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Race, ethnicity, culture and diversity are pressing societal issues.

The ambiguities and confusion associated with determining theboundaries of racial categories have over time provoked a widespreadscholarly consensus that discrete or essentialist races aresocially constructed, not biologically real. However, significantscholarly debate persists regarding whether reproductive isolation,either during human evolution or through modern practices barringmiscegenation, may have generated sufficient genetic isolation as tojustify using the term race to signify the existence of non-discretehuman groups that share not only physical phenotypes but also clustersof genetic material. In addition, scholarly debate exists concerningthe formation and character of socially constructed, discrete racialcategories. For instance, some scholars suggest that race isinconceivable without racialized social hierarchies, while others arguethat egalitarian race relations are possible. Finally, substantialcontroversy surrounds the moral status of racial identity andsolidarity and the justice and legitimacy of policies or institutionsaimed at undermining racial inequality.

Like many sociological ideas, racism has a familiar use and countless everyday meanings.

This sounds a bit cliché but a deeper analysis of American history in regards to race and ethnicity cements the fact that race would not exist if it did not serve as a method of maintaining power and control on numerous occasions regardless of time or area.

Race and Racism: Essays in Social Geography - Google …

Jackson, Peter, ed. Race and Racism: Essays in Social Geography. New York: Routledge, 2003.

Charles Mills, extending his critique of how early modern socialcontract thinking obfuscates racial injustice (1997), fears thatRawls's ideal theory can similarly serve as an ideology thatwhitewashes non-white oppression (Mills 2013). But rather thanjettisoning a contractarian approach entirely, Mills instead developsa model of a non-ideal contract, in which the parties do not knowtheir own racial identities but are aware of their society's historyof racial exploitation and its effects. Because the parties know ofracial hierarchy but do not know if they will be its beneficiaries orvictims, Mills hypothesizes that they will rationally agree to racialreparations as a form of corrective or rectificatory justice (Patemanand Mills 2007, Chapters 3, 4, 8).

Shelby (2005, 7) briefly mentions that his pragmatic, politicalversion of black solidarity is compatible with JohnRawls's Political Liberalism, but his more detailed defenseof the ideal social contract method of Rawls's A Theory ofJustice for theorizing racial justice has drawn substantialcontroversy (Shelby 2004). Elizabeth Anderson eshews ideal theory foranalyzing racial justice because it assumes motivational and cognitivecapacities beyond those of ordinary humans; it risks promoting idealnorms (like colorblindness) under unjust conditions that requirerace-specific policies; and its idealizing assumptions, like anoriginal position in which parties do not know relevant personal andsocial racial facts, precludes recognition of historical and presentracial injustice. She instead uses a normative framework of democraticequality to ground her moral imperative of integration.

Race and Racism: Essays in Social Geography: Peter …

However, Dalton claims in “Horatio Alger” that race and other factors determine how successful a person can be.

A selection of essays derived from papers given at the conference held by the Social Geography Study Group of the Institute of British Geographers at Coventry (Lanchester) Polytechnic on the subject of 'Race and racism.'

Shelby responds that, while Rawls's ideal theory of justice excludes atheory of rectification because it is not comprehensive, rectificatoryjustice is not only complementary but in fact presupposes an idealtheory that can clarify when injustices have occurred and need to berectified. More importantly, Shelby suggests that complying withrectificatory justice through racial reparations could well leaveblacks living in a society that nevertheless remains racially unjustin other ways. For this reason, Shelby concludes that ideal theoryremains indispensable (2013).

Structural racism is system used in society that produces inequalities based on race in institutions and the social realm (Wikipedia 2013)....
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Race and Racism: Essays in Social Geography ..

Ron Mallon (2004, 2006, 2007) provides a nice sketch of thecontemporary philosophical terrain regarding the status of the conceptof race, dividing it into three valid competing schools of thoughtregarding the ontological status of race, along with the discardedbiological conception. Racial naturalism signifies the old,biological conception of race, which depicts races as bearing“biobehavioral essences: underlying natural (and perhaps genetic)properties that (1) are heritable, biological features, (2) are sharedby all and only the members of a race, and (3) explain behavioral,characterological, and cultural predispositions of individual personsand racial groups” (2006, 528–529). While philosophers andscientists have reached the consensus against racial naturalism,philosophers nevertheless disagree on the possible ontological statusof a different conception of race. Mallon divides such disagreementsinto three metaphysical camps (racial skepticism,racial constructivism, and racial populationnaturalism) and two normative camps(eliminativism and conservationism).

Race and Racism: Essays in Social Geography, 1987 | …

Astronger anthropological rejection of the biological conception of racewas leveled by Ashley Montagu (1905–1999). Drawing on insights frommodern, experimental genetics, Montagu forcefully argued that theanthropological conception of race relied on grouping together variousperceptible physical characteristics, whereas the real building blocksof evolution were genes, which dictated biological changes amongpopulations at a much finer level. The morphological traits associatedwith race, thus, were gross aggregates of a variety of genetic changes,some of which resulted in physically perceptible characteristics, manyothers of which resulted in imperceptible changes. Moreover, sincegenetic evolution can occur through both the mixture of different genesand the mutation of the same gene over generations, the traitsassociated with races cannot be attributed to discrete lines of geneticdescent, since the dark skin and curly hair of one individual mayresult from genetic mixture while the same traits in another individualmay result from genetic mutation (Bernasconi and Lott 2000, 100–107).Montagu’s efforts eventually resulted in the publication of anofficial statement denying the biological foundations of race by theUnited Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization(UNESCO) in 1950, although it would take until 1996 for the AmericanAssociation of Physical Anthropologists (AAPA) to publish a similardocument (Brace 2005, 239).

Race and Racism: Essays in Social Geography

Racial constructivism refers to the argument that, even ifbiological race is false, races have come into existence and continueto exist through “human culture and human decisions”(Mallon 2007, 94). Race constructivists accept the skeptics’dismissal of biological race but argue that the term still meaningfullyrefers to the widespread grouping of individuals into certaincategories by society, indeed often by the very members of such racialascriptions. Normatively, race constructivists argue that since societylabels people according to racial categories, and since such labelingoften leads to race-based differences in resources, opportunities, andwell-being, the concept of race must be conserved, in order tofacilitate race-based social movements or policies, such as affirmativeaction, that compensate for socially constructed but socially relevantracial differences. While sharing this normative commitment to raceconservationism, racial constructivists can be subdivided intothree groups with slightly different accounts of the ontology ofrace.

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