General Question

truecomedian's avatar

How many different races are there?

Asked by truecomedian (3937points) August 7th, 2010

From a sociological standpoint there’s three, the Caucasoid, Negroid, and the Mongoloid, respectfully. Is this true, are there really only three, how about mexicans, what race do they fit in with. I’m going on knowledge they taught me in High School, so please forgive my ignorance.

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28 Answers

lynfromnm's avatar

There are many skin tones and many nationalities, many ways in which heritage is expressed – eye color, hair color, height, bone length and so on. DNA has proven however that there is only ONE human race. Our origins can all be traced back to a section of Africa.

Mexican isn’t a “race”, it is a nationality.

ItsAHabit's avatar

The division of “races” is highly arbitrary.

CaptainHarley's avatar

Race is a fiction perpetrated by those who should know better against those whom they choose to dislike for their own defarious purposes.

LostInParadise's avatar

Race is an artificial category. There is a large amount of variation within our species. I read that the most genetic diversity is in Africa, which makes sense because that is where we originated and so that is where the root stock is.

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Your_Majesty's avatar

Apparently,there are many method to determine human race,but I favor the skin colour method which divide human race into 5,according to the color of their skin: White,Black,Yellow,Brown,and Red.

zenele's avatar

And the Jews are considered a race.

CaptainHarley's avatar

Are animals divided into “races?” Or course not. The smallest grouping into which animals are divided are “species.” The same would be true for humans except for the fact that we are categorizing animals. This is a survival characteristic: forward facing eyes, big teeth, lithe and fast = PREDATOR! RUN!

But when we apply this ability to categorize to ourselves we go astray, creating categories where there are none.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Here’s a link(classification_of_humans) to information on “race” that you might find interesting. (You’ll have to select the ‘Classification of Humans’ option.)

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Huh..what sociological standpoint are you talking about? Those terms haven’t been used for a really really really long time.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

“Race science” died with National Socialism.

whitenoise's avatar

I still have some issues with defining more than one.

CaptainHarley's avatar

This interactive article breaks it down into easily understandable portions:

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@CaptainHarley Great site! The quiz on the “Sorting People” tab pretty much says it all.

CaptainHarley's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer Thanks. I like the way they explaineconomic discrimination too. I part company with them when they talk about ACORN, but that’s a relatively minor mater.

anartist's avatar

@zenele A race? not a People? But Jews can be any race. Why do you say that?

wundayatta's avatar

When you are sorting things, you can divide them up into as many categories as are useful. Typically, you start with two categories—either/or. Then you might have three categories when you find either/or doesn’t work. The maximum number of useful categories seems to be around seven or eight. After that, it’s too much to remember. So people may create seven categories, and then go to subcategories.

So I will go out on a limb and say there are no more than eight races.

In reality, functionally speaking, people tend to use between three and five races.

Of course, no one can define race in such a way as to categorize people as they see themselves, nor is there anything that genetics offers to make a sensible division between races.

Race is a social/political concept where number of races makes no sense. It would be better to ask how many us vs them situations do we have in the world? How many ways do we use looks or speech as a way to establish status?

There are no races and there are an infinite number of races… well, not quite infinite; perhaps as many as there are people on the planet. In the end, it’s all about status. What else is new?


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Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@wundayatta Well said. I often wonder what life will be like for my grandnephew when he is old enough to be filling out forms that require claiming a “race”. (Doesn’t Canada, or at least one of the providences have this practice outlawed?)

Dr. Seuss explained how ridiculous sorting by “race” was when he wrote “The Sneetches” story.

Russell_D_SpacePoet's avatar

There is only one race… Human. That is a fact.

MeinTeil's avatar

Only one, or an infinite amount depending on your mentality.

lapilofu's avatar

@MeinTeil Or perhaps 7 billion.

zenele's avatar

Happy to see my old friend @Russell_D_SpacePoet out and about.

Russell_D_SpacePoet's avatar

@zenele Changed your name huh? Long time no see. So to speak. :)

lynfromnm's avatar

Findings from genetic research show that we are all descended from a single family, 200,000 or so years ago. The greatest physical and genetic diversity among humans is among the people who live in Africa today. Geneticists have found that there is more diversity WITHIN a given population (for example, Caucasians) than there is BETWEEN populations (for example, comparing alleles of Caucasians and Orientals).

mattbrowne's avatar

Forget race. Use ethnic origins.

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