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Race

Race

Overview
Race is classification of human
Human
Humans are the only living species in the Homo genus...

s into large and distinct population
Population
A population is all the organisms that both belong to the same group or species and live in the same geographical area. The area that is used to define a sexual population is such that inter-breeding is possible between any pair within the area and more probable than cross-breeding with individuals...

s or group
Group (sociology)
In the social sciences a social group can be defined as two or more humans who interact with one another, share similar characteristics and collectively have a sense of unity...

s by factors such as heritable phenotypic
Phenotype
A phenotype is an organism's observable characteristics or traits: such as its morphology, development, biochemical or physiological properties, behavior, and products of behavior...

 characteristics or geographic ancestry, but also often influenced by and correlated with traits such as appearance, culture
Culture
Culture is a term that has many different inter-related meanings. For example, in 1952, Alfred Kroeber and Clyde Kluckhohn compiled a list of 164 definitions of "culture" in Culture: A Critical Review of Concepts and Definitions...

, ethnicity, and socio-economic status
Socioeconomic status
Socioeconomic status is an economic and sociological combined total measure of a person's work experience and of an individual's or family’s economic and social position in relation to others, based on income, education, and occupation...

. In the early twentieth century the term was often used, in its biological sense
Race (biology)
In biology, races are distinct genetically divergent populations within the same species with relatively small morphological and genetic differences. The populations can be described as ecological races if they arise from adaptation to different local habitats or geographic races when they are...

, to denote genetically divergent
Genetic divergence
Genetic divergence is the process in which two or more populations of an ancestral species accumulate independent genetic changes through time, often after the populations have become reproductively isolated for some period of time...

 human population
Population
A population is all the organisms that both belong to the same group or species and live in the same geographical area. The area that is used to define a sexual population is such that inter-breeding is possible between any pair within the area and more probable than cross-breeding with individuals...

s which can be marked by common phenotypic traits. When analyzing skeletal remains, this sense of "race" is still used at times within forensic anthropology
Forensic anthropology
Forensic anthropology is the application of the science of physical anthropology and human osteology in a legal setting, most often in criminal cases where the victim's remains are in the advanced stages of decomposition. A forensic anthropologist can assist in the identification of deceased...

, biomedical research
Biomedical research
Biomedical research , in general simply known as medical research, is the basic research, applied research, or translational research conducted to aid and support the body of knowledge in the field of medicine...

, and race-based medicine as proxy for geographic ancestry with some reliability.
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Quotations

"The emotions between the races could never be pure; even love was tarnished by the desire to find in the other some element that was missing in ourselves. Whether we sought out our demons or salvation, the other race would always remain just that: menacing, alien, and apart."

Barack Hussein Obama, Dreams from My Father, Three Rivers Press, 1995.

"You guys have been practicing discrimination for years. Now it is our turn."

Supreme Court Justice Thurgood_Marshall|Thurgood Marshall (in a conversation with Justice William Douglas about racial preferences), William O. Douglas, The Court Years 1939-1975, New York, Random House, 1980.

"Among these widely differing families of men, the first that attracts attention, the superior in intelligence, in power, and in enjoyment, is the white, or European, the MAN pre-eminently so called, below him appear the Negro and the Indian."

"The most formidable of all the ills that threaten the future of the Union arises from the presence of a black population upon its territory; and in contemplating the cause of the present embarrassments, or the future dangers of the United States, the observer is invariably led to this as a primary fact."

Nearly all black and brown skins are beautiful, but a beautiful white skin is rare. ~ Mark Twain

Encyclopedia
Race is classification of human
Human
Humans are the only living species in the Homo genus...

s into large and distinct population
Population
A population is all the organisms that both belong to the same group or species and live in the same geographical area. The area that is used to define a sexual population is such that inter-breeding is possible between any pair within the area and more probable than cross-breeding with individuals...

s or group
Group (sociology)
In the social sciences a social group can be defined as two or more humans who interact with one another, share similar characteristics and collectively have a sense of unity...

s by factors such as heritable phenotypic
Phenotype
A phenotype is an organism's observable characteristics or traits: such as its morphology, development, biochemical or physiological properties, behavior, and products of behavior...

 characteristics or geographic ancestry, but also often influenced by and correlated with traits such as appearance, culture
Culture
Culture is a term that has many different inter-related meanings. For example, in 1952, Alfred Kroeber and Clyde Kluckhohn compiled a list of 164 definitions of "culture" in Culture: A Critical Review of Concepts and Definitions...

, ethnicity, and socio-economic status
Socioeconomic status
Socioeconomic status is an economic and sociological combined total measure of a person's work experience and of an individual's or family’s economic and social position in relation to others, based on income, education, and occupation...

. In the early twentieth century the term was often used, in its biological sense
Race (biology)
In biology, races are distinct genetically divergent populations within the same species with relatively small morphological and genetic differences. The populations can be described as ecological races if they arise from adaptation to different local habitats or geographic races when they are...

, to denote genetically divergent
Genetic divergence
Genetic divergence is the process in which two or more populations of an ancestral species accumulate independent genetic changes through time, often after the populations have become reproductively isolated for some period of time...

 human population
Population
A population is all the organisms that both belong to the same group or species and live in the same geographical area. The area that is used to define a sexual population is such that inter-breeding is possible between any pair within the area and more probable than cross-breeding with individuals...

s which can be marked by common phenotypic traits. When analyzing skeletal remains, this sense of "race" is still used at times within forensic anthropology
Forensic anthropology
Forensic anthropology is the application of the science of physical anthropology and human osteology in a legal setting, most often in criminal cases where the victim's remains are in the advanced stages of decomposition. A forensic anthropologist can assist in the identification of deceased...

, biomedical research
Biomedical research
Biomedical research , in general simply known as medical research, is the basic research, applied research, or translational research conducted to aid and support the body of knowledge in the field of medicine...

, and race-based medicine as proxy for geographic ancestry with some reliability. In addition, law enforcement
Law enforcement agency
In North American English, a law enforcement agency is a government agency responsible for the enforcement of the laws.Outside North America, such organizations are called police services. In North America, some of these services are called police while others have other names In North American...

 utilizes race in their attempts to profile
Offender profiling
Offender profiling, also known as criminal profiling, is a behavioral and investigative tool that is intended to help investigators to profile unknown criminal subjects or offenders. Offender profiling is also known as criminal profiling, criminal personality profiling, criminological profiling,...

 wanted suspects and to reconstruct the faces
Forensic facial reconstruction
Forensic facial reconstruction is the process of recreating the face of an individual from their skeletal remains through an amalgamation of artistry, forensic science, anthropology, osteology, and anatomy...

 of unidentified remains. In many societies racial groupings correspond closely with patterns of social stratification
Social stratification
In sociology the social stratification is a concept of class, involving the "classification of persons into groups based on shared socio-economic conditions ... a relational set of inequalities with economic, social, political and ideological dimensions."...

, and for social scientists studying social inequality, race can be a significant variable. As sociological
Sociology
Sociology is the study of society. It is a social science—a term with which it is sometimes synonymous—which uses various methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis to develop a body of knowledge about human social activity...

 factors, racial categories may in part reflect subjective
Subjectivity
Subjectivity refers to the subject and his or her perspective, feelings, beliefs, and desires. In philosophy, the term is usually contrasted with objectivity.-Qualia:...

 attributions, self-identities, and social institution
Institution
An institution is any structure or mechanism of social order and cooperation governing the behavior of a set of individuals within a given human community...

s. Accordingly, the racial paradigm
Paradigm
The word paradigm has been used in science to describe distinct concepts. It comes from Greek "παράδειγμα" , "pattern, example, sample" from the verb "παραδείκνυμι" , "exhibit, represent, expose" and that from "παρά" , "beside, beyond" + "δείκνυμι" , "to show, to point out".The original Greek...

s employed by different kinds of biological or social scientists may vary in their emphasis on biological reduction as contrasted with societal construction
Social constructivism
Social constructivism is a sociological theory of knowledge that applies the general philosophical constructionism into social settings, wherein groups construct knowledge for one another, collaboratively creating a small culture of shared artifacts with shared meanings...

.

While biological scientists sometimes use the concept of race to make practical distinctions among fuzzy set
Fuzzy set
Fuzzy sets are sets whose elements have degrees of membership. Fuzzy sets were introduced simultaneously by Lotfi A. Zadeh and Dieter Klaua in 1965 as an extension of the classical notion of set. In classical set theory, the membership of elements in a set is assessed in binary terms according to...

s of traits, others in the scientific community
Scientific community
The scientific community consists of the total body of scientists, its relationships and interactions. It is normally divided into "sub-communities" each working on a particular field within science. Objectivity is expected to be achieved by the scientific method...

 suggest that the idea of race is often used by the general public in a naive or simplistic way. Among humans, race has no taxonomic significance; all people belong to the same hominid subspecies, Homo sapiens sapiens. Regardless of the extent to which race exists, the word "race" is problematic and may carry negative connotations. Social conceptions and groupings of races vary over time, involving folk taxonomies
Folk taxonomy
A folk taxonomy is a vernacular naming system, and can be contrasted with scientific taxonomy. Folk biological classification is the way peoples describe and organize their natural surroundings/the world around them, typically making generous use of form taxa like "shrubs", "bugs", "ducks",...


that define essential types of individuals based on perceived sets of traits. Scientists consider biological essentialism
Essentialism
In philosophy, essentialism is the view that, for any specific kind of entity, there is a set of characteristics or properties all of which any entity of that kind must possess. Therefore all things can be precisely defined or described...

 obsolete, and generally discourage racial explanations for collective differentiation in both physical and behavioral traits.

As people define and put about different conceptions of race, they actively create contrasting social realities through which racial categorization is achieved in varied ways. In this sense, races are said to be social constructs. These constructs can develop within various legal, economic, and sociopolitical contexts, and at times may be the effect, rather than the cause, of major social situations.
Socioeconomic factors, in combination with early but enduring views of race, have led to considerable suffering amongst the disadvantaged racial groups. Intergroup competition fosters ingroup
Ingroup
In sociology and social psychology, ingroups and outgroups are social groups to which an individual feels as though he or she belongs as a member, or to which they feel contempt, opposition, or a desire to compete. People tend to hold positive attitudes towards members of their own groups, a...

 biases
Ingroup bias
In-group–out-group bias, also called intergroup bias, refers to the phenomenon of in-group favoritism, a preference and affinity for one’s in-group over the out-group, or anyone viewed as outside the in-group. This can be expressed in evaluation of others, linking, allocation of resources and many...

 against their outgroup. Accordingly, when groups find themselves in competition with their designated outgroups, the more privileged group may subject its disadvantaged counterpart to discriminatory treatment. Racial discrimination often coincides with racist
Racism
Racism is the belief that inherent different traits in human racial groups justify discrimination. In the modern English language, the term "racism" is used predominantly as a pejorative epithet. It is applied especially to the practice or advocacy of racial discrimination of a pernicious nature...

 mindsets, whereby the individuals and ideologies of one group come to perceive the members of their outgroup as both racially defined and morally inferior. As a result, racial groups possessing relatively little power often find themselves excluded or oppressed, while the individuals and institution
Institution
An institution is any structure or mechanism of social order and cooperation governing the behavior of a set of individuals within a given human community...

s of the hegemony are charged with holding racist attitudes. Racism has factored into many instances of tragedy, including slavery
Slavery
Slavery is a system under which people are treated as property to be bought and sold, and are forced to work. Slaves can be held against their will from the time of their capture, purchase or birth, and deprived of the right to leave, to refuse to work, or to demand compensation...

 and genocide
Genocide
Genocide is defined as "the deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of an ethnic, racial, religious, or national group", though what constitutes enough of a "part" to qualify as genocide has been subject to much debate by legal scholars...

