race and human diversity a biocultural approach pdf

Race And Human Diversity A Biocultural Approach Pdf

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A race is a grouping of humans based on shared physical or social qualities into categories generally viewed as distinct by society. By the 17th century the term began to refer to physical phenotypical traits. Modern science regards race as a social construct , an identity which is assigned based on rules made by society.

Race and Human Diversity is an introduction to the study of Human Diversity in both its biological and cultural dimensions. This text examines the biological basis of human difference and how humans have biologically and culturally adapted to lifeMoreRace and Human Diversity is an introduction to the study of Human Diversity in both its biological and cultural dimensions. This text examines the biological basis of human difference and how humans have biologically and culturally adapted to life in different environments. It critiques the notion that humans can or should be classified into a number of biological races.

Race (human categorization)

Amelia R. The American Biology Teacher 1 September ; 79 7 : — Race and racism are considered standard subject matter in introductory college courses in the social sciences, but remain relatively absent in biological science courses Donovan, ; Morning, Given a resurgence of biologically deterministic racial science e.

This paper presents a tested approach used in an introductory natural science course for undergraduate, non-science majors at a mid-sized regional university. A biocultural focus is advocated for teaching about the fallacies i.

Further, an emphasis is placed on using a visual approach for relaying these complex and sensitive topics. This finding is surprising considering the demonstrated benefits of retaining underrepresented students in courses addressing diversity e. Though biology courses often include implicit references to race through medical and forensic applications of genetic information Donovan, ; Morning, , studies suggest failure to explicitly discuss biocultural aspects of race leads students to retain biologically deterministic ideas about racialized behaviors, undermining their ability to fully comprehend racism e.

Additionally, it is argued that such topics provide opportunities to discuss the nature of scientific inquiry, including its limitations, biases, and misapplications. Student and faculty preparedness strongly impact classroom environments.

Though researching and preparing content is necessary, considerations of audience composition and method of content delivery are also crucial in setting the stage to teach about race. Students arrive in our classrooms with varying identities that impact their learning experience.

Therefore, though science content is often the focus of our courses, scientific spaces are not identity neutral in that gendered and racial factors influence learning through a sense of belonging Johnson, As a result, white students and students of color may understand race in very different ways both in their lives and within the classroom Ninivaggi, Table 1 provides two models to explain how students conceptualize race.

For white students, the struggles are awareness and overcoming discomfort, while students of color are challenged to overcome realized and unrealized feelings about societal perceptions of race and racism. Faculty racial identity also impacts classroom environments. Though white faculty teaching mostly white students often face less resistance, pushback should be anticipated and can be combatted by reflecting on one's own defensiveness about white privilege and discussing these experiences in the classroom Ninivaggi, Teaching preparation tends to focus on how time will be spent in class, forgetting that opportunities before and after class are also valuable in promoting learning.

Table 2 presents considerations and approaches before, during, and after class. Consideration of the type of learning e. It is challenging to create a classroom environment that allows students to feel relaxed enough to participate, yet self-aware of how to appropriately speak about such subjects.

Three strategies for addressing tension include acknowledging the unspoken discomfort, setting expectations for discussion up front, and highlighting your own experiences with handling discomfort. Humor can help diffuse tension e. Don't worry, you're normal. Sometimes simply stating what students are feeling allows space for them to relax in such contexts.

Setting expectations in the classroom is key. Discussion contracts or lecture slides with key considerations are helpful e. Consider also giving students a script for communicating ideas to limit misunderstanding e. With time, examples from previous courses can be used to highlight how students might react. Sharing personal experience can be a powerful tool in engaging students in difficult situations. The idea of biologically distinct races is not supported by research on genetic or physical biological differences among humans.

Visuals provide information from a different perspective than verbal or written communications and are heavily used in modern American society.

