Chat with us, powered by LiveChat Consider the concept of race in our society. In a post of at least 250 words, answer the following questions: Are racial categories biologically or culturally constructed? | Wridemy

Consider the concept of race in our society. In a post of at least 250 words, answer the following questions: Are racial categories biologically or culturally constructed?

  1. Consider the concept of race in our society. In a post of at least 250 words, answer the following questions:
    1. Are racial categories biologically or culturally constructed?
    2. What does it mean to say that genes are “probabilistic rather than deterministic?
    3. Why is it false to say that one racial group is smarter, stronger, or better athletes than other racial groups?
    4. Why is ethnicity more inclusive categorization method?

Module 5

Race and Human



The Concept of Race

Humans can be classified into 1 of 5 categories – impossible to do; not the same in all countries

Members of one race share a set of biological characteristics that are not shared by members of other races

Long-term populations may have some alleles in common but more genetic variation within races than between them

Race primarily based on skin color (less than 0.01%)

“Races” are not biological, instead social construct

Has lead to cultural stereotypes about disease, athletic ability, and other unfair categorizations of human behavior

the concept of race has historically been a tool that some people use to subjugate others


Today’s “Race” Definitions for US Census

American Indian or Alaska Native


Black or African American

Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander


Categorizes have changed over the years, in the 1850s 3 catagories Black, white, and Mulatio


Latinos and Arabic

Latinos viewed as ethnicity not race

Possible MENA (Middle Eastern/North African)in future

What “race” is Tiger Woods?


¼ African American

¼ Thai

¼ Chinese

⅛ Native American

⅛ White European

U.S. = Black

Brazil = White

Genealogy = Asian



Age of Exploration 15th Century

Europeans considered “new” people lesser beings

François Bernier (1684) first to divide humans into groups (4)

Europeans, Africans, Asians, Lapps


2018 = 334 years Skin color, hair texture

Number of “Races”

Linnaeus (1735) – 4 Races




American Indians

Linnaeus (1758) – 5 Races


“Angry; regulated by customs”

“Crafty and sluggish; ruled by caprice”

“Melancholy, cautious; ruled by opinion”

“Muscular, inventive; governed

by laws”

Blumenbach (1779) – 5 Races






Linnaeus (1735) – 4

(White, Brown, Black, Red)

Added temperaments in 10th edition (1758)

Americanus: reddish, merry, free; regulated by customs”

Blacks “crafty, lazy, and careless”

Indians are “excitable, impulsive, and restless”

Asians are “serious, cautious, and suspicious”

Changed Asians from brown to yellow

Added wastebasket category (Monstrous)

5 Races

White (Caucasian)

Yellow (Mongolian)

Brown (Malayan)

Black (Ethiopians)

Red (American)


“Race” in the 19th Century

Used interchangeably with people, nation, etc.

Racial differences and rankings are “science”

Measurable biological differences

Based on characteristics (such as skin color, head shape, nose, etc.) considered inherited and permanent, traits



Smedley p. 38 – 40

Degenerative Theory

Whites superior as they were “civilized” – also making classifications

Believed first humans were ”white”

Other races degenerative forms of Europeans

Evolutionary Theory

Evolutionary-speaking all humans are of African ancestry

Populations spread out and adapted to their environment

There are no degenerative forms of humans

Changes in Skin Color

Originally light color skin covered by dark hair, similar to chimps

After bipedalism, hominins loose hair, and over time, adapt a darker color

Has homo sapiens spread into different environments skin color adapts again

Cheddar Man 9,100 years ago

Somerset, England

First permanent inhabitants of the island

20s male

Great Britain’s oldest complete skeleton

9100/20 = more than 450 generations most people can trace back 10-25 generations

Last 200 years (10 generations) height has increased 4 inches

Boaty mcboatface


Genome Sequencing

Genome extracted in 2018 suggests he had blue eyes, dark skin, dark curly hair and lactose intolerance

~10% of modern Britons share Mesolithic European ancestry

Remainder comes from later immigrants

he DNA of Adrian Targett, who was 42 years old when that discovery was made, was found to match that belonging to Cheddar Man. According to science, this genetic fingerprint is said to have been passed down from mother to child. In other words, Targett and Cheddar Man both share a common maternal ancestral. It may be added that Targett was not the only one from his family to have not moved away from his ancestral land. It was reported that there were 46 individuals in his extended family, and most of them had remained in the Somerset area.