. Scholars continue to debate the degrees to which racial categories are biologically warranted and socially constructed, as well as the extent to which the realities of race must be acknowledged in order for society to comprehend and address racism adequately.

Early modern concepts of race


Groups of humans have probably always identified themselves as distinct from other groups, but such differences have not always been understood to be natural, immutable and global. These features are the distinguishing features of how the concept of race is used today.

The word "race" was originally used to refer to any nations or ethnic groups. Marco Polo
Marco Polo
Marco Polo was a Venetian merchant traveler from the Venetian Republic whose travels are recorded in Il Milione, a book which did much to introduce Europeans to Central Asia and China. He learned about trading whilst his father and uncle, Niccolò and Maffeo, travelled through Asia and apparently...

 in his 13th-century travels
The Travels of Marco Polo
Books of the Marvels of the World or Description of the World , also nicknamed Il Milione or Oriente Poliano and commonly called The Travels of Marco Polo, is a 13th-century travelogue written down by Rustichello da Pisa from stories told by Marco Polo, describing the...

, for example, describes the Persian race—the 19th- and 20th-century concepts of its meaning and modern sensibilities about how society views race date back only to the 17th century.

The European concept of "race", along with many of the ideas now associated with the term, arose in the conjunction of the scientific revolution
Scientific revolution
The Scientific Revolution is an era associated primarily with the 16th and 17th centuries during which new ideas and knowledge in physics, astronomy, biology, medicine and chemistry transformed medieval and ancient views of nature and laid the foundations for modern science...

, which introduced and privileged the study of natural kinds, and the age of European imperialism
Colonial empire
The Colonial empires were a product of the European Age of Exploration that began with a race of exploration between the then most advanced maritime powers, Portugal and Spain, in the 15th century...

 and colonization which established political relations between Europeans and peoples with distinct cultural and political traditions. As Europeans encountered people from different parts of the world
World
World is a common name for the whole of human civilization, specifically human experience, history, or the human condition in general, worldwide, i.e. anywhere on Earth....

, they speculated about the physical, social, and cultural differences among various human groups. The rise of the Atlantic slave trade
Atlantic slave trade
The Atlantic slave trade, also known as the trans-atlantic slave trade, refers to the trade in slaves that took place across the Atlantic ocean from the sixteenth through to the nineteenth centuries...

, which gradually displaced an earlier trade in slaves from throughout the world, created a further incentive
Incentive
In economics and sociology, an incentive is any factor that enables or motivates a particular course of action, or counts as a reason for preferring one choice to the alternatives. It is an expectation that encourages people to behave in a certain way...

 to categorize human groups in order to justify the subordination of African slaves. Drawing on Classical sources and upon their own internal interactions — for example, the hostility between the English
English people
The English are a nation and ethnic group native to England, who speak English. The English identity is of early mediaeval origin, when they were known in Old English as the Anglecynn. England is now a country of the United Kingdom, and the majority of English people in England are British Citizens...

 and Irish
Irish people
The Irish people are an ethnic group who originate in Ireland, an island in northwestern Europe. Ireland has been populated for around 9,000 years , with the Irish people's earliest ancestors recorded having legends of being descended from groups such as the Nemedians, Fomorians, Fir Bolg, Tuatha...

 was a powerful influence on early thinking about the differences between people — Europeans began to sort themselves and others into groups associated with physical appearance and with deeply ingrained behaviors and capacities. A set of folk
Folklore
Folklore consists of legends, music, oral history, proverbs, jokes, popular beliefs, fairy tales and customs that are the traditions of a culture, subculture, or group. It is also the set of practices through which those expressive genres are shared. The study of folklore is sometimes called...

 beliefs took hold that linked inherited physical differences between groups to inherited intellect
Intellect
Intellect is a term used in studies of the human mind, and refers to the ability of the mind to come to correct conclusions about what is true or real, and about how to solve problems...

ual, behavioral, and moral
Moral
A moral is a message conveyed or a lesson to be learned from a story or event. The moral may be left to the hearer, reader or viewer to determine for themselves, or may be explicitly encapsulated in a maxim...

 qualities. Similar ideas can be found in other cultures, for example in China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

, where a concept often translated as "race" was associated with supposed common descent from the Yellow Emperor
Yellow Emperor
The Yellow Emperor or Huangdi1 is a legendary Chinese sovereign and culture hero, included among the Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors. Tradition holds that he reigned from 2697–2597 or 2696–2598 BC...

, and used to stress the unity of ethnic groups in China. Furthermore, often brutal conflicts between ethnic groups have existed throughout history and across the world.

The first post-Classical published classification of humans into distinct races seems to be François Bernier
François Bernier
François Bernier was a French physician and traveller. He was born at Joué-Etiau in Anjou. He was the personal physician of the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb for around 12 years during his stay in India....

's Nouvelle division de la terre par les différents espèces ou races qui l'habitent ("New division of Earth by the different species or races which inhabit it"), published in 1684. In the 18th century, the differences among human groups became a focus of scientific investigation. But the scientific classification of phenotypic variation was frequently coupled with racist ideas about innate predispositions of different groups, always attributing the most desirable features to the White, European race and arranging the other races along a continuum of progressively undesirable attributes. The 1755 classification of Carolus Linnaeus
Carolus Linnaeus
Carl Linnaeus , also known after his ennoblement as , was a Swedish botanist, physician, and zoologist, who laid the foundations for the modern scheme of binomial nomenclature. He is known as the father of modern taxonomy, and is also considered one of the fathers of modern ecology...

, inventor of zoological taxonomy, divided the human race Homo Sapiens continental varieties of Europaeus, Asiaticus, Americanus and Afer, each associated with a different humour
Humorism
Humorism, or humoralism, is a now discredited theory of the makeup and workings of the human body, adopted by Greek and Roman physicians and philosophers, positing that an excess or deficiency of any of four distinct bodily fluids in a person directly influences their temperament and health...

: sanguine
Sanguine
Sanguine is chalk of a reddish color, often called the true colour of blood. tending to brown, used in drawing, The word also describes any drawing done in sanguine.-Technique:...

, melancholic, choleric and bilious respectively. Homo Sapiens Europeaus was described as active, acute, and adventurous whereas Homo Sapiens Afer was crafty, lazy and careless.

The 1775 treatise "The Natural Varieties of Mankind," by Johann Friedrich Blumenbach
Johann Friedrich Blumenbach
Johann Friedrich Blumenbach was a German physician, physiologist and anthropologist, one of the first to explore the study of mankind as an aspect of natural history, whose teachings in comparative anatomy were applied to classification of what he called human races, of which he determined...

 established five major divisions of humans still reflected in some racial classifications, i.e., the Caucasoid race, Mongoloid race
Mongoloid race
Mongoloid is a term sometimes used by forensic anthropologists and physical anthropologists to refer to populations that share certain phenotypic traits such as epicanthic fold and shovel-shaped incisors and other physical traits common in East Asia, the Americas and the Arctic...

, Ethiopian race (later termed the Negroid race), American Indian race
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

, and Malayan race, but he did not propose any hierarchic ranking between the races. Blumenbach also noted the gradual transition in appearances from one group to adjacent groups and suggested that "one variety of mankind does so sensibly pass into the other, that you cannot mark out the limits between them".

From the 17th through the 19th centuries, the merging of folk beliefs about group differences with scientific explanations of those differences produced what one scholar has called an "ideology
Ideology
An ideology is a set of ideas that constitutes one's goals, expectations, and actions. An ideology can be thought of as a comprehensive vision, as a way of looking at things , as in common sense and several philosophical tendencies , or a set of ideas proposed by the dominant class of a society to...

 of race". According to this ideology, races are primordial, natural, enduring and distinct. It was further argued that some groups may be the result of mixture between formerly distinct populations, but that careful study could distinguish the ancestral races that had combined to produce admixed groups. Subsequent influential classifications by Georges Buffon, Petrus Camper
Petrus Camper
Peter, Pieter, or usually Petrus Camper was a Dutch physician, anatomist, physiologist, midwife, zoologist, anthropologist, paleontologist and a naturalist. He studied the orangutan, the rhinoceros, the skull of a whale...

 and Christoph Meiners
Christoph Meiners
Christoph Meiners was a German philosopher and historian, born in Hemmoor. He supported a polygenist theory of human origins....

 all classified "Negros" as naturally inferior to Europeans. In the United States the racial theories of Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson was the principal author of the United States Declaration of Independence and the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom , the third President of the United States and founder of the University of Virginia...

 became widely influential. He saw Africans as naturally inferior to Whites especially in regards to their intellect, and embued with unnatural sexual appetites, but described American Indians as equals to whites.

In the last two decades of the 18th century polygenism
Polygenism
Polygenism is a theory of human origins positing that the human races are of different lineages . This is opposite to the idea of monogenism, which posits a single origin of humanity.- Origins :...

, the belief that different races had evolved separately in each continent and shared no common ancestor, was advocated in England by historian Edward Long
Edward Long
Edward Long was a British colonial administrator and historian, and author of an influential work, The History of Jamaica .-Life:...

 and anatomist Charles White
Charles White (physician)
Charles White FRS was an English physician and a co-founder of the Manchester Royal Infirmary, along with local industrialist Joseph Bancroft...

, in Germany by ethnographers Christoph Meiners
Christoph Meiners
Christoph Meiners was a German philosopher and historian, born in Hemmoor. He supported a polygenist theory of human origins....

 and Georg Forster
Georg Forster
Johann Georg Adam Forster was a German naturalist, ethnologist, travel writer, journalist, and revolutionary. At an early age, he accompanied his father on several scientific expeditions, including James Cook's second voyage to the Pacific...

, and in France by Julien Virey and prominently in the US by Samuel Morton
Samuel Morton
Samuel J. "Nails" Morton was a high ranking member of Dean O'Banion's Northside gang.-Early life:As a young man in the West Side Chicago, Morton won the admiration of the Jewish community for allegedly creating a self-defense society against Anti-Semites...

, Josiah Nott and Louis Agassiz
Louis Agassiz
Jean Louis Rodolphe Agassiz was a Swiss paleontologist, glaciologist, geologist and a prominent innovator in the study of the Earth's natural history. He grew up in Switzerland and became a professor of natural history at University of Neuchâtel...

. Polygenism was very popular and most widespread in the 19th century, culminating in the creation of the Anthropological Society of London
Anthropological Society of London
The Anthropological Society of London was founded in 1863 by Richard Francis Burton and Dr. James Hunt. It broke away from the existing Ethnological Society of London, founded in 1843, and defined itself in opposition to the older society...

 in the shadow of the American civil war
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

, in opposition to the abolitionist Ethnological Society
Ethnological Society of London
The Ethnological Society of London was founded in 1843 by a breakaway faction of the Aborigines' Protection Society . It quickly became one of England's leading scientific societies, and a meeting-place not only for students of ethnology but also for archaeologists interested in prehistoric...

