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The Brian Ferguson Interview

I talked with Rutgers University professor of anthropology R. Brian Ferguson about Steven Pinker, Napoleon Chagnon, Marvin Harris, anthropo...

Saturday, September 21, 2019

UPDATE: Virginia reconsiders its devotion to race science

Recently Pinkerite noted the state of Virginia was being sued for requiring self-classification of race for marriage licenses.

The good news is Couples in Virginia Can Marry Without Disclosing Their Race
The attorney general said denying a marriage license for a couple’s refusal to disclose their race poses “serious constitutional questions.” New forms include a “declined to answer” option.
The article links to the list of races provided by Virginia, and it's amazing. The race science proponents of Quillette could never be so imaginative. Among the races listed are "English," "French" and "English-French," "European, " "Jackson (Jack) White " (???) , "Japanese" and "Nipponese," "Octaroon" and "Quadroon," "Red" and "Zorastrian" (the last is a religion.)

But hey, who is to say they are wrong, since the presumed experts on race, the proponents of race science have declared that you can invent any race classification system you like, as long as it works for you maaaaahn.

For the record here are some of the race science categories proposed by race science proponents:

The Winegard/Boutwell system:
Caucasians, East Asians, Africans, Native Americans, and Australian Aborigines
The Gottfredson/Molyneux system
Ashkenazi Jew, Asian, Caucasian, Hispanic, African-Americans, Africans
The system used by Kevin Beaver, J. C. Barnes , Brian B. Boutwell, J. Mitchell Miller, Rashaan A. DeShay, Norman White
White, Black, Hispanic, Asian, Other
"Hispanic" is not a race in the same way that "white" and "black" are races, since Hispanics as a group have African and European and other ancestries, but in two of the "race" classification schemes above, they throw Hispanic in anyway. And the Winegard/Boutwell system mentions East Asians but not South Asians, so where does that leave people from India? Are they counting Indians as Caucasian? But yet Indians are counted as "black" in the race classification of England. Meanwhile, the Gottfredson/Molyneux system doesn't mention Native Americans at all, are they counting them in with Asians?

And amusingly, Brian Boutwell is represented by two difference systems, one which counts Hispanic as a race, and one which does not.

It's a big steaming mess, the race classification systems of race science. But as the Winegards and Boutwell make clear, you can invent a system that is useful to you. And to hell with standards, reason, coherence or empiricism.