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Generic World DNA

​Race

updated: May 26, 2022

Definition

Race is a social construct used to group people. Race was constructed as a hierarchal human-grouping system, generating racial classifications to identify, distinguish and marginalize some groups across nations, regions and the world. Race divides human populations into groups often based on physical appearance, social factors and cultural backgrounds.



Narration

Race is a political and social construct that is fluid. Racial categorization can change over time, place, and context. Race has been used historically to establish a social hierarchy, whereby individuals are treated differently resulting in racism. Genomic scientists are currently investigating the relationship between self-identified race and genetic ancestry. There is more genetic variation within self-identified racial groups than between them. I like Professor Audrey Smedley's definition. She states, “Race is a culturally structured systematic definition of a way of looking at perceiving and interpreting reality.”

Vence Bonham
Vence L. Bonham Jr., J.D.

Acting Deputy Director

National Human Genome Research Institute