What is the Definition of Race? Essay

2110 Words 9 Pages
Race presents itself with a complex definition because of the amount of differing opinions on the word and also because its definition has changed over time. At its core, the term race in 21st century America consists of individuals classified into a group based on the similar tangible and viewable characteristics they possess; however, it must be noted that there are many factors that affect what race is.

In 21st century America, a race consists of a group of individuals with similar viewable intrinsic characteristics. By using these intrinsic characteristics, society creates races consciously and sometimes subconsciously. The intrinsic characteristics used to assign an individual to a race include and are limited to ancestral origin
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Individuals in society use races and the accompanying racial stereotypes to determine whether to distance themselves from a member of a certain race and to determine whether one feels safe around an individual of a certain race. In the example with Darryl and the police officer, the officer decided that the people in the white suburb were not safe based on Darryl’s race and the environment Darryl surrounded himself in. This utilization of race and the accompanying racial stereotypes constitutes a primal categorization tool that mankind possesses. However, it should be noted that unlike taxonomy, race does not represent a scientific means of distinguishing groups of individuals. From the social perspective, race is rarely used for anything other than determining inferiority or superiority and often inferior races are created for the preservation of superior races. Constraints such as the skin color required for the membership in a said race are created by society. Therefore, a social consensus often determines a person’s race. An important distinction must also be made between race and class. The dominant race and the middle and upper classes often share several similar traits. These traits can range from eating caviar to wearing high-end couture. In this case, the distinction must be made between race and class. For example, members of a certain dominant race, Race Z, are born in the United States but their ancestors originated in Europe. The members of Race Z

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