way around. And, I find that to be somewhat true, of course there are black people who do not like whites and vice versa. However, it seems as if the magnitude of hate has become is so much greater of the ones that have not been oppressed rather than those that have.

Student: Haley Wells    Date: Tuesday October 28th 2008 12:03
Journal Entry:

This week I've heard a few unexpected conversations on race that and, thanks to this class, immediately starting analyzing the attitudes of the participants. Overall, they were kind of awkward in that, it was clear that the participants were trying very hard not to step on anyone's toes. Now, if I remember correctly, there was nothing ‘racist' in these conversations, just an unspoken acknowledgement that ‘race' is a sensitive topic. One of the conversations discussed appearances and people making judgments of people based on what ‘race' they look like. The fundamental exercise of this class. In this conversation it was not black and white but latino persons. One of the girls cited a friend's issues with someone calling him Mexican when he was Guatemalan. He got called names for being African American and Mexican, however, like I said, he is neither. Stereotypes of Mexican workers have been applied to this person though he is not Mexican and was born legally in the States. It brings up the point that, not only can you not tell someone's ‘race' from their appearance, but also the lack of caring. I have heard many times, "well, you know what I mean" instead of taking the time to find out if the ‘offender' really is black, Mexican, etc. We lump together our own set of world races and if you aren't white or black then you are Asian or Mexican or possibly from an Island. Asia has many distinct countries, as does Latin America. The generalizing just perpetuates the over-emphasis on race and strengthens racism. That attitude is also illustrated with the all-too-familiar sentiments that ‘'they' should just go back where they came from' and the sentiments that are driving the push to make English the official language. It is time we think before we speak.

Student: Christa Wininger    Date: Tuesday October 28th 2008 12:41
Journal Entry:

First off, I'm sorry, I know I'm a few minutes late.  Anyway, its funny to me that this should come up in our readings right now because I spent a few nights in a hospital waiting area a week or so ago with friends of my grandmother and of course the topic of the election came up, which led to the race issue (which shouldn't even BE an that for later) and that was, in a round about way, followed by the whole man coming from Africa and spreading across the world versus other, more Christian beliefs came up.  As I sat there, the youngest of everyone involved in the conversation, I was shocked to realize that, among so many intelligent, knowledgable, well-traveled, informed citizens, I (at 22) had the best grip on 'race' and where the ideas originated from and how it has so easily been perpetuated throughout every aspect of our lives.  I asked questions of these men that, after just this short time in this class, I could easily answer, however, they could not.  One man actually said to me that he didn't want a black man to be president because 'blacks are genetically and mentally inferior to us' at which point I almost felt bad for citing him the limited knowledge that I have which supports information which blatantly and completely disproves his statement.  It is appaling that these ideas are so widespread and people are actually PROUD of the fact that they are uninformed and have no desire to learn thruths about such thing and instead would rather continue believing all the lies and myths that have for so long been accepted as right and normal.  I'm very excited to get more and more into the actual biology behind all this.  It seems that everyone relies on 'science' to prove things...I love it when I can disprove people with better science than they have.

Student: Meghan Baynes    Date: Tuesday October 28th 2008 19:01
Journal Entry:

I went to an AA speaker meeting this past Saturday. The speaker this night, a middle-aged white man, was talking about how he had once had to due some time in lower Alabama. He was told not to mention that he was from Cullman because of Cullman's reputation of being highly racist. Being the prideful man that he is and was, he didn't deny his hometown since he's "not prejudice." He talked about how one black guy had asked him how he would feel if he dated his sister. His reply was "how would you feel if I dated your sister?" This shut the man up. Not sure what this has to do with alcoholism, but at this specific moment I thought about this class and how absurd this scene was, and how normal this mentality was-to claim not to be prejudice, just as long as a member of another race didn't intervene in their life. The speaker also spoke of how he didn't realize what it meant to be discriminated against until he went to prison, where the guards and the inmates racially profiled each person that walked into those iron doors. It made me once again think about race in society and also in controlled environments such as prison. It's interesting, really, not to mention inevitable.
Another topic of interest for me was how they are able to extract DNA from a sample of blood, and from this sample, are able to trace a person's ancestral journey through specific mutations. I was thoroughly impressed by today's technological advancements.

Student: Megan Yancey    Date: Monday November 3rd 2008 17:45
Journal Entry:

I was interested in the part in Chapter 7 when the teenage boys discovered the cave paintings. I wanted to see what the paintings at Peche Merle, as well as Chauvet looked like. I posted a link below in case anyone else wanted a visual of the ancient cave art. I find it interesting that these long-lost drawings are signs of what separate our ancient ancestors from the Neanderthals, "conceptual, abstract thought." This is what Wells describes as one reason that our ancestors won the evolutionary race as compared to the Neanderthals.

Student: Phillips Thomas    Date: Monday November 3rd 2008 23:16
Journal Entry:

Phillips Thomas

     I went to the Rep. Artur Davis lecture this afternoon, after participating in a traveling radio broadcast for a Birmingham station. In both, relations between "races" were discussed but with completely different tone.
     In the radio broadcast, they wanted to probe the tension of the relationship between white and black students on campus. They wanted to know how integrated the campus REALLY was. When I replied that it depended on the student but that there was integration if one looked in the right places, I was teased by one of the show's hosts. I was told I obviously saw it because I acted and spoke like I was "white;" another show co-host had to step in at that point because they could tell I was trying not to take offense. The rest of the broadcast went relatively smoothly, but it was surreal to watch a white man joke about how he sounded "blacker" than me in speech and deportment.
     In the lecture, Rep. Davis talked about the beautiful moments in his observance of Obama's campaign in its ability to engage different demographics of "race," age, religion, and socioeconomic status. He saw people standing in line to hear a politician 30 points behind in polls on a rainy day in Birmingham who were holding umbrellas over the elderly and interacting kindly with people who they would likely never come into social contact with again. He was extremely polite and sincere when a hostile, self-proclaimed conservative from his district rudely made his opinion about Rep. Davis known to the entire room in an intentionally disruptive question. But most importantly, he presented to the room a man who was looking to further his political career by serving others without concern for what they looked like or with whom they socialized.

I do not intend for this comment to spark any political discussion, but I found the lecture to be such an uplifting departure from my morning that it merited comment.

Student: Evan Heckman    Date: Tuesday November 4th 2008 11:04
Journal Entry:

During the last class I noticed something about how people precievced racism in the United States. I heard numberous times that people do not like the south due its racial nature and started bashing the region for its racial past and present. I am in no way going to defend southern racism in this journel, but since I have lived both in the south and north, I wanted to say that racism is just a prevalent in the north as it is the south, if not worst. I went to a boarding school in northern Indiana and after living there for four years I found out some pretty interesting things. The Klan had/somewhat has a large present in this region of the country, as one of its last conferences was held in Gary, Indiana. I was walking to friend of mine from Detroit and he told me about how the mayor of the city ran all the whites out and then moved to the subrebs back in the 70's. With that, he mentioned how that effected the views of race in the city, and it was not postive. I list of cases such as those goes on. The south has a lot of problems when it comes to race, but the north is no paradise. 

Student: Patton Tutt    Date: Tuesday November 4th 2008 12:55
Journal Entry: Last Friday, October 31, I was reading the paper, The New York Times, or what I like to call, ‘the paper of record' (to the disgust of my dad). I came across an article that interested me for two reasons. The article, "Phoenicians Left Deep Genetic Mark, Study Shows," by John Noble Wilford, initially seized my attention because of the reference to a powerful ancient civilization, extinct for thousands of years, yet the subject of a daily newspaper article. The second reason is a term in the title, "Genetic Mark," which has more significance to me, as result of our class lectures on genes.

The Phoenician civilization was the principal rival to the Rome (Wilford, Oct. 30). In addition, Phoeneians enhanced writing systems through their introduction of the alphabet (Wilford, Oct. 30). The largest Phoenician city, Carthage, was decimated as result of the Punic Wars (Wilford, Oct. 30). Today all that is left of Carthage are the ruins near Tunis, Tunisia (Wilford, Oct. 30). In addition to their rich history as expert sailors and navigators, who canvassed the Mediterranean coasts, the Phoenicians continue to impact through an enduring ‘genetic imprint' (Wilford, Oct. 30).

As a result of a "new analytic method for detecting especially subtle genetic influences of historical population migrations;" Scientists announced on Thursday, October 30, 2008, that 1 in 17 males currently inhabiting "the coasts of North Africa and Southern Europe may southern Europe may have a Phoenician direct male-line ancestor" (Wilford, Oct. 30). The Scientists' research is under the direction of the "Geographic Project," a partnership between the National Geographic Society and the IBM Corporation (Wilford, Oct. 30). Unlike ‘genes traces' spread by other population migrations, for example the Greeks and the Jews, a ‘distinctive Phoenician genetic signature' surfaced (Wilford, Oct. 30). As a result, this international team of scientist came to the conclusion: "for example, one boy in each school class from Cyprus to Tunis may be a descendant of Phoenician traders" (Wilford, Oct. 30). They described the significance of their findings in the current edition of the American Journal of Human Genetics, as "‘underscor[ing] the effectiveness of Y-chromosomal variability' in tracing human migrations" (Wilford, Oct. 30).

Wilford, John Noble. "Phoenicians Left Deep Genetic Mark, Study Shows." The New York Times. October 30, 2008.
< >.

"The Genographic Project" National Geographic. Project Summary
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Student: LJ Moore    Date: Tuesday November 4th 2008 20:43
Journal Entry:

So, this past weekend I was asked to do some MC-ing for the Saturday morning Homecoming festivities on the quad. The other MC and I had a script to read from and before everything started, we met to break everything down into who was going go say what. It really didn’t matter to me one way or the other to which parts I was going to say, so I pretty much took the parts that were left over (partly because I wanted to see if what I thought would happen really did happen). So, it ended up that I introduced what I will term the two “black” groups. I was just interested in seeing if for some reason I would end up having to introduce them. I guess it goes back to my thoughts last week, that just because you’re of a certain race, ethnicity, etc. that you get lumped into a certain group—like I possibly knew more about the groups, so I would feel more comfortable introducing them…or possibly that the other person didn’t feel as comfortable introducing them? It’s just interesting to see the behaviors of others.

Also, in that article I talked about last week, there was a point made about studies conducted, in which a black person and white person who don’t know each other are placed in a room together. The white person usually makes nonverbal cues over his state of anxiety—blinking more, breathing heavier, arranging his chair farther away. When interviewed, the white subjects say they anxiety comes from being worried the black person will think they’re racist. He says, that’s why it’s the more racially aware people who seem to be the most racist.

Student: Tim Poorbaugh    Date: Wednesday November 5th 2008 22:51
Journal Entry:

Well this is election day and we have know idea who is going to win the race for the next the president. This is going to see if America is ready to look past the color of a man, and see if they can truly judge the O'bama on his actual politics. The question that I ask is America truly ready to do this and in some ways I say yes, but in other ways I would say no. Base on the fact that there is still radical fringe groups that still exist. But, Now is the time that America stands up shows this radical groups that we are no longer scared. Also, another thing that I heard saw this about the race. Some people feel that feel poor are ignorant and not knowing of the actual race. This shows the other struggle along with race in the country, which the class struggle. If people really say they believe these certain ideal of America, but are not willing to help a neighbor to advance the community. Maybe the problem lies with the suppresser rather than the suppress. Acts of this sort are never going to stop because individuals they are to afraid rather than love.

Student: Megan Yancey    Date: Sunday November 9th 2008 19:51
Journal Entry:

I found the results of Lewontin's study very interesting, yet very believable due to his thorough strategy and objective observance. The overwhelming statistic of genetic difference among individuals within a population being as high as 85.4% blew away his other measures. (Genetic variation between races being as low as 6.3%, and genetic variation between populations within races as low as 8.3 %) This undeniably speaks for the argument that the differences in individuals, has little to do with racial or ethnic boundary lines. It is pretty much funny that the critics' argument was that Lewontin did not use the right genetic markers; however, Latter, Nei and Roychoudhury's studies all confirmed that Lewontin was correct. The article was justified in stating that there exists a "logical disconnect shown by many researchers who simultaneously prove the irrelevance of genetic race and then proceed to discuss the genetic evolution of races."

What is a haplotypic pattern of inheritance? We may have already discussed this, sorry if that's the case.


Student: Paige Poole    Date: Monday November 10th 2008 19:45
Journal Entry:

I agree with Megan, that Lewontin's study was interesting and that after reading through the article and reading through all the different scenarios of different scientists testing hypothesizes to determine whether or not there was greater genetic difference between races and ethnic groups, between races and individuals or between individuals and ethnic groups, it made sense to believe that there is a much greater genetic difference between individuals, as more than 5 studies showed.

The more I continue to read articles like this and the more we delve into the science behind "race," the more I come to see that race really is a social construct; that in reality the color of someone's skin or their physical appearance (as this is what is most often used to classify someone by race) does not tell you much about their genetic make-up other than the amount of melanin that's produced in their skin.


Student: LJ Moore    Date: Tuesday November 11th 2008 11:28
Journal Entry:

I think it’s interesting how we can have multiple studies that show how little variation there is among racial groups, but yet we still do not fully accept the facts. On one hand, I kind of understand how it’s hard to believe something when you’ve been taught a certain way of thinking, but I just wish more people would open up their minds and not be afraid to work and think outside of the box. How much better would we be as a people if we weren’t so narrow minded? Though I know a lot of people’s perceptions about race aren’t really going to change—not any time soon, at least—I still remain hopeful. 

Student: Jeanne Laurent    Date: Tuesday November 11th 2008 11:41
Journal Entry:

The article was very interesting and reminded me a lot of the video we watched on the first day of class. It is hard to believe that our DNA doesn't give more clues as to who we are as individuals. The fact that my DNA could have as much in common as someone in Papua New Guinea for instance is wild. I wish articles and videos such as these were more mainstream. I think everyone, especially Americans, should be informed on such studies. I do understand how some anthropologists hold on to the idea of "race"- especially osteologists who get paid to determine this; however, if more people realized that this concept was created by humans and holds no scientific backing maybe there wouldnt be so much hatred. I'm not saying that racism would cease to exist but it would at least get people thinking about how closely we are all related to one another.

Student: Adam Austin    Date: Tuesday November 11th 2008 11:47
Journal Entry:

I recently saw a video clip on the Daily Show of one Kenyan man stating his thoughts on our new president-elect. While he and several others were running alongside a television crew he proclaimed that [his blood will be the blood in charge of the free world]. The joke was made by Jon Stewart that Kenyans obviously never stop training for marathons; however, I found my own humor in the video. A citizen of such an impovrished and developing country deserves to be proud of the circumstance of relation to a US president, but yet, ironically, no more deserving than the suburbian Kansas "white-folks" that share religious, traditional, and (relatively recent) ancestral qualities with Barack Obama's maternal lineage. As we all know, we citizens of the world should be and mostly are proud that the leader of America will now more accurately represent the great admixture and medly of worldly populations/ethnicities/races that comprise our nation.

Student: Christa Wininger    Date: Tuesday November 11th 2008 12:11
Journal Entry:

I have to agree with Megan and Jeanne in this weeks post.  I find it absolutely amazing that with all the research that proves how little genetic variation there is between 'races' and how much there is within these same 'races' even well educated people within the field of anthropology still don't agree.  I understand that we have all been taught certain things and it is extremely hard to abandon these ideas and accept new ones, but I really don't see how anyone (especially so many anthropologists) can dispute the evidence Lewontin puts before us in this week's reading.  I can honestly say I tend to be one of those people who holds strongly to the things I believe in even when others show me disputing evidence, but in this case it seems so black and white (no pun intended).  I just want to know why this information isn't splattered across every newspaper, on every website, and on every TV channel.  It seems so clear to me that this idea that we, especially southerners, have about race is complete rubbish and if people simply took the time to read some of this research it would completely change  their viewpoint--how could it not?! I realize that some people could read these studies and still argue that there is some sort of genetic difference between themselves and someone of another 'race' but i think large numbers of people would have to see where they have been mislead and reform their ideas.  At least I hope that would be the result.

Student: Gina Lowe    Date: Tuesday November 11th 2008 16:45
Journal Entry:

Gina Lowe

This is an extraordinary time to be studying race! I wanted to comment on Brown and Armelagos because I am happy to finally be able to say that I am now able to understand race when viewed through the lens of science. Dr. Bindon assured me that I would be able to bring all the science together and explain why we are one species, one race. And now I believe I can. I can explain the science without loosing the humanity. To know that a mere 6% of total genetic variance can be attributed to race and that he mighty Y chromosome and mtDNA proves the connectection of all groups is profound and I can now agree also indisputable. Even as our country goes through a profound change in our understanding of  race, I took note of the authors comment on groups who fear what the failure to use race may mean politically. And this holds my interest and concern.

If as the article states that "only 50% of physical anthropologists and 31% of cultural anthropologists accept the validity  of biological races in Homo sapiens", it would seem that it is time for the issue to be front and center in discussions of race and equality. But how do we begin that discussion? And are we ready? It means we are all the same under the skin. We are one interconnected race, i.e., human race. Yet we are diverse. Would this mean another age of science and reiligion battling for influence and truth? But there has never been a time when the two were not at war. I am happy that I can discuss the science and the religion. I respect and understand both. And maybe I can end with what I felt was the best sentence in the article: "Thus, results that on the surface seem to demonstrate genetic differences between the human races are actually quite meaningless underneath." And the authors end by saying that major genetic differences across 'races' can be dismissed with genetic evidence. And that, I believe, is a beautiful summation of the issue.

Student: Grace Telehany    Date: Wednesday November 12th 2008 08:27
Journal Entry:

This week’s article said that “racial lines have been drawn across the axes of aggression, sexual behavior, intelligence, athletic ability, and just about every other behavioral and psychological characteristic one can think of.”  I know that I hear this misconception so often. What’s frightening is that this idea is still held by so many people, even intellectual and intelligent people. I guess the best way to label it is a contagious lie which infiltrates all parts and groups of this society.

My brother is one of the two white boys on his high school basketball team. He’s practiced his whole life and he plays really well.  When people make comments about why he’s on the team, it really frustrates me. People say he “plays good for a white boy.” But he plays well because he has practiced a lot. I know that we all hear comments about people “acting” their race. It’s unfair to label someone’s abilities or faults as an attribute to their race. And that’s my soap box for the day.  

Student: Anisha Oden    Date: Wednesday November 12th 2008 23:10
Journal Entry:

I KNOW this is totally off topic and out of the blue but, my friend and I were talking about interracial dating and I thought I should discuss it. And, I was just wondering what everyone's thoughts were about this. What is so funny is that down here in the south interracial dating is so frowned upon, especially when a black man and white woman are together. However, in other states such as California, Florida, and amongst many others it is seen as "normal," for lack of a better word. I know since I have been here I rarely see any interracial couples, I can probably count on one hand how many couples I have seen. However, I am kind of ashamed of it, but I also look down on interracial couples and there is no reason behind it and i'm the last person who is suppose to judge the situation, especially when I am a product of an interaccial marriage. However, I was wondering where my bias had come from and I believe that I am so use to seeing and hearing,"why can't he/she date in her own 'race'..." etc, etc. I know my mom has experienced 'attacks' from people who believe that she has taken a 'one of the few good black men' away from black women, and I am like that is so unneccessary. I don't understand where the hostility comes from..and I guess I still don't understand it.

Student: Haley Wells    Date: Tuesday November 18th 2008 11:59
Journal Entry:

So, I think we do not have to post this week but since I forgot the last two weeks I'm gonna comment on the other two anyway. I agree that the instances of racial profiling in the police force are horrible and am really frustrated when they further it by bullying someone not to report the offence. It is even more crappy that the ‘bad people,' no matter what race, are the ones that mess things up for everyone and put the stereotypes into people's heads. We've discussed incidences where it is said that someone is "acting black" and pondered exactly what that means. The mother who raised the bi-racial children brings up this identity issue. Who defines who you are? I believe Gina said at the beginning of the class that it is part who you think you are and part who others think you are. That mother was probably very wise to teach her boys how they would be viewed by others, especially law enforcement. One could say she was teaching them other's expectations on how a black person acts. I am curious though how you (the students of this level minded class) feel about her actions. I know people that would be upset because she is perpetuating racial discrimination, and ‘why would you raise your children to think like that?' That sort of thing. Others would feel justified and continue on about ‘that is why America is so messed up.' So, what do you think and is there another way to approach it?

Student: Jeanne Laurent    Date: Monday December 1st 2008 13:32
Journal Entry:

After last Tuesday's lecture, I was reminded of the disgust I have for the medical industry.  I'm not speaking of the nation's health insurance crisis or the influence of pharmacutical companies. Doctor's themselves bother me just as much.  The fact that a patient's racial profile has an influence on the type of treatment they recieve is upsetting.  Speaking from personal experience I can guarantee that these assumptions only hinder proper diagnosis and recovery.  When I was 15 I had strange symptoms and spent MANY afternoons in the doctor's office.  This went on for TWO YEARS all the while I was being shuffled from doctor to doctor in hopes that someone would finally figure out what was wrong with me.  One last ditch effort by my gynocologist (my only doctor I have respect for) was to get tested for crohn's disease. (a strange idea since my symptons didn't quite fit the bill)  This was something my gastrointerologist considered a while back but stated "these symptoms have only been seen in black women. There is no way you could have this." I was tested and the results caim back positive.  Under normal circumstances I would be upset to discover that I had this disease. However, I was thrilled to finally know what was wrong recieve treatment.  It makes me sick that this puzzle could have been solved a year earlier if my doctor would not have brushed me off due to my race.

Student: Haley Wells    Date: Monday December 1st 2008 16:45
Journal Entry:

I am kind of surprised at how completely race influences some medical decision. As in Jeanne's case, I would think that if someone had symptoms for a year, the doctor would go ahead and start testing for the problems that are even remotely close to what the symptoms suggest.
It was interesting to have this conversation right after I had just finished a discussion on medical disparities and race in accordance with medical anthropology in the class preivous. One of the studies in particular found that black men were more likely not to be recommended for the best care in some health situations. This studied controlled for age, health, income, education, and possibly a few other things but those tend to be the biggest factors. The study did not say why, it just illustrated what was happening.
Another experiment was carried out with a gathering of medical professionals. They were divided into two groups, one was given a set of patient charts minus any racial information and the other had the charts as well as photos of the patient. The doctor's were instructed to recommend treatment. In the case where the doctor's did not have a picture to refer to all the patients were recommended the same treatment. In the other group, a larger percentage of white people were recommended for advanced care. I believe all the charts showed the same illness, a cardiovascular disorder that would require bypass surgery but without the study in front of me I can't be sure. There was nothing mentioned definitely as to why these results were so but it certainly deserves some looking into.

