The Race Question

Morris Ginsberg
Claude Levi-Strauss
Edwin G. Conklin
Gunnar Dahlberg
Julian Huxley

The Race Question is the first of four UNESCO statements about issues of race. It was issued on 18 July 1950 following World War II and Nazi racism to clarify what was scientifically known about race, and as a moral condemnation of racism.[1]:1 It was criticized on several grounds and revised versions were publicized in 1951, 1967, and 1978.


The statements were signed by some of the leading researchers of the time, in the field of sociology, psychology, biology, cultural anthropology and ethnology.

The original statement was drafted by Ernest Beaglehole; Juan Comas; Luiz de Aguiar Costa Pinto; Franklin Frazier, sociologist specialised in race relations studies; Morris Ginsberg, founding chairperson of the British Sociological Association; Humayun Kabir, writer, philosopher, and twice Education Minister of India; Claude Lévi-Strauss, one of the founders of ethnology and leading theorist of structural anthropology; and Ashley Montagu, anthropologist and author of The Elephant Man: A Study in Human Dignity, who was the rapporteur.

The text was then revised by Ashley Montagu following criticisms submitted by Hadley Cantril; Edwin Conklin; Gunnar Dahlberg; Theodosius Dobzhansky, author of Genetics and the Origin of Species (1937); L. C. Dunn; Donald Hager; Julian Huxley, first director of UNESCO and one of the many key contributors to modern evolutionary synthesis; Otto Klineberg; Wilbert Moore; H. J. Muller; Gunnar Myrdal, author of An American Dilemma: The Negro Problem and Modern Democracy (1944); Joseph Needham, a biochemist specialist of Chinese science; and geneticist Curt Stern.