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Thursday, 15 June 2017

Race (anthropology)

Race in anthropology is a term sometimes applied to a physically distinctive group of people, on the basis of difference from other groups in skin color, head shape, hair type, and physique.


Johann Friedrich Blumenbach's racial classification, first proposed in 1779, was widely used in the 19th century, with many variations.
The Caucasian race or white race
The Mongolian or yellow race
The Malayan or brown race
The Ethiopian, or black race
The American or red race.

Harvard political economist William Z. Ripley's 1899 book The Races of Europe: A Sociological Study, outlined his belief that race was critical to understanding human history
Ripley classified Europeans into three distinct races:
Teutonic – members of the northern race were long-skulled (or dolichocephalic), tall in stature, and possessed pale hair, eyes and skin.
Mediterranean – members of the southern race were long-skulled (or dolichocephalic), short/medium in stature, and possessed dark hair, eyes and skin.
Alpine – members of the central race were round-skulled (or brachycephalic), stocky in stature, and possessed intermediate hair, eye and skin color.

American right wing historian and political theorist Lothrop Stoddard's (June 29, 1883 – May 1, 1950) analysis divided world politics and situations into "white," "yellow," "black," "Amerindian," and "brown" peoples and their interactions. He argued that race and heredity were the guiding factors of history and civilization and that the elimination or absorption of the "white" race by "colored" races would result in the destruction of Western civilization.

Stoddard 'race' map from the 1920s which divides humanity in to 5 skin color groups 

The mid 20th century racial classification by Harvard anthropologist Carleton S. Coon (June 23, 1904 – June 3, 1981), divided humanity into five races:
Caucasoid (White) race
Negroid (Black) race
Capoid (Bushmen/Hottentots) race
Mongoloid (Oriental/ Amerindian) race
Australoid (Australian Aborigine and Papuan) race

In 1933, the Harvard anthropologist Carleton S. Coon was invited to write a new edition of William Z. Ripley's The Races of Europe. Published six years later, Coon defined the Caucasian Race as including Europe, Central Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, and Northeast Africa

The attempt to categorize human types led to racism, a non-scientific theory that a particular race was superior or inferior. It argued that are deep, biologically determined differences within the different human races. This ideology also stated races should live separately and not intermarry. These attitudes supported such horrific occurrences of human history as the horrors of African slavery, the Jim Crow laws, Nazism and the Holocaust, Japanese imperialism and South African Apartheid.

Severiano de Heredia was a Cuban-born biracial politician, who was president of the municipal council of Paris from August 1, 1879 to February 12, 1880, making him the first mayor of African descent of a Western world capital.

Severiano de Heredia (1836-1901
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was founded in New York on February 12, 1909.

The first interracial kiss on TV took place on November 22, 1968 between Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner) and Lt.Uhura (Nichelle Nichols) on an episode of Star Trek.


Recent genetic studies show that skin color may change a lot over as few as 100 generations, or about 2,500 years.

Many anthropologists today completely reject the concept of race, and social scientists tend to prefer the term ethnic group to refer to people's sense of cultural identity, which may or may not include skin color or common descent.

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