Race Essay

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Race Broadly speaking, race is seen or is assumed to be a biologically driven set of boundaries that group and categorize people according to phenotypical similarities (e.g. skin color) (Pinderhughes, 1989; Root, 1998). The categorical classification of race can be traced back to the 16th century Linnaen system of human “races” where each race was believed to be of a distinct type or subspecies that included separate gene pools (Omi & Winant, 1994; Spickard, 1992; Smedley & Smedley, 2005). Race in the U.S. initially began as a general categorizing term, interchangeable with such terms as “type” or “species”. Over time, race began to morph into a term specifically referring to groups of people living in North America (i.e. European “Whites”, Native American “Indians”, and African “Negroes”). Race represented a new way to illustrate human difference as well as a way to socially structure society (Smedley & Smedley, 2005). The primary reason for this type of categorization came as a result of the colonization of newly acquired American territories at the turn of the 18th century. It wa...

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