JAMA and race

August 23, 2021 • 10:45 am

The Journal of the American Medical Association has published a 6-page article about how to incorporate race and ethnicity into medical reporting. It’s not bad as far as it goes; in fact there’s only one thing wrong with it, but to me it seems like a big thing. Read by clicking on the screenshot below; you can also download a pdf file at the site.

They first define “race” and “ethnicity” by using the Oxford English Dictionary, which is the way I’d go about it. Here are their definitions:

The Oxford English Dictionary currently defines race as “a group of people connected by common descent or origin” or “any of the (putative) major groupings of mankind, usually defined in terms of distinct physical features or shared ethnicity” and ethnicity as “membership of a group regarded as ultimately of common descent, or having a common national or cultural tradition.” For example, in the US, ethnicity has referred to Hispanic or Latino, Latina, or Latinx people.

Although these definitions are overlapping, since they both incorporate people of “common descent”, one (or at least I) tend to think of “race” as the assertion, now known to be wrong, that humanity is divided up into a finite number of physically and genetically well-demarcated groups. (This claim historically went along with the assertion that there’s more genetic variation between “racial” groups than within those groups, we now know that that is absolutely wrong; within-group variation hugely predominates). Nevertheless, one can show by using data from many genes and gene sites, and clustering algorithms, that humanity can be shown to form genetic clusters that correspond to geography, which of course corresponds to evolutionary history.

But the issue is that there are clusters within clusters within clusters, and where you draw the line and say “this cluster” is a “race” is purely subjective. That’s why I don’t like the term “race”, as it’s too freighted with biological misconceptions as well as social assumptions and, of course, the use of “race” as a way to divide and rank people. .

“Ethnicity” is a different matter, as it’s not freighted, and although the definition above conflates ancestry with “cultural tradition”, they’re often connected. But for biological purposes I’d stick with ancestry, which of course refers to shared genes.

What I object to in the JAMA article is this sentence (I’ve put it in bold):

Race and ethnicity are social constructs, without scientific or biological meaning.

This is not so much flat wrong as grossly misleading. For example, I just cited the paper of Rosenberg et al., which shows that the genetic endowment of human groups correlates significantly to their geographical location (for example, if you choose to partition human genetic variation into five groups (how many groups you choose is arbitrary), you get a pretty clear demarcation between people from Africa, from Europe, from East Asia, from Oceania, and from the Americas. (To show further grouping, if you choose six groups, the Kalash people of Asia pop up). This is one reason why companies like 23 And Me stay in business.

This association of location with genetic clustering (and these geographic clusters do correspond to old “classical” notions of race) is not without scientific meaning, because the groupings represent the history of human migration and genetic isolation. That’s why these groups form in the first place. Now you can call these groups “ethnic groups” instead of “races”, or just “geographic groups” (frankly, you could call them almost anything, though, as I said, I avoid “race), but they show something profound about human history. The statement in bold above could be used to dismiss that meaning, which is why I consider that statement misleading.

As I said, there are groups within groups. Even within Europe, a paper by Novembre et al. reported, using half a million DNA sites, 50% of individuals could be placed within 310 km of their reported origin and 90% within 700 km of their origin.. And that’s just within Europe (read the paper for more details). Again, this reflects a history of limited movement of Europeans between generations.  Finally, in terms of “self identification”,  Tang et al., using just 326 markers, performed a genetic cluster analysis and identified four groups that matched nearly perfectly with the “racial” self-identification of people given four choices (white, African-American, East Asian, and Hispanic). Here’s what they found:

Of 3,636 subjects of varying race/ ethnicity, only 5 (0.14%) showed genetic cluster membership different from their self-identified race/ethnicity. On the other hand, we detected only modest genetic differentiation between different current geographic locales within each race/ethnicity group. Thus, ancient geographic ancestry, which is highly correlated with self-identified race/ ethnicity—as opposed to current residence—is the major determinant of genetic structure in the U.S. population.

That is, there is almost perfect correspondence between what “race” (or ethnic group)  Americans consider themselves to be and the identification of groups using observed genetic differences. Because these are Americans, and move around more, the genetics reflect ancestry more closely than geography, though in Europe geographic origin is also important.

