WMU News

'Illusion of Race' is subject of fifth annual diversity event

March 29, 2004

KALAMAZOO--Dr. Joseph L. Graves Jr. will present lectures on "The Illusion of Race" Tuesday and Wednesday, April 6-7, for the fifth annual "Respecting Differences" lecture series in Kalamazoo.

The free, public lectures will be held in Chenery Auditorium, 714 S. Westnedge Ave., Kalamazoo. Graves' presentation on Tuesday, April 6, is at 1:30 p.m. The presentation on Wednesday, April 7, is at 8:30 a.m. Both presentations cover the same material.

In his presentation, Graves examines the concept of race as a cultural and social phenomenon, which he asserts cannot be proven through biology or genetics. He argues that racism persists in our society because adequate scientific reasoning has not entered into the equation. Graves says poor scientific methods create and reinforce the illusion of race as a valid physical trait. He describes how there are no clear-cut, distinct categories of people nor are there genetic markers that define race.

Graves is the author of "The Emperor's New Clothes: Biological Theories of Race at the Millennium" and the forthcoming "The Race." He holds a Ph.D. in environmental, evolutionary and systematic biology from Wayne State University. He received a president's post-doctoral fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. Graves is a Fellow on the Council of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and is a member of the external advisory panel for the National Human Genome Center at Howard University. His research has been profiled in the Chronicle of Higher Education and Black Issues in Higher Education, among others. He served as a consultant for the recent PBS series "Race--The Power of an Illusion."

Graves' lecture is the fifth in an annual series of presentations that heighten awareness of diversity issues in the workplace. The series, "Respecting Differences," is sponsored and coordinated by the City of Kalamazoo, County of Kalamazoo, Davenport University, Kalamazoo College, Kalamazoo Community Mental Health, Kalamazoo Valley Community College and Western Michigan University.

Related story
PBS series on 'Illusion of Race' repeats beginning Monday

For more information, contact Felicia Crawford in WMU human resources at 269 387-3635 or <felicia.crawford@wmich.edu>.

Media contact: Gail Towns, 269 387-8400, gail.towns@wmich.edu

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