Race and Minority - Race and Minority Why Do We Define Race...

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Race and Minority Why Do We Define Race The Way We Do? Race is socially important yet biologically insignificant in the United States. A Racial Group is a group of people with perceived unique biological and physical characteristics. Race is and has been assumed for centuries as being biologically-based and even biologically distinguishable between various groups (African Americans, Whites, Asians, and Native Americans). Science has proven this to be a myth — racial groups are NOT in fact biologically different in significant ways. Current conceptions of race originated long before genetics as a scientific discipline came to be. Here’s the simple scientifically-based truth about biological differences between the races—there are very few. An article in Scientific American (December, 2003; pages 78-85) addressed the race-to-Biology question in their cover article, “Does Race Exist?” Two geneticists, Bamshad and Olson have worked on mapping the human genome and their answer was, no. Genetic studies yield more support for geographic ancestral origin than for a claim that our social definitions of race are somehow correlated to our social definitions of being White, Black, Asian, Indian, or other. There has been a great deal of intermarriage and cross-cultural unions so much so that Bamshad and Olson reported that among the billions of genetic markers: “The outward signs on which most definitions of race are based—such as skin color and hair texture—are dictated by a handful of genes. But the other genes of two people of the same “race” can be very different. Conversely, two people of different “races” can share more genetic similarity than two individuals of the same race (page 80).” By far the significance of race and biology is social, meaning that we are culturally socialized to define race in biological terms. In fact, throughout the history of the world, most cultures defined race more in cultural rather than biological terms. Egyptian royalty were in the sacred race by birthright (even though some were Mediterranean and others African in origin). Scottish
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This note was uploaded on 12/04/2011 for the course ANTHRO 2000 taught by Professor Monicaoyola during the Fall '10 term at Broward College.

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Race and Minority - Race and Minority Why Do We Define Race...

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