What is Race?

“It is important to emphasize the fact that ethnologists do not always us the word ‘race’ in a strictly genetic sense.”

It is undoubtedly true that people who live in some geographical regions have common heriditable peculiarities which distinguish them from other people.

When Anthropologists use the word race in this sense they follow the same practice as biologists. It is also a fact that some genotypes which do not form compact communities are more frequent in some regions than others. For instance, tall, long-headed people with fair hair and blue eyes are more common in Northern Europe than in other parts of the world. There is no evidence that there has ever been any time in the world’s history when all the inhabitants of a particular locality had these characteristics. Though we are entitled to speak of a Nordic type, the Nordic race is a myth.” (“Principles of Animal Biology,” Prof. Lancelot Hogben.)

The Jewish race is also a misnomer. Human beings who are so classified include immigrants from Palestine or other parts of Asia Minor and their Proselytes among Slav and Tartar peoples of Eastern Europe. Though there is a high concentration of some hereditable characteristics among members of the Jewish religion and their descendants because of the taboo which forbids interbreeding with those who do not share their peculiar dietetic preferences, no physical characteristics distinguish all Jews as such from any other people.

Their common cultural characteristics are largely, if not exclusively, the product of a common tradition reinforced by persecution and restriction of civil privileges for many centuries. (“Principles of Animal Biology,” Prof. Lancelot Hogben).

Leave a Reply