Human Race: One or Many?


Welcome to WordPress.com. This is my first post.

A few weeks ago, I had a conversation with my brother about Human diversity and it ended with discussions on the most popular topic in Human diversity-race. I had never expected to discuss such a topic after a couple of pitchers of beer at a bar. Although the R word is considered politically incorrect, it is probably one of the most discussed topics even today. Even without beer, it is important that we understand what race is all about.

To understand race, we need to consider the origin of the word itself. The concept of race does exist in biology but it is really vague. Race in biology is defined as individuals of the same species and subspecies but are distinct and genetic and morphological differences. On this basis, biologically, humans could be divided into races. However, there are at least two problems. First, the whole concept of  sub-species and races is not defined. Species, in theory, refers to individuals that cannot produce fertile offspring. Speciation occurs by reproductive isolation. But subspecies and race are not well defined and hence fluid.

Second problem with race is that it was popularized not by biologists but by the society. Darwin believed that we all probably come from Africa. Biologically speaking there is one human species for, according to the Darwinian concept, as long as two fertile individuals can interbreed to produce fertile child, they cannot be considered two species.  The concept of race is the outcome of human history. When ancient travelers and sailors started the system of slavery, the slaves usually looked different. Based on morphology and so called ‘lack of culture’ and in the name of ‘civilization’ many peoples have suffered. Race was one way of justifying the injustice on the suppressed by the suppressors.

There is no human race in science. Humans are intelligent and social creatures and our strength is to accept differences among us. We now know that Neanderthals and even Homo erectus lived along with humans for thousands of years. It is probable that humans lived with them in peace but unfortunately, the other hominids were not able to keep up with technologically advanced modern humans. If our ancestors lived with various species of humans, why can we not live in harmony amongst ourselves, besides we all are global citizens…or at least moving towards being one.

1 Comment

Filed under Anthropology, Evolution, Human Evolution, My Life My Thoughts

One response to “Human Race: One or Many?

  1. Roshani Joshi

    well, to be very honest, good use of biological terms, but people from non-biological backgrounds may find your article a little difficult to understand. very spontaneous blog like your description by yourself. nevertheless, good approach towards invoking people for non violence and unity. cool dude. keep it up!

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