Race was created long ago as a tool to separate humans from different areas on the globe in order to justify enslaving and belittling certain peoples of the world. Since its creation there has been a slow but steady attempt to deconstruct it. Of course there have been many speed bumps along the way.
Deconstructing the social concept of race has been a major interest of Cultural Anthropology at least since Franz Boas’s work on race and immigration in the early 1900’s. The concept of race is important in many different areas of the discipline including cross-cultural studies, the way we look at ourselves vs. people we feel are different from us and many other areas. Race is not biological but it’s supposed to be a way to classify biological differences by grouping people according to different characteristics that they have. However it’s important to remember that race is not based on genetic features. There is no biological part of race. It is strictly a concept created by humans to try to better understand differences between us. The history of the relationship between anthropology and the concept of race is long and interesting. For more information see the American Anthropological Association Statement on “Race,” http://www.aaanet.org/stmts/racepp.htm
- American Anthropological Association Statement on “Race” (May 17, 1998) http://www.aaanet.org/stmts/racepp.htm