Digest of terms


classificatory term used to differentiate human beings into types or subsets, as if these were akin to different sub-species of bear (e.g., Grizzly, Brown, Black, Polar, Panda, etc.) or types of domestic dog (e.g., shepherds, retrievers, mastiffs, hounds, terriers, etc.), each exhibiting distinct physical and behavioural characteristics. Common race stereotypes identify race-typical physical traits such as skin and eye colours, nose dimensions, and hair forms, for different race groups. However, DNA research shows that there are no genetic markers for race other than for each of these physical traits (e.g., eye colour is determined by a single gene), and yet the differences in these traits between persons considered members of the same race are greater than the differences between the average of each race group (e.g., greater variety of nose shape is found within race groups than between average dimensions of individual race groups). The same is true for behavioural characteristics. Furthermore, though race stereotypes tend to correlate with geographic regions of global origin, the principal race groups identified in different parts of the world are different depending on that region’s history of colonisation, expulsion or forced removal, and enslavement. Nonetheless, though many now consider that race types are not biologically real, race classifications are socially real and are too often used to denigrate and subject minority or non-dominant race groups to unfair negative treatment (see: racism).

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