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Human Races

Human Races
Garn
3rd ed., 1971

Submitter: I dare you to find another book that compares the earwax of people of different races.

Holly: Dr. Garn was a Professor of Anthropology and also of Nutrition at the University of Michigan (go blue!). He died in 2007, but is still considered to be “the” guy in the history of biological interpretations of race.” So, all of this is probably very interesting to students of anthropology, and some of his work probably still belongs in libraries like U of M’s. I am, however, surprised at the number of community colleges that still hold even the 1st edition of this book, according to WorldCat.org – and even a few large public libraries.

All that said, I agree with Submitter that the earwax thing is…”unique,” though it does seem relevant to the material. There is a page included below that defines the word “race” in very scientific terms, and is careful to point out that politicians and demagogues have misused the word.  Gotta say, I’m kind of intrigued by the few pages included here. I’d weed it anywhere but the most academic of academics, but he is an important guy in the field.

More Wax In Our World

6 Responses to Human Races

  • Oddly enough I had heard about the sticky v. dry kinds of earwax/cerumen from a news story about ear rakes in Japan. As far as the book goes, I’m glad to see a racial book from the past that isn’t trash.

  • Reminded of a science teacher in high school bragging about his Japanese wife and her crumbly earwax.

  • They cannot frighten me with their empty spaces […] where no human race is. (Robt Frost)

  • Yep, the earwax differences are pretty well known, so I’m sure it’s in other books

  • The discovery of prions does leave the page on Kuro somewhat out-dated.

  • I studied anthropology and we talked about the two different types of earwax. Most introductory biological anthropology books probably mention it. It’s a pretty noticeable difference which results in cultural differences in ear-cleaning practices.