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Race/Ethnicity

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For various ideological reasons there is an idea in some parts of the academy that Asian Americans are not a "model minority." That that "model minority" designation is a myth. The mainstream media often repeats the idea that this is a myth which has been "debunked." Actually, it hasn't been debunked. Rather, through a set... Read More
About thirteen years ago I expressed the opinion that an understanding of population structure will become a matter of intellectual curiosity once we have a better understanding of the genetic basis of characteristics. A friend, who was a statistical geneticist, told me that this was unlikely. We were unlikely to capture the ability to predict... Read More
Over at The Genetic Literacy Project Jon Entine has a post up, Usain Bolt’s Olympic gold proves again why no Asian, white–or East African–will ever be crowned world’s fastest human. Fifteen years ago Jon wrote Taboo: Why Black Athletes Dominate Sports And Why We're Afraid To Talk About It, so he knows something about this... Read More
Update: If Pontus Skoglund fails to replicate your results it is not an optimal outcome.... @razibkhan I tried to replicate the archaic admixture signal (using 4 other data sets with similar power) but failed — Pontus Skoglund (@pontus_skoglund) July 26, 2016 end update A new paper on on archaic admixture in Andaman Islanders has come... Read More
Facts are important. But they can be inconvenient. Despite the stream of "think" pieces about "hookup culture" over the past decade there is no evidence that young people today are more promiscuous than in the past. In fact, on the contrary. Young people today are by most measures less promiscuous than past post-WW2 generations, in... Read More
Several years ago a paper was published, The History of African Gene Flow into Southern Europeans, Levantines, and Jews: Previous genetic studies have suggested a history of sub-Saharan African gene flow into some West Eurasian populations after the initial dispersal out of Africa that occurred at least 45,000 years ago. However, there has been no... Read More
The Andamanese are unique in the world in that they are a South Asian people who are known to have maintained a hunter-gatherer lifestyle down to the present day uninterrupted. Literally every other South Asian population has evidence of mixture with West Eurasian groups in the last 10,000 years, with the typical South Asian being... Read More
"Seek knowledge even in China" - Muhammad One out of five people in the world today are of the Han ethnicity. Colloquially known as Chinese. Like the West China has a long history, and its development can be traced, more or less, over the past 3,000 years. Because of the history of a system of... Read More
The above statistics on the labor force at Twitter compared to the overall labor force indicate that non-Hispanic whites are underrepresented in tech firms in Silicon Valley. This is true overall in prominent tech firms. 51% of Facebook's employees are non-Hispanic whites. So how to make sense of these sorts of articles:  Twitter’s White-People... Read More
In New Creationists a philosopher at Duke recounts his experience when he attempted to explore the implications of group differences in ethics. He stated: After reading some recent work on the biology of group differences last summer, it occurred to me that as an ethics professor, I should write something about the moral upshot: if... Read More
It has been an open question for historians of the fall of the Roman Empire the extent to which ethno-tribal migrant caused the transformation toward the post-Roman order. In Britain, for example, there has long been debate as to whether the shift from a predominantly Celtic population with a cosmopolitan Latin-speaking patina (at least demographically... Read More
Sharia should be law of land Muslims who believe sharia should be law who accept death penalty for apostasy % of Muslims who accept death penalty for apostasy Afghanistan 99% 79% 78% Pakistan 84% 76% 64% Egypt 74% 86% 64% Palestinian territories 89% 66% "59% Jordan 71% 82% 58% Malaysia 86% 62% 53% Iraq 91%... Read More
- Rig Veda Five years ago I found out that my friend Daniel MacArthur and I are members of the same Y chromosomal haplogroup, R1a. Both of us thought it was rather cool, that ~5,000 years ago there lived a man who was ancestral to us both on the direct paternal line. Five years on,... Read More
The bar plot above shows the Kalash people in yellow as very distinctive group among a panoply of Eurasian populations. The figure is from a Rosenberg lab paper. There's nothing aberrant about this result, you can generate this plot pretty easily by using any motley set of markers. The Kalash are distinctive. But it is... Read More
I was having a discussion on Twitter with Jessica Chong about the nature of Chinese genetic variation. There's been a fair amount of work on it. But, I have the 1000 Genomes data, in addition to others, and wanted to place them in their proper context myself. First, I did a preliminary PCA, and it... Read More
One of the more interesting things about reading a book like The Making of Modern Japan, which is a relatively deep dive into the political and social history of Japan from 1600 on, is that it gives you an interesting window onto your own country. For example, I know from American history that there was... Read More
If you read Nell Irvin Painter's The History of White People you will learn that the white race is a social construction of relatively recent vintage. When I read her work in 2011 I was a touch annoyed by it, because a lot of interesting empirical data was shoehorned into her thesis and preferences. In... Read More
