Racism, Not Race: Conversation with Joseph Graves, Jr. and Alan Goodman




Join the Institute for Social Ecology on Wednesday, July 13, at 6pm Eastern Time for a panel discussion with the authors of the new book Racism, Not Race: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions. Register here to attend.

The science on race is clear. Common categories like “Black,” “white,” and “Asian” do not represent genetic differences among groups. But if race is a pernicious fiction according to natural science, it is all too significant in the day-to-day lives of racialized people across the globe. Inequities in health, wealth, and an array of other life outcomes cannot be explained without referring to “race”—but their true source is racism. What do we need to know about the pseudoscience of race to fight racism and fulfill human potential?

In this talk, distinguished scientists Joseph L. Graves Jr. and Alan H. Goodman will tackle common misconceptions about race, human biology, and racism. Drawing on evidence from both natural and social science, Graves and Goodman dismantle the malignant myth of gene-based racial difference. Although there are many meaningful human genetic variations, they do not map onto socially constructed racial categories. They demonstrate that the ideology of racism created races and show why the inequalities ascribed to race are in fact caused by racism. Graves and Goodman provide persuasive and timely answers to key questions about race and racism for a moment when people of all backgrounds are striving for social justice. The conversation will be moderated by ISE faculty member and anthropologist Chaia Heller.


Joseph L. Graves Jr. is a professor in the Department of Biology at North Carolina A&T State University. He is a fellow of the Council of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. His books include The Emperor’s New Clothes: Biological Theories of Race at the Millennium (2001) and The Race Myth: Why We Pretend Race Exists in America (2005).

Alan H. Goodman is a professor of biological anthropology at Hampshire College and a former vice president for academic affairs. He is a past president of the American Anthropological Association and co-directs its public education project on race. He is a coauthor of Race: Are We So Different? (second edition, 2019), among other books.

Chaia Heller is a cultural anthropologist, activist, and a faculty member of the Institute for Social Ecology since 1984. She taught anthropology at Mount Holyoke College, and is author of the books The Ecology of Everyday Life and Food, Farms, and Solidarity. She has been involved in the Greens, antinuclear, ecofeminist, and alter-globalization movements. She is also a painter of Judaica: