Truth is, there are no genes for race

Ideas

Truth is, there are no genes for race

Why won’t this dangerous thinking go away? Well, one reason is that many in SA really do believe there are four races

Columnist

Coloured people get tuberculosis (TB) and Indians stomach ulcers. Afrikaner men have high levels of cholesterol and Basotho women are prone to particular kinds of psychiatric dreams.

If you think this is nonsense, you’re right. But there is a virulent strain of thinking in the medical sciences that continues this line of race essentialist research deep into the post-apartheid years.

Why won’t this dangerous thinking go away? Well, one reason is that many South Africans, including medical researchers, really do believe there are four races. This is one of the lingering successes of apartheid not only in society but also in the academic establishment. And once you lock into the idea of four races (white, Indian, coloured and African), it is not too difficult to believe that there are certain abilities, behaviours and even diseases that can be attributed to each one of them...

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