Race

Race

Race is a classification system used to categorize humans into large and distinct populations or groups by heritable phenotypic characteristics (physical appearance), geographic ancestry, culture, history, language, ethnicity, and social status. In the early twentieth century the term was often used, in a taxonomic sense, to denote genetically differentiated human populations defined by phenotype.[1][2] While biologists sometimes use the concept of race to make distinctions among fuzzy sets of traits, others in the scientific community suggest that the idea of race is often used[3] in a naive[4] or simplistic way, i.e. that among humans, race has no taxonomic significance: all living humans belong to the same species, Homo sapiens.[5][6] Social conceptions and groupings of races vary over time, involving folk taxonomies [7] that define essential types of individuals based on perceived traits. Scientists consider biological essentialism obsolete,[8] and generally discourage racial explanations for collective differentiation in both physical and behavioral traits.[4][9] Since the second half of the twentieth century the associations of race with the ideologies and theories that grew out of the work of 19th-century anthropologists and physiologists has led to the use of the word race itself becoming problematic. Although still used in general contexts, it is now often replaced by other words which are less emotionally charged, such as populations, people(s), ethnic groups or communities depending on context.[10] It is demonstrated that race has no biological or genetic basis: gross morphological feat res which traditionally has been defined as races (e.g. skin color) are determined by non-significant and superficial genetic alleles with no link to any characteristics, such as intelligence, talent, athletic ability, etc. Race has been socially and legally constructed despite the lack of any scientific evidence for dividing humanity into racial baskets with any generalized genetic meaning.[11][12][13][14] When people define and talk about a particular conception of race, they create a social reality through which social categorization is achieved.[15] In this sense, races are said to be social constructs.[16] These constructs develop within various legal, economic, and sociopolitical contexts, and may be the effect, rather than the cause, of major social situations.[17] While race is understood to be a social construct by many, most scholars agree that race has real material effects in the lives of people through institutionalized practices of preference and discrimination. Socioeconomic factors, in combination with early but enduring views of race, have led to considerable suffering within disadvantaged racial groups.[18] Racial discrimination often coincides with racist mindsets, whereby the individuals and ideologies of one group come to perceive the members of an outgroup as both racially defined and morally inferior.[19] As a result, racial groups possessing relatively little power often find themselves excluded or oppressed, while hegemonic individuals and institutions are charged with holding racist attitudes.[20] Racism has led to many instances of tragedy, including slavery and genocide.