There was a question about East Asian genetic structure. There have been a fair number of papers published on the issue. But over the years I've assembled a pretty large personal data set from public sources, as well as stuff people have sent me. I decided to look at the East Asian individuals and how... Read More
*The past after the word* If science is hard, history is harder. Harder in that the goal is to understand what happened in ages which are fading away like evanescent ghosts of our imagination. But we must be cautious. We are a great storytelling species, seduced by narrative. The sort of empirically informed and rigorous... Read More
Hispanic as a catchall is a ridiculous term. I was thinking about this a few days ago when I saw this article, Google's staff worldwide still overwhelmingly white and Asian men, where it actually notes the underrepresentation of "Hispanics." Why does this matter exactly for an international corporation like Google? Presumably people of Middle Eastern... Read More
Periodically rather than offering up original thoughts it is needful to engage defensive warfare against pernicious memes. For example, one thesis that is commonly bandied about today is that racial admixture will result in the blending away of all differences, toward a homogeneous beige future without end. This is false. It is false for several... Read More
The Wall Street Journal is reporting on a suit brought by Asian American organizations, Harvard Accused of Bias Against Asian-Americans: Ron Unz, among others, has written about this, before. So not a big surprise as to the underlying empirical trends. Liberal commentator and Harvard grad Matt Yglesias has talked about the patterns for years. It's... Read More
Long-time readers of my content know that about 10 years back I used to make fun of a book by two writers for The Economist, God Is Back: How the Global Revival of Faith Is Changing the World. It was a sexy thesis, but really it was meant to appeal to paranoid liberals who were... Read More
Several people have contacted me about the Aylmer twins, who exhibit very distinct phenotypes. In short, one twin is very fair skinned, to the point of being a redhead, while the other twin has visibly African features and a darker complexion. What caught my attention is that their surname is the same as the middle... Read More
I've talked about rs17822931 in ABCC11 several times. The reasons are manifold. First, on many traits of interest it exhibits variation across populations in a simple Mendelian (recessive expression) manner. Second, there are suggestive variations in distribution. Third, the traits are kind of interesting without being biomedical. In other words, it's a cool illustration of... Read More
In the comments below I made the comment that the Parsi people of India, who reputedly arrived in India ~1000 years ago from Iran, are about 25 percent South Asian. By this, I mean that their ancestry is about 75 percent Iranian (presumably Persian), with 25 percent admixture from South Asian populations amongst whom they... Read More
By now you may have read the breaking news in The Seattle Times that Eske Willerslev's group is going to publish genetic results on Kennewick Man. This "scoop" was obtained through the freedom of information act, which makes sense since Kennewick Man has been embroiled in political controversy since the beginning of its discovery by... Read More
When it comes to human evolutionary genetics there are two broad areas of interest for me. One the one hand there are classic questions of functional biology and population genetics. Variation of traits and how that variation was selected for over time and space. Then there are the issues of demography, phylogeography, and phylogenetics. This... Read More
"Tree thinking", just like "population thinking", is essential to understanding evolutionary biology. But there are problems with this. First, even on a macroevolutionary scale there is massive violation of separation between the branches of the tree of life due to lateral gene flow, whether directly or mediated via viruses. As you drill down to a... Read More
Geneticists are people of their time. I'm rather sure that if Charles Davenport had written a book with the title Race Crossing in Jamaica today it would end with a far different moral, because the dominant Zeitgeist in regards to racial admixture in the United States is far different nearly 100 years on. In my... Read More
When I arrived in the United States at the age of 4 I didn't really speak English. I had learned a bit from my grandmother, who knew I was going to the United States at some point in the near future, but I was definitely not fluent when I entered kindergarten. I was given an... Read More
The above is a map which illustrates life expectancy for white males and females by county in the United States from the paper Eight Americas: Investigating Mortality Disparities across Races, Counties, and Race-Counties in the United States. I'm reproducing it because it shows the wide variation in life expectancy for white Americans. Second, the results... Read More
The image to the left is the 'average' face of a Mexican woman as generated by the University of Glasgow Face Research Lab. Aside from the fact that the face is prettier than the typical human because of the well known tendency of averaging facial features removing unattractive asymmetry it is racially what you might... Read More