Because race in the United States is based on meaning ascribed to visible differences in bodily form, it is helpful to use visuals to convey concepts see, e. McGrath and Brown suggest visuals may promote retention of diverse students in STEM through a more approachable way of communicating scientific ideas. Visual learning also pushes students to confront how impactful media is in shaping our worldview Kromidas, Visuals can include both static e.

Static media should include a mixture of scientific imagery and popular culture content e. Below are definitions that can be used to distinguish between terms:. In the United States, race and ethnicity are misunderstood as overlapping concepts, which may complicate student understanding Mukhopadhyay et al.

Additionally, because immigration and national identity are an important part of American culture, definitions are shifting e. Detailed examples can also help: two people whose race is black might have different ethnicities if one is Nigerian and the other is American. In this example, skin color might define race, while geography, language, and cultural norms define ethnicity.

Three misconceptions are pervasive about the nature of human genetic variation and race. First, the physical traits phenotypes we use to assign individuals to races are not discrete distinct, non-overlapping expression , but rather continuous spectrum of expression , variants. Blood type is good example of a discrete variant that is not useful for racial identification, whereas skin color is a continuous variant most often linked to race.

Example of continuous variation in skin color. Images from Pixabay. Second, most traits do not covary. A particular hair color, for example, is not tied to a particular skin color. As a result, no matter the number or combination of traits used, there is no reliable way to assign people to racial groupings Mukhophadyay et al.

Ask students to identify the race s of the four people and any physical distinctions or similarities. American students will identify differences in skin color first, followed by differences in facial characteristics. After revealing that the four females live in from left to right Namibia, Egypt, Mali, and Kenya, students can reflect on why the class did not consider these women as the same race i.

Illustrating physical variation across the African continent. Photo by Nicolas M. Perrault, licensed under Creative Commons CC0 1. Photo by Amelia Hubbard author. Genetic variation in humans versus penguins. Faculty can cite historic genetic findings e. Though estimates vary, introduce the fact that up to 95 percent of human variation can be found within human groups 5 percent between.

Because our eyes tell us differently, it is useful to explain that physical features phenotypes vary widely because they are complex traits affected by genetic potential genes , interaction with the physical environment environment , and human behaviors culture.

Figure 4 can be used to highlight how genetic variation is organized globally versus how we interpret genetic differences based on what is observable phenotypically. Genetic variation in context adapted from Fuentes, Once students can conceptualize why race is not rooted in biology, they may erroneously conclude that race is not real; therefore, time must be spent discussing what race is and how ideas about race are subjectively based on social and cultural upbringing.

Faculty who skip this second piece will see that students of color, in particular, become frustrated given their experiences with racism are very real. The concept of race in the United States arose in the early s with the beginning of slavery and colonization, to justify inequalities among people of varied races see review in Mukhopadhyay et al.

In the ensuing plus years, racist policies have been revised but systems of inequality still exist that favor white or white-presenting Americans over people of color. Because students may assume that race has always been a qualifying characteristic and that current racial categories have always been the norm, it is useful to contextualize how much categories have changed.

Figure 5 highlights an example of how American race concepts have changed. A comparison of shifting racial identities in the United States. Photo by Tim Hipps, licensed under Public Domain. Many Americans are unaware of the fact that we are W.

Students, therefore, have to be reminded that our way of seeing the world, including how we understand race, is unusual. As in the United States, historical, political, and economic reasons in different areas of the globe shape who gets to be in the majority racial category. Using Hispaniola Haiti and the Dominican Republic, DR as an example, we can begin to see the complexities of racial identity in a different context.

Like other islands in the Caribbean, Hispaniola was colonized by several nations San Miguel, By American racial standards, Haitians are black and most Dominicans are Hispanic. Haiti, occupied by the French, was primarily a plantation and African slave-based economy, while the DR comprised small farms and ranches with little use of slavery in its economy, allowing racial and cultural distinctions between areas to develop San Miguel, Today, Dominicans have a complex racial hierarchy that distinguishes between indigenous, precolonial identities, those descended from Hispanic colonists, and Dominicans with slave ancestry Howard, They are both fluent in Spanish, but have no obvious accent.