.

Models of human evolution


In a 1995 article, Leonard Lieberman
Leonard Lieberman
Leonard Lieberman, a Professor of Anthropology for 40 years at Central Michigan University, was born October 25, 1925 and died February 6, 2007....

 and Fatimah Jackson
Fatimah Jackson
Fatimah Jackson, full name Fatimah Linda Collier Jackson is an African American biologist and anthropologist. She is a professor of Applied Biological Anthropology at the University of Maryland and has been teaching there for over 15 years. She is the recipient of numerous awards and honors,...

 suggested that any new support for a biological concept of race will likely come from another source, namely, the study of human evolution. They therefore ask what, if any, implications current models of human evolution may have for any biological conception of race.

Today, all humans are classified as belonging to the species Homo sapiens and sub-species Homo sapiens sapiens. However, this is not the first species of homininae
Homininae
Homininae is a subfamily of Hominidae, which includes humans, gorillas and chimpanzees, and some extinct relatives; it comprises all those hominids, such as Australopithecus, that arose after the split from orangutans . Our family tree, which has 3 main branches leading to chimpanzees, humans and...

: the first species of genus Homo, Homo habilis
Homo habilis
Homo habilis is a species of the genus Homo, which lived from approximately at the beginning of the Pleistocene period. The discovery and description of this species is credited to both Mary and Louis Leakey, who found fossils in Tanzania, East Africa, between 1962 and 1964. Homo habilis Homo...

, are theorized to have evolved in East Africa at least 2 million years ago, and members of this species populated different parts of Africa in a relatively short time. Homo erectus
Homo erectus
Homo erectus is an extinct species of hominid that lived from the end of the Pliocene epoch to the later Pleistocene, about . The species originated in Africa and spread as far as India, China and Java. There is still disagreement on the subject of the classification, ancestry, and progeny of H...

 is theorized to have evolved more than 1.8 million years ago, and by 1.5 million years ago had spread throughout Europe and Asia. Virtually all physical anthropologists agree that Homo sapiens evolved out of African Homo erectus ((sensu lato) or Homo ergaster
Homo ergaster
Homo ergaster is an extinct chronospecies of Homo that lived in eastern and southern Africa during the early Pleistocene, about 2.5–1.7 million years ago.There is still disagreement on the subject of the classification, ancestry, and progeny of H...

).
Most anthropologists believe that Homo sapiens evolved in East Africa and then migrated out of Africa, replacing H. erectus populations throughout Europe and Asia (the Out of Africa
Recent African origin of modern humans
In paleoanthropology, the recent African origin of modern humans is the most widely accepted model describing the origin and early dispersal of anatomically modern humans...

 model).
Recent Human evolutionary genetics
Human evolutionary genetics
Human evolutionary genetics studies how one human genome differs from the other, the evolutionary past that gave rise to it, and its current effects. Differences between genomes have anthropological, medical and forensic implications and applications...

 ( Jobling, Hurles and Tyler-Smith, 2004) support this “Out of Africa
Out of Africa
Out of Africa is a 1985 romantic drama film directed and produced by Sydney Pollack, and starring Robert Redford and Meryl Streep. The film is based loosely on the autobiographical book Out of Africa written by Isak Dinesen , which was published in 1937, with additional material from Dinesen's book...

” model, however the recent sequencing of the Neanderthal
Neanderthal
The Neanderthal is an extinct member of the Homo genus known from Pleistocene specimens found in Europe and parts of western and central Asia...

 and Denisovan genomes shows some admixture . These results also show that 40.000 years ago there co-existed at least three major sub-species that may be considered as“races” (or not, see discussion below): Denisovans, Neanderthals and Cro-magnons. Today, there's only one human species with no sub-species.

Lieberman and Jackson argued that while advocates of both the Multiregional Model and the Out of Africa Model use the word race and make racial assumptions, none define the term. They conclude that students of human evolution would be better off avoiding the word race, and instead describe genetic differences in terms of populations and clinal gradations.

Race as subspecies



At the beginning of the 20th century, anthropologists accepted, and taught, the belief that biologically distinct races are isomorphic with distinct linguistic, cultural, and social groups, while popularly applying that belief to the field of eugenics
Eugenics
Eugenics is the "applied science or the bio-social movement which advocates the use of practices aimed at improving the genetic composition of a population", usually referring to human populations. The origins of the concept of eugenics began with certain interpretations of Mendelian inheritance,...

, in conjunction with a practice that is now called scientific racism
Scientific racism
Scientific racism is the use of scientific techniques and hypotheses to sanction the belief in racial superiority or racism.This is not the same as using scientific findings and the scientific method to investigate differences among the humans and argue that there are races...

.
Following the Nazi eugenics
Nazi eugenics
Nazi eugenics were Nazi Germany's racially-based social policies that placed the improvement of the Aryan race through eugenics at the center of their concerns...

 program, racial essentialism lost scientific credibility. Race anthropologists were pressured to acknowledge findings coming from studies of culture
Culture
Culture is a term that has many different inter-related meanings. For example, in 1952, Alfred Kroeber and Clyde Kluckhohn compiled a list of 164 definitions of "culture" in Culture: A Critical Review of Concepts and Definitions...

 and population genetics
Population genetics
Population genetics is the study of allele frequency distribution and change under the influence of the four main evolutionary processes: natural selection, genetic drift, mutation and gene flow. It also takes into account the factors of recombination, population subdivision and population...

, and to revise their conclusions about the sources of phenotypic variation. A significant number of modern anthropologists
Anthropology
Anthropology is the study of humanity. It has origins in the humanities, the natural sciences, and the social sciences. The term "anthropology" is from the Greek anthrōpos , "man", understood to mean mankind or humanity, and -logia , "discourse" or "study", and was first used in 1501 by German...

 and biologists
Biology
Biology is a natural science concerned with the study of life and living organisms, including their structure, function, growth, origin, evolution, distribution, and taxonomy. Biology is a vast subject containing many subdivisions, topics, and disciplines...

 in the West came to view race as an invalid genetic or biological designation. However, in most parts of the world, and for some in the West, the concept remains an important part of the study of human variation.

The first to challenge the concept of race on empirical grounds were anthropologists
Anthropology
Anthropology is the study of humanity. It has origins in the humanities, the natural sciences, and the social sciences. The term "anthropology" is from the Greek anthrōpos , "man", understood to mean mankind or humanity, and -logia , "discourse" or "study", and was first used in 1501 by German...

 Franz Boas
Franz Boas
Franz Boas was a German-American anthropologist and a pioneer of modern anthropology who has been called the "Father of American Anthropology" and "the Father of Modern Anthropology." Like many such pioneers, he trained in other disciplines; he received his doctorate in physics, and did...

, who demonstrated phenotypic plasticity due to environmental factors, and Ashley Montagu
Ashley Montagu
Montague Francis Ashley Montagu was a British-American anthropologist and humanist, of Jewish ancestry, who popularized topics such as race and gender and their relation to politics and development...

 who relied on evidence from genetics. E. O. Wilson
E. O. Wilson
Edward Osborne Wilson is an American biologist, researcher , theorist , naturalist and author. His biological specialty is myrmecology, the study of ants....

 then challenged the concept from the perspective of general animal systematics, and further rejected the claim that "races" were equivalent to "subspecies".

According to Jonathan Marks,
In biology the term "race" is used with caution because it can be ambiguous. Generally when it is used it is synonymous with subspecies. For mammals the normal taxonomic unit below the species level is usually the subspecies.

Population geneticists have debated as to whether the concept of population can provide a basis for a new conception of race. In order to do this, a working definition of population must be found. Surprisingly, there is no generally accepted concept of population that biologists use. It has been pointed out that the concept of population is central to ecology, evolutionary biology and conservation biology, but also that most definitions of population rely on qualitative descriptions such as "a group of organisms of the same species occupying a particular space at a particular time" Waples and Gaggiotti identify two broad types of definitions for populations; those that fall into an ecological paradigm, and those that fall into an evolutionary paradigm. Examples of such definitions are:
  • Ecological paradigm: A group of individuals of the same species that co-occur in space and time and have an opportunity to interact with each other.
  • Evolutionary paradigm: A group of individuals of the same species living in close-enough proximity that any member of the group can potentially mate with any other member.

Subspecies as morphologically differentiated populations


Traditionally subspecies are seen as geographically isolated and genetically differentiated populations. Or to put it another way "the designation 'subspecies' is used to indicate an objective degree of microevolutionary divergence" One objection to this idea is that it does not identify any degree of differentiation. Therefore, any population that is somewhat biologically different could be considered a subspecies, even to the level of a local population. As a result it is necessary to impose a threshold on the level of difference that is required for a population to be designated a subspecies.

This effectively means that populations of organisms must have reached a certain measurable level of difference to be recognised as subspecies.
Dean Amadon
Dean Amadon
Dean Arthur Amadon was an American ornithologist and an authority on birds of prey.Amadon was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Arthur and Mary Amadon. He received a BS from Hobart College in 1934 and a Ph.D. from Cornell University in 1947...

 proposed in 1949 that subspecies would be defined according to the seventy-five percent rule which means that 75% of a population must lie outside 99% of the range of other populations for a given defining morphological
Morphology (biology)
In biology, morphology is a branch of bioscience dealing with the study of the form and structure of organisms and their specific structural features....

 character or a set of characters. The seventy-five percent rule still has defenders but other scholars argue that it should be replaced with ninety or ninety-five percent rule.

In 1978, Sewall Wright
Sewall Wright
Sewall Green Wright was an American geneticist known for his influential work on evolutionary theory and also for his work on path analysis. With R. A. Fisher and J.B.S. Haldane, he was a founder of theoretical population genetics. He is the discoverer of the inbreeding coefficient and of...

 suggested that human populations that have long inhabited separated parts of the world should, in general, be considered different subspecies by the usual criterion that most individuals of such populations can be allocated correctly by inspection. It does not require a trained anthropologist to classify an array of Englishmen, West Africans, and Chinese with 100% accuracy by features, skin color, and type of hair despite so much variability within each of these groups that every individual can easily be distinguished from every other. However, it is customary to use the term race rather than subspecies for the major subdivisions of the human species as well as for minor ones.

On the other hand in practice subspecies are often defined by easily observable physical appearance, but there is not necessarily any evolutionary significance to these observed differences, so this form of classification has become less acceptable to evolutionary biologists. Likewise this typological approach to race is generally regarded as discredited by biologists and anthropologists.

Because of the difficulty in classifying subspecies morphologically, many biologists have found the concept problematic, citing issues such as:
  • Visible physical differences do not always correlate with one another, leading to the possibility of different classifications for the same individual organisms.
  • Parallel evolution can lead to the existence of the appearance of similarities between groups of organisms that are not part of the same species.
  • Isolated populations within previously designated subspecies have been found to exist.
  • The criteria for classification may be arbitrary if they ignore gradual variation in traits.