I needn’t point out that the morphological traits that we use to distinguish people from different areas also reflect genetic differences, including facial characteristics, hair color and texture, eye shape, and, of course, pigmentation. These are based on genetic differences. Of course this doesn’t mean there is a “Caucasian race” distinguishable by morphology, but simply that the way we have divided up humanity is not without biological meaning. (What these differences mean, and how they evolved, is of course, obscure.) Again, there is biological meaning in ethnicity, if you see ethnicity as reflecting groups having common evolutionary descent.

Finally, as we all know, different ethnic groups have different incidence of genetic diseases, and these reflect genetic differences among groups. West African blacks and their descendants in the U.S. are, for example, more prone to sickle-cell disease than those of other groups. Ditto for Tay-Sachs disease and Ashkenazi Jews. Of course these diseases are not found only within the ethnic groups, but there are significant difference in the incidence of diseases, and thus in the gene forms causing those diseases, among these groups. If you consider West African or Ashkenazi Jews as “ethnic groups”, which they are according to the definition above, then yes, ethnicity has a biological meaning, which reflects evolutionary history and common ancestry (if you don’t know the sickle-cell story, you should look it up).

The article goes into all kinds of nuances about how to report race (self-report seems to be the best way), and I don’t have much of a beef with their classification or how it’s to be used. EXCEPT that they recommend recording race not as a way to aid in diagnoses and genetic counseling (if two Ashkenazi Jews came to an obstetrician, she’d probably recommend they be tested to see if they were Tay-Sachs carriers, but she wouldn’t recommend the same for blacks) but as a way to ensure “equity” of treatment and accurate reporting of the incidence of diseases.

The article’s underlying rationale for recording race at all is that although (as they claim) race or ethnicity has nothing to do with biology, it does have to do with socioeconomic factors like racism, “disparities and inequities” and “intersectionality”, and those factors may play a role in disease.  Note that class is not even mentioned, even though that surely plays a big role as well. But to ignore ethnicity except insofar as it (supposedly) closely correlates with health-related socioeconomic conditions is to not only overlook genetic data correlated with disease, but also to make unwarranted assumptions—that all members of an ethnic group are likely to share socioeconomic factors causal in disease.

I guess what bothers me the most about this article, besides the ignoring of genetic factors in favor of socioeconomic ones, is the claim that there is no biological significance of “race” or “ethnicity”. Depending on how you define these terms, that’s misleading. And if you use a “common ancestry” definition of either word, it’s just wrong. The claims that race and ethnicity are social constructs having nothing to do with biology overlooks a whole world of genetics, evolution, and demographics. It’s a phrase that hides what interests many of us about variation among groups in the human population. (For another take on genetic differences between groups that reflect evolution via different local adaptations, see this short note by Sarah Tishkoff, which shows that many interesting and important adaptations vary among ethnic groups.)

In other words, what bothers me is the idea, reflected in the statement in bold above, that all humanity is genetically the same. This is a mantra of much of the Left, reflecting a repugnance towards biological determinism and a sense that humans are almost infinitely malleable. But humans are genetically not the same, whether you’re talking about differences between ethnic groups or between men and women. It’s time that we face the data and admit this, and also realize that recognizing group differences is not at all the same as admitting that some groups are “better” than others. The assumption that the recognition of differences will automatically lead to ranking and then to bigotry is the mistaken conflation that produces articles like the one in JAMA.

As Richard Feynman said in another context (the Challenger disaster), “For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled.” .

h/t: Bill


Flanagin A, Frey T, Christiansen SL, AMA Manual of Style Committee. Updated Guidance on the Reporting of Race and Ethnicity in Medical and Science JournalsJAMA. 2021;326(7):621–627. doi:10.1001/jama.2021.13304

46 thoughts on “JAMA and race

  1. Geographical patterns of human genetic variation indeed reflect shared historical geography and ancestry, as you point out. However, I’m willing to give JAMA a pass on their characterization of “race” as not having biological meaning in the sense that “race” implies sharply defined boundaries among populations. In that narrow sense of sharp boundaries, I can accept their characterization. On a related note, over the past few weeks I’ve re-listened to many of Dick Lewontin’s lectures on YouTube and I am reminded of how right he was about human variation and “race” so many years ago.

    1. I don’t think it has to do with sharp boundaries. I think it has to do with racists employing the language of race to contend different levels of intelligence and violence between blacks and whites and, to a lesser extent, Asians. To contend that genes justify the police stopping blacks more than whites, and handling them roughly when they are stopped. Or that the reason Harvard gets more qualified Asians is because Asians are just genetically smarter. Or even to claim that multiculturalism must fail because the various races (the way they define them) are too genetically different in behavior to allow it to succeed. The ‘social construct’ statement is the latest faddish way of saying they are wrong. And they are wrong, at least to the extent that science can tell. But so, technically, is this statement used to reject their ideas. It’s throwing the baby out with the bathwater; the fact that those genetic differences don’t seem to be real doesn’t mean that no genetic differences are real.