Student: Caroline Nabors    Date: Monday December 1st 2008 22:02
Journal Entry:

I thought the article about race and culture for this week was really interesting. I definitely think schools should incorporate cultural relativism into their teaching curriculum. People should learn to think outside the box when studying other cultures. Just because something is different to us as Americans does not mean it is "strange" to others in the world. I also think it is very important to show students all sides of people good and bad. I believe the article mentions Benjamin Franklin and George Washington, both of who are seen as great American heroes, but were also speculators looking to enrich themselves. I also remember the discussions we had about Tomas Jefferson and racism at the beginning of this class, and thinking how I had never learned that information in my American history classes. I agree with the authors desire to promote cultural relativism into schools. If it were a part of regular curriculum more people would have a chance to learn the truth about race. Only providing elective classes about this type of information does not make it seem important enough

Student: Paige Poole    Date: Monday December 1st 2008 22:49
Journal Entry:

So, I loved loved loved the article by Mark Cohen! I agree with pretty much everything he said and was stoked that he brought up cultural relativism as a road to tolerance in today's society. Since I learned of the concept of cultural relativism in high school I have been a strong proponent. From the time I began to really realize the US' position in world affairs and the general mind set of the US citizen in regards to other cultures and their practices, I became aware of the very ethnocentric outlook that I many US citizens have on the world today.

In addition, I found the way Cohen set about backing up his argument fantastic! He mentioned many of the specific physical differences between people and the "evolutionary" reasons for these differences that we had talked about in class; he then talked about about the general confusion between differences that are biological and differences that have risen out of culture. In the end of the article he begins to touch on IQ tests and how even IQ tests have this overtly US-white-middle class over tone and that in order to do well one must overall be familiar with the culture and norms of a white middle class citizen from the US; he mentions that in many minority cultures rejecting the larger culture at hand is a way of nonconforming and since IQ tests fall into this pattern of non conforming, many minorities receive poor scores on their IQ tests.

Cohen also mentioned the need for an educational revolution-a HUGE change in the way "race," culture, and the reasons behind the variety in human differences (physical and biological) are taught in the schools. He also mentions the need to teach cultural relativism as a way to create a new wave of thought and understanding that might could help eradicate some of the strong racial tensions and thoughts that continue in today's world.


Student: Phillips Thomas    Date: Tuesday December 2nd 2008 10:30
Journal Entry:

Phillips Thomas

Since we haven't had discussion in a while, I still ambled through some sites and found a clump of them on The New York Times website. I found the following:

1. "Unconscious Attitudes on race and Gender," by Nicholas D. Kristof.
In it, he includes links to two tests, one for "police officer's dilemma" and another for gauging unconscious attitudes on certain issues, like age, race, etc.

2. "Imperfect, Imprecise but Useful: Your race," by Denise Grady.
In it, she discussed the effect of race on the medical practice and research fields. Though she worked to present arguments from both sides, it sounded like she was willing to allow race as a medical factor simply because no better alternative has been presented, tested, and approved by the medical community.

3. "A CONVERSATION WITH: JOSEPH GRAVES; Beyond Black and White in Biology and Medicine," by Linda Villarosa.
In this one, some of the answers are familiar in that they were also stated in the book. There was a question about a medication, Enalapril, that worked "less well for African-Americans" and he again hinted at the inability to consider all environmental factors that all race-based medical supporters seem to share in their reports.

4. "The Plight of Mixed-Race Children," by Steven D. Levitt.
In this one, I felt like we were taking a step back. The other articles pointed to a weakened commitment to race as a biological construct and personality pigeon-hole device, and this one definitely felled a tree in the path. He admits that their model wasn't a smashing success, but the results weren't a great comfort anyway.

5. "‘Acting White' Is Old School," by Steven D. Levitt.
This was another blog along the same vein, but it was even worse because it displayed race as a personality factor for three different social groups: White, Black, and Asian. It was kind of funny because he worded it so that it sounded like a punch line, but sad because the kids saying it were so young. I wanted to shake them and say, "it's not really like that! Seriously! I can prove it in my notes!"



Student: Katie Madden    Date: Tuesday December 2nd 2008 10:45
Journal Entry:

For my last journal entry I decided to add my last paragragh of my recent paper to end the class!


"Maybe this is to sound cliche but maybe without this class, without these readings, our lectures, class discussions, some of us might still be lost within the battle of what is right and wrong among race. I never considered myself racist but, I will be the first one to admit that I have started off a comment with " Ya'll I am not a racist but...." The thing is that I am certain that others in our class have done the same thing at some point in his or her life and now are regretting it just as much as I have. There is no such thing as race. This is a preconceive idea that has been acknowledged and passed down through generations, just as we have as humans. We have all come a long way in terms of what we knew and what we know now, at least for me that is. The material that I have learned I would not take back for a second. The readings, though hard to get through sometimes, were worthwhile and easy to comment on. The lectures were very informative, and yet seemed somewhat fast pace at times, the information I obtained from them is what mattered. What kept blowing my mind this semester were the historical figures that I thought of to be so profound in their work, and who were actually nothing more then racist covering up their "theories" with scientific wording. It made me so mad, but that is what good class will do to you, challenge the mind. race is not an actual thing. In all honesty it is something people do mainly because they feel as though they feel ferior saying it or acting upon it to others. race is not who you are, it is what you make of yourself that determines that sort of person you will be. "

Student: LJ Moore    Date: Tuesday December 2nd 2008 11:53
Journal Entry:

Race and IQ are probably two of the things I’m most interested in learning about from this class. I remember glazing over the topic in a previous post this semester. I guess my curiosity lies in exactly what factors affect IQ? I have ran across some interesting news articles about the topic however, most of which seem to be quite absurd. Like Mark Cohen, I believe that understand different cultures is important to making progressions toward better interactions for everyone. I wish people had the ability to see life through more than one lens. If we’re going to make any changes to anything, then it starts with being able to understand one another.

Student: Jessica Robinson    Date: Tuesday December 2nd 2008 13:14
Journal Entry:

I'm not going to lie, it has been an interesting semester. All the information we have learned and all the new perspectives we have gained. I really enjoyed this course and can actually say that I am able to apply it to daily life, unlike some classes I've taken.

"The key point is that what we see as 'racial' differences in behavior may reflect that people have different values , make different choices, operate within different cultural 'grammers' and categorize things (and therefore think) in different ways." Mark Cohen's Culture, Not race, Explains Human Diversity explains how I feel almost to a "T." I have choosen the above quote to relate back to an article I read over the Thanksgiving break. My grandmother had a picture of a Native American on her refridgerator. In taking a closer look, I found it was a interview with the man on what he thought  about "white man" taking land and "civilizing" the nation. He said the "white man" thought he was doing the Natives a favor, when really, this "civilizing" only brought disease and more problems to a land of peace. I don't have the article with me, but I'll definately bring it in for disscussion!

Student: Tim Poorbaugh    Date: Tuesday December 2nd 2008 19:38
Journal Entry:

     This week final conclusion is the idea of race in the IQ testing and proving the difference in the results. This week discussion was proven that the test were created for that certain culture. For instance in the non-native speaking English pupil that took the test scored much lower than that of Americans. We should as Americans living in advance society should do away with the IQ testing. This test proves no real merit that a human being may have to bring to the work or education place.

     The market place that is currently failing right now has assisted in putting the economy inequality that exist today. What happened with market is that it allowed the rich to drive the market place that would allow for them to become more wealthy. Instead of having some regulations that would prevent this equality from happening. Now the truth has settled and now we see more poverty in this country that was never seen in years. This goes along with the idea of that the test benefits those who make the test rather that looking for the best qualities in all humans.

Student: Maggie Espino    Date: Monday January 19th 2009 12:51
Journal Entry:

As I've been reading the chapters and watching the documentary for this week, I've really been starting to understand how deep-seated and ingrained the problem of racism is in this country. I'm from Florida, which, though it is Southern in geography, is hardly Southern in culture. I thought it was interesting that Graves differentiates between acknowledging differences among people, and discriminating against them for those differences. I have mostly come to the conclusion that racism is when someone takes those physical differences and supposes that one's behavior, moral capabilities, intellect, and/or social status can and should be defined by those physical characteristics.

One kind of interesting thing that I was discussing with a friend is the stereotype that African Americans are naturally more talented at certain sports than other ethnicities, especially track. My boyfriend ran track in high school, and he said it is widely supposed that black athletes will automatically be better than white runners. He was briefly on the UA track team, but hardly got to race because here at the University of Alabama, most of the runners for the distance teams in track and cross country are recruited directly from Kenya. I also liked that Graves talked about the processes of natural selection, and the ways that people have misused certain terms and natural phenomena to explain and justify their prejudices.

One thing that really irks me is the number of buildings on the UA campus (and I'm sure there are many more in college campuses and buildings in the South) that are named for people who propagate racist ideologies and implement discrimination. Of course, here at UA we have our very own Nott Hall, named for Josiah Nott who is often mentioned in our textbooks, and of our Morgan Hall named for John Tyler Morgan, a GRAND DRAGON of the KKK! The UA website says, "Morgan Hall is named for John Tyler Morgan, a U.S. Senator from 1876 to 1907 who was regarded as ‘the universally informed Senior Senator from Alabama' thanks to his reputation as an authority on many subjects." Authority on many subjects? Look him up on Wikipedia. I haven't even gotten a chance to look up the other namesakes of other buildings on campus yet.


Student: Stone Wilters    Date: Monday January 19th 2009 13:57
Journal Entry:

In chapter one of the book race (The Reality of Human Difference) by Vincent Sarich and Frank Miele, there is talk of why we the human species creates these separate "races" and why we are so good at it. Near the end of the chapter there is an example of an experiment done where a group of children near the age of three, were shown a series of drawings. Each drawing consists of a figure of an adult and two figures of children. Each of which share one of three characteristics - race, Body Type and Occupational uniform. The children were then asked which of the figures looked the most similar. The children linked the figures of the same "race" more frequently than the other two characteristics. WELL YEAH!!! Big surprise there. But how does this prove any thing? What are some of the first things you learn as a child? Well you start with you're A-B-Cs and 1-2-3s and once you get that down what's next? I don't know maybe Colors! For a child to choose color or if you want to call it "race" over body build or occupational uniform really isn't that big of a leap of me. Does it imply that these children are going to grow up racist because our DNA tells us to be? My answer is simply no.

Student: Brandon Blair    Date: Monday January 19th 2009 19:10
Journal Entry:

As noted in another post, many people watch sports and athletic events and come to the conclusion that unless the Caucasian is abnormally good at his or her sport, the African American competitors typically defeat them. Whenever the predetermined social assumptions that the Caucasians are the "slower or less athletic" of the two were formed is still not clear to me; but I have noticed that it does make a difference in performance. I, being a caucasian male, have come to believe that the skin color or background heritage has more of a mental affect on the person of an "opposite race", than the actual physical attributes. The video watched in class discussed some of these widely confused stereotypes. The members of track teams tend to be more intimidated by African Americans (If they are in fact from the US). This is a very common misconception, that the black athletes are the fastest and best ones. Not trying to disprove, or discredit those who have excelled in their sports, but I do believe that just the image of an athlete can have a great affect on the competitors mind. Whether or not this person is physically in perfect condition or not, the image we see is so strong and has so many unnoticeable affects on how we react in the situation when confronted by someone who fits the stereotype. For better or worse, I believe the predetermined stereotypes of society have more of a mental effect in this area than realized. An effect that by looks alone, may sometimes cause the expected outcome.

Student: Evan Waters    Date: Monday January 19th 2009 20:54
Journal Entry:

With the classes so far I think the true topic of what the actuality of race and what we as a society truly comprehend it as has not been fully talked about. Yes we have through the video that we watched and that of several of the topics we have read and discussed in class, but still we have not delved into the fullness of what the topic of race is. In my general opinion is that race cannot maybe determined by the resources of using DNA. I myself do not know muck about the chemistry or other facts about DNA but I do understand the general knowledge about it and that is all that DNA can show is that all of us, that is humans are basically the same ( having hair, eyes, nose, mouth and teeth). Now in the idea with race varying in the since of the region a person occupies is very sensible in many ways. If you look at other species of the same family in the animal world that locate different regions all have different characteristics to them even with the fact that they are the same species and family. So this concept to me is one that can be very reasonable. But at this time these are the two issues that I have much to talk about right now and I hope that we delve deeper into these issues to learn more about this topic at hand.


Evan Waters

Student: Rachel Bonner    Date: Monday January 19th 2009 22:31
Journal Entry:

The thing that struck me most from this week's classes was how these incredibly smart people could still be trying to prove that race is a biological factor using the old evidence that has largely already been disproven. Sarich and Miele use a good deal of cultural evidence in their efforts to prove that race is a biological fact, which not only does not prove that race is a biological factor, but they also edit some of this evidence. Deleting part of the picture that they used negates any usefulness it may have had, you can't pick and chose what you want to believe and still call it scientific.
They also quote influential people from the past as part of their evidence, but I don't see how you can quote people from a time period when slavery was incredibly widespread and acceptable and call that evidence. Just because Thomas Jefferson believed that the Africans were inferior doesn't mean its a truth, if he had the scientific data that we do today he might be of a completely different opinion. Jefferson owned slaves, and probably grew up being taught that it was natural that doesn't make it right of course, but it makes it more understandable why he thought they way he did. Cultural beliefs or teachings don't imply any biological realities, it only proves more that race is a cultural construct that is mostly used for convenience and power.

Student: Luke Cameron    Date: Tuesday January 20th 2009 17:09
Journal Entry:

During this first few weeks of Class, I have seen that the common idea of race and racism are wrong. In every day conversations people uses the term race as term for culture groups and ethnicities. I was born in Alabama and the idea of race and racism is used all the time and is now apart of the Southern culture and it is used as a point of hate and a mark of pride. I think that people need to follow the old adage Don't judge a book by it cover, but it seem that everybody uses race as a part of ethnocentrism to make themselves superior to everyone else.

Student: Kate Zaliznock    Date: Tuesday January 20th 2009 19:38
Journal Entry:

After reading "Race: The Reality of Human Difference," I couldn't help but wonder what the authors' motivation was for defending such a blatantly unsupported hypothesis with such circumstantial evidence as the art and literature of civilizations that have been extinct for thousands of years. The authors go to extreme lengths to support their assertion that the idea of race did not begin in Europe; rather it is an age-old concept that existed in every major civilization in history, or according to the authors, even prehistory. Of course every civilization has recognized the differences in appearance among people and throughout history people have been sorted into various categories, but I would argue that in the examples used by the authors, these categories have been defined on a political rather than racial basis. One example is Ancient Egypt, one of the most notoriously xenophobic civilizations in all of history. It is understood that in this culture outsiders were viewed as inferior. But I would say this is rather due to the fact that these outsiders were not Egyptian, rather than due to some physical characteristic deemed unpleasant by the Egyptians. People have always assumed their home community to be superior to others, but using this fact as evidence to support a biological theory of race is absurd.

Student: Dara Arbuthnot    Date: Tuesday January 20th 2009 20:52
Journal Entry:

It is hard to imagine how people can be so ignorant when it comes to the issue of race because we are all humans, so how can someone think one is lesser than the other.  It is interesting how the definition, or lack thereof of race has made all people in a sense ignorant and think that we are most closely related to people of our skin color, instead of the many other factors that make up people.  This stood out to me especially in the video of the students during their lab.  The fact that has really grabbed my attention was the small percentage that any two humans differ by.  We have made such an issue out of something so miniscule.  It also surprises me that anthropologists still disagree about race, and some still have what seem to be such backward ideas of race.

Student: Shelley Smith    Date: Tuesday January 20th 2009 21:22
Journal Entry:

I have honestly never thought deeply into the scientific processes and genetics of what the term "race" meant until I started this class and became very intrigued. I am still learning some of the terms but am very interested by the classifications and history of race. I am also from Savannah, Georgia and growing up I can't remember hearing parents or any other friends having distinct rules on racism honestly until I came to school here at Alabama at the age of 18! In my opinion, many people here are closed minded about the subject, specifically African-Americans. What has really sparked my interest is based on a personal experience. My roommate and very close friend was removed from Alabama last year solely because she was dating interracially and her parents forbid it. It still is a constant battle for her and not only has affected their relationship, but has affected me in many ways as well.

Also the information presented based on African-American athletes being typically "better" than Caucasians seems to be a deep topic of conflict or discussion and I hope to learn more about it.

Shelley Smith

Student: Josh Phillips    Date: Tuesday January 20th 2009 21:27
Journal Entry:

Well the first few weeks of class have honestly proven even more interesting than I presumed it would be. The premise of there being no biological evidence of "race" was also a little surprising simply due to the fact that I thought that the variety of physiological features that are "stereotypical" for certain regions of the planet were legitimate biological differences. I assumed that skin color was simply among the many features such as having strong cheek bones, being tall, short, black hair, blonde hair and etc. however the truth being that we are really a homogenous species that find our roots at one common trunk almost like a large scale family with members simply being in different rooms of the house. However, I find myself having a few more questions than answers when it comes to this non-existent biological connection to race. I happen to be a huge high school recruiting fanatic ( and it is a matter of fact, not opinion, that African American high school and college students have a massive over representation among the nations top athletes relative to the much smaller population they represent nationally. If there is no biological relation to race then why is this representation so very evident. Being also very clear that this is in no way is a racist issue especially since the only color I differentiate between is crimson and orange. Another somewhat elementary question I have regarding evolution is...why are there still primates living in an un-evolved state today? Why on the speeding bullet train of evolution did a few species of primates hop off the train and continue over generations at their current state? Is it hypothetical to say thousands of years from now the primates of today will no longer exist not due not to extinction but due to evolution?

Student: Michelle Goodwin    Date: Tuesday January 20th 2009 22:06
Journal Entry:

Scientific statements suggesting biological differences defining race can easily be discredited by the multiple DNA comparisons done proving that human biological variation is in no way in relation to the common idea of "race." Thus showing that race is merely an idea and cannot really be defined in specific terms. However, this is just the beginning of this class, and I'm sure I have a lot more to learn about what "race" really is, if it is, in fact, anything but an idea that varies among each individual.

I was reminded of my high school anatomy teacher when sickle-cell anemia was mentioned in class. She actually taught us that only "blacks" could have this disease. Since then, it had never crossed my mind that this should have been questioned. And what do you know? I should have questioned it. Just like the students and readers of the scientists trying to justify racial superiority questioned this work and disproved it. Great minds are made up of questions. It always comes back to what Einstein meant when he said, "The important thing is to not stop questioning."

As mentioned by Maggie and as also mentioned in class, how are the names, such as Nott, given so much praise without even the slightest acknowledgment of the extreme prejudices they stood for?


Student: David Salisbury    Date: Tuesday January 20th 2009 22:06
Journal Entry:

Coming into this class, I had my own personal view of the term race as being a completely made up term, based on ignorant inferences of society. Regardless whether or not people believe that a particular race is inferior or superior, we are all brought hearing stereotypical tendencies of blacks being more athletic, whites being more privileged, and Asians being math geniuses. Sure there are going to be some people that fall under this category, but I have plenty of black friends who are un-athletic, Asian friends who are by no means good at math, and white friends who grew up poor and uneducated. Sure there are going to be times when someone profiles someone based on their appearance and they happen to be right, but lest we forget there are several instances when people are dead wrong when they "racially" profile someone.


We must take into account that the social pressure of society greatly influence how one acts and thinks. I am willing to wager that if you took a baby of any race and threw him or her into another society, then these so called behavioral tendencies of his particular race would cease to exist. Simply quoting Thomas Jefferson, although he is a very intelligent man, is not proof that racial rankings are a biological reality. Anyone who grows up in a diverse society should realize that people are not always how they seem. What happened to the old phrase "don't judge a book by its cover"? The reason that many numbers show that different "racial" groups have behavioral tendencies is primarily due to the constant barraging of people telling a person how they should act. Humans as a whole can be very weak minded and end up becoming who people tell them they should be without even realizing it. Nobody is biologically inclined to act a certain way, humans simply adapt to their surroundings.


Student: Megan Nix    Date: Tuesday January 20th 2009 22:19
Journal Entry:

I think it's funny how in Sarich and Miele keep using cultural references to claim that race is biologically valid.
He cites the Haak v. Rochester School District in that the ruling stated that "minority pupils" are those that are "members of minority groups that have historically been the subject of discrimination." Sure, that seems to (without actually saying it) say that everyone who is not white can switch schools. But as I was reading this, I realized that there is a huge gap. What about the "white" people who are Jewish? Or Irish? Or what about people that are both a minority and white?
Another criminal justice issue that relates to race is that of identifying victims or perpetrators; mostly be skin color. This may be one of the few ways that our cultural concept of race might be somewhat useful. But as we learned on the first day of class, just looking at someone is not definitive enough to determine what a person's race actually is.
I also was wondering: In most people that study race that we have learned about, they all seem to place Europeans at the top of the totem pole. Are there any scientists that put Africans above the others?

Student: Natalie Jones    Date: Tuesday January 20th 2009 22:52
Journal Entry:

Since the beginning of this class, we've discussed the reality and differences of race. I find it interesting that there are still some people today that hold the same belief as many 18th and 19th Century polygenists that the African race is inferior to other races. I have been witness to this ignorance today with the inauguration of the first black president. Why does his color matter so much to people? These people are worried about his black or Muslim heritage when they should be concerned with his platforms instead. Are some people really scared of a black president commanding our country? Maybe, but I think it's their fear of change more than anything. The ancient idea that Africans are superior only to an ape is a preposterous idea. We, as humans, are inherently all the same. As the movie showed us, Caucasian, Asian, African DNA does not differ as much from each other as some would like to believe. Will race always exist? Ultimately, yes but maybe our views and ideologies of what race really is and its differences will change for the benefit of the human race.

Student: Pavia Gooch    Date: Wednesday January 21st 2009 00:17
Journal Entry:

It is really frustrating to see how Hollywood inadvertently (or possibly intentionally) portray race as a biological factor.  Shows such as Grey’s Anatomy, Bones, House, shows that the uneducated public takes all their facts from, don’t bother to be responsible for the information that they put on the air.  The writers of these shows should be held responsible for making sure that everything they put into their shows is accurate.

