A race is simply a collection of human beings categorized according to common physical or social characteristics in terms of color, race, age, etc., in a given society. The word “race” was first used in reference to classify speakers of a particular language and later to denote political affiliation. In the late 17th century, however, the word began to be used to identify physical characteristics. Today “race” is commonly used to describe a general set of racial groups or “class,” and there are countless reasons for individuals to think and feel that they are part of a race.
There are many ways to define a race. One can look at physical characteristics like hair, eyes, skin, and so on. Others choose to look at genetic differences between relatives to see if these differences are enough to classify the race. Still others look at cultural traits such as language, traditions, and values that are typically associated with a specific race, in order to classify them. With so many different ways to categorize race, it’s only natural for people to come up with differing opinions about what constitutes an actual race.
One problem with coming up with an accurate definition is the fact that we are all different when it comes to genetics. While there are similarities between one another, such as sharing a common mother, father, and even a similar gene pool, there are huge genetic differences between individuals. For example, humans are structurally identical when it comes to the arrangement of chromosomes in all cells, but the variations between cells within a race are vastly different. It is because of this that differentiating genetic differences between human populations have led to the creation of numerous racial categories, such as “European” and “rican-American,” “Asian” and “American Indian,” Hispanic” and ” Latino.”
The problems with defining race can also be seen in how the U.S. Census Bureau has defined a certain group to include all people who fall within a specified group. This means that if a white American decides to associate themselves with a racial category, they must do so according to the definition that the U.S. Census Bureau has given them. If the criteria used by the U.S. Census Bureau were more flexible, there would be room for individuals who self-identify as belonging to many ethnic groups originating from various countries. The problem with modern race categories is that they are often used to demarcate and categorize, rather than to identify.
As described above, ethnicity is a biological category, meaning that the DNA of an individual exists in one gene and carries that information forward through the generations. However, there is still another genetic category that describes how that DNA is expressed in the body. This genetic distinction is referred to as biological race. By identifying one’s own biological race, it is possible to distinguish one’s physical appearance from other individuals of that same race, even though they may have the same genetic makeup. For example, some non Hispanics and some Asians are strictly genetic Caucasians, while others fall into the black category of ancestry.
Biological races can also be compared to cultural expressions. A Chinese daughter born in America will carry her mother’s genetic background, which is American in origin, but she will also carry with her an additional set of genes that are related to Chinese culture. When she married an Asian man, those additional genes become part of her physical traits, which are now Chinese. Her ethnicity is not the same as her cultural expression, just like her mother being American, just as John’s father being Jewish is not the same as his nationality of origin.