Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: June 25, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963978 | Print ISBN: 9781412909280 | Online ISBN: 9781412963978| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Chalmer E. Thompson
Race refers to a label that is commonly ascribed to individuals in certain societies based on their affiliation with a group of people. Members of racial groups typically share common characteristics in physical appearance or phenotype, but more significantly, they share a common stature within a given society. Although not widely regarded as such, many societies are hierarchically arranged by race, with the sociopolitically dominant group being composed of Whites and other racial groups variously (and frequently interchangeably) arrayed at lower rungs. Convention suggests that racial classification is a reflection of an objective scheme about biogenetic differences among humans (the presumption of “natural race”); however, such a conclusion is irrefutably false. According to the American Anthropological Association, race is a social construction whose origins can be traced to an ideology that associates observable physical qualities of people that serve as markers of race, with presumptions about the person's personality, morality, ...