The discussion of race and racism has always been very significant. The human biology has never categorized human beings into races. The arguments of racism give birth to this division. In general, the perception of race carries cultural and historical roots. It is meant to distinguish people, majorly on the basis of the skin tones. Racism is a self-created connotation, which signifies the perception of self-achievements. The term ‘race’ carries prime significance, irrespective of its influence. It has been identified that the worldwide discussion of race and racism has brought the overall situation to an alarming stage. The elements that encircle it pertain to tyranny, oppression, and revolt. It signifies the value of ‘race’ and ‘racism’; it is therefore imperative to scrutinize the consequences of race carefully. The worth of the term can also be evaluated by the evidence that racism does not encompass any natural happenings; it has a profound social background and it emerges as a result of human acts. This essay examines the various dimensions of race and racism and answers if the term ‘race’ carries value today. In order to present an in-depth understanding of the topic, different pieces of research works have been presented. These theories and research studies have been conducted in different periods of time. Each research previews a context of different disciplines, like anthropology, genetics, biology, statistics, and several other branches of social sciences. Based on different disciplines, the worth of ‘race’ has been evaluated in different timeframes.
It is quite apparent that every person has distinguished characteristics. It is not rational to consider one person superior over the other, but these perceived differences are created by the human mind. Furthermore, there is no answer why skin color is more significant than hair and eye color. In other words, the terminology ‘race’ has been defined by the human mind, and not by the human biology. The theoretical background and the idea of ‘race’ initially emerged in Western societies. The social recognition and the value of ‘race’ and racism expanded worldwide later on. The history of ‘race’ dates back five centuries ago, when theology was the most influential subject of consideration. Banton (1977, p.2) initially regarded race as a general body of knowledge, which developed and united under a common framework. The ‘race relations’ were also illustrated by him as a framework studies of group relation in different parts of the world occurring in different historical periods. Evolution of the terms of race and racism is associated with the emergence of European Capitalism in the 15th and 16th centuries. For instance, Banton (1977) points that there is a historical contextual background of race and racism in the West. This sets the analysis back to the era of slavery, colonialism, imperialism, and immigration followed by decolonization.
Focusing more on the value of the term ‘race’, Bulmer & Solomos (1999, p. 2) articulate that in the late 90’s, the theoretical centrality of race and ethnicities increased. In sociology, social anthropology, history and many other disciplines, the journey of racism dispersed its roots. Once again, the central point was that biological factors of human being remained constant and that fragmentation on the basis of race, creed, gender, or color was an unjustified act. The physical aspects are not essential, since the human nature and fundamental needs are the same, irrespective of any caste or creed. Despite this, ‘race’ has not lost its grave importance in different parts of the world. Bulmer and Solomos (1999, pp. 3-4) consider it against the human intelligence and dignity if caste and color are regarded as the factors of pride. They illustrate that the term ‘race’ had a prime significance in various periods of time. It cannot be denied that ‘race’ in itself is nothing, but a perception of the human mind.
Cavalli-Sforza (2001), on the other hand, focused on genetic discoveries, interlinked with races and racism, and found that races do not exist genetically. On the other hand, the previous racial classification is positioned for groups, designated genetically. Anthropological genetics provides us the glimpses on our past; based on genetic diversity within the human population, this fascinating field unfolds the dimensions of our genetic data. Cavalli-Sforza (2001), therefore, explored race and racism from the perspective of genetics. Understanding racism in view of genetic history is different from the literature like molecular biology, population genetics, and statistical methods. For geneticist, race is scientifically meaningless. This research study is a clear indication that racism is merely a creature of human mind. The social distinctions, classifications, and categorizations are dependent on human nature. Race has been given an utmost significance due to a sense of superiority and inferiority. In biology and genetics, there is no such evaluation or gradation.
