Race is an abstract concept, one of many ways to divide society. The term “race” originated in the seventeenth century when people were classified into groups based on their shared physical and social characteristics. It was first used to describe people who spoke the same language, shared a common national affiliation, or possessed similar physical traits. Today, race is considered a social construct, and scholars are beginning to examine the history and science behind the concept. For example, one race is the Mongoloid, which is spread across most of Central Asia and the Pacific Islands.
Data collection methods used by the United States Census Bureau differ. In the 1990 census, individual responses were consolidated into nine categories based on common characteristics. The Census Bureau outlines the current categories for each race and describes new ones. Some categories are not applicable to all people, so some are excluded altogether. These categories include:
Despite the widespread use of the word “race,” anthropologists argue that there is no such thing as a race. Although genetic data shows that humans have distinct ancestry, racial classifications are an artifact of social convention. As a result, people should be careful before drawing conclusions based on the data they collect. Some of these findings may lead you to make an informed decision. While the debate continues, some of the facts have been revealed.
In addition, some people object to the term “White.” However, some people prefer to use the term “Caucasian.” Even if White people are mostly White, they do not strongly identify with any specific European ethnicity. This fact is based on cognitive research and the 1990 Panel Study of Income Dynamics. There are many Hispanics who do not identify as a specific race. These people are often referred to as “other race.”
A survey conducted in 2010 suggests that more than a third of American citizens think that too much attention is paid to race in the country. However, a small percentage of white people say that attention is too little and too much. Meanwhile, nearly half of white Democrats say that it is just about right. It is important to note that white people have higher opinions than blacks and Hispanics on the issue. They should be more inclusive when discussing race.
Language is also important when describing people. Using language that essentializes race is generally considered inappropriate. Phrases like “the Black race” or “the White race” tend to portray human groups as monolithic entities, perpetuating stereotypes and creating negative feelings. As a result, it is important to use language that participants themselves use. That way, people will feel comfortable using the terms. These are important issues when writing about race and ethnicity.
Aside from national origin, racial identity also has cultural ramifications. Although Blacks who are born in the U.S. may identify more closely with their ethnicity than their nationality, this distinction is important to understand, because different Blacks may have different cultural backgrounds. Therefore, defining the term race can be a difficult task and has numerous pitfalls. Further research is needed to determine the most appropriate terminology. For the time being, it is best to use “Black” in its generic form.