Weekend Edition on Racial Identity


Join Professor Alan Goodman along with authors Mike Tauber and Pamela Singh as well as host Liane Hansen on NPR as they discuss multiracial identity in NPR’s three-part series: Beyond Black and White.     [Transcript]

“There were certain barriers to having individuals of different ethnic groups and cultures coming together. The first one was barriers of space, but in 1492, those barriers began to fall. Then there were barriers of law in the United States and those finally fell in the 1960s. And then I think the real change that’s taking place are changes in the way people think about themselves.”     –Professor Goodman

Is There a Biological Basis for Race?


Alan Goodman as well as Dr. Esteban Gonzalez Burchard and Dr. Pilar Ossorio speak to the biological basis, or lack thereof, for race.    [Transcript]

“There is an effort to try to get out a scientific definition of race or one that’s true universally, and that’s where the race really falls down as a category is that it’s hard to make any sort of universal definition of race. And this also tracks your question of how anthropologists begin to think of race. At one point, they thought that we could arrive at some sort of universal definition of race that would be true for all time and all place, and then we slowly began to realize that simply wasn’t true, that race or ideas about race and race, in fact, is an idea change from time to time and place to place.
And on top of that, it had a fundamental ambiguity to it in that it conflated or mixed together ideas about genetics with ideas about how people are perceived and how they actually live and are treated and define themselves. So that genetic aspect of race kind of molds into the questions of sort of the social, historical aspects of race, and that became problematic.”      –Professor Goodman