Gloger’s Rule

Adaptation to tropical environments – more pigment then species in cooler/arid areas

Found in a number of different mammals and birds


Other Rules of Adaptation

Bergmann’s: the size of the body relative to the climate

Allen’s: the size of protruding body parts (ears, tails, bills, fingers, toes, and limbs) relative to climate

Thomson’s: the size and shape of the nose

When organisms are more compact, they tend to conserve heat (due to a high mass:surface area ratio). When organisms are more linear, they tend to lose more heat (due to a low mass:surface area ratio).

This has been applied to humans. The idea is that populations toward the pole tend to be shorter and have shorter limbs than do people on the equator.

For example, the Inuit people of Canada (pictured above) tend to be shorter than the Maasai people of Kenya

Thomson's Nose Rule, which states that ethnic groups originating in cold, arid climates tend to have longer and thinner noses, while the noses of those from warm, humid climates tend to be shorter and thicker. [1] The longer nose is an adaptation that heats and moistens inhaled air in higher latitudes.


Bergman’s & Allen’s Rules

Skin Color

In tropics, high levels of UV radiation

Melanin (dark skin) protects from radiation

Reduces skin cancers and folic acid deficiency

In high latitudes, low levels of UV radiation

Reduced melanin permits UV radiation to penetrate skin facilitate vitamin D synthesis


Vitamin D Deficiency

Vitamin D is necessary for proper growth of bones and teeth

Deficiency during development can cause Rickets

Defect in growing bone making them weak, brittle, and deformed

Leg bone deformity impairs locomotion

Pelvic distortion can make childbearing dangerous–potentially killing mother and baby


Pelvic Deformation


Sickle Cell Anemia

Genetic disease thought to be “African” disease

Inherited recessive

When stressed for oxygen, red blood cells freeze up and sickle


As a result of sickling and the premature aging of red blood cells from sickling, there are fewer than normal red blood cells, the general condition referred to as anemia

There is an increased risk of severe infections, especially bacterial infections–such as sepsis (a blood stream infection), meningitis, and pneumonia, especially in early childhood

The risk of infection is increased because the spleen does not function normally

Children with sickle cell anemia experience slowed growth and delayed maturation

Repeated, painful episodes, caused by blockages of the circulatory system

Frequently seen as swelling of extremities

There is a progressive degeneration of organs from impaired circulation

Without medical care this is frequently lethal at an early age!

Malaria and Sickle Cell

Genetic disease occurs in populations that have a history of malaria

Sickle cell reaches significant frequencies in Greece, but is absent among the San of South Africa


Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease affecting humans and other animals caused by parasitic protozoans (a group of single-celled microorganisms) belonging to the Plasmodium type.[2] Malaria causes symptoms that typically include fever, tiredness, vomiting, and headaches.[1] In severe cases it can cause yellow skin, seizures, coma, or death.[1] Symptoms usually begin ten to fifteen days after being bitten.[2] If not properly treated, people may have recurrences of the disease months later.[2] In those who have recently survived an infection, reinfection usually causes milder symptoms.[1] This partial resistance disappears over months to years if the person has no continuing exposure to malaria

Malaria and Sickle Cell


“Race” and Athletics

Genetics influence individual ability in athletic events

Has nothing to do with race

Performance influenced by cultural factors: perceptions, availability of resources, coaching, training


Derek drounin 2016 winner; Cuban 1993 record holder

Simone Ashley Manuel (born August 2, 1996) is an American competition swimmer specializing in sprint freestyle. At the 2016 Rio Olympics, she won two gold and two silver medals: gold in the 100-meter freestyle and the 4×100-meter medley, and silver in the 50-meter freestyle and the 4×100-meter freestyle relay. In winning the 100-meter freestyle, a tie with Penny Oleksiak of Canada, Manuel became the first African-American woman to win an individual Olympic gold in swimming and set an Olympic record and an American record.

Traits are not distributed in neat regional packages

Skin color, hair form, body build, and intelligence do not “track” together

These traits are discordant and are not all hard-wired by genetics

Race would be biologically useful traits were concordant

If hair and nose and skin color always tracked together


Variety is the Spice of Human Life…

All Humans are members of one species

Race is a social construct not a biological construct

A wide variety of physical differences characterize individuals of our species































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