RACE: BIOLOGICAL REALITY OR SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION?

Is Race Real?

"If people define situations as real, they are real in their consequences."  
W.I. Thomas

Most people believe that different races exist. 
In fact, they do NOT

Scientists can come to no agreement except for the fact that there are 
more variations within "racial" groups than between "racial" groups.

From a sociological perspective - physical differences are irrelevant.  
What matters is the beliefs that people attach to these differences.  
	For example: People vary along many biological traits but we 
                     don't attach social meaning to things like red hair.

Socially constructed categories are no less "real" than biological 
categories.  Sometimes they may be codified into law.

In Biology race refers to an inbreeding population that develops 
distinctive physical characteristics that are hereditary.  Such a 
population therefore has a sheared genetic heritage.  The traits with 
which people are classified are arbitrary.

Human groups have exchanged their genes through mating to such an 
extent that any attempt to identify "pure" races is bound to be 
fruitless (Alland, 1973; Dobzhansky, 1962; Gould, 1981)

Different types of people exist, but they are not a set of distinct 
populations based on biological differences.

Race is a social concept that varies from ne society to another, 
depending on how the people of that society feel about the importance 
of certain physical characteristics.  

Sociologists define RACE as a category of people whose common physical 
characteristics are believed to make them socially distinct.