When I was watching Boyhood I assumed that some moron would point out that the protagonist's social milieu was overwhelmingly white. And it's out: Not Everyone's Boyhood. Many of my friends have a hard time accepting I identify as conservative, but reading stuff like this makes it clear why I'm conservative, I feel like puking... Read More
In the annals of "good GATTACA", Rape suspect indicted with cutting-edge DNA testing: The suspect has an identical twin. This naturally results in reasonable doubt if you use standard genomic technology, which lacks the precision to discern any differences to a high degree of confidence when the sequences are so similar. But a very small... Read More
Every now and then a bizarre character named Alistair Moffat comes on my radar. I presume he's famous in Britain, but I don't know much about him. Except that is he is keen on making the most bizarre pronouncements. A lot of the Debunking Genetic Astrology website is devoted to tackling Moffat's mischief. There's an... Read More
In the post below I made an offhand comment that most Americans with colonial stock in their family could probably trace at least one genealogical line back to a Native American. To some extent this implies omniscience, as most people don't have such a paper trail. But to give an example of what I'm talking... Read More
In the comments below a question was asked about the non-European admixture in white Canadians, New Zealanders, and Australians. It was prompted by the fact that low levels of non-European admixture do seem to be found in most whites in the Family Tree DNA database where both parents were born in South Africa (granted, a... Read More
I teased this yesterday, and I don't like to do that, so I'm going to put up a quick post. Something more thorough will go up on the Family Tree DNA blog at some point soon. Basically I have heard through the grapevine that something on the genomewide patterns of Afrikaners would be published "soon"... Read More
Apparently the only fertility clinic in Calgary, Canada, a city of 1 million, won't countenance the conception of mixed-race children. Here are the details: Calgary’s only fertility centre, which has made headlines for requiring that patients receive only sperm from donors of the same ethnicity, is a medically respected clinic but one with conservative views.... Read More
One of the most interesting aspects of human genomics over the past 10 years or so to me is that it has uncovered that in the Caribbean the Amerindian population was not totally exterminated, but rather its genetic legacy has persisted via females. The most sophisticated paper in this area is probably Reconstructing the Popul
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I've expressed a little disappointment in a book I recently read, Azar Gat's Nations: The Long History and Deep Roots of Political Ethnicity and Nationalism. There are two primary reasons for this. Nations simply does not measure up to his previous work, War and Human Civilization. But that is perhaps not a fair assessment, since... Read More
I fancy myself a relatively aware observer of the social scene, but I have to say that the graph to the left startled me somewhat. In less than my lifetime the modal young mother in the United States has gone from being married to unmarried. The effect is ameliorated by the rise in co-habitation, but... Read More
It's curious to me that the Coke and Pepsi of America's print media, The New York Times and The Washington Post, seem to be giving voice to the reality that democracy is not a magic elixir whereby people no longer "suck." Titled In Myanmar, the Euphoria of Reform Loses Its Glow and U.S. wanted Burma... Read More
Steve has a post up on a paint-by-the-numbers story, one of many coming out in the media about how white and male the workforce in Silicon Valley is. The latter is moderately true. The former seems pretty obviously false. The main issue is that the diversity isn't the the right kind of diversity. OK, whatever.... Read More
Steve points me to another weird argument for diversity in elite schools in The New York Times, Elite, Separate, Unequal: New York City’s Top Public Schools Need Diversity, which sidesteps the fact that students of Asian background are overwhelming these institutions. The writer seems to put a particular focus on Stuyvesant High School, which is... Read More
The theme of this month's Nautilus is "Mutation." Like Aeon Magazine, Nautilus consistently produces very high quality science inflected journalism. I highly recommend it. A piece in the current edition is titled How the Mormons Conquered America. It is a well written feature which plays with a common theme, the rise and mainstreaming of Mormons... Read More
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Over at Violent Metaphors Jennifer Raff has another review of A Troublesome Inheritance, this time focusing Nicholas Wades' interpretation of population genomics. I don't want to be cliche, but if there's one thing to like about Wade's book it's that lots of people are talking about human population genetics. Then again, if there's one thing... Read More
There's been a lot of discussion over the past few days about "trigger warnings" because of a piece in The New York Times, Warning: The Literary Canon Could Make Students Squirm. The basic idea is that texts might traumatize students who have been subject to abuse, etc., in the past. There are obviously cases where... Read More
Razib Khan
About Razib Khan

"I have degrees in biology and biochemistry, a passion for genetics, history, and philosophy, and shrimp is my favorite food. If you want to know more, see the links at http://www.razib.com"