Cultural Studies Terms/Race
1. Chief theorists
17th century: François Bernier (1625-1688)
18th century: Johann Friedrich Blumenbach (1752-1840), Immanuel Kant (1724-1804)
19th century: Thomas Huxley (1825-1895)
20th century racialists: e.g. Carleton S. Coon (1904-1981)
a) any of the main groups into which beings can be divided according to their pysical type
b) the fact of belonging to one of these groups
c) a group of people with the same history, language, customs etc.
The term “race” refers to the concept of dividing people into populations or groups on the basis of various sets of characteristics and beliefs about common ancestry. The most widely used human racial categories are based on visible traits (e.g. skin colour, facial features, body build) and self identification. Conceptions of race vary by culture and over time, and are often controversial for scientific as well as social and political reasons.
Most anthropologists reject the idea that “pure” races existed at some time in the distant past. Today, genetic analysis has replaced earlier methods of comparing color, shape, and size to establish degrees of relationship or common ancestry among human populations.
Racism: Many people believed (and still believe) that differences in physical appearance have something to do with differences in the behaviour, attitude, intelligence, or intrinsic worth of people. These beliefs promote racism, prejudice or animosity against people perceived to belong to other races. At its worst, racism has inspired the abuse and extermination of enormous numbers of people. Historical examples are the near-extermination of Native Americans by European settlers of the Americas between the 16th and 20th centuries, the capture and export of Africans for use as slaves in the Americas from the early 17th to the mid-19th century, the extermination of Jews in Europe by German Nazis during World War II and the system of apartheid perpetrated by Afrikaners against all nonwhite people in South Africa.
3. Related terms: stereotyping, racialism, racial difference, ethnicity