Student: Pavia Gooch    Date: Tuesday January 27th 2009 02:48
Journal Entry:

Sarich and Miele offer very minute details about ancient cultures and their views on race. For instance, they say that the Egyptians are not using their art as "portraits, but also an attempt at classification." How can we know that? Why is it not just as likely that the artwork is indeed portraits of perhaps other kings? In fact, I would think it more likely that the portraits are kings of neighboring lands that are paying homage to the Egyptian pharaoh. Why would the Egyptians portray an entire race with just one portrait? That does not make sense when in other artwork they use a repeated image to show a multitude of people. Sarich and Miele also try to use the Israelites as an example of an ancient society that classified people into races. But they tell the reader that the Israelites were "forbidden from making graven images". Therefore there is no representational proof that they in fact had racial categories! The only categories that either of these societies classified people into was where they were from. That is not someone's race; it is his or her ethnicity! They even use the Greeks as an example when they only noticed physical differences in Indians and Africans. They then assume because they noticed these differences they "believed in race!" There is no scientific evidence! Sarich and Miele continue to infer meaning from sources that are not legitimate scientists even by their own societies standards! They quote an author who uses satire and Virgil! Neither of who had scientific training other than the stereotypes provided by their societies and their cultural experiences. Throughout all of this neither Sarich or Miele offer any definitive number of races or proof that ethnicity is not the driving factor behind our understanding of race.

Student: Luke Cameron    Date: Tuesday January 27th 2009 16:57
Journal Entry:

After watching the second episode of race: The Power of Illusion, I see that the term race was used by people for ethnocentric purposes. Those first saw race and used the idea were the people in power and used it to give themselves more power, authority and to boost their own egos. I find it weird that the idea of race and superiority and inferiority of the races came from those that were in their times were thought to be the most brilliant minds on earth, but now we have them proved them wrong but we still follow their influences.

On a different note, I am glad that race: The Power of Illusion did talk about the indentured servants before that were used before Africans in labor and in the fields, but I had hoped that they would inform people that not all indentured servants were brought over by their free will. England used the American colonies to dump their garbage, like criminals and prisoners of war and they were made into indentured servants. This shows that people use their power to out other into positions under and to make themselves superior to them. I think that if those landowners and other people did not have the different appearances of people to make them slaves that they would have made another excuse to make them slaves.

Student: Rachel Bonner    Date: Tuesday January 27th 2009 17:56
Journal Entry:

While I was reading chapter two in "Race" I was struck by their section on Ancient China. The very first statement of that section states:
"Because of its large, relatively homogeneous population and it's geographic location, China would seem like an unlikely place to look for evidence of the recognition of race and race differences." (pg. 38)
It is precisely that China has this homogeneous population and relatively isolated geographic location that I would expect to find some acknowledgment of different populations. Evaluating people on the basis of what you are familiar with is natural, even though it isn't a good practice. Grouping people by obvious physical differences isn't wrong, and it does not imply a racial system, it only tells us that ancient Chinese had eyes and could tell that these people were not like them.
The book claims that the mummies found in the Tarim Basin combined with later art and literature prove that the ancient Chinese "...recognized these people as being of a different race". When it is much more likely that they are recognizing these people as part of a different nation or recognizing their differences in general, perhaps along cultural, religious or physical lines. The fact that paintings exist of different types of people sharing one religion during this time period only says even more to me that they did not ascribe any character specific behavior based on physical differences. The fact that the painting shows them all following one religion depicting all of these ethnicities together is a sign, to me, that they viewed everyone with some level of equality.
In addition, it is not surprising to me that the Chinese considered their physical appearance to be ideal. What were they supposed to think? That these other people, who were (to their knowledge) not native to the same area, were clearly the best possible example of human aesthetics? No, they believe that the typical characteristics of their family, friends and neighbors were normal, and that these outsiders were the ones that were completely different. The ancient Chinese were ethnocentric, but the evidence of their being racist is just not there.

Student: Michelle Goodwin    Date: Tuesday January 27th 2009 18:03
Journal Entry:

Sarich and Miele describe the artwork and literature from ancient cultures as evidence that the idea of "race" began as far back as the Egyptian dynasties. They said that the word "dasa" used in ancient Indian Sanskrit translated as "dark-faced." However, this word is literally translated into "enemy" or "slave." And, although this word is sometimes paired with the terms "krsna" or "asikni," both meaning "black," the Indian literature is many times just metaphorical. This could still be translated as "black skinned," but just like in any other language, the term "black" can have many interpretations, suck as "evil" or "dark." So who are we to say that this civilization thought less of these people because of their color? Because as far as we know, the Indians thought these people were only evil because they were foreign and unlike them, just as the Europeans originally thought of non-Christians as "heathens."

In the second episode of race: The Power of Illusion, we saw that, when the Native Americans were resistant to their removal, Andrew Jackson suggested that disobedience was a trait of these people thus making them "savages, unable to be civilized." I beg his pardon, but what would he have done if strange people tried to push him out of his homeland? More than likely, he would have done the same. So instead of taking their side of it into consideration, he took the route most beneficial to himself and his people; he forced the Native Americans to move and settle elsewhere, resulting in the Trail of Tears. This is what I believe to be the problem among all cultures as far as prejudices go. People see something different, something they aren't familiar with, and immediately call it evil or inferior. News flash: these people are no different than anyone else aside from looks. But even if you think of it that way, no one looks the same; we're only human, and there is only one race: the human race.


Student: Maggie Espino    Date: Tuesday January 27th 2009 18:07
Journal Entry:

One of the things in the video that really interested me was science transforming to the demands of society. Thomas Jefferson's call to the scientific community to provide an answer for "the race question" highlights society's dependence on science to validate and verify our actions. In those days when science was new and exciting, it seems easy to grasp it as something firm and definitive. Unfortunately, many people used and still continue to use science as a way to justify and explain and even promote personal prejudices and opinions from a position of authority. Scientists know the value our society puts on empirical observations and evidence, so they know the power that they hold to portray their ideas to the masses. Like the narrator in the film stated, science answers the question that is asked, and oftentimes the question from the very beginning is filled with bias. It's like interpreting literature; as long as one can use textual evidence and citations to support their claim, the argument is rarely deemed "wrong." In the same way, scientists find ways of interpreting even legitimately collected data in a way that makes it easy, or at least less difficult, to support their assertion.

Student: Kate Zaliznock    Date: Tuesday January 27th 2009 20:35
Journal Entry:

A theme of the past week’s classes has been the history of racism. In relation to that theme, I had an experience in another class the other day that involved an interesting perspective. We have just finished reading “Heart of Darkness” by Joseph Conrad and were then reviewing various response essays to the novel. In one essay, the author argues against the idea that Joseph Conrad was racist in his works because “racism” did not exist as a term until about 1913, when the Oxford English Dictionary began to include a definition of the word in its volumes. Our class discussed the invalidity of this argument since the action of prejudice and racism existed before the term was coined, therefore whether or not a word existed that described the action is irrelevant since the action itself was occurring.  The argument offered by the author of the essay was similar to me of the thesis in “Race: The Reality of Human Difference.”  The authors attempt to justify the concept of race through such leaky evidence as the position of the United States Supreme Court on the issue, when in reality it is irrelevant who gives a definition of race no matter their affluence in the academic circle. At the end of the day, it does not matter when the word “racism” began to exist as a term, or what “educated” person supports the theory of race because there is no real evidence supporting the concept.

Student: David Salisbury    Date: Tuesday January 27th 2009 20:48
Journal Entry:

After watching Part 2 of race: The Power of an Illusion one theme continued to go through my head. This was that "all men are created equal," as stated by our founding fathers in this country. This episode of this movie focused very strongly on how in fact they did not treat all men equally, or that perhaps their definition of men was synonymous with white men and completely discounts black men. In this country especially, I believe that primarily due to slavery and the rationalization that we used for slavery, that racial barriers exist today. What troubles me the most is that if black people are in fact another "race" because they were inferior to the white man supposedly, then how do we classify women on this spectrum? At the same time when many white males believed that they were superior to blacks, it was almost unanimous to males that they were superior to females. If racial classifications exist, then should we not classify women as their own race too? Yes that sounds ridiculous, but if someone believes that race is a reality, then it would be impossible to not realize that women received poor and unequal treatment much longer than the blacks. Maybe we should revise our Constitution into saying "All humans are created equal."

Student: Josh Phillips    Date: Tuesday January 27th 2009 20:49
Journal Entry:

One of the things I found interesting in the video was the “ethno-exhibits” portraying the various “savage people” in their respective “natural environments”…hence the quotations.  It just seemed like it fit with the attempt to categorize people into nearly zoological entities and the exhibits themselves seemed to resemble a petting zoo type setting more than having real live people in them.  I’ve been to museums with wax settings of people but it was kind of hard to imagine grown men and women degrading a fellow human being to mere spectacle or a freak show.  Furthermore, I believe it’s going to be rather difficult to push through the Sarich and Miele book because if I had started to read this for recreational purposes I wouldn’t have made it past the first chapter.  If I had started from the beginning of the book with a BS highlighter I believe I’d be out of ink about now.  They seem to want to neglect the fact of the true implications and impact of European colonialism and focus on a more grade school approach of “so and so did it first” regarding the earlier civilizations and their “conception of race”.  Nevertheless, the Europeans were the best at it. The Galton excerpt wasn’t really anything groundbreaking or unexpected aside from his near worship of the Athenians. The citation of the Negro being two grades below that of the (European) was really no surprise and just kind of exacerbated some of the opinions that we’ve already discussed and could be implied for this time period.  One thing that was relatively new to me was the account of Thomas Jefferson having quite conflicting writings regarding the equality of men and thankfully for the United States only one of them is legitimate relative to our constitution.  Furthermore, implications regarding the inequality of White and Black individuals and not questioning the “if” there are legitimate differences but “why” there is a general inequality among the two is pretty transparent and quite shallow having no real scientific inquiry or objective thought.  It’s quite disappointing to in fact gain more knowledge about individuals that I once highly regarded such as Thomas Jefferson and continually find shortcomings in their most basic of human values.  On another note I hope doesn’t seem obsessive but it just happens to be an interesting topic for me regarding African American athletes.  Is it possible to imply that the trans-Atlantic slave trade acted as an “un-natural” selection regarding the African American population and the prevalence of well built individuals.  The slave owners degraded Africans to cattle status and picked healthy, well built, disease resilient males to work on their properties and individuals that they thought could handle the workload.  Could this have been essentially a selective (dis)advantage of being physically fit, healthy, disease resilient and etc. in surviving slave conditions and possibly a population “bottling” effect seen sporadically across the United States today?

Student: Lena Ausby    Date: Tuesday January 27th 2009 21:24
Journal Entry:

Today watching Episode 2 of race: The Power of Illusion, I was surprised when Fredrickson said, "the original view of the Indians was that they were naturally white people... Jefferson felt that, among many people of that time, felt that the Indians were good human material, and the problem with them was not race but culture, that the Indians were savages but they could be civilized." And when given the chance to be "civilized", the Cherokees did just that, wanting to be in peace. They had to put their pride, culture and traditions behind them to try and become more like the white people. They conformed, learning the Christianity and the english language, but eventually this wasn't enough for the white Americans and the Cherokees were once again run off. I think this is a good example of how it seems that nothing would please the whites. It's so sad because the Whites made the indians believe that they had a chance to be in peace and it was ok for a while, but it didn't last very long. I think its amazing how fast and how little it takes sometimes to change minds.

Student: Brandon Blair    Date: Tuesday January 27th 2009 22:05
Journal Entry:

In the Galton article I was intrigued to find that the Athenians Socrates and Phidias were one-of-a-kind people. No person since then has been able to compare. They are many "grades above our own", and the African negro race has always been many below what we are. These people today are nowhere near the capacity of the Athenians. Nearly "2,000 years have passed and we have never produced equals".

That is what I cause sarcasm.

Oh no, not the people who were able to get to space, not the people who designed computers, not the people who are responsible for the magnificent structures in large cities. These people obviously have just as strong of a gift. So what if these people had teachers. Did many of the Athenian philosophers not have mentors and teachers? I believe this shows utter ignorance to the sciences of what has been proven today. Just because someone a long time ago had a good idea that we have held on to, doesn't mean that there are not equals today. Nor does it mean that one race is inferior or superior to the other. Some call ignorance bliss, but I sometimes prefer to call it annoying.



Student: Stone Wilters    Date: Tuesday January 27th 2009 22:14
Journal Entry:

Galton's 1892 "Hereditary Genius: An Inquiry Into Its Laws and Consequences" talks about how the white Anglo-Saxon race is so much better than every one else. Wow, a 19th century view on the "superior" white race - surprise, surprise. Galton tries to compare his Negro race against his Anglo-Saxon race with respect to the qualities that are capable of producing: Judges, Statesmen, Commanders, Men of Literature and Science, Poets, Artists, and Divines... what ever divine means... He then goes on to say this, "well there are some instances in which a member of the Negro race can be produced to meat such requirements, but it is extremely rare." He then goes on to say that the Negro intellectual standard is a hole two grades lower than his own Anglo-Saxon heritage. Now lets no forget that this piece of literature was published in 1892 and that the Emancipation Proclamation was passed in 1863 a short 29 years before. Most African Americans still had no way to get into any type of formal education much less a road to rise in the ranks of the "civilized world." But the thing that really gets me about this article is that the same argument is being used today a full 117 years later. I have heard many times of how African Americans and other Minorities for that mater have lower test scores and lower IQs and that there political rankings will never reach that of the whites. What I think most people don't realize is that most of these minorities are forced to attend schools where they are more likely to get asbestos poisoning than learn there times tables.

Student: Evan Waters    Date: Tuesday January 27th 2009 22:20
Journal Entry:

First off I would like to continue on the topic about one student on the views of the Chinese people about race. I have studied much history about china and that of the different relations they had with different groups throughout the different dynasties, but one thing that I have noticed time and time is that the Chinese nation has never classified or in better words had negative or positive feelings towards people based on their skin but rather on the way people from different lands behaved and their ways about the lands they came from. Yes the Chinese did have negative names for people who did not look or act like them but called them names like insect, dogs or yang gui zi (foreign devil), but just by the way they acted, not by the way their skin. Now on the second part I wanted to discuss is about how we considered the native American people as one of us but then caste them off as we are superior to them. I have myself wondered how that conversation went down. Maybe like this.......... Well Mr. Indian we thought you were cool like us, but after giving you some time we have come to the conclusion that your just making us look bad so we have to break up........its been a good run, but maybe someday it will work out...................... and then like that we give them the boot. I don't see how that turn happened so quick.

Student: Shelley Smith    Date: Tuesday January 27th 2009 22:20
Journal Entry:

As a faculty member of the Gorgas Library, I have the great honor of opening boxes and bringing in the brand new books that arrive there. My job duties basically just include opening the boxes and putting the books on cart, then sending them on to other departments. While I'm not supposed to actually read the books, occasionally I will come across an art book or something with a crazy title that I'll quickly glance at. So with that being said, I opened up a box including a book titled, "Defending the Master race: Conservation, Eugenics, and legacy of Madison Grant" and had to glance at it. With not much time I quickly copied a few pages that caught my eye. I don't know much about Madison Grant but was definitely intrigued by a few points under a section in the book entitled, "The Negro Problem". From this section I learned that Grant believed blacks benefitted the most coming to America and being slaves of the white because it saved them from "sheer savagery". He also claims that blacks had more advancement in America in 200 years than the thousands of years that they lived in Africa. It is so ridiculous to me how these "scientific thinkers" are able to judge people just based on the "white mans" standards on what is advancement or inferiority.

I cannot judge much about this book because I have not read it but there was also one other short section that caught my attention. Grant saw that white women seemed to become uncontrollably lustful when a black man was in the same environment. During the 1920's he was disgusted in Europe when he saw that French women were eating in restaurants with "stray negroes". Being almost 90 years since these "horrific scenes" occurred, it still irks me that even today people will sit and stare at an interracial couple at the mall, or movies...anywhere for that matter! So as a last little note on Grants thoughts he states," whites and blacks evolved independently of each other, and only ‘old-fashioned' thinkers still maintained that all human beings belonged to the species Homo sapiens".

Student: Josh Phillips    Date: Tuesday January 27th 2009 22:40
Journal Entry:

Getting Along 

Dog and Elephant  - No race or species discrimination (Email I received)

Student: Hannah Lawrence    Date: Tuesday January 27th 2009 23:11
Journal Entry:

I, for one, am glad that Sarich and Miele point out in chapter two of race: The Reality of Human Differences that race is not merely a concept invented by white Europeans to justify slavery and inferiority of other races. While I do believe that white Europeans did use race as an unfair justification for their claims of inferiority of other races and slavery, I believe that they in no way "created the idea of race". The idea of a classification due to skin color, culture, facial shapes, etc was in effect long before the formation of the United States or the European participation in slavery. Slavery dates back to ancient Egypt as early as ca. 3000 BC (probably long before that). Obviously, looking at ancient Egyptian drawings, we can conclude that they observed the differences between different skin colors, facial features, and cultures. In fact, most drawings depict the superiority of the Egyptian race over both European and African descendants. Of course they could see the differences! Anyone with the capability of sight can see the difference between skin colors and facial features. I believe the point to be made is not that we should necessarily be "color blind", but that we are created equal in spite of our skin tones. This does not mean that race doesn't exist, it means that it shouldn't matter - that it should have no significance in any area of life.

Student: Dara Arbuthnot    Date: Tuesday January 27th 2009 23:36
Journal Entry:

Chapter 2 in the Sarich and Miele book begins with a statement saying that "race was constructed by Europeans in the Age of Exploration to justify colonialism and slavery." I do agree with this because they used race as a way to dehumanize people from certain cultures or geographic regions to their benefit. Also mentioned in the chapter is that we created race and therefore we can unmake it. I do believe this to a certain extent, but I also believe that it is real hard to undone something that has been done. However, I think this notion is easier said than done, because human nature tends to find ways to belittle others as a means to better themselves. I disagreed with what Miele discussed as far as ancient civilizations depicting people based on skin color, hair form, and facial features. First of all, I don't think we can necessarily say from art because just these are a way to categorize, just as we categorize or organize by hair color, age, name, etc. This doesn't mean that we differentiate people saying people with a name beginning with A are smarter than those beginning with Z, and so on. I just don't think that ways of sorting automatically means oh, they are a different race, and aren't equal to other humans.

Student: Natalie Jones    Date: Tuesday January 27th 2009 23:56
Journal Entry:

When Sarich and Miele talk about using art and literature to prove their beliefs and studies, I'm always terribly skeptical of how they use and manipulate the works to benefit their theories. They changed the tomb of Seti I to conform to their specific ideals on race, which isn't fair at all because the tomb depicts much more than they allow you to see in the book. I agree with them when they say that "racial differences are emphasized, exaggerated, and stereotyped to the benefit of the in-group that is doing the sorting and to the detriment of the out-groups being sorted." One of the many theories that I disagree with is the notion that race is biologically intrinsic. I think society initiates the idea of race in our notions of human differences. This is impossible to prove. I can't claim with any certainty that I would feel differently about race if society hadn't initially presented it to me at such an early age, because well, it's already been chiseled into my racial perceptions. I can say, however, that I would feel differently about race, or at least about how I categorize people's race, if I hadn't been taught that there were "differences" between my in-group and other people's out-group.

Natalie Jones


Student: Rachel Bonner    Date: Tuesday February 3rd 2009 18:08
Journal Entry:

Reading about the birth of eugenics made me start thinking about its modern connotations. In what ways is modern society propagating this effort? This practice has such a grim past I couldn't help but wonder about it's possible future.
Modern genetic research is characterized in part by the Human Genome Project, an effort to identify and assign functions to human genes. This project is incredibly useful in the development of medicines, and it also made it possible to screen people for genetic markers for certain diseases.
Reading about the Human Genome Project led me to question what else it could be used for. Could it be used in the future for genetic engineering? The HGP maps out human genes and labels the function of those genes, so logically it would follow that once the science catches up it would be possible to create some gene therapy for people with genetic defects. It also puts into question eugenics, making it equally logical that people would use this information to select genes to optimize features including athletic prowess, intelligence, and the elimination of genetic diseases. How many people would then try this method when it comes to pregnancy, and how would they use it? I don't know much about genetics but it seems to me that this selective gene prospect would lead to multitudes of possibilities.
In some ways this practice already exists in sperm banks, with so much information required by donors, and prospective mothers being able to literally pick and choose the traits that she wants for the biological father of her child.
The link takes you to a sperm donor medical history form, which asks questions such as education (including major), special skills or military history, race, height, weight, skin tone, eye color and hair color. It goes on to get a complete medical history of the donor and the donor's blood relatives.
Donor Application Form

In 1980 Robert Graham took this idea of a eugenic sperm bank to the next level and created the Nobel Prize sperm bank. The link takes you to an interview with David Plotz, a journalist who followed up on the project and wrote a book about the results in 2005.
"Genius Factory"



Student: Lena Ausby    Date: Tuesday February 3rd 2009 19:02
Journal Entry:

In today's class lecture we talked about Shaler and Brinton's ideas about mixed races, especially the mixing of African and how they were against it. Even today I meet people who still feel the same way about the mixing of blacks and any other race. I have many members of my family who are very against interracial dating and marriage, and my aunt just recently had to give up her relationship with a white man that she loved, because my family and people in the city began to find out and hated her for it. Of course my family has always been very careful about what they say to and in front of me, because they feel that since I am already mixed, it's too late to change me. Living in that town though, I used to get many remarks about me being mixed and how it should have never happened. Even in Japan, being such a homogenous country, they did not accept mixed kids. They were always shut out of the community and treated badly, which is why I was sent to live in America, although that was not necessarily much better.

I've also heard many different people saying that they believe in the future there will be so much mixing that no one will really be able to distinguish between white or black or anything. I read an article that talked about the racial mixing in Britain, saying that they have one of the highest rates of inter-racial relationships in the western world, with 50% of all black children born having one white parent. This fast growth in the number of mixed race people is leading to the blurring of racial identities. Personally, I think this is awesome and if Shaler or Brinton knew about today's times they would probably turn in their graves.

Student: Scotty Hambrick    Date: Tuesday February 3rd 2009 19:35
Journal Entry:

scotty hambrick

Galton said the intellectual standard of a negro is 2 grades below an englishmen. thats not really true cause look at some of the great things black people have done to date. Broca believed that brain size influenced how smart sombody is i kind of belive that more than i do the measurements of the human skull. finally i agree with hooten no one knows what pure race is, although anthropologist are the only people who know they dont know. most people now days idea of race is based on what tv and society tell us.

