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What is "race"?

Race is one way humans classify one another. Yet, views of how humans are classified differ between person-to-person and even country-to-country. The debate of "what race is" has important - and dangerous - implications across society and between individuals.

Race is a biological reality

Humans are different from each other - physically, culturally, linguistically, psychologically. Proponents of race as a biological reality view differences as anchored in genetic differences at a group level. Racial groups have key characteristics that make them unique and different from others.

Physiological features categorize people into races

Outward appearance and ancestry - which are biological and unchangeable - define a person's race.

Some races are genetically predisposed to outperform others

Racial disparities exist because of biological inheritance and genetics.

Race is a social construct

Just by the fact that "race" is defined differently by so many people shows that race is a social definition not based on fixed, biological causes.

There is no scientific evidence that humans are biologically divided into races

Scientific advances have allowed scientists to better understand human populations and migration.

Racial categories are specific to time and place

Racial categories vary across time and places all over the globe which is evidence that race is a shifting, social construct.

Race is self-identified, self-determined, and subject to change

Race is a part of one's identity that only the individual has the full potential to discover, expand, and determine. As people transition through different phases of life, understand aspects of their culture, and develop new meanings of race, they can also identify their race differently.

Race is a social reality with biological consequences

Social realities can influence one's environment, which in turn has biological effects.

A person's environment is influenced by social and cultural circumstances

Racial inequalities in health are not because of innate biological differences. Racial groups tend to live in different environments, and environmental factors determine the health disparities between races.

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This page was last edited on Friday, 23 Oct 2020 at 15:41 UTC