If several traits are looked at the same time, then today forensic anthropologists
Forensic anthropology
Forensic anthropology is the application of the science of physical anthropology and human osteology in a legal setting, most often in criminal cases where the victim's remains are in the advanced stages of decomposition. A forensic anthropologist can assist in the identification of deceased...

 can classify a person's race with an accuracy close to 100% based on only skeletal remains. This is discussed in a later section.

Subspecies as ancestrally differentiated populations


Cladistics
Cladistics
Cladistics is a method of classifying species of organisms into groups called clades, which consist of an ancestor organism and all its descendants . For example, birds, dinosaurs, crocodiles, and all descendants of their most recent common ancestor form a clade...

 is another method of classification. A clade
Clade
A clade is a group consisting of a species and all its descendants. In the terms of biological systematics, a clade is a single "branch" on the "tree of life". The idea that such a "natural group" of organisms should be grouped together and given a taxonomic name is central to biological...

 is a taxonomic group of organisms consisting of a single common ancestor and all the descendants of that ancestor. Every creature produced by sexual reproduction has two immediate lineages, one maternal and one paternal. Whereas Carolus Linnaeus
Carolus Linnaeus
Carl Linnaeus , also known after his ennoblement as , was a Swedish botanist, physician, and zoologist, who laid the foundations for the modern scheme of binomial nomenclature. He is known as the father of modern taxonomy, and is also considered one of the fathers of modern ecology...

 established a taxonomy of living organisms based on anatomical similarities and differences, cladistics
Cladistics
Cladistics is a method of classifying species of organisms into groups called clades, which consist of an ancestor organism and all its descendants . For example, birds, dinosaurs, crocodiles, and all descendants of their most recent common ancestor form a clade...

 seeks to establish a taxonomy—the phylogenetic tree
Phylogenetic tree
A phylogenetic tree or evolutionary tree is a branching diagram or "tree" showing the inferred evolutionary relationships among various biological species or other entities based upon similarities and differences in their physical and/or genetic characteristics...

—based on genetic similarities and differences and tracing the process of acquisition of multiple characteristics by single organisms. Some researchers have tried to clarify the idea of race by equating it to the biological idea of the clade
Clade
A clade is a group consisting of a species and all its descendants. In the terms of biological systematics, a clade is a single "branch" on the "tree of life". The idea that such a "natural group" of organisms should be grouped together and given a taxonomic name is central to biological...

. Often mitochondrial DNA
Mitochondrial DNA
Mitochondrial DNA is the DNA located in organelles called mitochondria, structures within eukaryotic cells that convert the chemical energy from food into a form that cells can use, adenosine triphosphate...

 or Y chromosome
Y-chromosomal Adam
In human genetics, Y-chromosomal Adam is the theoretical most recent common ancestor from whom all living people are descended patrilineally . Many studies report that Y-chromosomal Adam lived as early as around 142,000 years ago and possibly as recently as 60,000 years ago...

 sequences are used to study ancient human migration paths. These single-locus sources of DNA do not recombine
Genetic recombination
Genetic recombination is a process by which a molecule of nucleic acid is broken and then joined to a different one. Recombination can occur between similar molecules of DNA, as in homologous recombination, or dissimilar molecules, as in non-homologous end joining. Recombination is a common method...

 and are inherited from a single parent. Individuals from the various continental groups tend to be more similar to one another than to people from other continents, and tracing either mitochondrial DNA or non-recombinant Y-chromosome DNA explains how people in one place may be largely derived from people in some remote location.

Often taxonomists prefer to use phylogenetic analysis to determine whether a population can be considered a subspecies. Phylogenetic analysis relies on the concept of derived characteristics that are not shared between groups, usually applying to populations that are allopatric
Allopatric speciation
Allopatric speciation or geographic speciation is speciation that occurs when biological populations of the same species become isolated due to geographical changes such as mountain building or social changes such as emigration...

 (geographically separated) and therefore discretely bounded. This would make a subspecies, evolutionarily speaking, a clade
Clade
A clade is a group consisting of a species and all its descendants. In the terms of biological systematics, a clade is a single "branch" on the "tree of life". The idea that such a "natural group" of organisms should be grouped together and given a taxonomic name is central to biological...

 – a group with a common evolutionary ancestor population. The smooth gradation of human genetic variation in general rules out any idea that human population groups can be considered monophyletic (cleanly divided) as there appears to always have been considerable gene flow between human populations. Rachel Caspari (2003) have argued that clades are by definition monophyletic groups (a taxon that includes all descendants of a given ancestor) and since no groups currently regarded as races are monophyletic, none of those groups can be clades.

For anthropologists Lieberman and Jackson (1995), however, there are more profound methodological and conceptual problems with using cladistics to support concepts of race. They claim that "the molecular and biochemical proponents of this model explicitly use racial categories in their initial grouping of samples". For example, the large and highly diverse macroethnic groups of East Indians, North Africans, and Europeans are presumptively grouped as Caucasians prior to the analysis of their DNA variation. This is claimed to limit and skew interpretations, obscure other lineage relationships, deemphasize the impact of more immediate clinal environmental factors on genomic diversity, and can cloud our understanding of the true patterns of affinity. They argue that however significant the empirical research, these studies use the term race in conceptually imprecise and careless ways. They suggest that the authors of these studies find support for racial distinctions only because they began by assuming the validity of race. "For empirical reasons we prefer to place emphasis on clinal variation, which recognizes the existence of adaptive human hereditary variation and simultaneously stresses that such variation is not found in packages that can be labeled races."

These scientists do not dispute the importance of cladistic research, only its retention of the word race, when reference to populations and clinal gradations are more than adequate to describe the results.
Clines

One crucial innovation in reconceptualizing genotypic and phenotypic variation was anthropologist C. Loring Brace's
C. Loring Brace
C. Loring Brace is an anthropologist at the University of Michigan. He considers the attempt "to introduce a Darwinian outlook into biological anthropology" to be his greatest contribution to the field of anthropology.-Life and work:...

 observation that such variations, insofar as it is affected by natural selection
Natural selection
Natural selection is the nonrandom process by which biologic traits become either more or less common in a population as a function of differential reproduction of their bearers. It is a key mechanism of evolution....

, slow migration, or genetic drift
Genetic drift
Genetic drift or allelic drift is the change in the frequency of a gene variant in a population due to random sampling.The alleles in the offspring are a sample of those in the parents, and chance has a role in determining whether a given individual survives and reproduces...

, are distributed along geographic gradations or clines. In part this is due to isolation by distance
Isolation by distance
Isolation by distance describes the tendency of individuals to find mates from nearby populations rather than distant populations. As a result of this tendency, populations that live near each other are genetically more similar than populations that live further apart. Isolation by distance results...

. This point called attention to a problem common to phenotype-based descriptions of races (for example, those based on hair texture and skin color): they ignore a host of other similarities and differences (for example, blood type) that do not correlate highly with the markers for race. Thus, anthropologist Frank Livingstone's conclusion, that since clines cross racial boundaries, "there are no races, only clines".

In a response to Livingstone, Theodore Dobzhansky argued that when talking about race one must be attentive to how the term is being used: "I agree with Dr. Livingstone that if races have to be 'discrete units,' then there are no races, and if 'race' is used as an 'explanation' of the human variability, rather than vice versa, then the explanation is invalid." He further argued that one could use the term race if one distinguished between "race differences" and "the race concept." The former refers to any distinction in gene frequencies between populations; the latter is "a matter of judgment." He further observed that even when there is clinal variation, "Race differences are objectively ascertainable biological phenomena… but it does not follow that racially distinct populations must be given racial (or subspecific) labels." In short, Livingstone and Dobzhansky agree that there are genetic differences among human beings; they also agree that the use of the race concept to classify people, and how the race concept is used, is a matter of social convention. They differ on whether the race concept remains a meaningful and useful social convention.

In 1964, biologists Paul Ehrlich and Holm pointed out cases where two or more clines are distributed discordantly—for example, melanin is distributed in a decreasing pattern from the equator north and south; frequencies for the haplotype for beta-S hemoglobin, on the other hand, radiate out of specific geographical points in Africa. As anthropologists Leonard Lieberman and Fatimah Linda Jackson observed, "Discordant patterns of heterogeneity falsify any description of a population as if it were genotypically or even phenotypically homogeneous".

Patterns such as those seen in human physical and genetic variation as described above, have led to the consequence that the number and geographic location of any described races is highly dependent on the importance attributed to, and quantity of, the traits considered. Scientists discovered a skin-lighting mutation that partially accounts for the appearance of Light skin in humans (people who migrated out of Africa northward into what is now Europe) which they estimate occurred 20,000 to 50,000 years ago. The East Asians owe their relatively light skin to different mutations. On the other hand, the greater the number of traits (or allele
Allele
An allele is one of two or more forms of a gene or a genetic locus . "Allel" is an abbreviation of allelomorph. Sometimes, different alleles can result in different observable phenotypic traits, such as different pigmentation...

s) considered, the more subdivisions of humanity are detected, since traits and gene frequencies do not always correspond to the same geographical location. Or as put it:

More recent genetic studies indicate that skin color may change radically over as few as 100 generations, or about 2,500 years, given the influence of the environment.

argued for smooth, clinal genetic variation in ancestral populations even in regions previously considered racially homogeneous, with the apparent gaps turning out to be artifacts of sampling techniques. disputed this and argued that using more data showed that there were small discontinuities in the smooth genetic variation for ancestral populations at the location of geographic barriers such as the Sahara
Sahara
The Sahara is the world's second largest desert, after Antarctica. At over , it covers most of Northern Africa, making it almost as large as Europe or the United States. The Sahara stretches from the Red Sea, including parts of the Mediterranean coasts, to the outskirts of the Atlantic Ocean...

, the Oceans, and the Himalayas
Himalayas
The Himalaya Range or Himalaya Mountains Sanskrit: Devanagari: हिमालय, literally "abode of snow"), usually called the Himalayas or Himalaya for short, is a mountain range in Asia, separating the Indian subcontinent from the Tibetan Plateau...

.