Coleman (1999) gave a comprehensive understanding of the European population in the 1990’s and evaluated the patterns of race and racism. It has been examined that the questions as to the social dimensions of racism illustrate the most significant parts of the everyday living of society. The author further signifies that race is a European invention. At times, when theories of human equality were generated, Europeans were also striving to develop theories of humanity. Human beings were divided into groups of the superior and inferior, referred to as types or races. They always assumed social and political outcomes, and no scientific dimensions. The significance of the term ‘race’ can be illustrated by the fact that the attitude of racism is further interlinked with a bundle of emotions and pre-set beliefs. These beliefs are carried inherently and display superiority or inferiority toward any race. Other inherent characteristics, as a consequence of racism, include suspicion, hostility, and antipathy toward a group. The research analysis by Coleman (1999) shows an obvious aspect of societal gradation toward racism. The scholar has identified that racism has been an upgraded extension of human nature toward discrimination, tyranny, and oppression. It should be noted that racism was developed by politicians for their political purpose. This can also be witnessed in contemporary times.
Cornell and Hartmann (1998) present a detailed description of ethnicity and race. The authors articulate that until 1970’s, ethnicity had been regarded as a primordial and common characteristic of a society. It was assumed that societies are categorized into diverse groups by nature. Ethnic groups were considered as semi-biological entities. However, it has only become evident in current times that the cultural factors like tradition, language, and religion are the major sources, giving birth to diversified groups; biological characteristics are not the reason behind these dispersions.
The constraints of race-neutrality are quite evident in Kennedy’s theorization of race. He boldly advocated the boundaries of race and racism and affiliated them with biological characteristics. Many researchers conducted ample research studies on the origin, working and consequence of race. Kennedy and other researchers of the era laid great emphasis on placing ‘race’ at the topmost place in the science. Other researchers (e.g., Thomas Gossett and Ivan Hannaford) emphasized that before the deployment of ‘race’ and ‘racial science’ in ninetieth century, the connotation had increasingly gained its worth in theology. This demonstrates that the origin of racism dates back to last five centuries (Race, 2005).
Kundani (2007) defined racism in the contemporary times. The major focus of Kundani (2007) was to examine the racial differences in Britain. The research concludes that Britain has become a racist society today. The Great Britain is famous for its multicultural dimensions. The state is under the government policies and vitriolic press that play an integral role in increasing racism. After the attacks of 9/11 and 7/11, the incidents of racism have elevated. This may be due to a lack of management, failure to underpin the reasons behind forced migration, increased evidence of terrorism and social discrimination. As a result, racism and hatred among people have increased. This discrimination augmented specifically against Muslims and asylum seekers. Despite all this, the government has not come up with any sound policies or anti-terrorism legislation. As a result, even more events of resentment, alienation, and criminalization have been occurring in the country. Kundar (2007), a leading commentator on racism, identifies various aspects of racism that has sharply increased in the modern times. He illustrates that ‘race’ has assumed more importance in the society recently. He underlines and considers racism as a root cause of several social issues that have not yet been resolved. This research study is a clear illustration of ‘race’ and ‘racism’ in modern era. UK has been a hub for people migrating from different cultures. This region welcomes people from different groups, languages, castes, and creeds. Despite this, the roots of racism are expanding their dimensions in the country. It has been established that today’s government policies stand behind increasing racism among people.
To conclude, everyone has their own say in explaining and defining ‘race’. Theologians interpret race in their own way. In ninetieth century, scientists took over the world and the definitions of ‘race’ have been predominantly molded by social scientists today. As the essay clearly demonstrates, race and racism are the conceptual connotations of human mind; and yet, different people have been using these assumptions differently. Politicians have been dividing people so that they could achieve their targeted purposes. Social scientists have strictly disregarded the belief and considered it an unethical and undesirable act. On the whole, racism has no worth, except in how human beings value it. In different disciplines, there is no root for racism. Obviously, race is a social fact and social construct. Many people act as if races existed in the society despite the fact scholars have illustrated long ago that there was no real distinction among races. The biologists, anthropologists, philosophers, and geneticists have dismissed such a belief.