The term race or racial group refers to dividing the human species according to physical characteristics that are inherited. The most widely used human racial types are those based on visual traits (such as skin colour, cranial, facial features, or type of hair).
When classifications of human races were first done, there were relatively few inter-racial marriages. Since then the number of mixed-race people has increased greatly. For them, the old structure does not work well. Official forms, such as the census, usually ask people to describe their ethnic origin. This is a way of saying "what racial group do you think you are?"
More recent genetic studies show that skin colour may change a lot over as few as 100 generations, or about 2,500 years.
The criteria[change | change source]
The 18th and 19th centuries[change | change source]
- the Caucasian race or white race
- the Mongolian or yellow race
- the Malayan or brown race
- the Ethiopian, or black race
- the American or red race.
The early 20th century[change | change source]
By about the First World War the scientifically inclined Europeans were sub-dividing the 'White race' in to three or four supposed sub-races, which were:
- Blond hair, white skinned, blue or grey eyes = Aryans/Nordic (e.g. across northern Europe from Russia to northern Britain)
- Dark haired, white skinned, brown eyed = Alpine (e.g. some Russians, English and Welsh).
- Dark haired, suntanned/olive skinned, brown eyed, aquiline nose = Mediterranean (e.g. southern Italians and Maltese).
- Red hair, suntanned/olive or white skinned, brown eyes = Anglo-Celtic/Gaelic (e.g. Scots, Irish and Dutch).
There was much prejudice based upon this way of looking at the world. The Europeans and Orientals both regarded themselves as superior to the other skin colours. Racism, a non-scientific theory or ideology, was that a particular race was superior or inferior. It argued that in the races that make up the human race, there are deep, biologically determined differences. It also states races should live separately and not intermarry. A supporter of racism is called a racist. These attitudes in turn supported the horrors of African slavery, Apartheid, the Jim Crow laws, Nazism and Japanese imperialism.
Mid 20th century[change | change source]
The mid 20th century racial classification by American anthropologist Carleton S. Coon, divided humanity into five races:
- Caucasoid (White) race
- Negroid (Black) race
- Capoid (Bushmen/Hottentots) race
- Mongoloid (Oriental/ Amerindian) race
- Australoid (Australian Aborigine and Papuan) race
In his landmark book The Races of Europe, Coon defined the Caucasian Race as including Europe, Central Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, and Northeast Africa. His work drew some charges of obsolete thinking or outright racism from a few critics, but some of the terminology he employed continues to be used even today, although the "-oid" suffixes now have in part taken on negative connotations.
In the 21st-Century, Coon's role came under further critical scrutiny when Prof. John P Jackon Jr, noted that the American Coon, "actively aided the segregationist cause in violation of his own standards for scientific objectivity.".
Social Darwinism and race[change | change source]
It is a social adaptation of the theory of natural selection as proposed by Charles Darwin. Natural selection explains success in various animal populations as the outcome of competition between individual organisms for limited resources. This idea is popularly known as "survival of the fittest", a term first used by Herbert Spencer, not Darwin.
Fascist movements have commonly held social Darwinist views of nations, races, and societies  In Nazi Germany, the Nazis used social Darwinism to promote their racialist idea of the German nation was part of the Aryan race and believed in the competition of races. The Nazis tried to strengthen the ‘Aryan race’ in Germany by murdering those they regarded as inferior. By this they meant Jews, Slavs, gypsies and disabled people.
Race and intelligence (IQ)[change | change source]
Any conclusion about the etiology of group differences, for "intelligence" or anything else, in the absence of specific identified genes or environmental factors, is speculation.
Biology[change | change source]
In biology, a race is a population, a group within a species. The race will show differences from other groups in the species, but not so much as to form a subspecies. A subspecies is a formal category in the biological classification system; a race is not.
Pictures and maps[change | change source]
A racially segregated bus station in Durham, North Carolina, 1940. The Jim Crow Laws racially separated parts of America between Blacks and Whites.
A group of white people who are voting for white pride and discriminating against other races.
Norwegians were classed as ‘Aryans‘.
The Chinese Urger were classed as ‘Orientals’.
Amerindians, like the Apache, were classed as ‘Orientals’.
Azeris would have been classed as either 'Orientals' or 'Middle Eastern'
Indians were classed as ‘Indics’.
Gypsies were classed as ’Indics’, They face persecution even in 1920's Hungary. The picture was taken in 1928.
Gambians were classed as ‘Negroids’.
Lapps were also once classified as a supposed early offshoot of the human race.
Related pages[change | change source]
Sources[change | change source]
- Heritable = passed on to succeeding generations
- Bamshad, Michael and Steve E. Olson. "Does race exist?", Scientific American (10 November 2003).
- Keita S.O.Y. et al. 2004 Conceptualizing human variation. Nature Genetics 36, S17-S20 
- Your family may once have been a different color by Robert Krulwich. Morning Edition, National Public Radio. 2 Feb 2009.
- Huxley T.H. 1870. On the geographical distribution of the chief modifications of mankind Journal of the Ethnological Society of London
- The anthropological treatises of Johann Friedrich Blumenbach. Google Books The anthropological treatises of Johann Friedrich Blumenbach
- Carleton S. Coon 1962. The origin of races New York: Knopf.
- "Race" in The American Heritage Book of English Usage A practical and authoritative guide to contemporary English.
- John P Jackon Jr 2001.“In ways unacademical”: the reception of Carleton S. Coon's The Origin of Races. Journal of the History of Biology.
- Johnson, D. Paul (2008). "The historical background of social darwinism". Contemporary Sociological Theory. Berlin: Springer. p. 492. ISBN 0387765212.
In the social realm the competitive struggle may be among individuals or among different groups within society, different societies, or different racial or ethnic populations.
- Payne, Stanley G. 1945. pp. 485-486
- Hawkins, Mike. 1997. Social Darwinism in European and American thought, 1860-1945: nature as model and nature as threat. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 282 & 284