The idea that humans belong to “races”
that differ from one another in discrete ways is an outdated
concept that has no biological basis.
While it is true
that forensic scientists can sometimes determine a
person’s ancestry from such subtle clues as features of
the skull and DNA, it is important to realize that 85% of
human variation lies within, not between, populations.
As a species
humans are more homogeneous genetically than nearly all other
mammals, so that the approximately 6.7 billion people living
in the world today are less diverse genetically than the
estimated 150,000 wild chimpanzees living in Africa.
The reason we
are so closely related to one another is that we are all
descended from a common ancestor living in Africa, and
so-called racial differences (including differences in skin
color) are the result of local adaptations to climates and
environments in areas of the world that people colonized
after leaving Africa in the past 70,000-or-so-years.
therefore teaches us that differences between human
populations are not deeply engrained, as was once believed.
In this talk, I
will discuss how racism (discrimination or prejudice based on
race) stems from the fallacious idea that ancestry accounts
for differences in human character or ability.
I will argue
that an enlightened view of the nature of human variation is
necessary for healing divisions between populations
exacerbated by historical, economic and sociological