Races Category



Race is classification of humans into large and distinct populations or groups by factors such as heritable phenotypic characteristics or geographic ancestry, but also often influenced by and correlated with traits such as appearance, culture, ethnicity, and socio-economic status. In the early twentieth century the term was often used, in its biological sense, to denote genetically divergent human populations which can be marked by common phenotypic traits. When analyzing skeletal remains, this sense of "race" is still used at times within forensic anthropology, biomedical research, and race-based medicine as proxy for geographic ancestry with some reliability. In addition, law enforcement utilizes race in their attempts to profile wanted suspects and to reconstruct the faces of unidentified remains. In many societies racial groupings correspond closely with patterns of social stratification, and for social scientists studying social inequality, race can be a significant variable. As sociological factors, racial categories may in part reflect subjective attributions, self-identities, and social institutions. Accordingly, the racial paradigms employed by different kinds of biological or social scientists may vary in their emphasis on biological reduction as contrasted with societal construction.
While biological scientists sometimes use the concept of race to make practical distinctions among fuzzy sets of traits, others in the scientific community suggest that the idea of race is often used by the general public in a naive or simplistic way. Among humans, race has no taxonomic significance; all people belong to the same hominid subspecies, Homo sapiens sapiens. Regardless of the extent to which race exists, the word "race" is problematic and may carry negative connotations. Social conceptions and groupings of races vary over time, involving folk taxonomies that define essential types of individuals based on perceived sets of traits. Scientists consider biological essentialism obsolete, and generally discourage racial explanations for collective differentiation in both physical and behavioral traits.
As people define and put about different conceptions of race, they actively create contrasting social realities through which racial categorization is achieved in varied ways. In this sense, races are said to be social constructs. These constructs can develop within various legal, economic, and sociopolitical contexts, and at times may be the effect, rather than the cause, of major social situations. While race is understood to be a social construct by many, most scholars understand the constellation of images and ideas that make up the meanings of race have very real, material effects in housing discrimination, in the legal process, in policing practices, in education, etc. Omi and Winant’s theories of racial formation are some of the clearest descriptions of how “race is a concept which signifies and symbolizes social conflicts and interests by referring to different types of human bodies.” The meanings and implications of “race” are produced and invested in by social structures as well as through cultural representations. Many scholars since Omi and Winant have continued to think through and revise the meanings and implications of race as social construction by exploring how the images, ideas and assumptions of race get expressed in everyday life. Angela Davis, Ruth Gilmore, and Imani Perry to take just three examples, have done impressive work to trace the relationships between the historical, social production of race in legal and criminal language and their effects on the policing and incarceration of massive amounts of people of color in the contemporary moment.
This is all to say, socioeconomic factors, in combination with early but enduring views of race, have led to considerable suffering amongst the disadvantaged racial groups. Racial discrimination often coincides with racist mindsets, whereby the individuals and ideologies of one group come to perceive the members of their outgroup as both racially defined and morally inferior. As a result, racial groups possessing relatively little power often find themselves excluded or oppressed, while the individuals and institutions of the hegemony are charged with holding racist attitudes. Racism has factored into many instances of tragedy, including slavery and genocide. Scholars continue to debate the degrees to which racial categories are biologically warranted and socially constructed, as well as the extent to which the realities of race must be acknowledged in order for society to comprehend and address racism adequately.

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Astrans (Race) (Marvel Comics)

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