Hi Jimmy, it is an interesting perspective. I respect Carlos’s sustained anti-racism work. He’s quite accomplished - earned a Ph.D., been published by Oxford University Press, is a tenure track professor at Wheelock College, and has an active clinical practice.
At the same time, I would respectfully disagree with his tactics and approach for overcoming racism.
For instance, a recent New York Times article, by David Reich, entitled “How Genetics Is Changing Our Understanding of ‘Race’”, offers a unique case study.
He summaries the argument that race is entirely a social construct at the start of his article:
In 1942, the anthropologist Ashley Montagu published “Man’s Most Dangerous Myth: The Fallacy of Race,” an influential book that argued that race is a social concept with no genetic basis. A classic example often cited is the inconsistent definition of “black.” In the United States, historically, a person is “black” if he has any sub-Saharan African ancestry; in Brazil, a person is not “black” if he is known to have any European ancestry. If “black” refers to different people in different contexts, how can there be any genetic basis to it?
Beginning in 1972, genetic findings began to be incorporated into this argument. That year, the geneticist Richard Lewontin published an important study of variation in protein types in blood. He grouped the human populations he analyzed into seven “races” — West Eurasians, Africans, East Asians, South Asians, Native Americans, Oceanians and Australians — and found that around 85 percent of variation in the protein types could be accounted for by variation within populations and “races,” and only 15 percent by variation across them. To the extent that there was variation among humans, he concluded, most of it was because of “differences between individuals.”
In this way, a consensus was established that among human populations there are no differences large enough to support the concept of “biological race.” Instead, it was argued, race is a “social construct,” a way of categorizing people that changes over time and across countries.
Yet, as he goes into the state of the art genetic research, he finds clear biological evidence for distinctive populations with shared genomic characteristics:
Did this research rely on terms like “African-American” and “European-American” that are socially constructed, and did it label segments of the genome as being probably “West African” or “European” in origin? Yes. Did this research identify real risk factors for disease that differ in frequency across those populations, leading to discoveries with the potential to improve health and save lives? Yes.
I think this line of argument is persuasive. Racial differences are not ‘just’ a social construct; there is a real genetic basis to them. We see this expressed phenotypically. Those observations have led to the identification of different racial groups. Through millennia, all of this together has led to a remarkable and wonderful diversity of cultures. Some would use that story as a basis for racism, but we can approach it from another angle - as the basis of celebration.
For instance, I’ve found this perspective, from Trillia Newbell at The Gospel Coalition, to be helpful:
Carlos tries to head off the charge of colorblindness in his article at Oxford University Press, but I think Trillia has the better argument. Being ‘colorsmart’ has advantages that we miss when we try to ignore or minimize the persistent reality of racial and cultural difference. These differences are not bad, nor are they grounds for discrimination. Instead, for instance, we can see these differences as opportunities for the diversity of the human race to better praise our infinite God.
I look forward to your thoughts!