Student: Pavia Gooch    Date: Tuesday February 3rd 2009 21:54
Journal Entry:

The problem that I keep seeing in all of our reading is that society is influencing science to such a great degree. All of the "scientific societies" do not seem to be based upon any scientific evidence; they appear to be made to support whatever theory is being propagated. Graves mentions how society fails to "separate the biological, social, and cultural factors affecting population changes." It seems that the general public seems to steer scientific opinion more than the actual science does! There is so much propaganda surrounding race that I am constantly being amazed by the information that I am learning. For instance, Darwin was not the one that coined the term "survival of the fittest", something that I have been taught from grade school was the entire basis of his theories. Darwin believed that our thinking about race is preconditioned into us by society, and that race cannot exist because not even scientists can agree on what it is. In my opinion, if the scientific community, men who supposedly all have the same goal, cannot agree on such a fundamental element of our society, we are all wasting our time with this. This again brings me back to how society has to perpetuate the idea of race. Human beings all have an innate desire to be affiliated with some group. Because of this there has to be a difference between "us" and "them". race is our current way of translating this idea.

Student: Brandon Blair    Date: Tuesday February 3rd 2009 22:22
Journal Entry:

I'm sure that it may look like all I post about is someone who said something that didn't make sense. There is truth to that, because if all we ever talked about was what we agreed with, we would never get anywhere. In Graves' book on pg.77, he talks about Lester Ward who is a genius. Some aspects he may be respectable on; however the ones I want to discuss are unusual to say the least. He suggests that race is divided into two categories. Here is already the underlying assumption that race exists. There are the whites (who have been favored), and everyone else. He gives reasons why certain races are more advanced than others in certain aspects but still the favoritism remains the white race. An example was that the "yellow race excelled in diligence but believed they were inferior in feeling and intelligence." Most likely because all they've been forced to do is work and hope to the Heavens that they aren't killed. Therefore, lacking in intelligence because they have been discriminated against. There should be NO race discrimination based on intelligence when the likely culprit of knowledge deprivation lies in the underlying social factors and rules of the time these assumptions were made.

Oh, and if you are a white woman. Run. Because even if the black man is about to be lynched, he is likely to rape you. It's natural.



Student: Shelley Smith    Date: Tuesday February 3rd 2009 22:28
Journal Entry:

I had to comment on Madison Grant again because I did read that small section on his book at the library last week and again today. After looking at the map of European races in class today I also came across a little bit more in the book I found about his ideas on eugenics and miscegenation. Grant believed that it was so dangerous and a "biological fact" that mixing races caused many physical and mental problems. The book states, if a child inherited the large (and so much smarter) brain of his intelligent Nordic mother, but then had a skull of a Negro father, this child would have excruciating pain for the rest of its life because these two biological factors would not work together and the child would eventually die. Had Grant not seen any mixed children and actually taken scientific studies on whether or not they felt this "excruciating pain"?

I was also happy to see that Boas was a man who took a stance against the concept of race. The small section I copied from the Madison Grant book also included a paragraph on his and Grants differences in opinions. Boas believed races were equal in ability and I was surprised to read that a man of that time actually endorsed the ideas of miscegenation. The last small amount I copied (and now I wish I would have copied more) states that Grant dismissed Boas' arguments because "he was a self-serving Jew, who thought that by coming to the defense of the Negroes he could somehow mitigate the discrimination faced by his own people." I thought Grant would be able to come up with a better come-back than that!

Student: David Salisbury    Date: Tuesday February 3rd 2009 22:32
Journal Entry:

Today's lecture in class was quite an eye opener for me. It is crazy to think that an ideology like eugenics was believed by many in this country only 100 years ago. I never knew that it was California that the Nazis got much of their radical ideology from either! The evolution of this idea I believe makes the idea of racial supremacy even more of a farce though. The reason I say this is that Nazi Germany made eugenics evolve from more than sterilization just because of "genetics of races", but because of beliefs too. The Holocaust opened up the world's eyes and made people think that maybe people aren't different because of their skin color or race. How could this so called "perfect" race of Aryans be capable of such a terrible thing? It is ironic how the racism in this country slowly began to decline after millions of white Jews were killed. The original idea of eugenics was supposed to be scientific, and it ended up leading to an idea that killed millions of people. What kind of science is this? The hardest thing for me to understand is why people had the want to have perfect humans everywhere. Even if everyone was "perfect," wouldn't it be a pretty boring world if everyone was the same? Despite prior belief humans are all one species, and it is human variation that makes us the most unique species

Student: Natalie Jones    Date: Tuesday February 3rd 2009 22:40
Journal Entry:

Eugenics: the science of improving human stock by selective breeding. This is just terrible! I have such a hard time trying to figure out why people want everyone to be exactly the same. It just doesn't make sense to me. Why would you sacrifice the breadth and variety of humanity for the sake of pursuing one race or hereditary trait? Some of the smartest people I know are crazy, in both the literal and metaphorical sense of course. They contribute to society like the rest of us and yet they wouldn't be alive today if we were still invoking policies of eugenics. It bothers me that Nazi Germany was impacted so much by AMERICAN eugenicists. We fostered the beliefs held by the most destructive political regime of the 20th century. After knowing this, I don't see how anyone could agree with these practices.

Student: Dara Arbuthnot    Date: Tuesday February 3rd 2009 23:44
Journal Entry:

The ideas of Ernst Haeckel about Eugenics astound me. His belief in infanticide of abnormal infants and the recommendation of elimination of sick adults and criminals seem so backwards to me. For anyone to even think this is what seems unhuman. I can't believe that people thought people of "other races" were subhuman and uncivilized, when they are the ones that had these inhumane ideas. Furthermore it surprises me that these scientists did not see the beauty in diversity. It seems like they wanted everyone to be the same, and there be hardly any variation. I can just say that I am glad that people came to their senses so that we are not like this today, or at least we are working on it and it is not as bad.

Student: Hannah Lawrence    Date: Wednesday February 4th 2009 00:04
Journal Entry:

I am sure that not everyone will like my comment this week. In my reading of Graves' The Emperor's New Clothes, he makes some very bold remarks concerning Creationism vs. Evolution. In the comments following the subtitle "Why Did Darwin Get It Right?" on p. 59, Graves says that "The superiority of Darwin's ideas concerning the problem of biological diversity is illustrated in how they successfully predict results not anticipated by other theories." Let me remind you that Darwinism and evolution are THEORIES. They cannot be proven as fact any more than any other theory. It is all about what you decide to believe. Graves goes on to say, "Creationism gives no real explanation of why the trilobites became extinct, why three-quarters of all known animal species are insects, or why most animal species have adopted a parasitic mode of life." I find that Graves is very closed minded and quick to jump to conclusions when it comes to other possible theories. I agree that many of the scientific "creationists" of Darwin's day did not have it right. I don't believe that God created men in different species for one race to rule another, nor do I believe that He created one race superior to another. Again, I agree that the polygenists of Darwin's day had things very wrong. However, to say that all creationists are wrong in their theory is very closed-minded. I believe there are some very intelligible scientist who can tell you why trilobites became extinct and why three-quarters of the animal species are insects, etc. What about the great flood destroying most of the earth? What about the plagues on Pharaoh and Egypt in which God created all sorts of pestilence to punish Pharaoh for not letting the Israelites free from slavery (again, a reoccurring theme that God is not a fan of slavery). I am very much a creationist, but that doesn't mean that I don't also believe in the ability of species to adapt to their surroundings. I believe that God created the Chameleon and gave it the ability to change colors. I believe that God created human beings - yes human beings, and not just apes. I also sincerely believe that God gave them the innate ability to adapt to their surroundings over time. I am not saying that I have everything figured out scientifically; however, I do believe for Graves to assume that all creationists have it all wrong (especially based on the polygenists of Darwin's time), and that all evolutionists have it all right is very simple-minded.

Student: Rachel Bonner    Date: Tuesday February 10th 2009 01:39
Journal Entry:

The pages in Graves on segregation really stood out to me this week. I had no clue what I was going to post about til I remembered some of the stories my mom and grandmother told me.
My mom was in grammar school when they desegregated her school. She had told me lots of times that racism wasn't discussed in her family and among family friends, it was simply understood. No one really questioned it, it was just a fact of life. I am not condoning this idea AT ALL. My mom was raised by a father born in 1910 and a mother born in 1920, and the race system was really not even questioned nationally by that time; much less in the south. My grandmother was, for lack of a better term, racist. She believed that the races were definite, and neither had any business mixing in the biological sense. But she never said (to my knowledge) that one race or the other was superior, just different. After my grandfather died in 1966, the local black people were the ones that helped her with the fields and gardens. She gained a lot of respect for the people that helped her during that time, and the people that helped her respected her immensely for the arrangements she made with them. Instead of just expecting the help for free, she paid them in the only way she could, with the food from the gardens.
When desegregation came to south Alabama, it split communities. The white families with money pulled their children out of public school and put them into private school since that was still all white. The poorer families that couldn't afford private school were stigmatized socially, not being allowed to carry on friendships with the kids that went to private school. My mom just happened to be in the group that couldn't afford to be sent to private school. She remembers to this day how many friends she lost, and even the way the more affluent families would look at her in church.

Student: Maggie Espino    Date: Tuesday February 10th 2009 16:32
Journal Entry:

One of the things I found interesting about the lecture today was the use of census data. I can understand how a question about race could bring about such public controversy, even in recent times. Many members of the public at large do not know anything about the societal construct of race versus the biological basis for race. I've noticed the Hispanic question before in college applications and scholarship applications. I'm half-Cuban, and my sophomore year English teacher in high school advised me to identify as Hispanic on standardized tests and college applications. She said that her children did so and they received a lot of scholarship money, and they were only a fourth Mexican. Since then, I identified myself as Hispanic and for that reason I am attending college here at UA, because they offer a substantial scholarship for National Hispanic Scholars. My dad, who was born in Cuba, always self-identifies as "white," which I found interesting. I always wondered why the "Hispanic" question is often separated from the "race" question, though in many surveys and applications it is also under a question titled "Race/Ethnicity." I remember being very confused as to what defined "Hispanic-ness" when I first started identifying as Hispanic. I don't speak Spanish natively, and though my dad does speak Spanish, he definitely considers his primary language English. I pondered over how language can define a race, and if it did, then why could I identify as Hispanic when I don't have a mastery of Spanish? Many of my classmates told me that I wasn't really Hispanic, and that it was kind of cheating for me to get that scholarship. I don't know, it's a weird thing to take on a cultural identity once you've done a lot of growing up already. I would say that since that time I've embraced more of my Spanish heritage as a family and cultural background, and wish it was something I had during my formative years, but I still wonder what really qualifies me to identify with a cultural group that I didn't really get to experience.

Student: Luke Cameron    Date: Tuesday February 10th 2009 16:58
Journal Entry:

In the lecture and stuff, I found it weird how the people in charge are opposed to change. After they were shown that they were wrong they still did not move to fix it. It took the 2000 census for them to even look into changing race into ethnicity but, they did not. People do not ever think that what they do is wrong, they have to shown and then forced to change what wrong. Another thing that I found weird is the fact that all these people in politics talk about equality and fair chance, in the census they make more categories to put people in. I believe that this stuff will not change until we get rid of the categories and allow people to make their own identities. The people in charge need to found out what the truth is and then use it to fix the problems that they and the ones before them caused. With the way they did the census it seems that they are trying harder to force everyone in to a certain group and keep them there.

Student: David Salisbury    Date: Tuesday February 10th 2009 19:02
Journal Entry:

The United States Census is not perfect of course, but unlike many people I believe that it does have some positive use. Not only does it allow people to choose from several categories of identification, but it also allows someone to self identify aside from these categories. However, I do not agree with the term "race" to identify groups of people on the Census. It is necessary to categorize people by perhaps their ethnicity for purposes like the census though. People may say that the categorization of people that the census creates is a bad thing, but we must think of what the purpose of this information is. The census simply shows the distribution of minority people in certain areas, and this information could possibly be used to improve the disparities of living conditions amongst people. Without the categorization of people in the United States Census we would not be able to identify how citizens of the U.S. vary in where they live and how they identify. Also, if used in the right way, I believe that the census and the information that it reveals could help to eliminate discrimination rather than encourage it.

Categorical representation does not always coincide with discrimination or negative views of groups of humans either. People can self identify as a certain ethnicity while still having a sense of belonging to the same human race as everyone else. Perhaps the ultimate way to identify in my opinion though is by Nationality primarily. In order to collect information and to eliminate discrimination we must learn citizens' secondary method of identification (ethnicity). Ultimately, I think we should all strive to primarily identify by our Nationality (AMERICAN), and our secondary method of identification should be for Census purposes.

Student: Michelle Goodwin    Date: Tuesday February 10th 2009 19:13
Journal Entry:

I couldn't believe that even after World War II, after the decline of eugenics, scientists and anthropologists were STILL trying to biologically define race. Didn't the realize what it led to the last time that idea flourished? Racial superiority and mass extermination. Not only are these "scientific" explanations constantly being disputed and disproven, they don't make a bit of sense. When contrasted with the ideas of cultural influence on intelligence and behavior, the "science" of it all sounds ignorant. This is basically the debate of nature v. nurture. I feel like I am basically repeating myself in these weekly posts, but the history of race keeps going in circles. Isn't that the point of history? To keep it from repeating? Or is this just a recent concept? Regardless, how were there still anthropologists believing the "science" of race in the last poll taken? With all the proof that comes from the studies of enculturation, how is "race" even still a debate?

Student: Lena Ausby    Date: Tuesday February 10th 2009 21:46
Journal Entry:

In today's lecture we talked about the census and marking races. Marking a single race has always been difficult for me, and I guess because of pride I have never marked 'other' on forms either. So usually for me, if I could only choose one, I would choose either Asian or Black depending on how I felt at the moment. That's probably not the best thing to do though. I've always hated the fact that a lot of times I can only mark one race and so when I started seeing on some forms that I could put in two different races I would always get sooo excited. Of course now I realize that I was excited for no reason! But most people don't know that, so being able to pick more than one race makes us feel better.

Last week I mentioned an article about race and mixed people in the UK. In the 2001 census, because so many mixed people opposed having to tick a box marked 'other' on their forms, they had added an option to choose 'mixed'. But when you look at the census, the only options given are 'black mixed' and 'other mixed'. It seemed to defeat the point.

Student: Shelley Smith    Date: Tuesday February 10th 2009 22:30
Journal Entry:

I also wanted to comment on the ideas of the history of integration. Because of the controversy of my close friend dating interracially and the "consequences" of her choice to do that I was totally swarmed for basically the past 6 months by friends and family on my thoughts of her preferences in the opposite sex (mostly negative comments about her choice). It took me to a conversation I had with a Dad who is by no means racist, but put it in a different perspective for me. He noted how our parents did go through a HUGE change in their lives when integration took place in schools and at other places. It was almost unheard of in their time and that's why it's a lot harder to deal with today. I feel like a lot of our generation has grown up not having to deal with separate water fountains or bathrooms so therefore we are more so "used" to being friends with whoever we wanted, no matter their skin color or hair type. I just think a lot has happened very fast over the past 100 years or so and eventually our kids and our kids kids won't even notice these "races" but see we are all humans each different in our own way.

Student: Shelley Smith    Date: Tuesday February 10th 2009 22:31
Journal Entry:

I also wanted to comment on the ideas of the history of integration. Because of the controversy of my close friend dating interracially and the "consequences" of her choice to do that I was totally swarmed for basically the past 6 months by friends and family on my thoughts of her preferences in the opposite sex (mostly negative comments about her choice). It took me to a conversation I had with a Dad who is by no means racist, but put it in a different perspective for me. He noted how our parents did go through a HUGE change in their lives when integration took place in schools and at other places. It was almost unheard of in their time and that's why it's a lot harder to deal with today. I feel like a lot of our generation has grown up not having to deal with separate water fountains or bathrooms so therefore we are more so "used" to being friends with whoever we wanted, no matter their skin color or hair type. I just think a lot has happened very fast over the past 100 years or so and eventually our kids and our kids kids won't even notice these "races" but see we are all humans each different in our own way.

Student: Evan Waters    Date: Tuesday February 10th 2009 22:44
Journal Entry:

With the works and readings from this week there have been two issues or shall I say two topics that I would to like to touch base on and add some additional insight. First I would like to address the topic brought up in the Sarich and Miele book where in chapter three it was discussing the topics and ideas of the thinker Montagu. I feel like he touched on a topic that clearly defines and accurately depicts the different groups of people around the world fair and equally. When I myself personally hear of the word "race" I instantaneously conjure this negative idea in my head of different people. I think this could be linked to several other people as well, in my own experiences in life I have noticed humans be more offended when the topic of ones "race" being addressed then they would be if one would talk about the ideals of "ethnic group". In using the term ethnic group you cannot as easily back someone into a corner as you would be able with labeling someone with a race. Secondly with the census today the idea of asking oneself to pick a race to associate with is not used today as a beneficial tool but rather as a negative. I feel like knowing the main areas that are populated by certain ethnic groups is used as a tool by many Americans today to make decisions of residential life and so on. With the census I feel like it should primarily stick with its original purpose, after all a census is an enumeration of all the people of a nation or a registration region, a systematic and complete count of all who are living in specified places, usually on a specific date.

Student: Megan Nix    Date: Tuesday February 10th 2009 22:58
Journal Entry:

I remember the first time that I heard that my best friend from high school might be getting help on her standardized test scores because she was half Indian (as in from India). I tried to use it as a justification for why she always did a little better than me. She told me it was a bit of an insult, as if just because she wasn't white, that meant she wasn't as smart or capable as me or our white classmates. Her family has assimilated just fine in America, and she's the daughter of two college professors. I think that institutions like Affirmative Action are no different from the law separating the races. It's exactly like my friend; authorities think that because of the fact that she is not of the majority (although she half is), she is not as capable as the majority.
Something slightly off topic that I encountered this week, I'm in Criminal Justice and my teacher was teaching us about crime statistics. The majority of crimes are committed by a minority against another member of their same minority group. Yet the demographic that is the most fearful of crime is middle-aged white women. Just thought that was interesting. :)

Student: Josh Phillips    Date: Tuesday February 10th 2009 23:31
Journal Entry:

“These populations are capable of interbreeding with one another but, by virtue of the isolating barriers which in the past kept them more or less separated, exhibit certain physical differences as a result of their somewhat different biological histories.”...after reading the slideshow on elearning this is one of the things that kind of stuck out to me for some reason.  This is the first mention of interbreeding within race.  This is a pretty fundamental aspect of same species relationships and procreation in that for the most part species only mate with those of the same species and in some cases of cross species breeding the offspring are sterile like that of the mule.  I have actually been thinking about this for some time and why or how the scientist of the time never really venture or question the validity of their race/species accusation and differentiation when any person from any race is fully capable of producing offspring.  This simple fact in itself should provide some biological clout in disregarding the concept of different species far preceding this date.  Changing gears a bit I tend to see some validity in Coon’s explanation of “race” – now I’ll probably need to quickly explain myself.  To an extent he seems correct in some of the obvious difference within the species and there is variation within the race due to geographic location and adaptation to the environment.  After departing from Africa man spread across the globe, as can be read in Journey of Man, and we did in fact adapt to certain regions of the planet and we are different in that aspect and certain people are better suited for certain regions, again an easy example is the people of the Peruvian Andes having characteristics of expanded lungs etc. due to the low quantity of oxygen in the air at that altitude.  Different yes, equal yes, and essentially still the same – yes.  Coon however uses this as a way to divide among the race instead of seeing this as a unilateral tool the humans use to survive whatever their surroundings are.  

Student: Stone Wilters    Date: Wednesday February 11th 2009 22:52
Journal Entry:

After about six weeks of this class I have come to one major conclusion about this course, Ignorance is Bliss... While I have learned a great of good helpful information about the subject of race, I have equally learned a great deal of information that I could have gone the rest of my life with out knowing and would have been just fine! For instance, I had no idea that most if not all of Nazi Germany's genocidal ideas were derived from American eugenicist, like Davenport, Laughlin, Grant, Pearl, Frederick Osborn, and many more. Even in February 27, 1940 Joseph S. Dejarnette wrote, "The Germans are beating us at our own game." That is exactly it, our own game. We created this monster and we helped kill 11 million people during the Holocaust. It also upsets me that it took a war to realize that the sterilization of a whole group of people was wrong. The scientist who created this idea just seemed to fall off the map, and noone was like "Hey what happened to so and so?", "I don't know, but he was an A hole, lets go find him and drop kick him in the chest."

Student: Luke Cameron    Date: Tuesday March 3rd 2009 16:58
Journal Entry:

In the last week or so, we learned about DNA and genetics in class and I found it amazing that we know much and yet so little. We know the parts that make DNA and what some of it does, but we do not understand all the factors that are a part of DNA. Last week we talked about mutations in the DNA and problems and causes that are linked with them, but to the average person, if you say mutation or mutant or any thing similar people will think you are talking about comic book characters like the X-men. People think of mutations as a large change in someone's DNA, and that it is very visible, but most of the time it is not. People think that genetics is a part of science fiction and that a lot of it is beyond their understanding. I think that people need to start to look and try to understand genetics more and maybe though that they may understand that race is not a reality but in fact is a culture construct.

Student: Pavia Gooch    Date: Tuesday March 3rd 2009 21:35
Journal Entry:

I was very intrigued by the discussion that we had concerning inbreeding and its effects on the next generation. Eugenics is a science all about selective breeding and making sure that the lower races do not pollute the purer races. By this theory then, the purer races will eventually have to inbreed in order to maintain their-so called "purity". However, the presence of genetic diseases obviously discounts this practice. Fumarase deficiency was something that I decided to look up and see how it affected an individual. Apparently it is caused by a mutation in the fumarate hydratase gene in humans, which encodes the enzyme that converts fumarate to malate in the mitochondria. This manifests in various ways including severe mental retardation, unusual facial features, brain malformation and epileptic seizures because there is a low amount of fumarase in cells. There were only 13 cases identified worldwide until 1990, but since then 20 cases have been documented in the Arizona/Utah border towns. People living in the surrounding communities call this disease "Polygamist's Down's".

Student: Natalie Jones    Date: Tuesday March 3rd 2009 22:57
Journal Entry:

So I'm completely fascinated with genes and biology, but this whole section is frustrating because it's so confusing. I think I'm just having a hard time tying genes and blood groups into race. I understand the discussions today and your slides on the difference of skull and skeletal shape. Maybe I just need to read more into it. Vincent Sarich says that he and Allan Wilson developed a technique for counting genetic differences... Does anyone else think this could possibly be a biased method? It is interesting, however, that the oldest lineages have been found to be African. Oh the things we learn in this class... Something new everyday.

