Race

According to the traditional classification (2012), “Race refers to a person’s physical appearance, such as skin color, eye color, hair color, bone/jaw structure etc. Ethnicity, on the other hand, relates to cultural factors such as nationality, culture, ancestry, language and beliefs.” The definition tends to race in term of the biological aspects t where as referring ethnicity in relation to the sociological aspect.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary.com (2014) had defined “race” as “a class or kind of people unified by shared interests, habits, or characteristics” where as The Cambridge Dictionary Online (2014) explain the meaning of race as “a group, especially of people, with particular similar physical characteristics, who are considered as belonging to the same type, or the fact of belonging to such a group”. So we shall take the later definition as our common understanding of the word “Race”.

National Geographics. (2013). Breaking the code.

The overall picture of race types

Even though human beings are collectively known as  Homo sapiens, the same species in biological terms, the Ethnologist had classified human population into different races based on their genetic constructs and common demographic traits such as (McCulloch):

  • Caucasians (the white-skinned, Europeans) -further divided into  Aryan (Indo-European), Semitic (Semitic languages), and Hamitic (Hamitic language), for example the British and people originated from Europe, Northeast Atlantic, etc.
  • Mongoloid (the yellow-skinned, Asians) – Chinese, Japanese, Mongolians, Koreans, etc.
  • Negroid (the black-skinned, Africans)
  • Australoid (dark skin and dark hair) – a subgroup from Caucasians, originated in Australia.

You may click the following link to read about the characteristic of these race types:

Platt. (1884). The five human races.

There are many differences in terms of skin colour, eye colour, hair colour, build or weight, etc, that lead to further division into sub-ethnic groups.For example, the Caucasians’ skin colour may range from pink (as in England) to dark brown (as in Southern India), the Mongoloid may range from yellow to white (The origin of human “races” and blood groups, 2003.)

There is biological evidence that reveals differences in genetic composition that is overtly displayed in the physical attributes:

Racial differences in skull shapes. (2011).

Overview | Race and sub-ethnic groups | The Malaysian Scenario

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