Fuentes attacks a construct of social, biological myths
RACE, MONOGAMY AND OTHER LIES THEY TOLD YOU: Busting Myths About Human Nature. By Agustin Fuentes, University of California Press. 220 pages. $27.50.
In 1992, amid great fanfare, Dr. John Gray declared that men were from Mars and women were from Venus.
From time immemorial we also have divided ourselves into classes or race, based upon physical and geographic traits.
And all the while we’ve lived our private lives, seeking the one person with whom we’re destined to spend them, living in an orderly fashion, separating ourselves as humans from the beasts within.
In “Race, Monogamy and Other Lies They Told You,” Agustin Fuentes insists that all the above are fallacies. Gender (apart from sex) is nothing more than a sociological construct; race is nothing but a set of genetic characteristics common in a geographical area.
He carefully lays out the case against humans as beasts with inherently animalistic natures. He argues that women are not intrinsically more emotional, and men are not intrinsically more violent, and that both are designed for multiple sexual partners throughout their lives.
He adeptly argues that the perpetuation of race as a palpable differentiation between human beings is not only a lie, but contributes to ongoing racial and ethical conflict in our culture.
Fuentes’ goal is to break down what he regards as a set of myths we’ve come to believe about ourselves as individuals and a species. And while his argument is convincing and well-researched, Fuentes sometimes could say in three sentences what he instead spreads out over three pages.
Despite his being verbose, this book is a must for anyone looking to explore where the lines of human nature and artificial class structure are, and where Fuentes says they’ve been artificially created.
Reviewer Will Shealy. a writer and personal trainer based in Charleston