      1. I think the way to fight a hypothesis that genetic differences explain say racial differences in homicide rates would be evidence that genetic difference does not do so, not sophistry about words. [You had a huge, almost doubling of the Black homicide rate related to the crack cocaine epidemic, which is clearly an environmental cause and related to SES, and you have the Flynn effect in IQ, so there is plenty of evidence that you can point to for such a thesis.]

        We do know that within a racial/ethnic category (English Whites) genes do explain regional differences in educational attainment and that genes for educational attainment track regional migration patterns:


        I think someone is going to have to be pretty clever to explain that while genetic differences explain different outcomes within one ancestral population, they have nothing to do with differences in outcomes between different ancestral populations, given the effect size for genes and the general levels of heritability for most behavioral characteristics.

        1. I’m no more than an educated layman on this subject, but I’m fully onboard with the thesis that genetics plays a primary role in variations of human behaviour and physiology. To claim otherwise is inconsistent with everything the evidence (and common sense) tells us.

          However, I would question that from just one study we know what you claim we know, even if we limit our conclusions to the cohort that was studied. Furthermore, the idea that this study can be used to infer outcomes in other populations is even more of a leap. Unless you have more data supporting these findings, and can demonstrate they apply more broadly, I think you are overstating what we know.

          1. In terms of human intelligence, you have over 100 years of psychometric research which is well replicated, and claims about cultural bias, etc., are rejected by professionals (it is up there with vaccines causing autism).

            In terms of evidence on the the causes for different aptitude, you have twin studies, etc.

            All this stuff is old hat, no new research going on.

            However, with the human genome data, which is rapidly expanding, and modern computing, you are in a position to get correlations between genes and behavioral variables, pretty much any behavior you want. If anyone thinks that the data is going to come out in favor of a blank slate, I think they will be disappointed.

            Additionally, with brain imaging technology, you are increasingly being able to understand the architecture of human cognition, which combined with the genetic data, allows scientists to begin to piece together how genes influence the construction of brain architectures and neural networks, leading to different levels of cognitive abilities.

            When you are able to isolate the significant genes and show how they influence fetal and childhood development and correlate them to demonstrated competencies via psychometric testing, there is not going to be much for scientific debate. You either reject genetics and neuroscience, or you accept them. [As to where that data ends up, you can make your best guess, but it is interesting to note which side argues against collecting this kind of scientific data on the basis of ethics.]

            As far as scientific humanism as a research project, all the above is very exciting. In terms of American progressive ideology, I’m sure people will still be making the same arguments that were made in 1968 as if new data doesn’t exist, but it will be like the people arguing for a young earth in the 19th century. Like Creationists, I think it makes sense to begin the process of untethering ethical arguments about human dignity from descriptive claims about reality. If not, stop making sophistical arguments about social construction and just make a faith-based claim that God creates human brains equally, but the rest of life evolved. I may reject your religion, but I can at least respect your honesty on your point of view, and your not trying to hide it in sophistical arguments.

    1. I’ve been trying to think of a good term for the 500 or so genetically recognizable human populations, to replace “race” (which has the strong historical connotation of a few, very genetically different groups). To me, ethnicity is better, as it usually corresponds to genetic groupings. But could it be said to sometimes have exceptions based on a shared culture? That is, people with different genetic ancestry have come to belong to a particular cultural grouping? Best I have thought of is “deme”. What do you think of that one? Can anyone think of a better one? Perhaps ethnicity is the best we can do.

      1. Ethnicity is defined by cultural identifiers such as shared language, culture and religion, and people can move in and out of ethnicity. Something like “race” (“population”) where you define groups based on ancestral origins is purely biological in contrast. However, even here, you have a lot of admixture in North America, so it is unclear how useful looking at ancestral origins is going to ultimately be where so many individuals are mixed race (European, African, American Indian).

        I guess the question is can you biologically classify people based on ancestral origins based on genetics. The answer has to be yes. The next question is how useful will those classifications be outside of narrow contexts. Probably limited. The last question is the one of talent, and there is no evidence that various forms of human talent are distributed to members of only one group or groups in such a way as to justify racial supremacy.

