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Rather, we take these social constructions as givens.The major problem is when the problems and artificialities of these social constructions begin to bleed over into attempts to understand patterns of biological variation.A black American But that is the biological construction of race. Butterfield “black” and Luis Guzman “Hispanic.” Both individuals are products of an admixture between people of mixed African and European ancestry (and likely some Amerindian in Guzman’s case).Subject to fudge and fuzziness, but mapping upon a genuine reality. Due to its flexibility this is a much more difficult issue to characterize in a succinct manner. It turns out that the genes have segregated out such that Butterfield reflects more his European ancestry in traits. The perception of these two individuals is weighted by two different strains in modern American racial ideology.
We don’t usually explicitly flesh out these details.
Mexicans of mestizo or white identity routinely have African ancestry, they just don’t know it, nor is it part of their racial identity. People of Middle Eastern ancestry, in particular Arabs, often have some African ancestry.
But they are not classified as black (unlike Hispanics/Latinos they don’t have their own ethnic category, but are put into the “white” box, irrespective of their race, from Afro-Arab to Syrian).
Obviously disentangling the social and biological is not necessarily impossible.
Rather, it takes a little care and explicitness, as it is so easy to move between the two domains so easily as to elide their differences. Personal genomics is adding a new twist, but the general problem is as old as human systematics. Image credit: Wikipedia This blog is about evolution, genetics, genomics and their interstices.