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Race UnmaskedBiology and Race in the Twentieth Century$
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Michael Yudell

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231168748

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231168748.001.0001

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Biology and the Problem of the Color Line

Biology and the Problem of the Color Line

(p.95) 6 Biology and the Problem of the Color Line
Race Unmasked

Michael Yudell

J. Craig Venter

Columbia University Press

This chapter tackles how W. E. B. Du Bois criticized the very foundation of American racial ideology, the legitimacy of the race concept, at a time when science was being used to justify racist ideas. Anthropologist Franz Boas was in support of Du Bois, as he confronted the issue of the alleged black biological inferiority. The physical inferiority of the Negro race is insignificant in comparison to the wide range of individual racial variability. Du Bois certainly hoped that intellect would triumph over ignorance and that the biologizing of race would be stopped. He further states that only faith in humanity will lead the world to rise above its current color prejudice. The chapter also examines Jacques Barzun's efforts to historicize the race concept, along with objections to its inconsistency, elusiveness, statistical fallacy, fallacy of genetic predetermination, and absolutism.

Keywords:   W. E. B. Du Bois, American racial ideology, Franz Boas, Negro race, biologizing of race, color prejudice, Jacques Barzun, race concept

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