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American Anthropological Association Statement on the Misuse of “Scientific Findings” to Promote Bigotry and Racial and Ethnic Hatred and Discrimination

(adopted October 1995)

The American Anthropological Association (AAA) is deeply disturbed and saddened by the spread of bigotry and racial and ethnic hatred around the world, including, but not limited to claims of racial supremacy or inferiority, calls for ethnic cleansing and purity, fanning xenophobic fears for political purposes and religious-based discrimination. The AAA also is greatly concerned that promoters of such attitudes and practices often cite alleged scientific findings to support their views. No such findings exist.

As stated in the AAA resolution on “race” and intelligence approved in 1994, “differentiating species into biologically defined `races’ has proven meaningless and unscientific as a way of explaining variation (whether in intelligence or other traits).”

The AAA Executive Board therefore finds that the worldwide scientific community has a responsibility to speak out against the use of purported scientific findings used to “justify” racial or ethnic superiority, inferiority or stereotyping and used to “justify” racial, ethnic and religious discrimination. To that end, the AAA Board resolves:

WHEREAS all human beings are members of one species, Homo sapiens, and

WHEREAS exclusionary practices and racial, ethnic and religious hatred based on differences among groups are spreading around the world, and

WHEREAS promoters of such attitudes and practices often claim their views are supported by scientific findings, and

WHEREAS no such scientific findings exist, and

WHEREAS the worldwide scientific community has a responsibility to promote responsible uses of scientific findings,

THEREFORE, the American Anthropological Association urges the worldwide scientific community to actively counter such claims whenever and wherever the claims are made, and requests the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences and all of its affiliated organizations, the International Council of Scientific Unions, the US National Academy of Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Consortium of Social Science Associations to adopt and act on similar resolutions, and requests the US National Academy of Sciences work to have its counterpart organizations around the world take similar actions.

FURTHER, the Board directs that copies of this statement and resolution be sent to the organizations listed in the resolution and to the media, be published in the Anthropology Newsletter and be presented to the 1995 AAA Annual Business meeting.

updated 9/15/00