FDU trustee addresses ‘fallacy of race’
FDU trustee Dr. Franklyn Jenifer discusses race, genetics and public policy in Lenfell Hall, Hennessy Hall. (Photo by Dan Landau)
By Kenna Caprio
“When you say the word race, you should know what you’re talking about,” says Dr. Franklyn Jenifer. People can “walk across campus or any city and pick out race, no problem,” he says. But he contends there’s a difference between race and genetics.
Jenifer spoke on February 9 at the College at Florham on the subject of "The Myth of Race and Public Policy,” discussing both “folk” and “scientific” theories of race.
Scientifically, Jenifer says, when looking at genomes no one can tell blacks and whites apart. Considering, “the way you look, the color of skin,” is the “folk” perspective, and it’s the “fallacy of race,” he says.
There is “more (genetic) difference between two Africans than an African and a Scandinavian,” he says.
“No matter who you are, you are a homo sapien. (We’re) brothers and sisters with a common ancestor. You are the equal of every other person,” says Jenifer.
Jenifer also broached the lack of conversation about race amongst policy-makers. He called for politicians to get involved in the scientific discussion of race.
“There’s no public forum in the United States to discuss race. We need to talk about it,” he says near the end of his talk.
In addition to serving as president of the University of Texas at Dallas, Jenifer was also president of Howard University in Washington D.C. He was recently named to FDU’s Board of Trustees for a three-year term.
The event, part of the “Politics on the PublicMind” series, also tied into the University's celebration of Black History Month. “Politics” continues next week at 3:30 p.m. in Lenfell Hall, Hennessy Hall with speaker David Wilson a researcher from the University of Delaware.