Denunciatory reviews of Nicholas Wade’s book A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race, and Human History have typically fallen into two general categories:
• Well, nobody believes that race has no biological reality and is just a social construct, so the first half of the book, while accurate, is unnecessary.
• Race has no biological reality and is just a social construct!
It’s characteristic of the dumbing down effect that race has on intellectual discourse that it occurs to so few that race can be a biological reality that has been constructed by social decisions.
Advocates of the dogma that race is merely a “social construct” point to the artificiality of the traditional American “one drop of blood” rule for defining blackness. Yet it’s likely that the one-drop rule itself helped construct the American genetic reality of a bimodal distribution of black and white genes, in contrast to the more evenly blended Latin American populations.