Subspecies as genetically differentiated populations



Another way to look at differences between populations is to measure genetic differences rather than physical differences between groups. Mid-20th century anthropologist William C. Boyd
William C. Boyd
William Clouser Boyd was an American immunochemist, who with his wife Lyle, during the 1930s, made a worldwide survey of the distribution of blood types. Born in Dearborn, Missouri, he discovered that blood groups are inherited and not influenced by environment...

 defined race as: "A population which differs significantly from other populations in regard to the frequency of one or more of the genes it possesses. It is an arbitrary matter which, and how many, gene loci we choose to consider as a significant 'constellation'". Leonard Lieberman and Rodney Kirk have pointed out that "the paramount weakness of this statement is that if one gene can distinguish races then the number of races is as numerous as the number of human couples reproducing." Moreover, anthropologist Stephen Molnar has suggested that the discordance of clines inevitably results in a multiplication of races that renders the concept itself useless. The Human Genome Project
Human Genome Project
The Human Genome Project is an international scientific research project with a primary goal of determining the sequence of chemical base pairs which make up DNA, and of identifying and mapping the approximately 20,000–25,000 genes of the human genome from both a physical and functional...

 states "People who have lived in the same geographic region for many generations may have some alleles in common, but no allele will be found in all members of one population and in no members of any other."
Fixation index

Population geneticist Sewall Wright
Sewall Wright
Sewall Green Wright was an American geneticist known for his influential work on evolutionary theory and also for his work on path analysis. With R. A. Fisher and J.B.S. Haldane, he was a founder of theoretical population genetics. He is the discoverer of the inbreeding coefficient and of...

 developed one way of measuring genetic differences between populations known as the Fixation index, which is often abbreviated to FST. This statistic is often used in taxonomy to compare differences between any two given populations by measuring the genetic differences among and between populations for individual genes, or for many genes simultaneously. It is often stated that the fixation index for humans is about 0.15. This translates to an estimated 85% of the variation measured in the overall human population is found within individuals of the same population, and about 15% of the variation occurs between populations. These estimates imply that any two individuals from different populations are almost as likely to be more similar to each other than either is to a member of their own group. Richard Lewontin
Richard Lewontin
Richard Charles "Dick" Lewontin is an American evolutionary biologist, geneticist and social commentator. A leader in developing the mathematical basis of population genetics and evolutionary theory, he pioneered the notion of using techniques from molecular biology such as gel electrophoresis to...

, who affirmed these ratios, thus concluded neither "race" nor "subspecies" were appropriate or useful ways to describe human populations. Others also noting that group variation was relatively low compared to the variation observed in other mammalian species, agreed the evidence confirmed the absence of natural subdivision of the human population.

Wright himself believed that values >0.25 represent very great genetic variation and that an FST of 0.15–0.25 represented great variation. It should however be noted that about 5% of human variation occurs between populations within continents, therefore FST values between continental groups of humans (or races) of as low as 0.1 (or possibly lower) have been found in some studies, suggesting more moderate levels of genetic variation. Graves (1996) has countered that FST should not be used as a marker of subspecies status, as the statistic is used to measure the degree of differentiation between populations, although see also Wright (1978).

In an ongoing debate, some geneticists argue that race is neither a meaningful concept nor a useful heuristic
Heuristic
Heuristic refers to experience-based techniques for problem solving, learning, and discovery. Heuristic methods are used to speed up the process of finding a satisfactory solution, where an exhaustive search is impractical...

 device, and even that genetic differences among groups are biologically meaningless, because more genetic variation exists within such races than among them, and that racial traits overlap without discrete boundaries.

Jeffrey Long and Rick Kittles give a long critique of the application of FST to human populations in their 2003 paper "Human Genetic Diversity and the Nonexistence of Biological Races". They find that the figure of 85% is misleading because it implies that all human populations contain on average 85% of all genetic diversity. They claim that this does not correctly reflect human population history, because it treats all human groups as independent. A more realistic portrayal of the way human groups are related is to understand that some human groups are parental to other groups and that these groups represent paraphyletic
Paraphyly
A group of taxa is said to be paraphyletic if the group consists of all the descendants of a hypothetical closest common ancestor minus one or more monophyletic groups of descendants...

 groups to their descent groups. For example, under the recent African origin theory the human population in Africa is paraphyletic to all other human groups because it represents the ancestral group from which all non-African populations derive, but more than that, non-African groups only derive from a small non-representative sample of this African population. This means that all non-African groups are more closely related to each other and to some African groups (probably east Africans) than they are to others, and further that the migration out of Africa represented a genetic bottleneck, with much of the diversity that existed in Africa not being carried out of Africa by the emigrating groups. This view produces a version of human population movements that do not result in all human populations being independent; but rather, produces a series of dilutions of diversity the further from Africa any population lives, each founding event representing a genetic subset of its parental population. Long and Kittles find that rather than 85% of human genetic diversity existing in all human populations, about 100% of human diversity exists in a single African population, whereas only about 70% of human genetic diversity exists in a population derived from New Guinea. Long and Kittles argued that this still produces a global human population that is genetically homogeneous compared to other mammalian populations.
Cluster analysis

In his 2003 paper, "Human Genetic Diversity: Lewontin's Fallacy", A. W. F. Edwards argued that rather than using a locus-by-locus analysis of variation to derive taxonomy, it is possible to construct a human classification system based on characteristic genetic patterns, or clusters inferred from multilocus genetic data. Geographically based human studies since have shown that such genetic clusters can be derived from analyzing of a large number of loci which can assort individuals sampled into groups analogous to traditional continental racial groups. Joanna Mountain and Neil Risch
Neil Risch
Neil Risch is an American human geneticist and professor at the University of California, San Francisco . Risch is the Lamond Family Foundation Distinguished Professor in Human Genetics and Director of the Institute for Human Genetics and Professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at UCSF.Known...

 cautioned that while genetic clusters may one day be shown to correspond to phenotypic variations between groups, such assumptions were premature as the relationship between genes and complex traits remains poorly understood. However, Risch denied such limitations render the analysis useless: "Perhaps just using someone's actual birth year is not a very good way of measuring age. Does that mean we should throw it out? ... Any category you come up with is going to be imperfect, but that doesn't preclude you from using it or the fact that it has utility."

Early human genetic cluster analysis studies were conducted with samples taken from ancestral population groups living at extreme geographic distances from each other. It was thought that such large geographic distances would maximize the genetic variation between the groups sampled in the analysis and thus maximize the probability of finding cluster patterns unique to each group. In light of the historically recent acceleration of human migration (and correspondingly, human gene flow) on a global scale, further studies were conducted to judge the degree to which genetic cluster analysis can pattern ancestrally identified groups as well as geographically separated groups. One such study looked at a large multiethnic population in the United States, and "detected only modest genetic differentiation between different current geographic locales within each race/ethnicity group. Thus, ancient geographic ancestry, which is highly correlated with self-identified race/ethnicity—as opposed to current residence—is the major determinant of genetic structure in the U.S. population."

have argued that even when individuals can be reliably assigned to specific population groups, it may still be possible for two randomly chosen individuals from different populations/clusters to be more similar to each other than to a randomly chosen member of their own cluster. They found that many thousands of genetic markers had to be used in order for the answer to the question "How often is a pair of individuals from one population genetically more dissimilar than two individuals chosen from two different populations?" to be "never". This assumed three population groups separated by large geographic ranges (European, African and East Asian). The entire world population is much more complex and studying an increasing number of groups would require an increasing number of markers for the same answer. The authors conclude that "caution should be used when using geographic or genetic ancestry to make inferences about individual phenotypes."

Anthropologists such as C. Loring Brace
C. Loring Brace
C. Loring Brace is an anthropologist at the University of Michigan. He considers the attempt "to introduce a Darwinian outlook into biological anthropology" to be his greatest contribution to the field of anthropology.-Life and work:...

 and philosopher Jonathan Kaplan and geneticist Joseph Graves, have argued that while there it is certainly possible to find biological and genetic variation that corresponds roughly to the groupings normally defined as "continental races", this is true for almost all geographically distinct populations. The cluster structure of the genetic data is therefore dependent on the initial hypotheses of the researcher and the populations sampled. When one samples continental groups the clusters become continental, if one had chosen other sampling patterns the clustering would be different. Weiss and Fullerton have noted that if one sampled only Icelanders, Mayans and Maoris, three distinct clusters would form and all other populations could be described as being clinally composed of admixtures of Maori, Icelandic and Mayan genetic materials. Kaplan therefore argues that seen in this way both Lewontin and Edwards are right in their arguments. He concludes that while racial groups are characterized by different allele frequencies, this does not mean that racial classification is a natural taxonomy of the human species, because multiple other genetic patterns can be found in human populations that crosscut racial distinctions. In this view racial groupings are social constructions that also have a biological reality which is largely an artefact of how the category has been constructed.

Summary of different biological definitions of race

Biological definitions of race
Concept Reference Definition
Essentialist "A great division of mankind, characterized as a group by the sharing of a certain combination of features, which have been derived from their common descent, and constitute a vague physical background, usually more or less obscured by individual variations, and realized best in a composite picture."
Taxonomic "A subspecies is an aggregate of phenotypically similar populations of a species, inhabiting a geographic subdivision of the range of a species, and differing taxonomically from other populations of the species."
Population "Races are genetically distinct Mendelian populations. They are neither individuals nor particular genotypes, they consist of individuals who differ genetically among themselves."
Lineage "A subspecies (race) is a distinct evolutionary lineage within a species. This definition requires that a subspecies be genetically differentiated due to barriers to genetic exchange that have persisted for long periods of time; that is, the subspecies must have historical continuity in addition to current genetic differentiation."
Population genetic correlation structure "most of the information that distinguishes populations is hidden in the correlation structure of the data and not simply in the variation of the individual factors."

Races as social constructions


As anthropologists and other evolutionary scientists have shifted away from the language of race to the term population to talk about genetic differences, historians
History
History is the discovery, collection, organization, and presentation of information about past events. History can also mean the period of time after writing was invented. Scholars who write about history are called historians...

, cultural anthropologists
Cultural anthropology
Cultural anthropology is a branch of anthropology focused on the study of cultural variation among humans, collecting data about the impact of global economic and political processes on local cultural realities. Anthropologists use a variety of methods, including participant observation,...

 and other social scientists
Social sciences
Social science is the field of study concerned with society. "Social science" is commonly used as an umbrella term to refer to a plurality of fields outside of the natural sciences usually exclusive of the administrative or managerial sciences...

 re-conceptualized the term "race" as a cultural category or social construct—a particular way that some people talk about themselves and others.

Many social scientists have replaced the word race with the word "ethnicity
Ethnic group
An ethnic group is a group of people whose members identify with each other, through a common heritage, often consisting of a common language, a common culture and/or an ideology that stresses common ancestry or endogamy...

" to refer to self-identifying groups based on beliefs concerning shared culture, ancestry and history. Alongside empirical and conceptual problems with "race," following the Second World War, evolutionary and social scientists were acutely aware of how beliefs about race had been used to justify discrimination, apartheid, slavery, and genocide. This questioning gained momentum in the 1960s during the U.S. civil rights movement
Civil rights movement
The civil rights movement was a worldwide political movement for equality before the law occurring between approximately 1950 and 1980. In many situations it took the form of campaigns of civil resistance aimed at achieving change by nonviolent forms of resistance. In some situations it was...

 and the emergence of numerous anti-colonial movements worldwide. They thus came to believe that race itself is a social construct, a concept that was believed to correspond to an objective reality but which was believed in because of its social functions.

Craig Venter and Francis Collins of the National Institute of Health jointly made the announcement of the mapping of the human genome in 2000. Upon examining the data from the genome mapping, Venter realized that although the genetic variation within the human species is on the order of 1–3% (instead of the previously assumed 1%), the types of variations do not support notion of genetically defined races. Venter said, "Race is a social concept. It's not a scientific one. There are no bright lines (that would stand out), if we could compare all the sequenced genomes of everyone on the planet." "When we try to apply science to try to sort out these social differences, it all falls apart."

Stephan Palmié asserted that race "is not a thing but a social relation"; or, in the words of Katya Gibel Mevorach
Katya Gibel Mevorach
Katya Gibel Mevorach is Professor of Anthropology and American Studies at Grinnell College. Under the name Katya Gibel Azoulay, she is author of an explication and theory of identities, Black, Jewish and Interracial: It's Not the Color of Your Skin but the Race of Your Kin, and Other Myths of...