Student: Evan Waters    Date: Tuesday March 3rd 2009 23:02
Journal Entry:

With the topics discussed in class only a few things stuck out to me. I know the topics of the genetic side of race and human differentiation will probably be the main the main questions being asked and area being brought up most, but I myself would like to bring up some other possibilities at hand. First off the topics of descending from Africa compared to that of the other of descending from other regions issue was one that was very curious. I still have ideas that from what I have learned from other sources and that of information correlating to this class that the blending from other areas seems most reasonable to me due to the simple fact that today in our society there is extreme variations of that of skin color and features different races have. I feel like with the idea of descending from Africa was true there wouldn't be as much variations in our appearances today. The second issue that I have had interest in thinking about is that of the idea if there were today different bi-pedal species roaming the earth today and what would they look like. It would be interesting to see how our society would of dealt with this. I think we would not only have discrimination of color as well as that of species. Anyway that is one thought that occurred to me that would have been interesting seen played out.

Student: Michelle Goodwin    Date: Tuesday March 3rd 2009 23:46
Journal Entry:

In the modern human race, we aren't different species; we are one species with many variations. So, who's to say that the different "species" of the genus australopithecus, weren't just variations of the same species? A species is defined as "a taxonomic group whose members can interbreed." Maybe there isn't any proof that they interbred, but is there proof that they didn't? If, in fact, they couldn't interbreed, how can one prove that?

I am also confused about something else, and if the subject is too touchy, we don't have to address this in class because I have a feeling it could turn into a heated discussion. I don't claim any one particular set of beliefs, and I'm always open to hearing people explain their own. I don't understand how the evolution of man can mesh with a lot of religions. But there is proof of this evolution..? So how could someone not believe it? Maybe I'm just misinformed about the Creation Theory, but doesn't it disagree with us sharing a common ancestor with the chimpanzees? I'm just confused how these polar opposites coexist. Again, this is not at all meant to attack creationists; this is just my own curiosity. 


Student: David Salisbury    Date: Wednesday March 4th 2009 16:07
Journal Entry:

In our studying of the evolution of the human species I found the most interesting comparison to that of the Neanderthal. I had no idea that the evolution of species had such a broad range that at one point there was possibly four creatures like Homo sapiens that were walking on two legs just like us! I believe that creatures like the Neanderthal provide a much stronger assertion that humans have evolved much more than the average person realizes. Although cultural interaction amongst humans and the Neanderthals did not exist, many features of the Neanderthal are strikingly similar to that of humans. Surprisingly enough, examination of the Neanderthal skull provide evidence that their brain size was of equal or greater size of human beings! If the Neanderthals were to coexist with humans today then I believe that the course of history with slavery and the definition of race would be completely different. Perhaps instead of racially classifying amongst human beings then we would classify the different groups of upright walking creatures. After all it is human nature to have the desire to classify creatures and objects. On the other hand, Neanderthals are attributed to having strong upper bodies along with their large brains, so it is quite possible if they were able to adapt to warmer weather that they could have created their own human slave trade! This is not to say that either is justifiable, it just leaves me to wonder.

Student: Maggie Espino    Date: Tuesday March 10th 2009 16:36
Journal Entry:

One of the things I found particularly interesting was their brief attention to the click languages of Africa. I'm an English major who is extremely interested in linguistics, and so it was very intriguing to see how the linguist thought that the language of the bushmen was very old and conceivably a form of the very earliest human communication. I'm particularly interested in the effects on language on society, and I think it would be especially fascinating to research the beginnings of language, and how they evolved into the language families that we know today. Might it be in a similar way that humans developed as they spread throughout the globe? Of course the problem with that is just the very impossibility of knowing anything about early languages, considering bone fragments and DNA markers don't "say" much of anything. Is there any way of knowing much about the early forms of language, and perhaps how languages divided social groups from one another? (I don't know much about historical linguistics.) Maybe making distinctions between groups like we divide them with race? We distinguish a whole ethnicity and sometimes lump them together in a "racial" category by the Spanish language; it would be interesting to see if early language groups did something similar or not at all.

Student: Lena Ausby    Date: Tuesday March 10th 2009 17:24
Journal Entry:

Something I didn't know that I found interesting from the video was that the Bushmen of Africa is seen by many scientists and anthropologists as the group that all humans can trace their genetic lineage back to. Actually this video helped me understand a little more about the Y chromosone and how it contains genetic markers that can be passed down for thousands of generations and the fact that the blood of these Bushmen contains the oldest genetic markers found on earth is amazing to me. I mean I wonder if the Bushmen really understand all this.

Student: Pavia Gooch    Date: Tuesday March 10th 2009 20:41
Journal Entry:

While watching the video today in class I was curious as to why Wells said that language is what allows people to do complex activities. Also, as I was doing the reading in Sarich and Miele they mention, "language as we know it is what our ancestors could do that the others couldn't do." I guess my question is what does language have to do with race? I would understand it if we were looking at race from a social perspective, it would definitely influence it then, but Sarich and Miele are trying to prove that race is a biological reality. The presence of language in a population does not in my mind say that one group is more advanced than another. Also, are Sarich and Miele correct in saying that most of the brain tissue has to do with language?

Student: Shelley Smith    Date: Tuesday March 10th 2009 23:04
Journal Entry:

After watching part of Wells video today I was briefly reminded of the !Kung bushmen as well. I remember reading, "Nisa" in my cultural Anthropology class and I know that book is focused on the life of !Kung women, but I was totally unaware that our lineages were traced back to these people. After today's lecture I tried to scramble through my old book and found in the introduction a small statement on how these people represent a way of life that succeeded...I just wish there had been more biological and historical information given about this group because obviously they are pretty important! I also was intrigued by Well's section Face to Face. I like in the end how he makes a statement about our ancestors from 2,500 generations ago could be sitting on a train looking like a San, just a regular dark-skinned, tall guy. Its just hard for me to think homo sapiens have survived this long! And this is random but what exactly does the epicanthic fold do for the face?

Student: Evan Waters    Date: Wednesday March 11th 2009 06:16
Journal Entry:

Well with the video that was presented to us this week covered some very interesting topics and brought up some key questionable questions. It was very interesting to see the idea on how genetic scholars can trace back our DNA all the way back to this one tribe all the way in Africa. What was even more fascinating was to see that the next set of ancestors that we have ended up all the way in Australia. Now with this brings some serious questioning in hand. Now I know the DNA points out that they came from the African tribe but however there is not much if any other evidence that supports the way they traveled there. Now I understand the issue at hand was that with the ice caps freezing causing more land roads able to be accessed that are not able to be traveled today. But even with this there should be some physical support to this. Like some others myself I am still a bit skeptic to the idea that one tribe came from the other than the other way around, things are all very possible and without other evidence it is still hard to prove your data is correct. Others issues at hand right now are still up for grabs, however this idea and topic is an interesting one to discuss and go into further detail about.

Student: Stone Wilters    Date: Wednesday March 11th 2009 09:42
Journal Entry:

In Chapter 6 of Sarich and Miele's "Race", there are two points discussed. The first is the advantage that allowed our ancestors to replace all other species, and the second is why there is no genetic evidence of other species DNA in modern populations. Well lets start with the first point because I kind of like it... They make assumption that language is most likely the advantage that led Homo Sapien to be so productive. Yes there are a lot of things you can do with language. It lets you organize people to deal with a certain situation and helps you think about what is outside of your surroundings. I also like how he made use of the nonverbal communications in the form of gestures, and how it is possible to get what you want or need with the proper amount of skill and intelligence. It kind of reminds me of charades... we should play in class! It is their second point that Sarich shoots him self in the foot with some stupid statement that says, "At the same time, or ancestors developed some sort of gene-based reproductive isolation, such that even if interspecific sex did occur - and we, knowing human males all to well, feel that it must have been sterile." Really? WTF... Maybe not all human males are horny bastards. Maybe the reason for this predicament has something to do with the Ice Age that was going on at the time and the massive droughts that were present. Not to mention these early peoples were most likely hunters and gatherers and might practice some kind of sexual restraint like many groups do today to keep there numbers low so as to not over populate the area and reduce food supply. In that since one might be a little selective on who they would chose as their mate.

Student: Pavia Gooch    Date: Tuesday March 24th 2009 17:30
Journal Entry:

While doing the readings in Wells this week I was struck with a question. If these different markers were present in the males of our species, wouldn't everyone that had these markers be considered, by the world's definition, members of the same race? I know that people that we would not view as members of the same race share these markers. For instance, in the first movie we watched where they did the DNA typing one of the "white" males shared the most similar DNA to someone in Africa. However, could we categorize people according to the final branches of the phylogenetic tree?

Student: Megan Nix    Date: Tuesday March 24th 2009 19:58
Journal Entry:

I was thinking something along the same lines as Pavia.  We as humans tend to catagorize things without even thinking about it, and the outward physical characteristics are what we see and use to catagorize people.  But, like Pavia said, could there be something in our DNA code that makes us different enough to the point of being able to be catagorized?  If a group of people share a specific genetic marker, then they most likely are descended from a common ancestor (as we all are) so if they have and share that marker, could they be considered catagorizable? 

I was also thinking about the effects that the growing world economy might have on racial identies and possibly even speciation.  Obviously this is far, far, far into the future, but if some regions or countries remain in isolation and others are constantly interacting with each other, how is that going to affect the way our future generations are going to view race?

Megan Nix

Student: David Salisbury    Date: Tuesday March 24th 2009 22:24
Journal Entry:

In response to many peoples' post on DNA and race, my opinion on this is that why in the world would we use DNA to categorize people. In order to do this we would have to extract DNA from every person in the world! Rather than using the information that the DNA has given us in the categorization of people, we should ask what does this mean? The DNA is not used to show how DIFFERENT people are, but actually to show how SIMILAR humans are. The markers that we find in these people are only a small portion of the DNA in humans, and this is used to help describe how humans mutated and how they became scattered across the planet. If we look at the big picture, all humans are related in one way or another. Simply categorizing amongst us humans is subjective and pointless in terms of DNA because it does not rank amongst humans in any way.

Student: Josh Phillips    Date: Wednesday March 25th 2009 00:06
Journal Entry:

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I guess one of the things that still really gets me is people being able to survive hundreds of miles inside the arctic circle.  People now even with the best equipment, technology and knowledge of the region and landscape have hard times battling the climate there.  To think the first people to traverse over the sub zero region were strangers to the environment, the land and the weather is pretty amazing.  They didn’t pack up their Columbia coldgear jackets and Northface parkas and break out a map to point X, to some extent they wandered aimlessly having no idea where they were really going aside from probably following animal herds.  I’ve just found this part of the journey really interesting as to really shows the capacity of human will to survive and adapt.  Another thing that still really gets me is the entire concept of “race” as we know it and how until only very recently along the course of human evolution  we were all the same.  Our genetic history is a lot more African, SW Asian, Asian etc. than it is “European” and the features the we all see have only been around for really a flash on the evolutionary timeline.  One thing that I’m still have a little trouble grasping is trying to understand if the M168 is the oldest mutation in our genetic history.  Can we see past that, and are any mutations preceding it...and why can’t we utilize the Y chromosome further back than 60K years? Why couldn’t we use the mDNA to look even further back along our evolutionary history following the successive polymorphisms continuing via primates to a common ancestor.  If I remember correctly I thought the mitochondria was believed to be one of the first organism to be consumed by “our single-celled” ancestors and shouldn’t that be a unilateral way to trace back our “genealogy” to include primates as well?

Student: Dara Arbuthnot    Date: Wednesday March 25th 2009 17:17
Journal Entry:

I am still amazed at how we can trace back people's ancestors through their DNA and know the path of migration from thousands of years ago. Will this still be the case for us too in thousands more years since now we no longer migrate/move for the same reasons. This may not make sense, it is hard to explain by writing, but I guess what I mean is since we have so much technology and all and we don't move because things such as weather or food because we have tools that help us adapt to our environment, will the same means we use to trace people back still work thousands of years from now?

Student: Evan Waters    Date: Thursday March 26th 2009 10:57
Journal Entry:

Well over the break I had a jolly good time I did some rest and relaxing to smooth myself out. But over the period of my break I didn't really notice anything that I could relate to the class so that's a bummer of the sorts. Next off with the conclusion of then movie seemed to help me out on some levels the evolution of our society and our people. It was really beneficial to finally see a flow diagram of actual people slowly making changes on how we are today. Its always been a little difficult to grasp the idea that we can go from being black to white. But with the movie eve though a little dramatic at times really did a good job showing the transitions of eveolution of our races in my opinion.

Student: Dara Arbuthnot    Date: Tuesday March 31st 2009 20:27
Journal Entry:

My comment is about some things my sociology class discussed on Monday. Our chapter is titled Inequalities of race and Ethnicity. The teacher defined race as a group of people with inherited physical characteristics that distinguish it from another group. Then, ethnicity was defined as cultural characteristics, not physical characteristics. Then we talked about why people often confuse the two. The book referenced how the melting pot term we usually use to define our society, but says that really we are a salad bowl because all the vegetables are mixed together but you cannot confuse them. This made me think back to the first activity we did in class and how we did confuse people. Another reference was that we were a stew, because all the flavors mix together as well, I think that this makes a little more since, at least more than the others. In class hearing all the comments that were made just made me think of how so many people are so ignorant, and how I am glad about everything I have learned in this class!

Student: David Salisbury    Date: Tuesday March 31st 2009 20:43
Journal Entry:
So I was doing some research on sickle cell anemia because I was not able to attend class today, and I cam across an interesting website (above). Not only did I find the title of this website to be rather controversial, but it almost seems as if it is attempting to blame the "blacks" for spreading sickle cell anemia. If I understand correctly the origin of sickle-cell anemia is sub-saharan Africa, and the genetic trait for this was able to be found in non-blacks due to the migration of people with this genetic defect or "racial mixing". Right? Anyways, the point is why isn't anyone blaming different "races" for other diseases. The misconceptions for diseases like this allow society to deem another "race" as different or less healthy. If the facts are made available to everyone in a sufficient manner about WHY sickle cell is prevalent MOSTLY in blacks then perhaps peoples' view on race could slightly change.

Student: Megan Nix    Date: Tuesday March 31st 2009 22:00
Journal Entry:

The sickle cell gene shows up in African Americans because their ancestors were living in a place where that gene as a heterozygote was very beneficial.  But now, those people arent' living in that environment anymore, so how long would it take for that mutation to get weeded out (or would it ever)? 

Also, something I was thinking about that is sort of related to this topic.  I liked what Dana said about America being like a salad bowl.  Everything is together but distinguishable by the standards set out by our culture.  And as such, we seem to develop sort of breeding populations within ourselves, because most people marry someone of their own supposed "race."  And in terms of sickle cell:  It may be that we SEE sickle cell anemia as being pretty much exclusively within African American populations because they are almost exclusively breeding with one another and not giving that gene a chance to get generationed out.  And the same is true for other populations with those kinds of seemingly exclusive genetica mutations.  And that might not ever change unless we break down the race concept.

Maybe that's completely off the wall, but there you go.

Student: Shelley Smith    Date: Tuesday March 31st 2009 23:02
Journal Entry:

Once again I've come to find out so much information from this one class that I've never even heard before. It simply amazes me how ignorant Biology classes can be these days. While watching the slide presentation today about sickle cell, I've learned so much more information about it than I have ever been taught in my life. I went to public and private high school in Georgia where both schools were totally different. Now I can see where my small Christian private school didn't go into topics such as evolution, race, or sickle cell, but I'm little upset that the public high school I attended never mentioned any of it. I just hate to think how if I had never taken this class I would be totally clueless to these topics and how there are so many people out there that are still misinformed about this information.

Student: Josh Phillips    Date: Wednesday April 1st 2009 00:10
Journal Entry:

As we were talking about sickle-cell disease today and Malaria I got to thinking about disease patterns and race. Historically sickle-cell has been a "black disease" and that blanket seems to get thrown over a lot of things including "disease culprits" and the brunt of blame. Africa comes to mind concerning the extensive disease problems to include such things as Malaria and HIV. I was thinking hypothetically how different everything would be if say through the course of evolution everyone had "green skin" as opposed to the massive variety we have today. This green skin was a unilateral pigment good for any exposure of sun on any latitude and there was essentially no pigmentation difference between anyone. I believe in a scenario like this people would have begun to think much earlier what other reasons could possibly be causing these people to contract certain diseases and have certain hardships. If you put your arm up next to theirs' and saw no difference you'd have to think what else could possibly be responsible for these patterns in people. That's when, I believe, everyone would have realized that there is such a strong connection between their surrounding environment, weather, altitude, rain fall, seasons , temperature etc. as would be the only obvious answer because nothing else like "racial hierarchy" would make any kind of sense. We have people in the United States, we'll use an architect for example, that is brilliant, intuitive and extremely knowledgeable in his field that is capable of constructing sky scrapers but if you give him a stone hammer, good luck and stick him in New Guinea and tell him to build a great civilization it won't take him long before he realizes that due to the tools (i.e. environment) he was given that task is literally impossible. So if everyone had this great green pigment (and never got sunburnt) it wouldn't be a matter of whites controlling the worlds' wealth or the Africans taking the large brunt of exploitation. It would be much clearer without those illusions that the reality of those civilizations experiencing great success was due to the "luck" of their environments and the capacity of those environments to support large populations, large dense populations as well as such things as bronze and steel and indigenous disease resistance. I hope this doesn't seem a little of but we just got done with Guns, Germs and Steel in another class and we touched on it for a second today. It seems the two classes should really be taken together to get a reasonable grip on this concept and development of race and the distribution of civilizations. I also just recently got back my Genographic results and no surprises the arrow seems to point to an Irish Ancestry but my family got around. I honestly don't know how some of my extended family will take to being called Africans but my family has been extremely excited about the entire thing, especially since both of my parents are history buffs. I've already uploaded my results to another Geneology site and matched them up even with my Surname which is quite surprising and found some mutual relatives and looks pretty promising to compile a deep family record.

Student: Evan Waters    Date: Tuesday April 7th 2009 22:08
Journal Entry:

I think the topic of this week touched on the basis of what many people think race is, and that is the color of skin. But after a few classes or maybe after a little lecture one will see that it is something that is controlled by other things. However the negative side with this many people try to say that having one skin type or another is due to mutations and therefore unfit or inferior. Anyway I would like to see if there has been any research or testing done to alter the way melanin is produce to change the color of ones skin. Who knows if that worked out it would be interesting to see a red or green skin person walking about, it could be the next big type of cosmetic surgery haha.

Student: Natalie Jones    Date: Tuesday April 7th 2009 23:37
Journal Entry:

It's interesting that we're just now getting to the topic of skin color. It's the basis of most people's uninformed racial classification. It was mine before this class as well, even though I had notions otherwise. We are taught-I guess you could say-to categorize people into races based on their appearance, ie. skin color. It surprises me that we haven't discussed this till now but I'm glad we did; putting an end to previous notions once and for all. This is a little random but I saw it on "House" once: could someone turn orange/yellow if they ingested too much carotene from a food like carrots? Is that possible? House said it was, but I wasn't sure if it was scientifically possible to actually turn ORANGE from eating a carotene-enriched food. I didn't know the causes oxygenated or deoxygenated hemoglobin had on skin pigmentation. You turn purple when suffocated because the hemoglobin isn't receiving any oxygen, so the color stays blue giving your skin a purple hue. Haha I like the story of the "Universal Freckle." Nice, Samuel Smith.

Student: David Salisbury    Date: Wednesday April 8th 2009 08:43
Journal Entry:

The more I learn about the biological and physical differences amongst humans, the more I realize how ridiculous the concept of race is. For one we have learned that obviously there is no biological reality to race. But more importantly, what we once thought to be distinct physical differences amongst "races", no longer can be used to classify people. Sarich and Miele argue that yes we can classify people by simply looking at them, but that could not be more wrong. Who would have thought that people from Greenland tend to have the same skin complexion as the Saudis? Certainly not me! As globalization became more and more prevalent and humans began to breed internationally it has become immensely harder to physical classify people into groups. Once again I believe that the only way to truly classify people is based on Nationality. If everyone identified themselves as American, French, Canadian, British etc., then possibly this meek view on "race" would dwindle.

Student: Maggie Espino    Date: Wednesday April 8th 2009 09:38
Journal Entry:

I agree with Luke about the necessity of understanding human differences to make informed conclusions about the idea of race. When I discussed the idea of race with a friend of mine (who is a biology major), I mentioned the levels of genetic variation between individuals and between individuals of a particular population, she exclaimed that genes did create a basis for racial categories because, "their genes are what make them black or white." Even then she just couldn't understand that the whole thing about deciding that "black" and "white" are different "races" is a social construction in the first place. It just saddens me to see the ignorance that is blocking the way for change in our perceptions about race. This weekend I was at a track meet here in Tuscaloosa because my boyfriend is a volunteer coach at Paul Bryant High School. The athletes that he coaches were sitting behind me, and loudly commenting on the runners in the races and that of course the white kids were going to lose. When a white kid did win a race, they remarked that he was actually an albino black person. To spur each other on during races, they would yell to the runner to hurry up or else the white kids would beat them. I think it just demonstrates the current perceptions of race that still exist in our society.

Student: Brandon Blair    Date: Wednesday April 8th 2009 18:38
Journal Entry:

No need to remind me that I’m a good 18 hours late in posting this. My genius self must have evolved into a very non-efficient form of student. My question and comment deals with the development of melanin in the skin. As we know the earth appears to be getting warmer and from what I have been told, the amount of UV rays has been increasing through the years. Since there is a development like this taking place on the planet, how can that alter the melanin evolution of populations around the world? Understanding there is gigantic mix of different skin tones around the world now than there was centuries ago and it could be difficult to trace. But I a personal opinion, I believe we are looking at a cause of skin tone change due to the altering of the sunrays we are exposed to. Could this eventually change melanin levels in huge populations around the world? Or has it already?..Or not, I could be wrong. 

