Oak Park should update its categories

Opinion: Letters To The Editor

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Oak Park is justifiably proud of being one of the few U.S. communities to plan for their integration. The result is a thriving heterogeneous place that is still trying to figure out how people of different backgrounds can live together. Given that noble goal, I am disappointed to see people still employing a scientifically discredited concept of race to discuss differences. How does one racially categorize a person who speaks Spanish and has very dark skin? Hispanic, Black, Other? Anthropologists have for some time abandoned the concept. Oak Parkers should follow their example. See The American Anthropological Association's Statement on Race, 1998 (http://www.aaanet.org/stmts/racepp.htm).

Jay Ruby, Ph.D.
Anthropologist and DOOPer
(OPRF class of 1953)

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John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: August 27th, 2013 11:26 PM

Dr. Ruby - It has been a tough decade for Oak Park diversity and segregation. Since your last visit, the village has become split. Socially we have become wealth seekers and crime (black) worriers. I agree with the final sentence in the American Anthropological Association's Statement on Race, 1998: "Given what we know about the capacity of normal humans to achieve and function within any culture, we conclude that present-day inequalities between so-called "racial" groups are not consequences of their biological inheritance but products of historical and contemporary social, economic, educational, and political circumstances." Unfortunately, the discussion has withered in OP. The village continues chooses to rest on the laurels of the 60's and 70's.

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