, "a metonym," "a human invention whose criteria for differentiation are neither universal nor fixed but have always been used to manage difference." As such, the use of the term "race" itself must be analyzed. Moreover, they argue that biology will not explain why or how people use the idea of race: History and social relationships will.

In the United States


The immigrants to the Americas
Americas
The Americas, or America , are lands in the Western hemisphere, also known as the New World. In English, the plural form the Americas is often used to refer to the landmasses of North America and South America with their associated islands and regions, while the singular form America is primarily...

 came from every region of Europe, Africa, and Asia. They mixed
Miscegenation
Miscegenation is the mixing of different racial groups through marriage, cohabitation, sexual relations, and procreation....

 among themselves and with the indigenous inhabitants of the continent
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

. In the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 most people who self-identify as African–American
African American
African Americans are citizens or residents of the United States who have at least partial ancestry from any of the native populations of Sub-Saharan Africa and are the direct descendants of enslaved Africans within the boundaries of the present United States...

 have some European ancestors
European ethnic groups
The ethnic groups in Europe are the various ethnic groups that reside in the nations of Europe. European ethnology is the field of anthropology focusing on Europe....

, while many people who identify as European American
European American
A European American is a citizen or resident of the United States who has origins in any of the original peoples of Europe...

 have some African or Amerindian ancestors.

Since the early history of the United States, Amerindians, African–Americans, and European Americans have been classified as belonging to different races. Efforts to track mixing between groups led to a proliferation of categories, such as mulatto
Mulatto
Mulatto denotes a person with one white parent and one black parent, or more broadly, a person of mixed black and white ancestry. Contemporary usage of the term varies greatly, and the broader sense of the term makes its application rather subjective, as not all people of mixed white and black...

 and octoroon. The criteria for membership in these races diverged in the late 19th century. During Reconstruction, increasing numbers of Americans began to consider anyone with "one drop" of known "Black blood" to be Black, regardless of appearance.3 By the early 20th century, this notion was made statutory in many states.4 Amerindians continue to be defined by a certain percentage of "Indian blood" (called blood quantum
Blood quantum laws
Blood Quantum Laws or Indian Blood Laws is an umbrella term that describes legislation enacted in the United States to define membership in Native American tribes or nations...

). To be White one had to have perceived "pure" White ancestry.

The decennial censuses
United States Census
The United States Census is a decennial census mandated by the United States Constitution. The population is enumerated every 10 years and the results are used to allocate Congressional seats , electoral votes, and government program funding. The United States Census Bureau The United States Census...

 conducted since 1790 in the United States created an incentive to establish racial categories and fit people into those categories.

The term "Hispanic
Hispanic
Hispanic is a term that originally denoted a relationship to Hispania, which is to say the Iberian Peninsula: Andorra, Gibraltar, Portugal and Spain. During the Modern Era, Hispanic sometimes takes on a more limited meaning, particularly in the United States, where the term means a person of ...

" as an ethnonym
Ethnonym
An ethnonym is the name applied to a given ethnic group. Ethnonyms can be divided into two categories: exonyms and autonyms or endonyms .As an example, the ethnonym for...

 emerged in the 20th century with the rise of migration of laborers from American Spanish-speaking countries
Hispanophone
Hispanophone or Hispanosphere denotes Spanish language speakers and the Spanish-speaking world. The word derives from the Latin political name of the Iberian Peninsula, Hispania, which comprised basically the territory of the modern states of Spain and Portugal.Hispanophones are estimated at...

 to the United States. Today, the word "Latino" is often used as a synonym for "Hispanic". The definitions of both terms are non-race specific, and include people who consider themselves to be of distinct races (Black, White, Amerindian, Asian, and mixed groups). However, there is a common misconception in the US that Hispanic/Latino is a race or sometimes even that national origins such as Mexican, Cuban, Colombian, Salvadoran, etc. are races. In contrast to "Latino" or "Hispanic", "Anglo
Anglo
Anglo is a prefix indicating a relation to the Angles, England or the English people, as in the terms Anglo-Saxon, Anglo-American, Anglo-Celtic, Anglo-African and Anglo-Indian. It is often used alone, somewhat loosely, to refer to people of British Isles descent in The Americas, Australia and...

" refers to non-Hispanic White American
White American
White Americans are people of the United States who are considered or consider themselves White. The United States Census Bureau defines White people as those "having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa...

s or non-Hispanic European American
European American
A European American is a citizen or resident of the United States who has origins in any of the original peoples of Europe...

s, most of whom speak the English language but are not necessarily of English
English people
The English are a nation and ethnic group native to England, who speak English. The English identity is of early mediaeval origin, when they were known in Old English as the Anglecynn. England is now a country of the United Kingdom, and the majority of English people in England are British Citizens...

 descent.

In Brazil


Compared to 19th century United States, 20th century Brazil
Demographics of Brazil
Brazils population is very diverse, comprising many races and ethnic groups. In general, Brazilians trace their origins from four sources: Amerindians, Europeans, Africans and Asians....

 was characterized by a perceived relative absence of sharply defined racial groups. According to anthropologist Marvin Harris
Marvin Harris
Marvin Harris was an American anthropologist. He was born in Brooklyn, New York. A prolific writer, he was highly influential in the development of cultural materialism...

, this pattern reflects a different history and different social relations. Basically, race in Brazil was "biologized," but in a way that recognized the difference between ancestry (which determines genotype
Genotype
The genotype is the genetic makeup of a cell, an organism, or an individual usually with reference to a specific character under consideration...

) and phenotypic differences. There, racial identity was not governed by rigid descent rule, such as the one-drop rule
One-drop rule
The one-drop rule is a historical colloquial term in the United States for the social classification as black of individuals with any African ancestry; meaning any person with "one drop of black blood" was considered black...

, as it was in the United States. A Brazilian child was never automatically identified with the racial type of one or both parents, nor were there only a very limited number of categories to choose from.

Over a dozen racial categories would be recognized in conformity with all the possible combinations of hair color, hair texture, eye color, and skin color. These types grade into each other like the colors of the spectrum, and no one category stands significantly isolated from the rest. That is, race referred preferentially to appearance, not heredity. The complexity of racial classifications in Brazil reflects the extent of miscegenation
Miscegenation
Miscegenation is the mixing of different racial groups through marriage, cohabitation, sexual relations, and procreation....

 in Brazilian society, a society that remains highly, but not strictly, stratified
Social stratification
In sociology the social stratification is a concept of class, involving the "classification of persons into groups based on shared socio-economic conditions ... a relational set of inequalities with economic, social, political and ideological dimensions."...

 along color lines. Henceforth, the Brazilian narrative
Narrative
A narrative is a constructive format that describes a sequence of non-fictional or fictional events. The word derives from the Latin verb narrare, "to recount", and is related to the adjective gnarus, "knowing" or "skilled"...

 of a perfect "post-racist" country, must be met with caution, as sociologist Gilberto Freyre
Gilberto Freyre
Gilberto de Mello Freyre was a Brazilian sociologist, anthropologist, historian, writer, painter and congressman. His best-known work is a sociological treatise named Casa-Grande & Senzala...

 demonstrated in 1933 in Casa Grande e Senzala.

United States views


One result of debates over the meaning and validity of the concept of race is that the current literature across different disciplines regarding human variation lacks consensus
Scientific consensus
Scientific consensus is the collective judgment, position, and opinion of the community of scientists in a particular field of study. Consensus implies general agreement, though not necessarily unanimity. Scientific consensus is not by itself a scientific argument, and it is not part of the...

, though within some fields, such as some branches of anthropology, there is strong consensus. Some studies use the word race in its early essentialist
Essentialism
In philosophy, essentialism is the view that, for any specific kind of entity, there is a set of characteristics or properties all of which any entity of that kind must possess. Therefore all things can be precisely defined or described...

 taxonomic sense. Many others still use the term race, but use it to mean a population, clade
Clade
A clade is a group consisting of a species and all its descendants. In the terms of biological systematics, a clade is a single "branch" on the "tree of life". The idea that such a "natural group" of organisms should be grouped together and given a taxonomic name is central to biological...

, or haplogroup
Haplogroup
In the study of molecular evolution, a haplogroup is a group of similar haplotypes that share a common ancestor having the same single nucleotide polymorphism mutation in both haplotypes. Because a haplogroup consists of similar haplotypes, this is what makes it possible to predict a haplogroup...

. Others eschew the concept of race altogether, and use the concept of population as a less problematic unit of analysis.
U.S. anthropology

Since 1932, an increasing number of college
College
A college is an educational institution or a constituent part of an educational institution. Usage varies in English-speaking nations...

 textbook
Textbook
A textbook or coursebook is a manual of instruction in any branch of study. Textbooks are produced according to the demands of educational institutions...

s introducing physical anthropology have rejected race as a valid concept: from 1932 to 1976, only seven out of thirty-two rejected race; from 1975 to 1984, thirteen out of thirty-three rejected race; from 1985 to 1993, thirteen out of nineteen rejected race. According to one academic journal entry, where 78 percent of the articles in the 1931 Journal of Physical Anthropology employed these or nearly synonymous terms reflecting a bio-race paradigm, only 36 percent did so in 1965, and just 28 percent did in 1996.

The "Statement on 'Race'" (1998) composed by a select committee of anthropologists and issued by the executive board of the American Anthropological Association
American Anthropological Association
The American Anthropological Association is a professional organization of scholars and practitioners in the field of anthropology. With 11,000 members, the Arlington, Virginia based association includes archaeologists, cultural anthropologists, biological anthropologists, linguistic...

 as a statement they "believe [...] represents generally the contemporary thinking and scholarly positions of a majority of anthropologists", declares:
A survey
Statistical survey
Survey methodology is the field that studies surveys, that is, the sample of individuals from a population with a view towards making statistical inferences about the population using the sample. Polls about public opinion, such as political beliefs, are reported in the news media in democracies....

, taken in 1985 , asked 1,200 American scientists how many disagree with the following proposition: "There are biological races in the species Homo sapiens." The responses were for anthropologists:
  • physical anthropologists 41%
  • cultural anthropologists 53%

The figure for physical anthropologists at PhD
PHD
PHD may refer to:*Ph.D., a doctorate of philosophy*Ph.D. , a 1980s British group*PHD finger, a protein sequence*PHD Mountain Software, an outdoor clothing and equipment company*PhD Docbook renderer, an XML renderer...

 granting departments was slightly higher, rising from 41% to 42%, with 50% agreeing. This survey, however, did not specify any particular definition of race (although it did clearly specify biological race within the species Homo sapiens); it is difficult to say whether those who supported the statement thought of race in taxonomic or population terms.

The same survey, taken in 1999, showed the following changing results for anthropologists:
  • physical anthropologists 69%
  • cultural anthropologists 80%


A line of research conducted by Cartmill (1998), however, seemed to limit the scope of Lieberman’s finding that there was “a significant degree of change in the status of the race concept”. Goran Štrkalj has argued that this may be because Lieberman and collaborators had looked at all the members of the American Anthropological Association irrespective of their field of research interest, while Cartmill had looked specifically at biological anthropologists interested in human variation.

