Race is the category of human groups that are separated by a variety of physical and social traits, including skin color, hair texture, eye shape, and facial features. These phenotypic characteristics are often associated with large, geographically distinct populations and have been used as an organizing principle in many societies.
The term “race” has evolved throughout the centuries and has a number of meanings in different languages, most of which relate to the physical traits that define the group. In some societies, people are classified into races based on those characteristics, while others may be classified into non-racial categories such as language, religion or national affiliations.
Although the concept of race has been widely used by humans for centuries, modern scientists have come to question its biological validity and many are now arguing that it is best defined as a sociological construct. During the 20th century, scientists began to realize that there is no reason why the human species should be divided into distinct racial groups, as the human genome indicates that all members of different racial groups share a common set of genetic variants.
According to researchers like Jablonski, the racial category we have created is merely a cultural invention that has no real biological basis.
In the past, people who were born into different racial groups were assigned to them on the basis of their skin color or other superficial physical attributes. This led to the emergence of social hierarchies in society that paved the way for European colonization and slavery.
Since the end of colonialism and the abolition of slavery in the 19th century, the idea of race has been redefined as a mechanism of stratification and social division. It has become a critical component of racism, and it is still used today to divide and classify people.
Moreover, the racial category is a complex and dynamic concept that is constantly evolving and being transformed by political struggles. It is an unstable and “decentered” complex of social meanings that is constantly being reshaped by political struggle (Omi & Winant).
These struggles, and what they mean, have been a driving force in the development of racial categories that reflect different cultures and identities across the world. It is important to consider the complexities and historical contexts that give rise to racial categories such as white, black, Latino, Asian, Native American and African.
The underlying social forces that shape these racial categories are the same ones that have shaped human history and that continue to do so. These forces include governmental policy, economic factors and social institutions that create inequalities. These forces are also influenced by societal expectations, values and prejudices. These inequalities in treatment and access to opportunities affect people of all races. They are not limited to individuals and have been shown to impact the health of whole communities.