Until the 19th century, the term “race” was used to identify a (unchangeable; unchanging through time; unalterable; ageless) distinct type or phenotype of people who shared particular characteristics, such as body, constitution, temperament and mental capacities. These distinctive physical and social characteristics were popularly thought to constitute a hierarchical chain of life known as the Great Chain of Being, which was said to have been created by a fictional “god”, and which often saw the European type as closest to “god” in perfection. Based on this closeness to “god”, Europeans then introduce associate characteristics to their god and HIS “godly” attributes. Such attributes includes goodness, benevolence, superiority and “whiteness”- which in their fantasy book encapsulates all the previous mentioned attributes and more.
The modern dictionary(s) is/are chronicles of the Eurocentric thoughts and explanation of their worldview, utilizing their language specific identifiers. This language specific identifier is mainly characterized by the dominant language of white supremacy…English! English is actually a mixed Latin/ Nordic/Germanic dialect hybrid of the European – Caucasian types as they conquered numerous cultures during the rates part of European expansionism and colonialism. The definitions of and, explanation of the term race varies across cultures and over time have been controversial for social, political and scientific reasons. According to information gathered from the internet, the term “race,” is interpreted to mean:
Common descent, introduced into English around 1580, from the Old French rasse (1512), from Italian razza, which may have been derived from the Arabic Word “ras” meaning the head of someone or something. In this context, “ras” points to the root or the head of selected species. The etymology can be further traced back to Latin gens or Arabic “gens” meaning (clan, stock, people) and genus (birth, descent, origin, race, stock, family) cognate with Greek genos “race, kind,” and gonos “birth, offspring, stock.
Though the internet passage above appears to be speculative on the origin of the term “race”; never the less, the English and French terms used, appears consistent with the thesis that the concept of “race” was the definition of a very small number of groups of human beings based on lineage and dates from the time of the pirate Christopher Columbus. Older concepts that were also at least partly based on common descent, such as nation and tribe, entail a much larger number of groupings.
The European Age of Enlightenment (because other cultures experience their varied age of enlightenment long before Europe did) saw a renewed focus on defining “race” as a biological concept. In the centuries that followed, attempts were made to specify racial types, and to determine racial origins and correlates. In reaction to the perceived excesses and abuses of such efforts UNESCO released, in 1950, a statement rejecting previous theses that races were natural, discrete dividing lines in the human species. Most notably, it stated, “the biological fact of race and the myth of ‘race’ should be distinguished’. For all practical social purposes, ‘race’ is not so much a biological phenomenon as a social myth.” As forensic anthropologists, biomedical researchers, and other scholars continued to revisit and refine the concept, some maintained that race denoted scientifically practical distinctions.