Student: Maggie Espino    Date: Tuesday April 14th 2009 16:49
Journal Entry:

I did a little searching about race-specific diseases on Google, and interestingly, one of the auto-complete suggestions for the search box was "race specific bio weapons." Whoa. One of the articles talked about the work of anthropologists during WWII. The government wanted them to "recommend cultural- and race-specific means of killing Japanese soldiers and civilians." This included studying whether there were any anatomic, nutritional, or health problems among the Japanese people that could be exploited to win the war. The report eventually recommended releasing a species of fungi known to infect Japanese rice to destroy their food supply. The article is citing a book entitled Threatening Anthropology by David Price. Do you know anything about this? The Wikipedia entry for "ethnic bioweapon" (one of the first search results on Google) talks about our Sarich and Miele book about how the authors present the possibility of a ‘'genetic bomb." In their chapter about race and Health, they say that the "no-race" approach will die out soon because "it is difficult to deny reality when someone shows where and how race applies" (192). I read the part in their book about the ethnically-targeted weapons (it starts on page 248), and they talk about the possibility and discussion that has been ongoing about finding biological weapons that will wreak havoc on a particular group. That group, they point out, must have specific, unique genetic markers so it only targets the "bad guys."

Student: Luke Cameron    Date: Tuesday April 14th 2009 16:59
Journal Entry:

I found it weird that so many of our "medical experts" still believe in "Race" and use it in their treatment of people. I thought that most of them would see the facts and understand that humans are human and that there is not a difference between one person and another of a different "Race". I have to make a comment about the New England Journal of Medicine editorial about race, Damn Yankees. No wonder that so many people think that race is such a important factor, they think that their medical expert know what they are talking about, and people believe in race because of what their doctors tell them.

Student: Pavia Gooch    Date: Tuesday April 14th 2009 18:07
Journal Entry:

So today in one of my University Honors classes I was asked to fill out a survey about some of the classes that I have taken as a student. In the preliminary questions they asked me my age, sex, and race. However, under the race category they offered Caucasion, Puerto Rican, Mexican, Hispanic/Latino, Asian, Black not Hispanic, and something along the lines of Pacific Islander. Does anyone else find it weird that two of the categories are countries? Also, that Puerto Rican and Mexican technically fall under the Hispanic/Latino category? It seems like the United States is continuously cycling through periods when it targets certain groups. First the Civil Rights movement and now with the issues that we have with border control, the land of equal opportunity sure does like to focus it's attention on people that are now the majority of our population!

Student: Natalie Jones    Date: Tuesday April 14th 2009 18:16
Journal Entry:

So I wasn't in class and I am sorry for that, but I've looked through the notes. Alan Goodman makes a great point. Studies of genetics used to show or confirm that the relationship between race and genetics is symbiotic, whereas today this idea is proved completely false. The material you have taught us is culminating nicely in his article further professing your point: race is a social construct. I like his point about how there isn't any scale of which to measure race like shoe size. Goodman pushes its impossibility by saying that if "race" changes so much, how could you ever even make an attempt at classifying people accordingly? This explains the degree of misclassification race has had over the decades. Your "race" doesn't automatically detail your possible health outcomes either. It's socioeconomic. Your "social and economic position affect [your] lived experiences and health." Once again, your "race" is irrelevant and misused in society.

Student: Brandon Blair    Date: Tuesday April 14th 2009 20:21
Journal Entry:

Hooray! I remember this time. This post is in a way related to the racial marketing techniques we discussed in class. However this type of marketing strategy is a little bit more mainstream and obvious if you look. One word. Mannequins. I noticed this last time I was in the mall. Different stores will obviously sell and advertise their appearances and products to the most consistent customers in the market. Many stores have certain mannequins in the windows they depict the usual type of person that would shop there or be interested in their product. Here is an interesting article I found, well more like a blog, that points out a few noticeable occurrences of this. Also, some of the pictures and advertisements have combined stereotypical white appearances with also African characteristics to further confuse their customer on what they should look like.


 Also, as a side note I found in the article. In the movie “I, Robot”, the main robot character is named Sonny. The name, “son”, was commonly used by slave owners when referring to adult black males. The theme of this movie when broken down is about a character who isn’t human but has human characteristics. And when it tried to be recognized as equal and human, it had to be destroyed because its humanity was a threat to human society. Weird huh?

Student: Dara Arbuthnot    Date: Tuesday April 14th 2009 22:18
Journal Entry:

From the lecture today I was most taken aback by the medical history part, talking about age, race, and sex. Even though I am a big fan of Grey's Anatomy and have heard them make this description first thing when making rounds, I did not realize that it was so that they could diagnose the patient based on this information. This makes me mad because if I go to the doctor they may not think I have something based on one of these factors and could be misdiagnosed or not properly diagnosed for a length of time. This seems like it would be malpractice or something. Have there ever been cases where families sue because a doctor didn't find the diagnosis fast enough because of this? Also, I was surprised to hear that Medco was involved with the BiDil patent because that is my health insurance, or was until this year, I mean I know that it does not affect me, but I feel weird even having them have been my insurance when they were involved in this.

Student: Stone Wilters    Date: Tuesday April 14th 2009 22:37
Journal Entry:

In the mid-1960s, advertisers faced a very sensitive social and economic issue, was including "black" actors with "white" actors in media and commercials a smart thing to do? Many companies feared that they would alienate there white supporters if they introduced black actors into there commercials. Now it seems the complete opposite, where you are almost required to have a balanced mix of socially defined races to even get a proper amount of attention. Even out side of commercials in main stream media, like "Captain Planet" (yes I am aware that captain planet hasn't been on air for a very long time but it's the first thing I thought of) In this cartoon you seemingly have all the racial bases covered, you have the black guy, the blonde haired white girl, the Asian girl, a Native American kid (who might have been gay, we really don't know), there was even a Ginger kid. Im guessing that the producers of the show thought that it would be a good idea to have at least one character that some one could relate to. So my question really is "why was there such a big shift in these few years?"

Student: Megan Nix    Date: Tuesday April 14th 2009 22:41
Journal Entry:

I think it's very funny to think of a drug being race-specific.  The concept of race has actually caused people to believe that we are so different that a person's heart may work differently because of their supposed race.  It's almost funny how much people in the past have tried to do so much to make sure to keep the races separate that they take supposedly scientific evidence to help thier case.


On another note, I was talking to a person at the law school and he said (somewhat off hand) that it might be a good idea to not give a race on my application because there are a lot of white women in law school right now.

Student: Josh Phillips    Date: Tuesday April 14th 2009 23:10
Journal Entry:

I thought the class today was on par with the entire "no biology to race" premise we've driven home this semester. However, I do think there is some value to "race" in biomedicine and I think I'll have to explain myself pretty quickly. There is, I believe, a social "value" to race not necessarily in an interpretive manner but in all reality there are environmental aspects that seem to affect peoples of certain "races". There is a direct correlation to minority populations and the circumstances that are at times socially dictated to them. There is a correlation of minorities to income, housing, SES, education and etc. due in large part to the discriminative social factors that they have no control over. All those factors due in fact affect health. So, I think via the "transitive" property I guess "race" does have a medical value but not in the sense that it sounds like. I think "race" has a medical value because of the discriminative and unfavourable social conditions that minorities experience. I remember reading an article about a study in England, if I remember correctly, regarding their Healthcare system and the "universal accessibility" throughout the socioeconomic strata. The results of the study indicated that there was still an inequality in health even though there was "equal accessibility" to healthcare. It wasn't necessarily the actual SES level but the difference between the socioeconomic strata that showed the greatest health disparity. It was their SES strata compared to others and I believe it even quoted that it had a psychological and social factor that translated into "second rate" - "second rate health". So just like our environment has affected our physiology over thousands of years as well as disease patterns and etc. I think it still has the same applicability in our modern era. Our environments still weigh heavily on our health and it seems that in our greatly stratified societies that our minority populations seem to land the brunt of unfavourable "environmental" conditions due to overwhelming and still present social factors and barriers.

Student: Michelle Goodwin    Date: Tuesday April 14th 2009 23:19
Journal Entry:

At first, I think I was surprised to hear that doctors of medicine still use race as a factor in directing a path of diagnosis. Then I thought to myself, "Wait a minute; no, I'm not." There's really no shock value left in learning about how ignorant so many people can be. I guess it's the same kind of disappointment I had when I found out so many anthropologists still believe the idea of race. But for the sake of these doctors' patients, shouldn't they rule out substituting "race" for genetics? Ha, what am I saying? We're talking about the medical field, which is so corrupt in it of itself. It's just disappointing that modern medicine is supposed to be so "advanced," and, yet, it's still using the outdated idea of "biological race" determining health outcomes. And knowing that this common misconception often times leads to misdiagnoses is just unsettling--another reason to scoff at most medical practices. Obviously I am slightly biased on this topic, but isn't it only expected? This thinking, among the many other faults in medicine, whether it is practiced to save time and make money or used just due to being uneducated on the subject, isn't very admirable.

Student: David Salisbury    Date: Tuesday April 14th 2009 23:33
Journal Entry:

In response to Josh's post, yes in a way you are right, but by simply agreeing that one's "race" puts someone into a certain social group creates more of a problem. Yes, the current perception of race places many people into more difficult socioeconomic situations that could lead to differences in health and lifestyle. But what about the non-stereotypical people in certain "races"? In order to medically treat other "races" differently then, we would be asking doctors to stereotype people so that they could give them special medical treatment. Today's society is full of socially constructed "racial" boundaries, but at the same time no matter what "race" someone is in, the large majority of humans all have their own unique health status. By already believing that a certain "race" is prone to a certain medical status, it makes it much easier to affirm your belief. Society has been force-fed into believing that certain "races" have distinct statuses, and we are not taught to even question this. Believing stereotypes is the problem, and we are all guilty of it at some point in our lives.

Student: Evan Waters    Date: Wednesday April 15th 2009 12:00
Journal Entry:

The discussion this week touched on a few interesting points. First off it blows my mind to think that not too long ago people thought that catching the black disease by touching them just seems out right ridiculous, I guess you really can't give people the benefit of the doubt. But just thinking about that time period and what people thought just seems so crazy, but however on the other hand I am glad as a society we have moved past this point. Now on the second part I know before taking this class if that you would have told me about bidill and how it was only meant or known for a specific race I would of said who cares. If the drug works for them or shows proof then by all means pitch it to that group it works for. However I can see now why this was such a big deal because the data showed that the drug worked for everyone. It is interesting to see the lengths people will take to make as much money as they can.

Student: Luke Cameron    Date: Tuesday April 21st 2009 17:21
Journal Entry:

Race and intelligence, personal I think that culture and environment do more to shape a person and their mind. I am a believer in nurture over nature. I think that the reason that the psychologists saw intelligence as a genetic issue is because that what they wanted to see. The data that they used would show that poor people have poor genetics and that why they are poor, but they did not see the part about that one would and could over come the barrier of being poor. They probable ignored such cases and did not think about, but with their understanding of genetics that should not be possible.
On another note about Intelligence, I found it weird how that people believe that means some thing. I have a friend of mine that served in the Air Force during the first Gulf War, he was an officer and came back and was said to have brain damage and the VA gave him an IQ Test and he scored off their charts because they gave him their standard Test for brain damage victims but it was so scaled down that he was off their charts. So IQ test are not dependable for much.

Student: Megan Nix    Date: Tuesday April 21st 2009 20:22
Journal Entry:

I've always  found the issue of varied intelligence among "races" interesting.  This goes back to the first time that I heard that some of my friends might be getting help on their standardized tests because of the fact that their skin is a different color.  I think that it's absolute crap to say that a person is innately inferior intelligently because of their race.  I had a friend in high school who was black, he didn't come from a family that was very high on the socioeconomic ladder, and he definitely didn't have access to some of the resources that I did.  But he graduated #3 in our class and now he's studying chemistry at Standford.  And even people who knew him and knew how smart he was still made comments like, it's because he's black that he got all those scholarships, and did so well on his ACT.  I think that there's some truth to those statements, but people still put him down, saying that he couldn't and maybe wouldn't have achieved all that stuff if he hadn't been black.   I guess it's good in a sense to give people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds a little help on standardized tests because of their lack of opportunities, but race is not a good way of going about that.

Student: Stone Wilters    Date: Tuesday April 21st 2009 21:27
Journal Entry:

So for this week's post I wanted to talk about school stuff, sense that's what we went over in class, and partly because my sister wants to be a teacher at the "primary level." Which from my understanding is from 2nd to 7th grade...ish. But the big thing on my mind is the "No Child Left Behind Act..." which was proposed by George Buss in 2001 shortly after taking office. The act is supposed to help schools bump up grade point averages, by imposing strict guide lines on states. The act has shown a few good thing such as: Improved test scores, improved local standards, increased accountability, attention to minority populations, and a bust in funding. But the major thing that I want to talk about is this so called attention to minority population. The government wanted this act to help push racial/ethnic groups together, it seams the revers is happing in reality. Because the Law's response if the school fails to make adequate progress with test scores is not only to provide additional help for students, but also to impose punitive measures on the school. So what do the schools do? They set there expectations lower rather than higher and increase segregation by class and race and in some cases push low-performing students out of school altogether. Another problem is while schools are forced to redirect funding to the basic core curriculum of reading, writing and arithmetic, they are killing other programs those schools might have offered, programs like: musical programs, gifted programs, sports, etc. It also holds really smart kids back from excelling in certain areas, so where a kid may show an increased aptitude in Mathematics and a seemingly low one in English the child is held back and may never become the rocket scientist he dreamed of being... and now he just has to settle for being "normal." Im not saying that this bill is a bad thing, but it is a little misguided and in need of some serious reform...

Student: Michelle Goodwin    Date: Tuesday April 21st 2009 22:13
Journal Entry:

So, I was reading about Arthur Jensen, and I came across an excerpt from, economist, Thomas Sowell's article, "Race and IQ" ( Race and IQ ) about Jensen. Sowell wrote, "Incidentally, Professor Jensen pointed out back in 1969 that black children's IQ scores rose by 8 to 10 points after he met with them informally in a play room and then tested them again after they were more relaxed around him. He did this because ‘I felt these children were really brighter than their IQ would indicate.'" After saying this himself and witnessing this himself, how did Jensen ever do a complete 180 and argue for the "biological correlation" between race and intelligence?

I was also reading about the IQ tests done on Koko. Another question they asked her was where she would go for shelter from the rain. Her choices were a hat, a tree, a house, and a spoon. Obviously she responded with "tree." And it was wrong. She's a primate; she doesn't even know what a house is, just like she doesn't know what an ice cream sundae is. Shouldn't this cause a lightbulb to turn on over someone's head?? The IQ tests don't prove anything if the questions are based on culture.


Student: David Salisbury    Date: Tuesday April 21st 2009 22:58
Journal Entry:

For this week's post I decided to go a little bit off topic, although this is very appropriate for our course. For those of you that did not know this, the UN had its annual conference on race on Monday. Along with five other countries, the United States decided not to participate in this conference. In this conference, Hugo Chavez, the infamous Venezuelan leader gave an extremely controversial speech in which he called Israel a racist country! WHAT! Creating more of a mockery of this conference was a couple of men dressed in clown costumes that decided to throw read balls at Hugo Chavez. Good for them! I am glad that the U.S. decided not to participate in these shenanigans because there is no need to fuel the fire on the already touchy subject of race. To me it is very encouraging that this conference was a seemingly utter failure. Only morons like Hugo Chavez could allow such a ridiculous thing like race to guide his ideology. Hopefully one day it will not even be necessary to have a ridiculous conference like this, but until then we need to try and rid of the term race.

Student: Josh Phillips    Date: Tuesday April 21st 2009 23:34
Journal Entry:

The entire race and IQ thing is something that I actually think about quite often as I've mentioned numerous times before I follow college recruiting heavily. It gets so frustrating for some of these extremely talented guys, highly touted and possibly first year contributors to have to go to prep school or Juco and not make the already lowered standards for scholarship athletes. I don't understand how these super/elite athletes can put in the gruelling hours in the weight room, the extra time to run and study film etc. and can't manage to pass already lowered standards compared to the average joe attending the same college. Furthermore, with the way recruiting is now kids are receiving letters as early as their freshman year and scholarship offers as early as their sophomore years, so the door is opened years in advance of qualifying for colleges, why then do a lot of the athletes qualify by the skin of their teeth. You have a free ride to college waiting on you and some still fail to meet even the lowered standards. Another thing I still don't understand is the inverse relationship between white and black players in test scores/academic performance and athletic performance. I know this might spark some controversy but I can tell you without a doubt that the premier and best athletes in the US are African American...fact. A lot of attention gets paid to the disparity in academic performance between "races" but not the athletic performance between "races". (Please note that I put "races" in " ", it's a habit that I've began to practice) Every single year the top 100 athletes in the U.S. are overwhelmingly African American...fact. Over the past two years UA's recruiting has been astronomical...we landed the #1 WR, #1 DB, #1 LT, #1 RB, #1 C, (2) #2 LB, #3 ATH, and recently a commit from the #1 QB etc.(all in the nation). I guess I really have more questions than comments...Why? If colleges don't believe there is a disparity between athleticism and academics, why then do nearly all of them have lower standards for scholarship athletes? Why is there a disparity between "races" and more specifically whites and African Americans in academics and athletic performance? I hope this doesn't sound too combative but it's just something that drives me absolutely crazy...*Prime example, along with the #1 RB last year we signed the #13 RB - (Leaving names out purposely) and he's a freak, definitely a guy I think that could contribute but again, qualifying problems, has to make all Bs the rest of the semester and take an Algebra class this summer to qualify as well as probably score a little higher on the ACT...* Sorry for the recruiting info but it's one of the closest real life situations that I truly know about and is something that I follow very closely...

Student: Dara Arbuthnot    Date: Tuesday April 28th 2009 16:39
Journal Entry: I am just posting about something that my friend said the other day. We were reminiscing about our freshman year and having a random roommate. One of my friends who is from a real small town was saying how his first assignment was a random guy who happened to be black. Then he said that when his momma found out she said he would not be living there. When we heard this one of my friends who is Indian asked him if his parents knew he loved black people. (Because we hang out with a very diverse group and this friend in particular likes to act black, but not in a way that is trying to be something he is not, and we know he really admires those friends) But anyway his response was that growing up his parents did not mind him hanging out with black people or going over to their houses, he could even stay over as late as he wanted, but it was definitely not allowed to spend the night with a black person. I just don't understand this, obviously, but he just seemed okay with it, like it was normal. It is just weird to me because he is so accepting of people of diverse backgrounds and all, but he is okay with this principle that is obviously race related. And also, as far as the lecture from this week, I cannot believe that people would think that skin color and intelligence are related, but I guess nothing really surprises me too much anymore.

Student: Natalie Jones    Date: Tuesday April 28th 2009 16:39
Journal Entry:

So in class this morning-my psych 352 Family Development class-my teacher was discussing peer relations and how they develop. He discussed the dynamics of our relationships with others at an early age and asked, "What is the main determinant in the segregation of children when they reach school-age years?" I looked around to see the majority of our class raising their confident hands and guessing "race" as the reason kids segregate into groups. The answer was gender, so everyone was wrong. I don't know if they made this guess because the word "segregate" prompted them too, or if "race" just seemed that prevalent as a determinant when they were growing up. I grew up with boys, so I never went through a "cooties" phase. I rolled with both groups for the most part and there were black kids in our social networks. Tony was our token black boy in kindergarten. He was hilarious, which is beside the point. I think it's the fact that since I've taken this class, the idea and discussions of our society's notion of "race" seem to be more prevalent than they were before this semester. And since I'm on a tangent about ignorance, I had a Criminal Justice teacher Fall 2007 who frustrated me daily. She was a very intelligent black woman but she spent her time "educating" us about our society. She asked us "What should our society be more worried about, ‘white-collar' crime or visible crime?'" By visible-she also used another word for it that I cannot remember-crime she meant robbery/theft, murder, rape...etc. The answer is obvious-visible crime. This particular teacher proceeded to tell us that we should be worried about white-collar crime more. That it was more devastating to us before of the financial loss we were receiving from embezzlement and extortion by our white professionals. She talked about how statistics only showed visible crime and how it pointed more directly to the black more so than the white population of the US. She was upset that most violent crimes seem to happen to black females ages 14 or so to 25. She said this is because white people educate their daughters about being safe and black parents don't. She seemed to blame white America for this injustice. This is so ridiculous. I don't know why she is allowed to teach. She got every black person riled up in that class, while the few white people that ventured to take her had to sit back afraid of voicing our opinion because her response to us was so negative. She won Black Teacher of the Year that previous semester. Does anyone else see a problem here?

Student: Luke Cameron    Date: Tuesday April 28th 2009 17:19
Journal Entry:

To finish this class up I figured that I am just telling my opinions about race as a broad topic. First I think that judging people by the way they look is wrong. The old phrase, don't judge a book by it cover is the way I try to live. In this class I seen that people try to do anything to put themselves in to a seat of power over some one else. If it was not based on skin color it may be eye color, it does not matter it all about one person trying to make him or her over others. I realize that people are trying to correct this problem and I think that good, but it can and does cause problems. The idea of colorblindness is good but, it does not help those that need help getting out of holes that they are in. Affirmative action can cause problems to, it give people help in getting out of situations but, the problem is that, positions, jobs, opportunities, and other things go to those who are from a less fortunate situation, but they get the job or what ever, because of their race, gender, or whatever, and they may not be the best person for the job. It helps those from the less fortunate backgrounds that are equal or better than the other candidate but, it can and has put people in those positions that do not deserve it and do not have the ability to do the job or whatever. There is not one perfect social policy that can help the less fortunate with out it being misused.

Student: Maggie Espino    Date: Tuesday April 28th 2009 21:34
Journal Entry:

I went to see the films made by the students of the UA course Documenting (in)Justice tonight, and there are a lot of things that I could talk about for our class. One of the documentaries focused on the plight of small farmers in Alabama, which are predominantly black. The film talked about the neglect they suffered from the US government. The film reported that something like 9 in 10 black farmers who filed to receive compensation for a government settlement that was supposed to pay black farmers like $2.3 billion for discrimination are denied. The other particularly ‘race' centered film was called "A Sleight of History" which examines the current sentiments toward Foster Auditorium and the Civil Rights movement. One of the professors interviewed for the documentary said something poignant that I think is easily forgotten-Alabama could be considered the cradle of the Civil Rights movement even more so than the cradle of the Confederacy. The film talked about how most students on campus and around the community do not know ANYTHING about Foster Auditorium. Also, recently the University decided it was going to make Foster into the home of women's basketball and volleyball...and nothing about the infamous events from 1963 that transpired there. I hope someone also brings up the whole thing with the Old South Ball and the AKA house that happened this past week. I feel like in my last post I need to cram everything in possible, and I know we'll have a lot to talk about on Thursday. Oh yeah, one more thing. I don't know if any of you have ever seen the PBS special "A Class Divided." It's available to watch in several parts on YouTube, and I think you really should watch it. It's about Jane Elliott who is a teacher, anti-racism activist, and diversity activist. She did an experiment with her third grade class in Iowa the day after MLK, Jr.'s assassination that separated the children into blue and brown eyes, and basically turned them on each other to show them discrimination. It's basically everything we've been talking about in this class. So, sorry this post is so long...but it's the last one!