According to the 2000 edition of a popular physical anthropology textbook, forensic anthropologists
Forensic anthropology
Forensic anthropology is the application of the science of physical anthropology and human osteology in a legal setting, most often in criminal cases where the victim's remains are in the advanced stages of decomposition. A forensic anthropologist can assist in the identification of deceased...

 are overwhelmingly in support of the idea of the basic biological reality of human races. Forensic physical anthropologist and professor George W. Gill
George W. Gill
George W. Gill is an American anthropologist. He is Professor Emeritus at the University of Wyoming and is "widely recognized as an expert in skeletal biology".-Easter Island:...

 has said that the idea that race is only skin deep "is simply not true, as any experienced forensic anthropologist will affirm" and "Many morphological features tend to follow geographic boundaries coinciding often with climatic zones. This is not surprising since the selective forces of climate are probably the primary forces of nature that have shaped human races with regard not only to skin color and hair form but also the underlying bony structures of the nose, cheekbones, etc. (For example, more prominent noses humidify air better.)" While he can see good arguments for both sides, the complete denial of the opposing evidence "seems to stem largely from socio-political motivation and not science at all". He also states that many biological anthropologists see races as real yet "not one introductory textbook of physical anthropology even presents that perspective as a possibility. In a case as flagrant as this, we are not dealing with science but rather with blatant, politically motivated censorship".

In partial response to Gill's statement, Professor of Biological Anthropology C. Loring Brace
C. Loring Brace
C. Loring Brace is an anthropologist at the University of Michigan. He considers the attempt "to introduce a Darwinian outlook into biological anthropology" to be his greatest contribution to the field of anthropology.-Life and work:...

 argues that the reason laymen and biological anthropologists can determine the geographic ancestry of an individual can be explained by the fact that biological characteristics are clinally distributed across the planet, and that does not translate into the concept of race. He states that "Well, you may ask, why can't we call those regional patterns "races"? In fact, we can and do, but it does not make them coherent biological entities. "Races" defined in such a way are products of our perceptions. ... We realize that in the extremes of our transit—Moscow to Nairobi, perhaps—there is a major but gradual change in skin color from what we euphemistically call white to black, and that this is related to the latitudinal difference in the intensity of the ultraviolet component of sunlight. What we do not see, however, is the myriad other traits that are distributed in a fashion quite unrelated to the intensity of ultraviolet radiation. Where skin color is concerned, all the northern populations of the Old World are lighter than the long-term inhabitants near the equator. Although Europeans and Chinese are obviously different, in skin color they are closer to each other than either is to equatorial Africans. But if we test the distribution of the widely known ABO blood-group system, then Europeans and Africans are closer to each other than either is to Chinese." Brace has also criticized forensic anthropologists for using the controversial concept "race" out of convention when they in fact should be talking about regional ancestry. He argues that while a forensic anthropologists can determine that a skeletal remain comes from a person with ancestors in a specific region of Africa, categorizing that skeletal as being "black" is a socially constructed category that is only meaningful in the particular context of the United States, and which is not itself scientifically valid.
Other fields

In the 1985 poll the results for biologists and developmental psychologists were:
  • biologist
    Biologist
    A biologist is a scientist devoted to and producing results in biology through the study of life. Typically biologists study organisms and their relationship to their environment. Biologists involved in basic research attempt to discover underlying mechanisms that govern how organisms work...

    s 16%
  • developmental psychologists 36%


In February 2001, the editors of Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine asked "authors to not use race and ethnicity when there is no biological, scientific, or sociological reason for doing so." The editors also stated that "analysis by race and ethnicity has become an analytical knee-jerk reflex." Nature Genetics now ask authors to "explain why they make use of particular ethnic groups or populations, and how classification was achieved."

Liberman et al. (1992) examined 77 college textbooks in biology and 69 in physical anthropology published between 1932 and 1989. Physical anthropology texts argued that biological races exist until the 1970s, when they began to argue that races do not exist. In contrast, biology textbooks never underwent such a reversal but instead dropped their discussion of race altogether. Morning (2008) looked at high school biology textbooks during the 1952-2002 period and initially found a similar pattern with only 35% directly discussing race in the 1983–92 period from initially 92% doing so. However, this has increased somewhat after this to 43%. More indirect and brief discussions of race in the context of medical disorders have increased from none to 93% of textbooks. In general, the material on race has moved from surface traits to genetics and evolutionary history. The study argues that the textbooks’ fundamental message about the existence of races has changed little.

Gissis (2008) examined several important American and British journals in genetics, epidemiology and medicine for their content during the 1946-2003 period. He wrote that "Based upon my findings I argue that the category of race only seemingly disappeared from scientific discourse after World War II and has had a fluctuating yet continuous use during the time span from 1946 to 2003, and has even become more pronounced from the early 1970s on"

A 1994 examination of 32 English sport/exercise science textbooks found that 7 (21.9%) claimed that there are biophysical differences due to race that might explain differences in sports performance, 24 (75%) did not mention nor refute the concept, and 1 (3.12%) expressed caution with the idea.

33 health services researchers from differing geographic regions were interviewed in a 2008 study. The researchers recognized the problems with racial and ethnic variables but the majority still believed these variables were necessary and useful.

A 2010 examination of 18 widely used English anatomy
Anatomy
Anatomy is a branch of biology and medicine that is the consideration of the structure of living things. It is a general term that includes human anatomy, animal anatomy , and plant anatomy...

 textbooks found that every one relied on the race concept. The study gives examples of how the textbooks claim that anatomical features vary between races.

Views in other nations


In Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

 the race concept was rejected by only 25 percent of anthropologists in 2001, although: "Unlike the U.S. anthropologists, Polish anthropologists tend to regard race as a term without taxonomic value, often as a substitute for population."

Liberman et al. in a 2004 study claimed to "present the currently available information on the status of the concept in the United States, the Spanish language areas, Poland, Europe, Russia, and China. Rejection of race ranges from high to low with the highest rejection occurring among anthropologists in the United States (and Canada). Rejection of race is moderate in Europe, sizeable in Poland and Cuba, and lowest in Russia and China." Methods used in the studies reported included questionnaires and content analysis.

Kaszycka et al. (2009) in 2002–2003 surveyed European anthropologists' opinions toward the biological race concept. Three factors, country of academic education, discipline, and age, were found to be significant in differentiating the replies. Those educated in Western Europe, physical anthropologists, and middle-aged persons rejected race more frequently than those educated in Eastern Europe, people in other branches of science, and those from both younger and older generations."The survey shows that the views of anthropologists on race are sociopolitically (ideologically) influenced and highly dependent on education."

Race and intelligence


Researchers have reported differences in the average IQ test scores of various ethnic groups. The interpretation, causes, accuracy and reliability of these differences are highly controversial. Some psychologists such as Arthur Jensen
Arthur Jensen
Arthur Robert Jensen is a Professor Emeritus of educational psychology at the University of California, Berkeley. Jensen is known for his work in psychometrics and differential psychology, which is concerned with how and why individuals differ behaviorally from one another.He is a major proponent...

, and Richard Lynn
Richard Lynn
Richard Lynn is a British Professor Emeritus of Psychology at the University of Ulster who is known for his views on racial and ethnic differences. Lynn argues that there are hereditary differences in intelligence based on race and sex....

, have argued that such differences are at least partially genetic. Richard Herrnstein
Richard Herrnstein
Richard J. Herrnstein was an American researcher in animal learning in the Skinnerian tradition. He was one of the founders of quantitative analysis of behavior....

 and Charles Murray
Charles Murray (author)
Charles Alan Murray is an American libertarian political scientist, author, columnist, and pundit working as a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank in Washington, DC...

 argue that "intelligence is less than completely heritable." Many other researchers both in Psychology, Sociology and Anthropology, for example Thomas Sowell
Thomas Sowell
Thomas Sowell is an American economist, social theorist, political philosopher, and author. A National Humanities Medal winner, he advocates laissez-faire economics and writes from a libertarian perspective...

, David F. Marks, Jonathan Marks, Richard Nisbett, argue that the differences largely owe to social and economic inequalities. Still others such as Stephen Jay Gould
Stephen Jay Gould
Stephen Jay Gould was an American paleontologist, evolutionary biologist, and historian of science. He was also one of the most influential and widely read writers of popular science of his generation....

 and Robert Sternberg
Robert Sternberg
Robert Jeffrey Sternberg , is an American psychologist and psychometrician and Provost at Oklahoma State University. He was formerly the Dean of Arts and Sciences at Tufts University, IBM Professor of Psychology and Education at Yale University and the President of the American Psychological...

 have argued that categories such as "race" and "intelligence" are both "folk" constructs rather than well defined scientific concepts, and that since the definitions are largely fluid and susceptible to different cultural constructions this in turn renders attempts to explain variation of one in terms of the other scientifically invalid. James R. Flynn
James R. Flynn
James Robert Flynn PhD FRSNZ , aka Jim Flynn, Emeritus Professor of Political Studies at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand, researches intelligence and has become well known for his discovery of the Flynn effect, the continued year-after-year increase of IQ scores in all parts of the...

, an intelligence researcher known for his criticisms of racial theories of intelligence, wrote "Gould's book evades all of [Arthur] Jensen's best arguments for a genetic component in the black-white IQ gap by positing that they are dependent on the concept of g as a general intelligence factor. Therefore, Gould believes that if he can discredit g no more need be said. This is manifestly false. Jensen's arguments would bite no matter whether blacks suffered from a score deficit on one or 10 or 100 factors; where it has been found that blacks suffer from a 15 IQ score lower than that of whites."

In biomedicine


In the United States, policy makers use racially categorized data to identify and address health disparities between racial or ethnic groups. In clinical settings, race has long been considered in the diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions, because some medical conditions are more prevalent in certain racial or ethnic groups than in others. Recent interest in race-based medicine, or race-targeted pharmacogenomics
Pharmacogenomics
Pharmacogenomics is the branch of pharmacology which deals with the influence of genetic variation on drug response in patients by correlating gene expression or single-nucleotide polymorphisms with a drug's efficacy or toxicity...

, has been fueled by the proliferation of human genetic data which followed the decoding
Human Genome Project
The Human Genome Project is an international scientific research project with a primary goal of determining the sequence of chemical base pairs which make up DNA, and of identifying and mapping the approximately 20,000–25,000 genes of the human genome from both a physical and functional...

 of the human genome
Human genome
The human genome is the genome of Homo sapiens, which is stored on 23 chromosome pairs plus the small mitochondrial DNA. 22 of the 23 chromosomes are autosomal chromosome pairs, while the remaining pair is sex-determining...

 in the early 2000s. There is an active debate among biomedical researchers about the meaning and importance of race in their research. Some researchers strongly support the continued use of racial categorizations in biomedical research and clinical practice. They argue that race may correlate, albeit imperfectly, with the presence of specific genetic variants associated with disease: Insofar as race "provides a sufficiently precise proxy for human genetic variation", the concept may be medically viable. In addition, knowledge of a person's race may provide a cost-effective way to assess susceptibility to genetically influenced medical conditions.

