April 20, 2012, 8:07 am
A 1963 protest (Photo from Flickr/CC collection of Cornell U.'s Kheel Center)
I’ve been making trouble lately (neither for the first nor the last time), writing about race (Part 1 and Part 2), and how it is not simply a “socio-cultural construct,” but rather, is simultaneously biologically “real”—at least, as real as the concept of race or subspecies when applied to any other animal species—and yet also trivial in that the traits in question don’t seem to reflect anything interesting or important. Like “subspecies” in all other critters, race is a tricky, slippery concept, one that looks real (like a cloud) from a distance but that dissolves when grasped, and whose boundaries are porous and indistinct. But like clouds (and like it or not) races too are part of our landscape.