Race related issues are not a new concept.

Essay by flameshoesUniversity, Bachelor's May 2003

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Race related issues are not a new concept. Man certainly didn't need to develop theories or philosophies to know that some people looked different, and those differences were passed on almost unfailingly to children. Most recent discourse on race, though, has been on how we should deal with the idea of race and what role race should play in our society. (Is one race superior? How should be deal with inequalities among races?) There is a strong, but growing faction of theorists, though, who contend that race doesn't actually exist. Previous thoughts on the biological basis of race are quickly eroding under the scrutiny of modern science, and the idea of race as only a cultural or historical distinction has a plethora of objections and counter-examples.

In preceding centuries, theories about race centered on the idea that there were fundamental biological differences between members of different races. Some theorized that there was a scale of races with Caucasians being central and other races deviating from them.

J.F. Blumenbach recognized five races: Caucasian, Mongolian, Ethiopian, American, and Malayan. He supposed the American Race was the stage between Caucasians and Mongolians and the Malayan race fell between Caucasians and Ethiopians. Immanuel Kant hypothesized there were only four races: White, Negro, Hunnish, and Hindu. Both Kant and Blumenbach based their classifications on phenotypic characteristics, mostly skin color and some facial features.

It's understandable that scientists without modern technology might infer that different races have significant biological differences. Recent studies have proven otherwise, though, and the idea that there are races at all has fallen out of fashion in some scholarly circles. In 1972 Science magazine published a study showing that the amount of genetic variation between members of different racial groups was only slightly higher than the amount of racial variation between members...