The science on race is clear. Common categories like "Black", "white", and "Asian" do not represent genetic differences among groups. But if race is a pernicious fiction according to natural science, it is all too significant in the day-to-day lives of racialized people across the globe. Inequities in health, wealth, and an array of other life outcomes cannot be explained without referring to "race" – but their true source is racism. What do we need to know about the pseudoscience of race in order to fight racism and fulfil human potential?
In this book, two distinguished scientists tackle common misconceptions about race, human biology, and racism. Using an accessible question-and-answer format, Joseph L. Graves Jr. and Alan H. Goodman explain the differences between social and biological notions of race. Although there are many meaningful human genetic variations, they do not map onto socially constructed racial categories. Drawing on evidence from both natural and social science, Graves and Goodman dismantle the malignant myth of gene-based racial difference. They demonstrate that the ideology of racism created races and show why the inequalities ascribed to race are in fact caused by racism.
Graves and Goodman provide persuasive and timely answers to key questions about race and racism for a moment when people of all backgrounds are striving for social justice. Racism, Not Race shows readers why antiracist principles are both just and backed by sound science.
List of Questions
Introduction: What Are Race, Racism, and Human Variation?
1. How Did Race Become Biological?
2. Everything You Wanted to Know About Genetics and Race
3. Everything You Wanted to Know About Racism
4. Why Do Races Differ in Disease Incidence?
5. Life History, Aging, and Mortality
6. Athletics, Bodies, and Abilities
7. Intelligence, Brains, and Behaviors
8. Driving While Black and Other Deadly Realities of Institutional and Systemic Racism
9. DNA and Ancestry Testing
10. Race Names and “Race Mixing”
11. A World Without Racism?
Joseph L. Graves, Jr. is a professor in the Department of Biology at North Carolina A&T State University. He is a fellow of the Council of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. His books include The Emperor’s New Clothes: Biological Theories of Race at the Millennium (2001) and The Race Myth: Why We Pretend Race Exists in America (2005).
Alan H. Goodman is a professor of biological anthropology at Hampshire College and a former vice president for academic affairs. He is a past president of the American Anthropological Association and codirects its public education project on race. He is a co-author of Race: Are We So Different? (second edition, 2019), among other books.
– Named a Best Nonfiction Book of the Year and One of the Best Books About Being Black in America for 2021 by Kirkus Reviews
" What a timely and thoughtful book, posing in Socratic fashion the central questions of our struggling republic."
– Ken Burns, filmmaker
"In this timely and important book, Professors Graves and Goodman provide detailed explanations in response to questions about race and racism. They have also followed the 'Noah principle.' Indeed, it is not enough to simply predict the rain. One must also build arks. And that is what Professors Graves and Goodman have done. They offer concrete steps that can be taken to help to eliminate the scourge of racism, as well as other systems of oppression, that continue to plague our nation."
– Johnnetta Betsch Cole, author of Racism in American Public Life: A Call to Action
"A timely tapestry of questions and answers on race and racism! Joseph Graves and Alan Goodman have intricately disentangled and woven together biological race, socially defined race, and racism, providing a strategy for addressing not only the consequences of systemic racism but more importantly, the root cause – the ideology of a hierarchy of human value. Brilliant work!"
– Charmaine DM Royal, director of the Duke Center on Genomics, Race, Identity, Difference
"In Racism, Not Race, Graves and Goodman lay out comprehensively and accessibly why notions of race are social constructs that cannot be justified in biological terms. Packed with contemporary and historical references that place race in perspective, this is an authoritative clarification of an issue that is critically important for society but is widely misunderstood despite its ever more pressing ramifications. A valuable resource."
– Ian Tattersall, author of Troublesome Science: The Misuse of Genetics and Genomics in Understanding Race
"An entertaining and informative read that will serve as a jumping-off point for countless discussions about racism."
– Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"Brings a new angle and an accessible approach to the ongoing reckoning with race in America."
– Publishers Weekly
"Joseph Graves Jr and Alan Goodman explain why race isn't a biological fact and ponder why society continues to act as if it is."
– New Scientist
"Racism and white supremacy are killing people every day, harming society at large, and fostering deep injustice. Graves and Goodman demonstrate why antiracism is not just an ethical and scientifically correct position, but why it is also necessary for the future of science and society."
"Racism, Not Race is definitely the type of book we need."
– Kara Reviews
"It is a testament to the value of interdisciplinary collaboration, and drives home the point that dissociating human variation from race, arguably one of the twentieth-century's greatest scientific achievements, has been a multi-disciplinary task."
– Ethnic and Racial Studies
"It could not be easier to use if it was an audiobook that read itself to you."
– Expendable Mudge Muses Aloud
"Given the significance of the information it conveys and the approachability of the writing, every biology educator will benefit from reading this book and sharing its ideas with students [...] an indispensable tool for our biology classrooms."
– American Biology Teacher