        1. Good idea, but would have to make it “biological population” or “genetic population”, since a population in the general sense of “the population of the U.S.” could include members of many different “biological populations”.

  2. I’m willing to give JAMA a pass on their characterization of “race” as not having biological meaning in the sense that “race” implies sharply defined boundaries among populations.

    Does it? It’s true that, at times, some people have conceptualised human “races” as being distinct and sharply defined (some, in the past, have even argued for a polygenisist account of humanity), but that is not integral to the concept and plenty of others have conceptualised “race” as being about fuzzy-edged, fractal branching patterns.

    Narrowing the word down to only distinct, discrete groupings seems to be a tactic adopted mostly in order to virtue signal by disavowing that “race” has any biological validity.

    [Oops, this is a reply to #1]

    1. I can go with that, the notion of”nature” as a separate kind of entity that should be protected or exploited is a social construct. In another sense nature just is, and basically encompasses everything.

  3. PCC(E), this was an excellent post in every respect. You are also on to exactly what is wrong with
    the current iteration of the pop-Left: “I guess what bothers me most is the idea, reflected in the statement in bold above, that all humanity is genetically the same.” This of course underlies all the
    attacks on proficiency testing and honors classes, as well as the campaigns to cancel any expression that is out of line. The pop-Left regularly slides into authoritarian postures because of its conflation of perfect equality with perfect sameness. In the utopia of perfect equality, everybody will be expected to speak and think exactly the same thoughts; and as we struggle to get there, the organs of State Security (or twitter mobs, or the Associate Dean for DEI) will make sure that we approach that happy condition.

  4. As for the difference between race and ethnicity:

    “The concept /race/ is distinct from the concept /ethnicity/. /Ethnicity/ is a cultural concept. Its conditions make essential reference to items such as language, nationality, religion, outlook, habits, norms, styles, or skills. The concept of ethnicity is also cultural in that human subjectivity figures constitutively in it: in contrast to the identity of a racial group, the identity of a “mature” ethnic group (an ethnic group that has a developed self-conception) is determined at least in part by its /members’ conception/ of what it is to be a member of that group.

    The minimalist concept of race is not a cultural concept. Its conditions make no reference to the sort of cultural items that figure essentially in the specification of the concept ethnicity. Members of the same race (for example, an Afro-Caribbean and African American) may not share a common culture. Even if most members of minimalist race MR share a common culture, the fact that an individual member of MR is not a part of that culture does not entail that he or she is any less a member of MR than any other member of MR.

    Not being a cultural concept, the minimalist race contains no features with respect to which an individual could be said to be inauthentic. If A and B belong to different races, they may exhibit cultural differences that are (historically) associated with the race to which they belong, but these cultural features are not /in themselves/ racial. To think of individuals A and B as racially different using the minimalist concept of race is not /eo ipso/ to conceive of them as culturally different.

    Although distinct, the concepts /race/ and /ethnicity/ do not differ in every respect. The concept /ethnicity/ resembles the concept /race/ structurally in making essential reference to ancestry. Each ethnic group shares a common ancestry.

    Inasmuch as the concept of ethnicity includes the concept of ancestry, it contains a biological “moment.” We therefore cannot say flatly that the concept of race is biological and the concept of ethnicity is not. Ethnicity is a biocultural notion. Race is a noncultural biological notion.

    In contrast to /race/, the concept /ethnicity/ makes no essential reference to patterns of visible physical differences. There is no tension in the idea that individual members of two distinct ethnicities may be visually indistinguishable.

    Members of a particular ethnic group E (for example, Italian Americans) may /regard/ racial identity (being white) or the possession of particular racial traits (having white skin) as a constitutive element of their ethnicity. WASPs [White Anglo-Saxon Protestants] presumably regard whiteness as a constitutive feature of their ethnicity. But it is not clear (to me at least) that ethnic groups must regards race as a constitutive element of ethnicity.”

    (Hardimon, Michael O. Rethinking Race: The Case for Deflationary Realism. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2017. pp. 40-1)

    Here’s his definition of “the minimalist concept of race”:

    “A race is group of human beings

    (C1) that, as a group, is distinguished from other groups of human beings by /patterns of visible physical features/,

    (C2) whose members are linked by a /common ancestry/ peculiar to members of the group, and

    (C3) that originates from a /distinctive geographic location/.

    C(1)–C(3) fix the conditions of minimalist racehood.”

