Is Race for Real? Term Paper

Pages: 5 (1754 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 4  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Race

¶ … Race for Real?

Race is a modern idea. Ancient societies did not divide people according to physical differences, but according to religion, status, class, even language.

The term "race" gained popularity during the 1920s and 1930s, but the concept existed long before that. Greeks, Romans and Jews people did not divide their society according to race, but according to class, religion and status. 'The Greeks distinguished between the civilized and the barbarous, but these categories do not seem to have been regarded as hereditary." (George M. Fredrickson, page 17) a Greek citizen was considered to be civilized if he lived in a city-state and if he got involved in political life. The barbarous was that Greek who "lived rustically under some form of despotic rule." (Ibidem) Roman slaves, who came from all over the Empire, were representing all nations and colors. Not only the slaves were diverse, as citizens were also from many different backgrounds.

Race has no genetic basis. Not one characteristic, trait, or gene distinguishes all members of one so-called race from all members of another so-called race.

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Genetics show that genes are not responsible for making us different, as the way that they behave is also important for our differences. Researchers Vivian Cheung and Richard Spielman used the International HapMap Project to collect genes from 82 Asians and 60 people of European ancestry. The International HapMap Projects is a data base which contains different human genes across populations. Research found that the genes did not differ so much between the two races as their expression did. "And that expression was governed by single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) -- one-letter changes in DNA? -- in nearby regulator regions that determine how much of a gene's product is made." (Kathryn Garfield) Twenty five per cent of the genes they selected showed various levels of expressions. This research is important because it can help in understanding why certain ethnic populations are more open to gene-influenced diseases (hypertension, type 2 diabetes etc.).

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3. Slavery predates race. Throughout history, societies have enslaved others, often as a result of conquest or war, but not because of physical characteristics or a belief in natural inferiority. In America, a unique set of circumstances led to the enslavement of peoples who looked similar.

Romans enslaved the people from areas that they occupied through war. They did not choose their slaves on account of skin color or after the belief that they are inferior by nature. They believed that slaves were inferior because they were not capable to defend their landa. Due to that they had to pay the price to the Romans by slavery. In America the black people were slaves due to their skin color. The white people from America did not have a solid argument for the hate that they had towards the black. Americans hated the black people only because they were not the same as themselves. Black people were seen as work machines and not as equals or even humans. Also, due to their skin color they did not have the same rights as white people had. Black people had to support all kind of insults and punishments from white people. In South America Jim Crow's laws kept white and black people separated.

4. Race and freedom were born together. When the U.S. was founded, equality was a radical new idea. But our early economy was based largely on slavery. The concept of race helped explain why some people could be denied the rights and freedoms that others took for granted.

America's slavery started in 1619, when the first African slaves were brought. The first place where black people worked as slaves was a North American colony, Jamestown, Virginia. They helped with the production of tobacco. This was not the only place where they worked as slaves. Black people were the ones who build "the economic foundations of the new nation." (Slavery in America) Although they helped in the American development, the white people still considered that they could not have the same rights and freedoms as them. Because they were seen only as slaves they could not be friends with white people or even have a small conversation with a white American. They could not go to the same places as the white people were going and they could not go to schools. After the Civil War the North America was free of slaves, while the black people from the South had to work as slaves for white people.

5. Race justified social inequalities as natural. As the race concept evolved, it justified extermination of Native Americans, exclusion of Asian immigrants, and taking of Mexican lands. Racial practices were institutionalized within government, laws, and society.

Democracy was based on racism because it explained why some people had more than others. Indian land was taken by the white people in order for farmers to set up their farmhouses. The Indians named themselves "red" in order to distinguish from the black people. In 1760 Indians believed that the color skin was a divine distinguish that established that the land was theirs and the white people were just intruders. The term "Manifest Destiny" was first used by John O'Sullivan in 1854. The concept was defined by the idea that the U.S.' job was to expand its borders. The purpose was to bring Christianity and democracy concept to other areas. The U.S. government battled with Mexico in order to establish its borders. Primary, the Manifest Day was only a pretext for the Americans' desire for land. New land was captured through diverse methods: buying, negotiation, appropriation, and war. At the end of those actions, Americans obtained a lot of new lands, and the country became a super-power.

6. Human subspecies don't exist. Unlike many animals, modern humans have not been around long enough, nor have populations been isolated enough, to evolve into separate subspecies or races. Despite surface differences, we are among the most similar of all species.

Although we do not have the same color skin, or the same religion, or the same beliefs, or we even do not live in the same country, we are all humans. Humans cannot be divided into species like animals are. A subspecies can be considered the Homo Sapiens, or the Neanderthals or Homo Sapiens etc. We are not so different from each other to say that we can be divided into species on acccount of race, skin color, or religion. The only people who consider that humans can be divided into species are racists. Scientists did not find any consistent evidence that can split us into species like animals are. "The various human races have been changing all through time continuously." (Robert Lindsay)

7. Skin color is only skin deep. Most traits are inherited independently of one another. The genes for skin color have nothing to do with genes for hair texture, eye shape, blood type, musical talent, or athletic ability.

Our talents are not defined by our skin color. If we are Americans we can still have blond hair and blue eyes like the Germans, or if we are white people we can still be good athletes like black people. It is true, however that some races are more inclined to a specific talent. For example most of the black people are good athletes. This is due to their genetics; they have more testosterone and more "fast-twitch" fibres than the whites. But this characteristic does not apply to all the black people.

8. Most variation is within not between "races." Of the small amount of total human genetic variation, 85% exists within any local population, be they Italians, Kurds, Koreans, or Cherokees. Two random Koreans are likely to be as genetically different as a Korean and an Italian.

Individuals from different races can sometimes be more genetic similar than individuals from the same race. This means that the geographic origin do not influence the individuals genetic to be unrelated to one another.

9. Race is not biological but racism is still real. Race is still a powerful social idea that gives people different access to opportunities and resources. Our government and society have created advantages to being white. This affects everyone, whether we are aware of it or not.

Unfortunately in the contemporary society there still exist people who are discriminated because they have a different skin color, or different beliefs, or even different religions. Although our society is trying to fight against discrimination, there are still people who are influenced by race. White people are sometimes more favored by our society than a black or Asian individual. This is maybe due to the fact that white people were more powerful than the others in the past. Romans, were able to expand and conquest a lot of ancient populations. Also in America, white people were the ones to conquest the Indians and who enslaved black people for many years. Although black people were the ones who put the base of the "New World," in history… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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APA Style

Is Race for Real?.  (2012, December 8).  Retrieved August 13, 2020, from

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"Is Race for Real?."  8 December 2012.  Web.  13 August 2020. <>.

Chicago Style

"Is Race for Real?."  December 8, 2012.  Accessed August 13, 2020.