An updated and expanded edition of this article is available here: 25 Myths about Race: Myth 1 - Race Is a "Social Construct"
I'm working on a project to debunk the 25 most repeated myths about race and "racism." I've found that projects like this often benefit from multiple view-points, so I'm going to post one myth a day - until the list is complete - in the hopes that you will offer your suggestions, recommendations, and criticisms.
Myth #1: Race Is a Social Construct
Race is a biological fact that goes much more than skin deep. For almost a century physical anthropologists have been able to identify the race of an individual's remains by a cursory examination of his or her bones. Because of the vast differences among the races, modern medical science is increasingly focusing on the race of the patient. The Human Genome Project has clearly identified three races of humans (that correlate directly to those long identified by physical anthropology): Caucasian (Europeans, Middle Easterners, and North Africans), Negro (Sub-Saharan Africans), and Mongoloid (Asians and American Indians). The myth that “race is a social construct” is one of the few that can be traced back to an actual individual. It was created by Frans Boas, who forked anthropology by creating a branch of it known as “cultural” anthropology, in order to advance the idea that race is not a biological fact and only a “social construct.”