Race Introduction to Anthropology

Document Type:Essay

Subject Area:Anthropology

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Date. Race – Introduction to Anthropology. Race can be taken to represent a population considered to be recognizably distinct in nature from a perspective of physical characteristics. According to the US Department of Education, there exist five races ("Race & Ethnicity Reporting | Human Resources | Georgia Institute of Technology | Atlanta, GA"). These include; Hispanic or Latino consisting of people of South and Central American origin, American Indian consisting of people with origins in the original North and South American inhabitants, Asian to mean people of Far and Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent origins, African American for persons of the black African groups origin, White for those tracing their origin from Europe, North Africa and Middle East and finally Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander who are people with origin from the original Hawaiians and other Pacific Island peoples. So, can human races be used as valid biological classifications? This question has generated varied responses from different scholars over the years. Biological classification is the phylogenetic categorization of organisms according to their physiological functions, structure, development and their evolutionary history. To answer this question, this article looks at it from biological and cultural perspectives. Three forms of biological evidence are reviewed to determine whether or not they correspond with race. Human skin. The human skin is the foremost feature of the mankind phenotype. The main way of distinguishing the skin is its naked appearance which is genetically dependent. It is possible to reconstruct numerous aspects of the human skin as well as skin color evolution using genomics and comparative anatomy.

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The evolution of dark skin, which was the default state of the genus Homo, took place simultaneously with the loss of body hair. Due to its adaptive nature, melanin pigmentation is maintained by natural selection. Skin color phenotype cannot be adequately used as a genetic identity marker due to its evolutionary liability. Furthermore, since human began using shelter and clothing for protection, natural selection doesn’t have much effect on human skin (Jablonski 601). Genetic Structure of Human Populations A study was carried out on about 1050 people from 52 populations involving an assessment of classical genetic markers together with DNA polymorphism analysis (Relethford 395). The study found out that intra-population variations within individuals make up about 95% of the variation in genetics while only 5% of differences were observed among the major groups. Six major genetic clusters, five corresponding to the major geographic regions as well as sub clusters analogous to individual populations, were noted.

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The unique markers possess precise modes of inheritance applicable to specific populations and can be used to determine ancestral probabilities. Scholars have questioned whether human races exist or not and whether the term race should be used in research (Edgar and Hunley 03). These authors attempted to look into the best ways of describing human biological variation and its relationship with the definition of race. The findings of the effort are found in article by (Gravlee and Sweet 27-51). They noted that there exist considerable variations amongst individuals in a population. Even though differences observed in arrest rates can be partially attributed to the racial bias in law enforcement (Spohn and DeLone 32), it is important to investigate the factors which put black youths at a higher risk for crime. Contemporary crime theories indicate that a set of conditions tends to raise the rate of crime involvement among the youth irrespective of race.

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Some of these criminogenic conditions include economic disenfranchisement and weak social bonds which are prevalent among African American communities in the US. S. Department of Justice, 1998), In a study to find out the connection between racial discrimination and crime rates, longitudinal data of about 700 Black American children was collected (Simons, et al. The superior performance features prominently where there is least contribution of socio-economic factors. An example is running, where no much extensive training and equipment is required. In the Harvard Educational Review, David Jansen argued that the primary cause for the variance in average IQ among races was genetic and not socio-economic factors (DAVID JANSEN 310). Such argument reinforces the belief that Europeans are disposed to possess higher IQ while Africans are predisposed to better athletic potential by their genetic makeup.

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The fact that Blacks dominate sports is an overgeneralization which is used to reinforce racist stereotypes. While species are genetically closed systems, races are open and can only be discrete in a limited number of circumstances. Races particularly result from the arrangement of genetic variations by natural selection in accordance with the preceding environmental conditions in a given geographical setting. Variability therefore comes before race and forms the basis for its formation. Works Cited "5. World population – total, urban and rural, 1950-2030. Taboo: Why Black Athletes Dominate Sports and Why We're Afraid to Talk about It. Jon Entine. The Quarterly Review of Biology, vol.  76, no.  3, 2001, pp. Medical Anthropology Quarterly, vol.  22, no.  1, 2008, pp. Jablonski, Nina G. The Evolution of Human Skin and Skin Color. Current Anthropology, vol.  3, no.  3, 1962, pp. On the Non-Existence of Human Races.

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Current Anthropology, vol.  118, no.  4, 2002, pp. Simons, Ronald L. et al. Incidents of discrimination and risk for delinquency: A longitudinal test of strain theory with an African American sample.

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