Race

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Race

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Race is the idea that broad groups of people in the world ("races") are truly different from other broad groups, usually defined by skin color.

The belief that race is "real" (or, scientific and based in human biology) is called racialism, and is pseudoscience. The vast majority of scientists believe race to be a socially constructed -- meaning that, for example, people with "black" skin in America are treated differently than those with "white" skin, and so "race" has a very significant impact on their lives.

In modern times, race also has a cultural component -- people with "white", "brown", and "black" skin may all identify as Hispanic -- and a geographic component -- people from South Europe might have darker skin than some Hispanics, yet identify as "Caucasian" or "white". In this sense, race comes closer to "ethnicity".

This article documents what are now commonly considered different "races".

Contents

[edit] People of Western Asia and the Middle East

Western Asia and the Middle East are home to many ethnic groups, including: Arabs, Jews, Kurds, Persians, Egyptians, and numerous others. The term "Arab" is frequently used to describe the ethnicity of all peoples from this region, but ethnically Arab persons are only those who originate from what is today know as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Many groups in the area, like the traditionally Shi'a Iranians, consider it offensive to be referred to as (traditionally Sunni) Arabs.

That being said, one would be correct in referring to Arab speakers collectively as Arabs, but it should be recognized that this is referring to a cultural homogony, rather than an ethnic/biological one. As stated above, some groups in the region, like Iranians and Kurds, don't speak Arabic, and it would therefor be incorrect to refer to them as Arabs.

For belief that all Arab speaking people should unite into one nation, see Pan-Arabism.

For the related belief that Arab speaking people are superior, see Arab supremacy.

[edit] Black (African)

Black people is a label used to refer to individuals of various ethnicities, whose skin tends to be darker than some other races. Like most such labels, it is completely artificial, frequently inaccurate, not particularly helpful, and horribly divisive. However, it can also provide people who have shared historical experiences of systematic discrimination and marginalization with a common rallying point and a structure around which to build a collective sense of identity and pride. So it's a mixed bag.

A more politically correct term in the United States would be "African Americans." One, however, cannot apply this term outside of the American continents, as it would be inaccurate, unless the individual in question was at least from either side of the Americas.

Less politically correct terms include "nigger," among other dumb pejoratives.

For the idea that blacks are the superior "race", please see black supremacy.

[edit] Hispanic (South American)

Hispanic is a term used for peoples with an ethnic, cultural and/or linguistic connection to the South American territories formerly colonised by Spain and Portugal.

Hispanics are also referred to sometimes as "Latins", "Latinos" or "Latinas", although French speaking people of the Americas are excluded from this list.

Mestizo[wp] is the term typically used to refer to the majority ethnic populations of Central and South America, and refers to the people of mixed Native American and European ancestry, who don't fully identify with either background, but rather identify as having cultural traits and heritage incorporating both indigenous and European elements.

While most American Hispanics are fairly recent immigrants to the USA,[citation needed] some, especially people in Texas, are people who were there before the USA came and "incorporated" (stole half of Mexico's territory by waging a terribly unjust war on) them. There's quite a lot of Hispanic influence on the USA. Florida was one of the earliest Spanish speaking acquisitions of the USA, which has had quite a tumultuous relationship with them ever since. Then there's Puerto Rico, probably the USA's biggest unofficial colony. Many state and city names are Spanish in origin (Arizona, Montana, Los Angeles, San Diego, Sierra Nevada, and many more).

Because the definition of Hispanic is so ridiculously broad, it can potentially include:

  • Traditionally recognized (and often stereotyped) Hispanics, like Jenifer Lopez.
  • Blonde, fair skinned people like Cameron Diaz and Charlie Sheen.
  • Native peoples of the Americas, e.g. A modern Mayan from the Yucatan. (Note, the proportion of people in Latin America with native ancestry is far higher than the USA.)
  • Black Latin Americans of mostly African ancestry.
  • People like Che Guevara and Fidel Castro of recent European ancestry.
  • Brazilians of all varieties.

But the truth is Latin Americans are much more racially mixed than Anglo-Americans are… so most of them will come from various combinations of the above.

[edit] Native American (Americas)

See the main article on this topic: Native American

Native Americans are those persons who lived in the Americas before disease and European settlers killed the vast majority of their number.

For the mostly-pseudoscience ideas of other people arriving in the Americas before Christopher Columbus and adding their genes to the Americas, see Pre-Columbian contact.

[edit] White (European)

Caucasian is a classification term for describing a race of humans that are not black, Asian, Native American, or Pacific Islander. It is generally used to describe white people—that is, humans of western European descent—however, this is a bit of misclassification as the biological differences that set Caucasians apart from the rest of humankind are shared among Aryan (e.g., European and Southwest Asian peoples such as Indians, Turks and Afghans), Semitic (Israelis and others of Jewish decent), and Hamitic (northeast Africa, southern Arabia) peoples, running a gamut of skin tones/hair shades/melanin levels.

Indeed, the very term "Caucasian" refers to the Caucasus mountain region, a swath of land between the Black and Caspian Seas, and includes countries such as Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Iran. Modern Caucasians are in fact a minority population in the former Soviet Russian region and face Russian nationalist xenophobia, usually due to their Islamic background.[1] This apparently does not stop certain White supremacist groups from using the term.

In the United States, it is used by governments and other organizations as a race classification which can include individuals of Hispanic ethnicity.

For the doomsday scenario according to which the white people could be on their way to extinction, see white extinction scenario.

For the idea that there exists a white "nation", see white nationalism.

For the idea that whites are the superior "race", please see white supremacy.

[edit] Asian

The Asian race usually covers all persons of Asia. It is sometimes broken into smaller races: Indians, Pacific Islanders, Southeast Asians, Northeast Asians. Sometimes, the Asian race is said to extend into the Middle East and include Persians and Semitic peoples.

[edit] Ethnic groups that have also been considered races

[edit] Footnotes

  1. cf. Dr. Carolyn Fleur-Lobban, Race and Racism.
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