    (Hardimon, Michael O. Rethinking Race: The Case for Deflationary Realism. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2017. p. 31)

  5. David Reich identified genes in West Africa Sub-Saharan populations that are associated with aggressive prostate cancer, which should make prostrate cancer treatment protocols different for Black men and European men because of the increased risk. Is “race-is-a-social-construct” medicine going to give men from that population better medical care? No, so the question is how many Black Bodies do we stack up as burnt offerings to the Gods of Social Justice as a result of preventable deaths because of politically correct medical protocols instead of screening for those genes. Is it okay to kill 100 Black Bodies?

    Also, since race is a social construct, how do we do affirmative action? Rachel Dolezal identified as African-American, held herself out as African-American, was regarded in the community as African-American (until she got ratted out). Why isn’t she African-American? If you can decide your sex, why can’t you decide your race?

    Further, why can’t you feel “superior” as a member of one group over another group, regardless of whether membership is defined by ancestry. I mean, Catholicism and Protestantism are both made up, social constructed, but that doesn’t mean Protestants can’t feel superior to the Catholics and vice versa. Race can be a social construct all day and you still have Belfast.

    1. The obvious rejoinder to your point is that prostate cancer can occur in Black womxn, and Rachel Dolezal is a woman, but she is not Black because race is a social construct, therefore prostate cancer is a social construct.

      How did I do?

    2. “All the Protestants hate the Catholics,
      And the Catholics hate the Protestants,
      And the Hindus hate the Muslims,
      And everybody hates the Jews”

      – Tom Lehrer, ‘National Brotherhood Week’ (1965, I think)

    3. Except that you really can’t decide your sex. The claim is that gender identity is more important than sex in determining who is, or who is not, maile or female. In mammals, there is no changing sex. One sex has a reproductive system around producing one type of gamete, and the other sex has a separate reproductive system centered around producing the other, and also has organs related to childbearing. There’s a claim you’ll see that since there are great variations in secondary sex characteristics, this means that sex is a spectrum. Don’t be hornswoggled on that. Sperm and eggs tell the tale even in the infertile.

      Regards cultural heriage, the populations that share culture also are more liketly to share genes and that shapes the gene pool. So, in Belfast, or indeed in Ulster, you will see that people who are Protestant have a gene pool that is going to be slightly different than the Catholics since theire is little social interaction even now between the two groups.

      Race is a descriptor of gene pools, and as much as supermacists wish to believe differently, there is no hard line between races and so there is no ‘purity of blood’ for white people. Somewhere, somehow, an ancestor or several dipped their dipped their noodle in the bigger soup.

      If you ever saw the movie “True Romance,” you can’t forget the scene in which Dennis Hopper’s character talks about the racial heritage of the Sicilians, and it’s true that Siciians had Africn ancestors, but then, so do all Europeans.

  6. Recognize the quote?

    “Those who subscribe to the opinion that there are no human races are obviously ignorant of modern biology.”

      1. Hmmm. Guess that falls kinda flat when my last name isn’t evident. Oh well. It’s been like that all day today.

  7. I can’t find in this post the citation to a paper by Rosenberg et. al. showing that “the genetic endowment of human groups correlates significantly to their geographical location.” Can someone provide it?

      1. What is amusing (or not), is that the Rosenberg study is nineteen years old! It is the legal drinking age in most of Europe, and yet science journalists and MSM types carry on as if it was wrong or didn’t exist.

        1. I did not know not most of Europe has such a high legal drinking age. Where I live it is 16 for wine or beer and 18 for spirits (but in bars or restaurants nobody ever checks).

        1. I should have placed this a bit further up. I meant thank you to Professor Coyne for the Rosenberg citation.

  8. I’m terribly concerned by the politicization of “social construction.” If, as Prof. Coyne is saying (and as I understand him) if something deviates from a chance occurrence and that deviation can be located somewhere then it’s meaningful. How meaningful is the only debate. But calling things “socially constructed” seems to be used to discount values or institutions some people don’t want to accept; by calling something “socially constructed” you’re saying it’s inauthentic, if not outright unreal. It’s one step from a psychiatrist saying, “It’s all in your head.” I’ll be tackling this issue later in my Substack that begins with the word “gnawbone.”

  9. “there are clusters within clusters within clusters, and where you draw the line and say “this cluster” is a “race” is purely subjective. ”
    Exactly, and in that sense race is indeed a ‘social construct’: as Cavalli-Sforza stated: I can give you only two races, but I can give you ten thousand races too (paraphrased, I can’t find the exact quote).
    I thought the earliest split found in extant humans was between the Khoi/Bushmen and all the others (from Black African to Japanese). Is that notion gone now?

