The concept of race is controversial and often a source of conflict. Some scholars claim that race is a social construct, while others say race is an evolutionary phenomenon. The term race is also used to describe groups of people who have a similar origin or share traits. However, the scientific consensus is that race is not biologically based, and there are some differences between races.
The term race derives from the concept of genetic diversity, but it has been interpreted to mean different things. For example, people born in a different race may look completely different from other children of the same race. This is known as polygenesis. Polygenesis is the process by which a pair of people from different races mate.
In post-Enlightenment societies, racial categories have been promoted to distinguish groups, based on the physical characteristics of each. These groups were then categorized into different categories. Such divisions would have confused the ancient Greeks and Romans. Despite this, race is a social construct. It divides human populations into distinct categories based on physical appearance and social factors.
In psychology, the term race has different meanings. Cladistic race, for instance, implies the race of a particular species. The socialrace, on the other hand, captures the social aspects of a race. Cladistic races require monophyly while populationist races do not. In other words, one is a social animal.
Aristotle’s distinction between Greeks and Barbarians is interpreted as a racial one. The Reformation of Europe, however, united Christian and Greek strands. This liberated the Teutonic strain of the Aryan race from the cultural fetters of Roman Catholicism. The Jew, however, was the most extreme manifestation of the Semitic Race. European religious tensions eventually led to racial conflicts.
A scholarly debate about race and polygenesis has continued. The French philosopher, Francois Bernier, published “A New Division of the Earth” in 1684. While his essay did not explicitly state that races were merely “groups of people that share a common ancestor, it is still widely accepted that humans have distinct races based on shared origins.
The basic tenets of critical race theory have evolved since the late 1970s and early 1980s. These scholars developed a framework for legal analysis. As early as the 1930s, government officials began to draw lines around “poor” neighborhoods and refused to offer mortgages to Black people living in poor areas. Sadly, such policies still exist today, in the form of facially race-blind policies, like single-family zoning. These policies prevent affordable housing in majority-white neighborhoods and thwart racial desegregation efforts.
Although the concept of race is based in political constructivism, this philosophy of race is not a conservationist view. It emphasizes the role of differential power relations in determining race, and argues that a racial view is fundamental to understanding race.