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Race and the Genetic RevolutionScience, Myth, and Culture$
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Sheldon Krimsky and Kathleen Sloan

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780231156974

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231156974.001.0001

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How Science Embraced the Racialization of Human Populations

(p.1) Introduction
Race and the Genetic Revolution

Sheldon Krimsky

Columbia University Press

This introductory chapter briefly examines the persistence of the concept of human races within science and the impact of the concept on disparities among people of different geographical ancestries. It also discusses the role of modern genetics on reinscribing and objectifying the concept of “race” in science and society with the help of the Council for Responsible Genetics (CRG). Historically, the concept of race has been rejected by science, but nevertheless remains an indisputable part of discourse—becoming a scientific myth and a social reality. The idea of having a fixed, unalterable human morphological or genetic quality of certain population groups, transmitted from generation to generation, is disfavored by scientists. However, scholars in the early twentieth century began to apply modern genetics to racial classification, using it to sort humans into “categories,” which proves to be the main root of the concept's persistence.

Keywords:   race, geographical ancestries, modern genetics, Council for Responsible Genetics, scientific myth, social reality, genetic quality, population groups, racial classification

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