    1. Furthermore, depending on which kind of statistical measure of the between-cluster distance you use, the same data may produce very different clusters.

  10. I do not understand who exactly are Hispanics. Are Quechua speakers from the Andes, Argentinian of Italian-Spanish-Polish ancestry, Spaniards of Celtiberian and Gothic descent all considered to be Hispanics ?

  11. It is known that the compatibility of the donor and recipient races is very important as to whether a stem cell transplant will be successful. It is known that the race of the parents reliably controls certain physical characteristics. It is known that certain races have a higher susceptibility to certain diseases. The “race is a social construct” crowd would be intellectually honest if they simply argued that conventional racial categories only differentiate people reliably on characteristics that this group thinks are insignificant. They are trying to reduce racial conflict, which is a worthy goal, but to assert that race is “without scientific or biological meaning” (as the JAMA guidance does) demeans science. It causes people to wonder which other factual assertions made in the name of science would also be shown to be transparent falsehoods if looked into, simply attempting to resolve a social dispute by misrepresenting science as having decided the question.

  12. I read the referenced work, but distilled down to it’s essence, it looks to me like this-

    “race and ethnicity are social constructs…racism…inequities…intersectionality…Race and ethnicity are social constructs, without scientific or biological meaning…inequities…intersectionality… inequities,…institutional racism and structural racism…historical injustices…racism, structural racism, racial equity…disparity, inequity, intersectionality…race and ethnicity have no biological meaning…Equity…Non-Stigmatizing, Bias-Free…systemic disparities and inequities…disparities and inequities…underserved populations…historically marginalized…”

    In other words, woke boilerplate. I suppose it is of some comfort that the author will not be seeing medical patients in any professional capacity. However, when our medical establishment collapses into chaos, it will likely be due largely to it’s bureaucracy being infiltrated by such persons.

  13. “Race is a social construct”, without scientific meaning … hmmn?

    Well, so when medications are tested with primarily white people it is not a problem? The results will be applicable to all people. I am surprised and glad to hear that.

    1. According to Importance of Race/Ethnicity in Clinical Trials:

      Heart failure is a disease in which there are striking population differences in almost every aspect of the disease. The cause of heart failure is predominantly ischemic disease in nonblacks but is related primarily to hypertension in blacks. …Black hypertensives have a 4- to 20-fold higher risk of progression to dialysis-dependent renal disease than do whites with comparable hypertension. Additionally, some have suggested that the pathophysiological mechanisms of hypertension may differ in blacks.

      Hence the African-American Heart Failure Trial (A-HeFT)” and the African-American Study of Kidney Disease and Hypertension (AASK) Someone needs to tell the AMA that there are some serious science-deniers on the loose out there.

  14. As with the sex/gender debate, this language strikes me as a reaction to historically ‘essentialist’ views – that biology is destiny, so your sex and race dictate what your life will be like. Now the pendulum has swung far in the other direction, so people claim that everyone is a blank slate and not only gender and ethnicity but also sex and race (or whatever you want to call genetic or physical characteristics) are completely social. I think the pendulum needs to move back to the middle, where we can recognise that biology partly underlies these divisions (sex is a binary division, people can be grouped according to genetic characteristics) but that should not dictate what kind of life you should lead.

  15. We saw two remarkable results in the Olympics.
    The 100m sprint was won by Lamont Marcell Jacobs. An athlete who probably has around 60% “white DNA”
    Norwegian Karsten Warholm, very much ethnically Scandinavian, broke his own world record to win gold in the 400m hurdles.

    They are remarkable results because of the almost total dominance of track athletics by black athletes.
    Is genetics at the root of black dominance in many areas of sport?

  16. So what about mixed race or multi ethnic people? I don’t know anyone that can call themselves ‘pure bred’ these days. If I have an Ashkenazi component and a Slavic component then what do I go under? At some point I would think that how people classify themselves racially is going to be completely decoupled from real genetic differences. For example, I have a friend with a Swedish father and a Jamaican mother. He looks positively Aryan, but put Jamaican as his ethnicity just to freak people out.

    1. Maybe this will happen in the distant future, but as my article shows, genetic differences are not even strongly decoupled from racial self-classification since the former almost perfectly predicts the latter.

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