Student: Rachel Bonner    Date: Tuesday April 28th 2009 23:31
Journal Entry:

I have really kind of run out of things to say about race, but for this week my post goes along with Maggie's and some with Michelle's.
I honestly do not like affirmative action. I understand the need for it, and I can respect that, but to me it is in some respects giving a pass to people who are not as qualified or didn't get as high grades as someone else. In that respect I firmly believe that affirmative action does not reward effort at all, and I think that the best alternative is a merit based system. If I am in a jam I don't want the best doctor/lawyer/judge/etc of a certain minority, I want the best period.
I also believe that when the principles of affirmative action are applied to scholarship situations it increases the likelihood that poeple will try to cheat the system. I grew up with all the advantages of coming from a middle class family, but I still have the ability to claim that I am Native American and have a whole new list of advantages. My cousin did this when she applied to Auburn, and she hasn't had to pay a penny of tuition. My parents wanted me to do the same, but I didn't think it was fair to take that opportunity away from someone who genuinely needed it. I don't think just being a partial member of a minority group entitles you to those kinds of funds, it should be about economic need, not biological determinancy if you want it to be truly fair. There are plenty of black people from families that are well enough off that they don't need it, and also plenty of poor white families who desperately need that help.
My second thing is about how Alabama gets such a bad reputation for it's past. Lots of bad crap happened here, yes, but I want to know when people are going to start focusing on the future and not the tired old stereotypes.
Home Sweet Home - dA
That is really what inspired this part of my post. I just want to know why Alabama has such a bad reputation and places like Harvard and Yale are where a lot of these eugenicist idiots came from. I know it played out here, and all the history books remember is Wallace standing in the doorway, but that is as usual not even close to the whole story. I would rather have our darker history used to teach people, not rewritten or hidden. History is history, people don't know enough of it already, if we start sweeping more of it under the rug it will just look worse for us. I don't even remember being taught about the eugenics movement until I got to college, but I knew about Wallace, and I know one of the National Guard members who was there that day.

FYI I had a football coach for a history teacher in high school - don't get me started.
I guess thats all I have to say... I guess I did have a few things to add afterall.

Student: Josh Phillips    Date: Tuesday April 28th 2009 23:42
Journal Entry:

747 Over New York

This may seem random but it's not, and it has me absolutely livid and dumbfounded and has consumed the brunt of my anger and thoughts the past few days...anybody else even see this? Also seeing as this will be my last post I'm going to rant about a few things in our open forum to see if anybody knows anything that is going on right now aside from the swine flu...

HR 1444
5) The effect on the Nation, on those who serve, and on the families of those who serve, if all individuals in the United States were expected to perform national service or were required to perform a certain amount of national service.
(6) Whether a workable, fair, and reasonable mandatory service requirement for all able young people could be developed, and how such a requirement could be implemented in a manner that would strengthen the social fabric of the Nation and overcome civic challenges by bringing together people from diverse economic, ethnic, and educational backgrounds.

"We cannot continue to rely only on our militarily in order to achieve the national security objectives that we've set, we've got to have a civilian national security force that's just as powerful, just as strong, just as well funded" -(who?)

Who Rahm Emanuel is and what is his "Plan" for America?

And on Affirmative action why...because of the pigmentation and reflectivity of my skin color should I merit a scholarship to attend a predominately black school based none whatsoever on merit or academic performance? I just have a lot of problems with the entire concept, if I go and see a chiropractor I want him to be the best at what he does and not be a selection of "racial quotas", and if I'm getting my wisdom teeth pulled I want the person that's putting me down and cutting inside my mouth to be the best at what he does and again not part of a "quota"...I don't care what color -male/female or anything...if I'm getting flown into the AOR into Iraq I want that pilot to be the best and again not a sum of "a quota"...I went to High School with a good number of African Americans and some "scored" just as good as me, worse and better...just like my "white" friends did and why in the face of performance should any be treated differently in order to fullfill or pull certain "races" to appear PC...


Student: Megan Nix    Date: Tuesday April 28th 2009 23:58
Journal Entry:

I'm not really sure what to write, so I though I'd mention a few things that I wrote in my paper.  race is the socially constructed category that humans use to group themselves and others within their culture; race is easily confused with biological factors because it uses physical, phenotypical characteristics as its main determinant .  However, the concept of race does have some genetic validity in that two people who are socially classified as black could not give birth to child socially classified as white.  Unless you get into the whole "oreo" thing.    race is not a constant in human societies, many societies use some other form of classification when deciding superiority (if that sort of thing exists in the society).  And the ways in which people are classified is different from one culture to another, for instance a person's race in Brazil is not going to neccessarily be the same in the United States.

Student: Evan Waters    Date: Wednesday April 29th 2009 01:47
Journal Entry:

Well I have decided to mix it up for the post this week so I have two things I want to write about and the first one is an ANT 275 jingle.
Now this is a rhyme.
About our class time.
Up in good ole Ten Hoor.
Good grades we score.
James Bindon is the guy with the master plan.
Tells us about the evolution of human.
Sometimes we talk about things such as race.
But other times this is not the case.
Be jabbin about stuff called DNA.
And this is why we are this modern day.
So pick any color you want to be.
Because it doesn't matter to me.
Now say hi five.
For ANT 275.
Hi five.
For ANT 275.
Now for my second part of the post I wanted to touch base on the topic that we talked about the other week of that of the race drug, which I was not able to make the class due to illness. But again with the case of Bidil what would be the problem with saying "hey guys this drug works well with helping African Americans but as well with other people as also." Why would you not want to put out a medicine that worked for only one type of group, to me its saying like "well Pepe this drug works for us guys but since it doesn't work for women we cant distribute it."

Student: Pavia Gooch    Date: Wednesday April 29th 2009 03:23
Journal Entry:

So sorry my post was late!! While I was home this last weekend, I was explaining to a friend of mine all about race and environmental influences. We talked all about rickets and how temperatures affect nose shape. She asked about how eye shape is influenced by environmental factors. I thought that it might be sexual selection, but I just was wondering.

Student: Evan Waters    Date: Sunday August 16th 2009 12:20
Journal Entry:


With the class this past day it was very interesting to hear about various aspects of scholastic methods to weed out others back in the day. First off it is really interesting to find out that or standardized testing tools were used primarily to weed out specific groups and what is even more interesting is that we still use them to this day. What I would like to find out more is how much are the test used by various schools for the same purposes as they were intended to back in the day. And what was also interesting was that of hearing the ideas of that of the man who talked about genes determine how smart you are, can't think of his name right now, but interesting to see how people still have thoughts like this. Its as almost if we continue to go around in a race debate circle and always end up coming back to the same ideas.

Student: Jim Bindon    Date: Thursday August 27th 2009 15:05
Journal Entry: Make a comment about our readings or the video or our exercises on day one or the presentations I have given. Since we have covered a lot since the start of class, feel free to submit you comment before doing the reading or sitting for the presentation next Tuesday.  You may want to comment on something going on in the news or on campus that has a bearing on our understanding of human variation, race, and ethnicity; e.g., this item that slavery requires more than an apology.  Please proofread—not just spell-check—your comment before submitting.  Thanks.

Student: Amelia Houghton    Date: Monday August 31st 2009 19:26
Journal Entry: After covering the material from our first week of class the question on my mind is: Why do we insist on categorizing the human population into “races”? There is a ton of scientific information backing up the fact that humans regardless of their facial features, skin color or tooth shape there is no significant variation in our genes. It is hard for me to accept that there will always be racial bias regardless of what science can prove to us. I grew up in an extremely diverse society in London, England and was always aware of racial prejudice and stereotyping, but after moving to the U.S. I became much more aware of it. Walking around both my high school and university campus friend “cliques” consist of people mostly of the same race (or what society has defined as race).

Student: Amber Forsythe    Date: Monday August 31st 2009 21:19
Journal Entry: After reading the article, “Slavery Needs More Than an Apology,” I was reminded of many conversations that I have had with classmates and one conversation in particular with my old roommate.  She is a third generation Scottish immigrant, and she is justly proud of her heritage.  My ancestors who held my last name also trace back to Scotland.  At the time this particular conversation took place, I was getting ready for my trip to Africa.  Her question was why African-Americans don’t try to trace their ancestry back to a particular group in Africa instead of to Africa as a whole.  It is a question that I think some people do take for granted. At the time I was almost angry with her.  I told her that they were taken from their homes, sent on a voyage to a land that they never knew existed, and then their names and identities were stripped from them.  Not to mention the years of education that they were denied.  Our conversation ended in understanding, but I continue to believe that this is a subject that is taken for granted by those who can easily trace their ancestry.

Student: Zack Stillings    Date: Monday August 31st 2009 21:24
Journal Entry: My first question, that I suppose I personally will be able to evaluate more thoroughly towards the end of the semester, is the following: even if race doesn’t exist biologically - which is where the majority of evidence seems to point – does it allow us to easily brush away its social and cultural implications as a reality in contemporary American society? I look forward to both Graves and Sarich & Miele’s views at the end of both books to answer this question. How do we move forward in a “post-racial” world (Graves)?   Or, alternatively, can we recognized our supposed genetic difference for what it is, and move forward as a unified nation nonetheless (Sarich & Miele)? I also found the article posted earlier by Dr. Bindon to be rather offensive, as my family had not even arrived in America by the time of abolition. However, I am sure I will be able to discuss this view more fully in class.

I found Brace’s defense against the accusations of Shipman that he is, in fact, arriving at his conclusions for the sole purpose of being found “politically correct” to be somewhat enlightening to the race debate as a whole. The debate itself is so engrained in our culture – for better or for worse – that now it seems politically correct to deny races, as Brace does. This is ironic, considering that it is evident that scientists up until the modern era have been politically motivated to promote racist ideologies.

 While I considered the majority of Sarich & Miele’s views on the history of race in antiquity and other areas of the world to be evidence more to the good eyesight of our forbears than a real statement on race, it did bother me somewhat that both Graves and the video in class entirely ignored evidence of blatant racism in the history of the Middle East. I hope to discuss this in class as well.

Student: Tae Kim    Date: Monday August 31st 2009 23:43
Journal Entry: Before I got to the United States, I did not have any experiences with other races. No, there were few opportunities in my country. For instance, when I was in high school, my English conversation class teacher was another race. And, when I walked on the street, sometimes I could see other races. However, I did not talk with them. Other races were surprising to me. In my country, there is one race and we speak one language. But, there are various races here. When I got to the Atlanta airport to transfer to Birmingham, I could see various people who had different skin colors, hair colors, and eye colors. Anyway, I ‘m learning a lot of things about human variation in this class. The video of last Tuesday was interesting to me. In the video, students of various races had different genes than each other. Even though they are living in U.S.A., their ancestors are different than each other. Genes of white students, black students and Asian students were different in many genetic things. Also, the video talked about athletes. One race’s runners appear to have better records than other races and another race’s gymnasts also show better records than others. I think the reasons of above the cases are complex. There are not only genetic reasons, but also social reasons. Of course, genetic things are important to human variation, but we cannot explain briefly about races. I think I can make my view more broadly about races with this class.

Student: Hayden Sloan    Date: Monday August 31st 2009 23:59
Journal Entry: Since beginning this class, there are many things that I could start rambling about. There are so many views on race and human variation, I was rather surprised at how recent racism is (as we know it today). One of the things that intrigued me most though, was in our reading. As I was going through Sarich & Miele, I disagreed with them on a few points, particularly in chapter 2. They said there is "evidence of the Egyptian awareness of racial differences." and this "awareness" is mentioned throughout the chapter. I think there's an important distinction between noticing skin colour as a physical characteristic and seeing it as a way to determine inferiority. Skin colour has been used in such a derogatory way in the past century or two that a lot of people feel uncomfortable just using these "race" terms in descriptive ways. Seriously, why do people feel the need to whisper when they say that someone's "black"?
Along with awareness of skin colour, there's also awareness of culture. Let's face it, people notice differences, and of course when there are differences, each culture has a smug sense of superiority. With the rather limited amount of traveling ability in ancient times, it's no wonder that people stayed in the same general location, thus skin colour and culture became one in the same.
Today though, those are two separate entities, culture being the only thing with any real significance, since upbringing actually determines behavior. Somehow that fact gets overlooked because people focus on the first thing they see.


HA. before midnight.

Student: Josh Flayhart    Date: Tuesday September 1st 2009 10:26
Journal Entry: I have always wondered what people think of the different races in our society. race seems to be a culturally defined concept, maybe it is the features of different ethnicities or the way society creates a particular colour of humans to seem more athletic or more predominant in certain sports (i.e. american football, basketball, etc.). I believe race defines human features (i.e. skin colour, eye shape, etc.) and possibly even some human characteristics, however, most people are influenced by their culture. I understand we are all similar as human beings, but aren't we also only different by two strands of DNA compared to the Ape? I found it interesting that last week's video showed how similar we were to eachother, but I felt the DNA comparisons don't give a good explination on how similar or even diffferent we are from eachother. I am interested in the path this course will take over the semester and want to see where we end up conclusively.

Student: Kim Laing    Date: Tuesday September 1st 2009 10:51
Journal Entry: Kimberley Laing
ANT 275

Journal Entry- Sept 1

I thought that it would be easy to look at a group of people and tell what their racial background was. However after doing the exercise in class I realized that I judged race by skin color, by what I saw on the outside. I never really thought of the fact that there is really no biology of race and that in essence people are all the same. I guess I feel that some people believe it is safer to categorize people into races so each knows where the other stands. I feel as though we live in a world of labels and categories and the idea of race whether it is black, white, or indian will never change.

After watching the video race- the power of illusion, I found it very surprising that Noah was a match to such a variety of different groups of people although he thought he would more likely align with the other “white” persons in the class.

Another fun fact that I thought was interesting about race and human variation was that human subspecies did not exist. I believed that since we looked so different and we are all from different backgrounds and parts of the world that we would have more than just surface differences.

After reading Linnaeus’ categories of race, I found his concepts to be very funny and farfetched that people would actually divided humans into these categories such as ferus or monstrous. His descriptions of how he perceived these people to behave and look seemed very outdated.  However when I first came to school at UA people where surprised that my skin was so light and I was from the Caribbean. They expected me to behavior differently and look differently. I would often get asked the question, how does it feel to be in America? or how did you get here? Therefore I guess Linnaeus’ categories though extreme was not to far off what people think today about the “races” today

Student: Britanee Dawson    Date: Tuesday September 1st 2009 18:41
Journal Entry:       Recently I have learned that biologically I am no different from any other race. I might even have similarities closer to someone that looks completely different from me. This brought to my attention the stress we place on making everyone feel equal, especially in education. No matter what color ones skin is or the texture of your hair, a student is supposed to be placed in an environment that makes them comfortable; however there are so many ways in which they can feel left out of the box. I recently took a class and read a book about how to teach African Americans. If we are biologically the same, why must they be taught in a different way? Although many African Americans were not given the chance to get the best education in the past, things have changed and they now have equal opportunities.

Student: Jonathan Williams    Date: Tuesday September 1st 2009 19:24
Journal Entry: One of the more interesting things that I learned about in the previous week was the relatively egalitarian use of racial ideas in the pre-modern world.  In classical and ancient times, the variations that would later be used to classify people into races were noted, but they were not used in order to establish a hierarchy within society. For instance, in ancient Greece or Rome, a white person was just as likely as a black person to become a slave. There was still a hierarchy of peoples but this was based on ethnic or national lines, with the Romans and Greeks seeing themselves at the top, of course. In ancient Egypt, a multiracial society was developed with people of all races attaining greatness. It would seem that in societies such as these one would see oneself as primarily Egyptian before thinking of oneself as being tied to a particular racial group. This idea seems to have lived on in some places despite the penchant of the modern world to use racial classifications in a negative fashion to arrange inferior-superior relationships. For instance, during the beginning of the Second World War, society in Denmark, while the rest of Europe became mired in the waves of anti-Semitism stemming from Germany, united together to protect their local population of Jews because of the progressive idea of seeing them as Jewish Danes rather than Danish Jews and thus stressing citizenship equality over racial/ethnic ties.  This idea of equality led to the uniting of the Danish population to smuggle much of the Jewish population to neutral Sweden via boats thus saving much of the Danish Jewish population.

Student: Tasha Solomon    Date: Tuesday September 1st 2009 19:25
Journal Entry: So far the material and topics that we’ve gone over in class have been things that I’ve had discussions on either in my other classes or with my friends.  For example, our first in class activity where we determined the “race” of certain individuals in pictures was an activity that my sorority did for “We are UA Day” last spring in the Ferg Plaza.  I’m in a multicultural sorority so a lot of my Sisters are of mixed and very different racial backgrounds and we had people place which ethnicity they thought each person was on their picture. Of course the responses were quite similar to the responses that were given in class, but one thing that I didn’t find in class that I did find when my sorority did it was that there was a lot of stereotyping.  We also had a “hobbies” portion to the game with categories like “running, World of War Craft, studying, and ballet,” and almost everyone got the answers wrong because they stereotyped each ethnicity with a hobby.  So for instance, I have a Sister who is half Taiwanese and half Irish/German, and people would say, “Well she looks Asian so she must love studying.”  Or, surprisingly, we got, “She looks White so I bet she runs a lot because White people love to run,” as if only people who “look” White must automatically be runners. 

Another interesting part of class today was the mentioning of Abraham Lincoln.  I was not surprised when it was mentioned how Lincoln had no honest intentions of ending slavery.  I had already learned this, but only a few years ago during the end of my high school career; before that I thought of him, like how most Americans and many African-Americans, saw him: as the Great Emancipator.  I also felt the same way about Thomas Jefferson.  It wasn’t until my sophomore year in college when I took African American Lit and read “Notes on Virginia” did I realize how incredible of a racist he truly was.  If you haven’t read “Notes on Virginia,” I suggest you do.

Student: Andrew Watkins    Date: Tuesday September 1st 2009 19:34
Journal Entry: After learning just a little bit about the lives and theories of several of the leading voices on race from the from the 18th century through today, one thing that surprises me the most is the amount of contradictions each of them expresses in their work. As much as Darwin knew and studied, it was still difficult for him to believe that Africans could, on average, be of equal intelligence. The majority of the early research seems to have been attempts at measuring the comparative intelligence of different peoples, but even the most liberal authors fail to mention that intelligence may be measured differently in different regions of the world. Children living in the savannas of east Africa will be taught an entirely different set of skills than children living on a coastline in Europe.

Student: Colby Smith    Date: Tuesday September 1st 2009 21:32
Journal Entry: As I stated in our preliminary quiz which we filled out during our first class session, I personally feel that race is relative, much in the way that Einstein said that, “Time is relative.”  I feel that one’s race is based only on one’s own perceptions, and cannot be defined by another.  We base our own race on our personal convictions, culture, experiences, and the society in which we live.  What is “White” to me, may be perceived as “Asian” by another.

For reasons such as this, I question society’s and the government’s need to classify an individual by a certain race.  Why do humans today feel it is so necessary to divide ourselves into subgroups of the same species?  Rather than separating ourselves as though we are made up of subspecies, as is said to be the original creation of the term “race”, why do we not merely follow the examples of ancient Egyptians?  I feel that dividing ourselves by nationality or citizenship, rather than by vague physical characteristics such as hair texture or skin type, would be a much more logical way to define and identify ourselves.

Student: Luke Bechta    Date: Tuesday September 1st 2009 21:58
Journal Entry: This class has so far answered some of my questions about race and racial theories but at the same time created new ones. I often wondered about the fact that the genes of humans and primates such as apes, chimpanzees and others are very similar. That we share 90 or 95 percent or so of the genes with these creatures. So if thats the case with these primates, than how many more genes do we share with humans of other races? And what makes up the genetic difference between humans of different races? The answer to the first question seems to be that all humans share close to identical genes. The thing that surprised me the most, however, was what I learned in the video we watched in class. I remember an expermient that was conducted in the video in which some students took samples of their own DNA in order to compare it with that of other students. At first it was widely hypothesized among the students that individuals of the same race or similar racial features would have the most similar genes or DNA. Well that did not turn out to be the case. Some students who were white turned out to have genes that were more similar to the genes of those who were black or hispanic than those who were white and vice versa. This surprised me greatly. Another thing I was surprised to learn which in a way goes with what I just mentioned previously, is that there is more genetic difference among members of the same race than across different races. I have always assumed that there would be much more genetic differences across different races than among the members of one's own race. After having learned this, the only question that runs through my mind is WHY???

What this new information leads me to do is to completely blow away any myths, theories, assumptions or other ideas about the supposed superiority or inferiority of races. If members of different races can have genes that are more similar to each other than the genes of members of the same race, than that shows to me that there really is no "difference" between the fundamental biological make up of humans. Genetically speaking we are all virtually the same so the argument some people make about one race being biologically superior or inferior to another cannot stand up. The visual physical differences that evolved among humans over time thus do not reflect on the fundamental biology of the human species, but rather only reflect on the ability of the human race to adapt to the different environmental factors found all over the globe. Thus a white person is virtually the same as a black person biologically, and the fact that that person is white only shows that he or she is more "suited" or "adapted" to live in a more extreme northern climate, with less sunlight and different land features than a black person. The fact that a person is black only shows that he or she is more "suited" or "adapted" to live in a more tropical climate with warmer weather and more sunlight. These adaptations do not in any way indicate any biological superiority of one race over another. They indicate only that one person could be at an advantage over another person if he or she lived in a given area or region of the world.

As a result, this new insight leads me to completely dismiss all the previous and false assumptions about race made by past anthropologists, biologists, politicians and others such as Josiah Clark Nott and Dres Scott who claimed that the caucasian race is in everyway superior to the African race or other races. Innumerable evidence from time indicates that such theories stem from members of society such as white people who were historically much wealthier and better off than Africans whom many whites have falsely, and until recently, always deemed inferior. Thus, these theories are not based on reality but rather on plain ignorance of scientific evidence and sometimes in many cases, racism.