Detractors of race-based medicine acknowledge that race is sometimes useful in clinical medicine, but encourage minimizing its use. They suggest that medical practices should maintain their focus on the individual rather than an individual's membership to any group. They argue that overemphasizing genetic contributions to health disparities carries various risks such as reinforcing stereotypes, promoting racism or ignoring the contribution of non-genetic factors to health disparities. Some researchers in the field have been accused "of using race as a placeholder during the 'meantime' of pharmacogenomic development". Conversely, it is argued that in the early stages of the field's development, researchers must consider race-related factors if they are to ascertain the clinical potentials of ongoing scholarship.

In law enforcement




In an attempt to provide general descriptions that may facilitate the job of law enforcement officers seeking to apprehend suspects, the United States FBI
Federal Bureau of Investigation
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is an agency of the United States Department of Justice that serves as both a federal criminal investigative body and an internal intelligence agency . The FBI has investigative jurisdiction over violations of more than 200 categories of federal crime...

 employs the term "race" to summarize the general appearance (skin color, hair texture, eye shape, and other such easily noticed characteristics) of individuals whom they are attempting to apprehend. From the perspective of law enforcement
Law enforcement agency
In North American English, a law enforcement agency is a government agency responsible for the enforcement of the laws.Outside North America, such organizations are called police services. In North America, some of these services are called police while others have other names In North American...

 officers, it is generally more important to arrive at a description that will readily suggest the general appearance of an individual than to make a scientifically valid categorization by DNA or other such means. Thus, in addition to assigning a wanted individual to a racial category, such a description will include: height, weight, eye color, scars and other distinguishing characteristics.

British Police use a classification based in the ethnic background of British society: W1 (White-British), W2 (White-Irish), W9 (Any other white background); M1 (White and black Caribbean), M2 (White and black African), M3 (White and Asian), M9 (Any other mixed background); A1 (Asian-Indian), A2 (Asian-Pakistani), A3 (Asian-Bangladeshi), A9 (Any other Asian background); B1 (Black Caribbean), B2 (Black African), B3 (Any other black background); O1 (Chinese), O9 (Any other). Some of the characteristics that constitute these groupings are biological and some are learned (cultural, linguistic, etc.) traits that are easy to notice.

In many countries, such as France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, the state is legally banned from maintaining data based on race, which often makes the police issue wanted notices to the public that include labels like "dark skin complexion", etc. .

In the United States, the practice of racial profiling
Racial profiling
Racial profiling refers to the use of an individual’s race or ethnicity by law enforcement personnel as a key factor in deciding whether to engage in enforcement...

 has been ruled to be both unconstitutional and a violation of civil rights
Civil rights
Civil and political rights are a class of rights that protect individuals' freedom from unwarranted infringement by governments and private organizations, and ensure one's ability to participate in the civil and political life of the state without discrimination or repression.Civil rights include...

. There is active debate regarding the cause of a marked correlation between the recorded crimes, punishments meted out, and the country's populations. Many consider de facto racial profiling
Racial profiling
Racial profiling refers to the use of an individual’s race or ethnicity by law enforcement personnel as a key factor in deciding whether to engage in enforcement...

 an example of institutional racism
Institutional racism
Institutional racism describes any kind of system of inequality based on race. It can occur in institutions such as public government bodies, private business corporations , and universities . The term was coined by Black Power activist Stokely Carmichael in the late 1960s...

 in law enforcement. The history of misuse of racial categories to impact adversely one or more groups and/or to offer protection and advantage to another has a clear impact on debate of the legitimate use of known phenotypical or genotypical characteristics tied to the presumed race of both victims and perpetrators by the government.

Recent work using DNA cluster analysis to determine race background has been used by some criminal investigators to narrow their search for the identity of both suspects and victims. Proponents of DNA profiling in criminal investigations cite cases where leads based on DNA analysis proved useful, but the practice remains controversial among medical ethicists, defense lawyers and some in law enforcement.

Forensic anthropology



Similarly, forensic anthropologists
Forensic anthropology
Forensic anthropology is the application of the science of physical anthropology and human osteology in a legal setting, most often in criminal cases where the victim's remains are in the advanced stages of decomposition. A forensic anthropologist can assist in the identification of deceased...

 draw on highly heritable morphological features of human remains (e.g. cranial measurements) to aid in the identification of the body, including in terms of race. In a 1992 article anthropologist Norman Sauer noted that Anthropologists had generally abandoned the concept of race as a valid representation of human biological diversity except for Forensic anthropologists. This lead him to ask "if races don't exist, why are forensic anthropologists so good at identifying them?" He concluded that "the successful assignment of race to a skeletal specimen is not a vindication of the race concept, but rather a prediction that an individual, while alive was assigned to a particular socially constructed ‘racial’ category. A specimen may display features that point to African ancestry. In this country that person is likely to have been labeled Black regardless of whether or not such a race actually exists in nature. C. Loring Brace echoed this answer stating that: "The simple answer is that, as members of the society that poses the question, they are inculcated into the social conventions that determine the expected answer. They should also be aware of the biological inaccuracies contained in that "politically correct" answer. Skeletal analysis provides no direct assessment of skin color, but it does allow an accurate estimate of original geographical origins. African, eastern Asian, and European ancestry can be specified with a high degree of accuracy. Africa of course entails "black," but "black" does not entail African."

Commercial determination of ancestry


New research in molecular genetics, and the marketing of genetic identities through the analysis of one's Y chromosome
Y chromosome
The Y chromosome is one of the two sex-determining chromosomes in most mammals, including humans. In mammals, it contains the gene SRY, which triggers testis development if present. The human Y chromosome is composed of about 60 million base pairs...

, mtDNA
Mitochondrial DNA
Mitochondrial DNA is the DNA located in organelles called mitochondria, structures within eukaryotic cells that convert the chemical energy from food into a form that cells can use, adenosine triphosphate...

, or autosomal DNA
Autosome
An autosome is a chromosome that is not a sex chromosome, or allosome; that is to say, there is an equal number of copies of the chromosome in males and females. For example, in humans, there are 22 pairs of autosomes. In addition to autosomes, there are sex chromosomes, to be specific: X and Y...

 to the general public in the form of "Personalized Genetic Histories" (PGH) has caused debate.

Typically, a consumer of a commercial PGH service sends in a sample of DNA which is analyzed by molecular biologists and is sent a report. Shriver and Kittles remarked:
Nevertheless, they acknowledge, such stories are increasingly appealing to the general public.

Through these reports, advances in molecular genetics are used to create or confirm stories have about social identities
Identity (social science)
Identity is a term used to describe a person's conception and expression of their individuality or group affiliations . The term is used more specifically in psychology and sociology, and is given a great deal of attention in social psychology...

. Abu el-Haj argued that genetic lineages, like older notions of race, suggest some idea of biological relatedness, but unlike older notions of race they are not directly connected to claims about human behaviour or character. She said that "postgenomics does seem to be giving race a new lease on life."
Abu el-Haj argues that genomics and the mapping of lineages and clusters liberates "the new racial science from the older one by disentangling ancestry from culture and capacity." As an example, she refers to recent work by Hammer et al., which aimed to test the claim that present-day Jews are more closely related to one another than to neighbouring non-Jewish populations. Hammer et al. found that the degree of genetic similarity among Jews shifted depending on the locus investigated, and suggested that this was the result of natural selection acting on particular loci. They therefore focused on the non-recombining Y chromosome to "circumvent some of the complications associated with selection".

As another example she points to work by Thomas et al., who sought to distinguish between the Y chromosomes of Jewish priests (Kohanim), (in Judaism, membership in the priesthood is passed on through the father's line) and the Y chromosomes of non-Jews. Abu el-Haj concluded that this new "race science" calls attention to the importance of "ancestry" (narrowly defined, as it does not include all ancestors) in some religions and in popular culture, and people's desire to use science to confirm their claims about ancestry; this "race science," she argues, is fundamentally different from older notions of race that were used to explain differences in human behaviour or social status:
Stephan Palmié has responded to Abu el-Haj's claim that genetic lineages make possible a new, politically, economically, and socially benign notion of race and racial difference by suggesting that efforts to link genetic history and personal identity will inevitably "ground present social arrangements in a time-hallowed past," that is, use biology to explain cultural differences and social inequalities.

One problem with these assignments is admixture. Many people have a varied ancestry. For example, in the United States, most people who self-identify as African American have some European ancestors. In a survey of college students who self-identified as "white" in a northeastern U.S. university, ~30% were estimated to have <90% European ancestry.

On the other hand, there are tests that do not rely on molecular lineages, but rather on correlations between allele frequencies, often when allele frequencies correlate these are called clusters. These sorts of tests use informative alleles called Ancestry-informative marker
Ancestry-informative marker
An ancestry-informative marker is a set of polymorphisms for a locus, generally from humans, which exhibits substantially different frequencies between populations from different geographical regions....

 (AIM), which although shared across all human populations vary a great deal in frequency between groups of people living in geographically distant parts of the world.

These tests use contemporary people sampled from certain parts of the world as references to determine the likely proportion of ancestry for any given individual. In a recent Public Service Broadcasting (PBS) programme on the subject of genetic ancestry testing the academic Henry Louis Gates: "wasn’t thrilled with the results (it turns out that 50 percent of his ancestors are likely European)". Charles Rotimi, of Howard University's National Human Genome Center, argued in 2003 that —that "the nature or appearance of genetic clustering (grouping) of people is a function of how populations are sampled, of how criteria for boundaries between clusters are set, and of the level of resolution used" all bias the results—and concluded that people should be very cautious about relating genetic lineages or clusters to their own sense of identity.

On the other hand, Rosenberg (2005) argued that if enough genetic markers and subjects are analyzed, then the clusters found are consistent. How many genetic markers a commercial service uses likely varies, although new technology has continually allowed increasing numbers to be analyzed.

See also

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  • Clan
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  • Cultural difference
  • List of ethnic groups
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  • Pre-Adamite
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  • Race and health
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  • Race baiting
  • Race (fantasy)
  • Race (U.S. census)
  • Racial discrimination
  • Racial stereotypes
  • Racial superiority
  • Racism
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    Racism is the belief that inherent different traits in human racial groups justify discrimination. In the modern English language, the term "racism" is used predominantly as a pejorative epithet. It is applied especially to the practice or advocacy of racial discrimination of a pernicious nature...

  • The Race of the Future
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  • The Race Question
    The Race Question
    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. The statement was an attempt to clarify what was scientifically known about race and a moral condemnation of racism...

  • Social interpretations of race
    Social interpretations of race
    Social interpretations of race regard the common categorizations of people into different races, often with biologist tagging of particular "racial" attributes beyond mere anatomy, as more socially and culturally determined than based upon biology...

  • Nationalism
    Nationalism
    Nationalism is a political ideology that involves a strong identification of a group of individuals with a political entity defined in national terms, i.e. a nation. In the 'modernist' image of the nation, it is nationalism that creates national identity. There are various definitions for what...

  • Ethnic nationalism
    Ethnic nationalism
    Ethnic nationalism is a form of nationalism wherein the "nation" is defined in terms of ethnicity. Whatever specific ethnicity is involved, ethnic nationalism always includes some element of descent from previous generations and the implied claim of ethnic essentialism, i.e...


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