Why then do they have different racial assignments, and what are the cultural distinctions between them? A comparison of the U. In the United States, skin color is a defining physical characteristic of race, but language can also come into play when individuals come from a Spanish-speaking locale.

Saldana is labeled black and not Hispanic in the United States because her skin color is more important in our cultural ideas about race than her ethnic heritage.

Interestingly, because Rodriguez is light-skinned, language and nationality become defining characteristics that distinguish her from white Americans. In the DR, skin color defines race because an important aspect of Dominican racial identity is rejection of their African i.

This millennium has seen a resurgence in claims linking biological race and disease susceptibility e. Four points should be emphasized. Medical communities are not wrong to examine race in health contexts, as the challenges of living in an unequal society can elevate stress levels affecting physiological, emotional, and physical well-being; however, in many cases, doctors assume biological differences among races not racism impact human health Goodman, A study by Madrigal et al.

The team found low rates of hypertension among black individuals in the Caribbean and Africa, with high rates among black Americans. Racial differences in diet and genetics were discounted as strong factors, whereas hypertensive rates were strongly linked to racism-induced stress. Similar results come from other studies looking at health disparities resulting from discrimination and racism, such as heart disease e.

A visual approach can be to load slides with headlines from varied studies highlighting the health risks of racism-induced stress. Although genetic ancestry can indicate increased chances of having a particular disease i.

An excellent example is the global distribution of different kinds of hemoglobinopathies e. Associating such conditions with a single race, as sickle cell is with black patients, means that the condition may go misdiagnosed or underdiagnosed in individuals who have genetic ancestry in regions affected by malaria but do not present as black.

Faculty & Staff

Exposure to information about genetics is at an all-time high, while a full understanding of the biocultural complexity of human difference is low. As part of this approach, we challenge educators across social and natural sciences to critically examine and dismantle the tacit cultural assumptions that shape our understanding of genetics and inform the way we perceive and teach about human differences. Numerous opportunities to transform our teaching exist, and we are doing a disservice to our students by not taking these critical steps. Complex topics such as epigenetics see, e. Three factors potentially contribute to these misconceptions: 1 public exposure to misleading messages about genetic concepts, 2 the compartmentalization of knowledge within the academy obfuscates the exchange of strategies for tackling such misconceptions among disciplines, and 3 an overall lack of attention to such topics in the classroom.

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Amelia R. The American Biology Teacher 1 September ; 79 7 : — Race and racism are considered standard subject matter in introductory college courses in the social sciences, but remain relatively absent in biological science courses Donovan, ; Morning, Given a resurgence of biologically deterministic racial science e. This paper presents a tested approach used in an introductory natural science course for undergraduate, non-science majors at a mid-sized regional university.


PDF | On Feb 18, , Robert L. Anemone published Race and Human Diversity: A Biocultural Approach | Find, read and cite all the research.


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This chapter outlines how principles associated with culturally relevant pedagogy may be used in music teacher education to help preservice music teachers better understand how perceptions of race and ethnicity mediate teaching and learning in music. Specific attention is given to race and ethnicity as they relate to a facets of cultural identity, b the origins of culturally relevant pedagogy in US public education, and c the significance of culturally relevant pedagogy in music teacher education. The latter portion of the chapter provides examples of instructional strategies designed to develop a disposition toward culturally responsive teaching among preservice music educators. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the challenges that must be considered when viewing music teacher education through a cultural lens. Keywords: culturally relevant pedagogy , culturally responsive teaching , music teacher education , race , ethnicity , instruction , music education.

This is true even among university students majoring in biology and medicine. This study investigated how Korean college students majoring in General Science Education define the concept of race and acquire a scientific conception of race.

Robert L. Anemone

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