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Does Race Exist?

  1. Jan 1, 2006 #1
    Does race exist or is it a social construct? After reading only a few pages of "Race and Intelligence", I am leaning towards the latter. However, I have also noted that a scientist I admire, Dawkins, believes in race. However, the reasons why he does, according the wikipedia, are contained in an article with scientific jargon I probably can't understand.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 1, 2006 #2


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  4. Jan 1, 2006 #3
    Thanks - that helps a lot.
  5. Jan 4, 2006 #4
    anthropology holds that http://www.aaanet.org/stmts/racepp.htm" [Broken] is a social construct. As far as I can tell, it is defined by how much melanin one has. Anyone know where it originated? I mean the specific idea of race, vs "peoples" or other tribes? Or what era it dated from?

    taken from above link -
    "In the United States both scholars and the general public have been conditioned to viewing human races as natural and separate divisions within the human species based on visible physical differences. With the vast expansion of scientific knowledge in this century, however, it has become clear that human populations are not unambiguous, clearly demarcated, biologically distinct groups. Evidence from the analysis of genetics (e.g., DNA) indicates that most physical variation, about 94%, lies within so-called racial groups. Conventional geographic "racial" groupings differ from one another only in about 6% of their genes. This means that there is greater variation within "racial" groups than between them. In neighboring populations there is much overlapping of genes and their phenotypic (physical) expressions. Throughout history whenever different groups have come into contact, they have interbred. The continued sharing of genetic materials has maintained all of humankind as a single species."

    From dictionary.com
    "Usage Note: The notion of race is nearly as problematic from a scientific point of view as it is from a social one. European physical anthropologists of the 17th and 18th centuries proposed various systems of racial classifications based on such observable characteristics as skin color, hair type, body proportions, and skull measurements, essentially codifying the perceived differences among broad geographic populations of humans. The traditional terms for these populationsCaucasoid (or Caucasian), Mongoloid, Negroid, and in some systems Australoidare now controversial in both technical and nontechnical usage, and in some cases they may well be considered offensive. (Caucasian does retain a certain currency in American English, but it is used almost exclusively to mean “white” or “European” rather than “belonging to the Caucasian race,” a group that includes a variety of peoples generally categorized as nonwhite.) The biological aspect of race is described today not in observable physical features but rather in such genetic characteristics as blood groups and metabolic processes, and the groupings indicated by these factors seldom coincide very neatly with those put forward by earlier physical anthropologists. Citing this and other pointssuch as the fact that a person who is considered black in one society might be nonblack in anothermany cultural anthropologists now consider race to be more a social or mental construct than an objective biological fact."

    wikipedia history of term race
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
  6. Jan 4, 2006 #5
    I think one interesting discussion could be held about the use of race on forms for just about everything. It's treated as something important, my mom even used it for her study on the war in Iraq and the media. If we stop treating race as important, it will be less important. I do understand that it makes a point about racism it self when we see stats on finances, education, etc that include race. Seems to be a catch-22 situation.
  7. Jan 4, 2006 #6


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    The person that create the current biological system of classification, Carolus Linnaeus, is responsible for the current view about races

  8. Jan 4, 2006 #7
    Fits nicely into the Great Chain of Being.
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