Student: Wilson Franklin    Date: Tuesday September 1st 2009 22:01
Journal Entry: Recently, race was once again brought up in the news media.  Current Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor was criticized for her choice of words stating that “a wise Latina woman…would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male…”  Personally, I believe her quote was taken out of context. Nonetheless, it sheds light on the fact that many peoples’ decisions are influenced by race, even if it is subconscious.

I believe to eliminate racism, we must first eliminate stereotypes.  Essentially Judge Sotomayor was saying the stereotypical Latina would make better choices than the stereotypical white male.  This reflects the notion that race today is based more upon stereotypical opinion rather than any actual cultural, biological, or ethnic truths.

Student: Alex Cotter    Date: Tuesday September 1st 2009 22:05
Journal Entry: After the first week of class I agree with just about every other post. It seems so much original work was laid out to justify the treatment of others. Yet ultimately race does not have a genetic background.  The linking of physical characteristics and intangible characteristics just doesn’t work.  But does this mean that there is no such thing as “race” in America?  After so many generations of people believing in the concept of race it has become part of our culture and I do not think any one could argue that.  I feel like today we are so worried about being politically correct that we try to make races equal instead of acknowledging that it is a faulty concept.  If there is not genetic proof of race nor can we all agree on what makes a race then how can we justify having racial categories on standardized tests?  Yet they are still there. Despite the gradual gradations we find on earth, people are still split into rigid categories in the U.S. I look forward to learning more about the evolution of the concept of race, how it has influenced our lives and where we go from here. 

Student: Scott Daniel    Date: Tuesday September 1st 2009 23:41
Journal Entry: Upon reading the material and reviewing the lecture notes about past historical notions of classifying humans, I have come to the realization that individuals in a group with differences in physical traits seem to adamantly pursue the notion of someone being completely genetically different from them, inside and out. As creatures that inherently seek an explanation for what we see with the naked eye, the idea of specific, genetically unique “races” must have seemed at one point an excellent answer to a question we have been asking and seeking to answer for eons. Instead, it lethargically scratches the surface of heritable variations amongst differing groups that aren’t so different. One point of interest from the readings is a statement that Graves makes that the ancient Greeks would adopt a “barbarian” from another group into their society if the individual adopted the culture of the Greeks. This feeds into the fallible generalization that physical and cultural characteristics amongst individuals can be discarded with their assimilation into a socially “superior” group. Regardless of man’s ideas of what race is and whether or not someone can ever truly alter socio-cultural preconceived notions about himself or herself, people will always, at least to a degree, use someone’s basic physical characteristics from the neck up to negatively lump them into a social category as long as there exists outward differences. But with the progression of society into a global “melting pot” of sorts, these vague and horribly outdated interpretations of races can only hold up for so much longer.

Student: Jonathan Williams    Date: Tuesday September 8th 2009 19:49
Journal Entry: The idea which I wish to discuss is not one that we have so far specifically in class, but the video that we watched today brought it to mind as it has to deal with Native Americans. I have found it intriguing in a fashion how many people, when it comes to Native Americans, have a somewhat dually ambiguous feeling towards them, especially among older generations of Whites. When speaking to my older people from the White, Southern side of my family, they would speak of a deep respect towards Native Americans, since they saw them as being noble. However, sometimes they would refer to them as being deceptive and sneaky. I heard of one of the older friends of my family saying once that a person who had been deceptive must be “part Indian.” This seemingly hypocritical viewpoint struck me as odd, but I have noticed it in society as a whole, though not so extreme. For instance, Native American actors are rarely seen outside of a role which was not specifically written for a Native American actor. While major actors of White or Black heritage may be seen in non-race specific roles, this is not so for Native American actors.  For instance, Denzel Washington, a prominent Black actor, may be seen in roles which could have been played by either White or Black actors. In Much Ado About Nothing, for instance, he played an Italian Prince. Such a role would very likely never be offered to people like Russell Means or Wes Studi, two prominent Native American actors.
This duality in treatment towards natives is also present in Mexico. Mexicans usually take an attitude of deference towards the native cultures in general while taking a somewhat belligerent attitudes towards Spain for its colonization of Mexico. However, when dealing with individuals of indigenous background, they will be passed over for jobs, treated harshly, even insulted by many Mexicans. For instance, a woman I met in Mexico(not of blood relation) would not eat meat using a taco because as she put it that was “how Indians ate.” Though this was an abnormally extreme attitude to take (we all thought she was a bit crazy for saying this), it is indicative of the duality in attitudes towards the native culture, deference mixed with dislike.

Student: Alex Cotter    Date: Tuesday September 8th 2009 21:43
Journal Entry: This week we watched the second part of the video.  I would like to talk about a certain piece of the video.  I had never known that human zoos were part of the world’s fair.  I thought that the 1904 world’s fair was particularly interesting because the people on display came from the newly acquired land from Spanish American War.  Many people had never even seen who we were now controlling. People tried to apply their views of other races onto these new people since they lacked real information.  The idea of people taking pictures with these captives just struck me as wrong.  It showed the belief of the time; they are different and not as developed and so it was ok for people to treat them as animals in a zoo.  This just seems so wrong today but it was the culture of the time.  I think this brings me to the one thing that struck me the most today. The fact that race was pushed as a way to identify with the upper class. The idea that while you are poor at least you are white seems weird.  Maybe it is because as I have grown up I have constantly been told that the U.S. is a melting pot of cultures.  I never thought that the fact that I was considered white was more important than any other characteristic of my life.

Student: Kim Laing    Date: Tuesday September 8th 2009 21:49
Journal Entry: Kimberley Laing
Sept 8, 2009
Journal Entry
I understand and agree with Buffon’s statement that humans suffer from the environment and adaptation and thus we experience physical differences. I think this provides a more logical view of race and racial differences. However I don’t believe that there should be racial categories because with the development of categories comes a hierarchical system that would make one category better or above the other. I believe that the six categories of races are an unwise and an unnecessary concept.
I don’t agree with Buffon’s concept of degeneration. I don’t think that there is any such thing as a pure or perfect race. Differences makes humans unique and worth exploration. It is like saying that the German’s concept of a pure Arian race was correct. I have a little trouble understanding how Buffon, out of all the locations in the world, came up with Caspian Sea as the area for these perfect humans?
What does skull type have to do with race?-Blumenbach position and Morton’s measurement of skull volume. I am not sure that this argument should even be considered among the argument for race because it is such a far-reaching concept. It is very funny the ideas and concepts you can come up with all in the name of science.
After reading Chapter 3 in Graves it seemed as though all the nineteenth century scientists thought of the Negro race as inferior. Where did the concept of racial inferior come from, slavery? Or Was this view developed before?
I support the conclusion made my Graves at the end of Chapter 3. I believe the number of scientific studies and the misrepresentation and difference among the ideas and theories of race, influenced the public’s opinion about race and in essence created the social disparity that we have today. I believe that the science of race and the debate about race heavily influenced the shape and direction of society.

Student: Amelia Houghton    Date: Tuesday September 8th 2009 22:09
Journal Entry: Watching the second episode of race: Power of Illusion I was surprised to learn of the many discriminatory statements Thomas Jefferson made during his career. The man that stated, “all men are equal” also said that Africans/Blacks were inferior to white people in both body and mind. I find it hard to believe that society never questions the contradictions, but then again the American society only ever knew of Africans/Blacks as slaves and “inferior” people so why question it?
I also think that the main contributor to present day racism was the need for people to prove that their “race” was superior and therefore putting ideas into everyone’s heads as to why other races were inferior.
As I post this comment I’m watching Sons of Anarchy (good and studious multi-tasking) and one of the characters just made the comment “Never put money before race!” This character refuses to do business with non-whites. As we know, racism is everywhere. I don’t know if it is my naïveté or wish full thinking, but I did not think that racism to this extreme was still as prevalent as it is.
Sitting in a doctor’s office last year a man walked into the waiting room and sat down, I of course was people watching and couldn’t help but notice that he had a swastika tattooed on his hand! As I said before, we know that racism is everywhere, but in this day and age I wouldn’t expect such blatant acts of bigotry.

Student: Scott Daniel    Date: Tuesday September 8th 2009 22:24
Journal Entry: It was interesting to find how one of our most revered and revolutionary thinkers on race and natural selection, Charles Darwin, still displayed a certain degree of reluctance in placing all races on a level playing field. Darwin’s view that all races were of the same species was incredibly groundbreaking in and of itself, but his idea that “not all races were equivalent in the struggle for existence” (Graves 58) does not seem to focus on the cultural and environmental restrictions placed on certain groups as much as it focuses on the predetermined cultural superiority of the dominant group. I feel that Darwin missed the idea that the reason so many groups were “culturally inferior” to Europeans was because of the restrictions and lack of tolerance that were enforced by Europeans in their explorations. Did Darwin see the disparities between the groups and believe that Europeans contained a natural dominance over other races, or did he observe that a primary reason for their advancement and cultural upper hand was because of their detrimental actions towards others? His proposing of heritable superior characteristics amongst Caucasians seems to contradict his views of every one of us being of the exact same species.

Student: Tae Ho Kim    Date: Tuesday September 8th 2009 23:22
Journal Entry: I could learn a lot of things, which are historical racism of America through last few classes. In the past, African American and white people had some problems because of difference of race. However, I think currently many American people have open-minded about race. They are trying to understand each other.
When I heard about slavery, I thought it was sad history of America. Moreover, when I watched video on Tuesday class, I could know more things about history of slavery. On the video, not only African American but also native American and Chinese entered the stage of American history. The video talked about Thomas Jefferson, who was the president of America. He tried many times to abolish slavery, but it was difficult. I want to know Thomas Jefferson more. So, I am going to find his information.
Anyway, recently I am learning history of race of America. It is very interesting to me. My view is becoming broader about America and race.

Student: Josh Flayhart    Date: Tuesday September 8th 2009 23:30
Journal Entry: Always wondered where the name "caucasian" came from, found out some whif named Johann Blumenbach coined the term. Being from the republic of Ireland, we've always named "white" people caucasians and everyone else was considered either "orange irish" or "black" irish, etc. according to the lineage of one's ancestors dating back to whether you had Protestant blood or Catholic blood running through your veins. I am familiar with the american history of black slaves and such; the english regarded the Celtics as inferior, but prejudice takes many forms, not all of them based on a concrete conception of the victim as a biologically distinct race. I reckon "race" has always been a warped term and we've lost the whole concept of its true form when it should just refer to where you were originally born.

Student: Colby Smith    Date: Tuesday September 8th 2009 23:37
Journal Entry: At first I was going to rant about the generalizations that people seem to always make with things concerning race, but I think I’ll save that for a Tuesday when I’m unable to think of something else.
Instead, what has always struck me as odd is the fact that most Europeans, mainly lower class Englishmen, came to America to escape the religious oppression in England, as well as debt.   There they felt they were made to be inferior, and ostracized due to their socio-economic standing and religious beliefs.  Many of these men wanted a new world, one of their own creation, where they could be free to believe what they wanted, and also to be free of their burdensome financial situations.   
In America they established the fact that “all men are created equal” as the video we watched in class reiterated numerous times, yet they clearly turned around and enslaved Africans and forcefully stole the land of peace loving Natives.  These were Africans who didn’t want to be in America in the first place; Africans who were taken from their homelands and sold by other Africans of other villages.  People, mainly Englishmen, all throughout America enslaved these Africans against their wills and treated them as property rather than as equals, though they, too, were men.  The Natives were forced off their lands, whether they cooperated in the beginning or not, because these Englishmen were greedy.
The more slaves one owned, the wealthier he was seen in the eyes of another.  The more land a man owned, the more economically well-off he was.  It seems to me that all of this was done to merely compensate for all the injustices these “men” were dealt by their fellows back in England.  They felt an overwhelming need to prove themselves because they knew they were truly inadequate.  It reminds me of high school, honestly.  Those with little self-assurance try to exert power over others they deem weaker, or lesser, beings to make themselves feel better and more confident in the end.
It’s just silly.  The modern definition and ideas of race that some still believe today were formulated over 200 years ago in the minds of men who merely had a need to over compensate because they were too weak to stand up for themselves in their home country.  They escaped oppression just to oppress others.  This land was built on hypocrisy and I am only embarrassed more every time I am reminded of this fact, because it’s sadly obvious that there are still those who carry such mindsets today.

Student: David Luiken    Date: Tuesday September 8th 2009 23:52
Journal Entry: After watching the video today, I jotted down a thought that held my attention for a while: Why do we as human beings feel the need to come up with answers to the differences that we see in the world around us?  Maybe the obvious answer is that the human is a thinking being, constantly questioning things.
I think that there is something in us that tells us what is innately right or moral, some underlying conscience.  I think this innate conscience tells us that all human beings were created equal.  This is how Agassiz was thinking when he arrived in the U.S. from Europe.  What changed his mind?  I think that he saw a group of people with a culture so different from his own that it frightened him.  Something in him needed to explain what was different about the white man in relation to the African slave.  Maybe it was also pressure from the popular scientists of the day working in the United States who were publishing studies with racist conclusions. 
In my mind, the corruption of Agassiz’s view of African-Americans demonstrates the danger of seeking to classify or judge the differences that we observe around us.  Without this tendency, ideas on race would probably not exist.  

Student: Evan Mize    Date: Wednesday September 9th 2009 18:56
Journal Entry: In race Power of Illusion I was intrigued to hear the case of race and our constitution. I had never connected the dots between the inequality of our Bill of Rights and slavery. While I watch the video and read the quotes I began thinking of the roots of our race problem. I believe there is a case to be made that stems back to Europe. It is possible that nationalist inequalities in Europe were replaced by racial inequalities. Take the British view of Irish as lower class citizens. I don’t believe this is an excuse but a small in sight to the roots of some of our problems.

Student: Zack Stillings    Date: Tuesday September 15th 2009 16:27
Journal Entry: After having read both books last night, I cannot help but feel a large degree of frustration with all three authors.  I feel as though I’m privy to a debate where both sides refuse to acknowledge any weaknesses whatsoever in their arguments. For example, Sarich and Miele describe Galton as a genius, and even go so far as to title his subheading of their book as “Darwin’s Smarter Younger Cousin” (80). They credit him with not only his advances in the thoughts of race at the time, but also his work in other scientific fields. Graves, however, cites him as an “intellectual mediocrity, a sham, and a villain” (100). Franz Boas was similarly both lauded and vilified. Can we get to the Wells book yet?
Also, it is true that our scientists applauded Nazi eugenics, but it struck me that the list of defects within the Nazi law did not include Semitic ancestry.  I am curious, then, as to how the extermination of Jews was justified, especially among American scientists, within the confines of the American-originated ideas on eugenics.
Finally - the Darwin movie article. Haha.

Student: Kim Laing    Date: Tuesday September 15th 2009 19:44
Journal Entry: Kimberley Laing
September 15, 2009
I thought today’s class was very interesting because it allowed me to see the perspectives of so many other influential thinker’s (outside the U.S) that helped shape the concept of race.  My first problem is with Galton. Galton graded the races based on their contribution to society. The word ‘contribution’ is up for interpretation, did the person of a particular race have to invent the telephone, or just merely feed the homeless? What was the meaning of a 'significant contribution'? Who were considered 'people of eminence'?
These scientists, whom I dislike, serve to quantify everything by grouping the races into different ranks but their basis for the different levels of rank is abstract. It is based on a terms that have so many interpretations.
After reading all the concepts presented in today’s lecture on variation, I found that most of the influential people of the 20th century were racist. How can there be any difference in thinking in society if the people who implement law and policy have biases? These influential contributors came one right after another, constantly indoctrinating the issue of superiority among the races. It is now that I am no longer surprised as to why some people refuse to let go of the past and that race is still a big issue. They have been brainwashed too long.
American’s seem to forget that the Unites States was built by immigrants and some of the successes of the United States were based on immigrant labor. So the Harvard graduates of 1899 and the others that followed, who one would think would be smart intelligent people, obviously forgot this concept. Had this been in their minds, the Immigration Restriction League would have been nothing more than a mere myth.
I think that the concept of Eugenics tips the racist iceberg. Davenport’s concept of feebleminded people has no definite outlines. People are not born stupid, as a baby you learn from your environment and culture not because your parents were less than intelligent. Again it is an abstract word used to convince the layman that there were differences among people.
Despite Hitler tyrannical leadership and murderous ways, it was the United States and their intellectual thinkers and Harvard graduates and scientists that influenced the Nazi Sterilization policy. Who would have thought?

Student: Jonathan Williams    Date: Tuesday September 15th 2009 19:55
Journal Entry: Something that was new and surprising to me were the contradictions within the definitions and arguments of the various scientists. Many of them claimed to want to better the human race through the exclusion of social undesirables. However, they based their arguments on the argument of certain people being genetically unsuitable to procreate. This statement does not fit in with the list of peoples that they wished to exclude. How could one of the scientists argue that orphans were genetically unsuitable for reproduction? Did they actually believe that there is an orphan gene to be passed down? Such an idea would be ludicrous to believe, even for the scientist that came up with it. Therefore, he made that argument knowing full well that he was eliminating someone who might be just as genetically fit as anybody else, the only difference being life status. Another scientist labeled popularity as a factor in deciding who could and could not reproduce. How could they use popularity, a trait which largely depends on the actions of people around one, to better the human race genetically? Many of the greatest generals, scientists, artists, and other notables have not been what one would label as “popular.” Therefore, cutting unpopular people out of a population would hardly serve to better the population genetically. Thus, these scientists, who claimed to be trying to make humanity better were only serving to hurt what seemed to be the lower classes of society, the poor, the needy, the unpopular (classes which the scientists did not belong to) and, in so doing, turned an already immoral action and making it even more so by tricking the populace into putting it into action.

Student: Colby Smith    Date: Tuesday September 15th 2009 22:03
Journal Entry: After class, I was more than ready to go off on a rambling rant for obvious reasons.  I’ll just leave it with the fact that I find my country’s history worse than I’d ever thought possible.  Obviously, I was never aware of such inhumane processes of sterilization being supported by our country’s government - being a woman, I was even more outraged by the idea..
However, I was only able to reach my computer now that my Tuesday night class, a geography course on natural hazards, is finished for the evening.  Today, we discussed Hurricane Katrina.  I’m fairly sure that most of the class (sorry to exclude those from other countries) are at least somewhat knowledgeable of the events which took place in New Orleans in August of 2005.  Along with that, I’m certain that almost everyone is aware of the racial stigma that followed once the disaster had passed.
Many people were of the opinion that the reason help didn’t come sooner, or those forced to stay in their homes or at the Superdome of NOLA, was because those people were mainly Black.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t help that the majority of those who stayed behind (whether willingly or not) were, in fact, Black/African-American/whatever-the-heck-else-you-want-to-name-them.  It is also argued that those who were able to evacuate, or those that were assisted in doing so first, were white. This, too, does carry some truth.  But, in my opinion at least, it does not seem to be because of race; rather, it is because of the individual’s socioeconomic status.
Hmm... Maybe a bit of background is necessary.  No, I’m not from New Orleans, but I was living in Louisiana at the time that Katrina occurred, so I may know a few more details than the average person (not laying a claim, just trying not to assume that this is all common knowledge).  Evacuation wasn’t started quite early or quickly enough to get all of those without transportation (about 100,000 people – 1/5 the population of NOLA) out of the city, but many were offered yet refused.  Instead, people elected to stay in the city, as they’d survived hurricanes before easily.  These people were then forced to move themselves to the Superdome, if able, once they realized how bad the storm was actually going to be; buses were no longer able to reach them, nor were buses able to leave that could.
Most of the people that had their own forms of transportation or attempted to leave New Orleans in a timely manner were the wealthier, higher class people – many of the better off people of the city were White.  These people also appeared to live in the neighborhoods which were damaged the least, or hit the least severely by flooding and the like.  To make the racial matter even worse, those Whites who managed to stay the storm in their homes were apparently the people to whom rescue crews went first.  This could be because of skin color, but I am of the belief it is more because they were in less severely hit areas, where they were more easily accessible.
While not all who left were White, and not all who stayed were Black, there is a sharp contrast in the percentages of “race” represented in each group.  It’s no wonder that many people turn to blame racism in those who helped and the government as the culprit.  Whereas it may have some significance, I feel that it is minimal (though statistics on their own may beg to differ).  In my opinion, it was merely a product of who had the money to be helped, or who was most easily accessible.  But racism has become a scapegoat in our country for many, and it’s hardly difficult to see why.  With America’s history, more recent than I’d like to admit, how could it not be?

Student: Luke Bechta    Date: Tuesday September 15th 2009 22:22
Journal Entry:  
            When I read the information from this week about how the early “scientists” from the 18th and 19th centuries determined the value of different human beings and how their theories came to impact the people considered “not desirable” then it made me cringe.  These guys theorized things such as for example that intelligence was genetically inherited, that Africans were inferior because of the fact that, they had not constructed a civilization that resembled that of Europeans, and that the intelligence of some dogs was higher than that of some aboriginal Indians. Not only that, they were biased in their observations and included “evidence” in their writings and findings that only supported their biased views, and none that disproved them. Just like Graves described, they based their findings on pseudoscience because what they proposed could not really be scientifically tested or proven, but it also seems like they also deliberately twisted the information by not including any evidence that disproved their theories. How this was not recognized and their theories not questioned more, baffles me.
It shows how much racism and ignorance existed in society back then. People could have questioned these theories more but just chose not to because it was easier to just accept them as facts. I have a lot of problems with these Harvard intellectuals who completely accepted these theories as facts. If your IQ is so big, if you come from wealthy and influential families, there is a very good chance that you were sent off to the best schools that your money could afford. In these schools, you should have been taught to think for yourself and only accept theories that were supported by some sort of consistent scientific evidence. This is especially true if you’re enrolled at an institution such as Harvard. These “intellectuals” who accepted these findings not only accepted them without actually questioning them in any way, but also formed organizations such as the Immigration Restriction League. The consequences of these findings also led to the Immigration Act of 1924, and also helped to bring about the racist ideology of the Nazis.
In my opinion, the individuals who attempted to portray other races and nationalities as inferior by knowingly squewing the evidence to support their theories and throwing out evidence that disproved them are criminals who should have been locked up.

Student: Andrew Watkins    Date: Tuesday September 15th 2009 22:29
Journal Entry: Throughout the first few weeks of this class, we have learned about several of the different leading spokesmen on the issues of race. Most of the people we have learned about have preached ideas that are now considered to be outrageous. I was slightly relieved in today’s class after learning about Franz Boaz. He seems to be the only person so far who seems to realize that the people of Africa and the rest of the world are not that different. Although some of his ideas were well ahead of his