American Anthropological Association
on Race (May 17, 1998)
In the United States both scholars and the general public have been
conditioned to viewing human races as natural and separate divisions within
the human species based on visible physical differences. With the vast
expansion of scientific knowledge in this century, however,
it has become
clear that human populations are not unambiguous, clearly
demarcated, biologically distinct groups
Evidence from the analysis of
genetics (e.g., DNA) indicates that most physical variation, about 94%, lies
so-called racial groups. Conventional geographic "racial" groupings
differ from one another only in about 6% of their genes.
This means that
there is greater variation within "racial" groups than between them.
In neighboring populations there is much overlapping of genes and their
phenotypic (physical) expressions. Throughout history whenever different
groups have come into contact, they have interbred. The continued sharing
of genetic materials has maintained all of humankind as a single species.
: Invention used for socially marking groups based on
presumed physical differences
: social category that allows for a broader range of
affiliation. Cultural distinctions based in language, religion,
food, history, and customs.
: Refers to those who experience social
marginalization in society (relative to Whites)
Ongoing debates on who constitutes a “minority” –
vary by % of population or social standing of the group?
: Race vs. Ethnicity
RACE: Non-Hispanic White
ETHNICITIES: Irish, Italian
RACE: Non-Hispanic Black
ETHNICITIES: African American, Afro-Caribbean (e.g., Jamaican,
ETHNICITIES: Puerto Rican, Mexican, Uruguayan, Columbian,
RACE: Asian/Asian American
ETHNICITIES: Chinese, Japanese, Filipino