Race, Ethnicity, Class, and Gender

Race has been recognized as being scientifically nonexistent, yet socially real. Some have argued that genetic evidence (e.g., DNA) indicates that most physical variation occurs within so-called groups. Hence, there is more recognized within racial group variation than between racial group variation. Contemporary scholars argue the term race was invented in the 18th century to refer to the populations brought together in colonial America. The term was originally tied to the theorem of the Great Chain of Being (Armelagos & Goodman, 1998). The “scientific” research and the popular culture of the time supported, justified, and expanded fictitious beliefs about the various populations. These ideas became deeply embedded in American thought and eventually spread to other areas of the world. The early emphasis placed on race ...

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