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Race - a specious classification of human beings created by Europeans (whites) which assigns human worth and social status using "white" as the model of humanity and the height of human achievement for the purpose of establishing and maintaining privilege and power.

Ronald Chisom and Michael Washington

Undoing Racism: A Philosophy of International Social Change

race n [MF, generation, fr. OIt razza] (1580) 1: a breeding stock of animals 2 a: a family, tribe, people, or nation belonging to the same stock b: a class or kind of people unified by community of interests, habits, or characteristics 3 a: an actually or potentially interbreeding group within a species; also : a taxonomic category (as a subspecies) representing such a group b: BREED c: a division of mankind possessing traits that are transmissible by descent and sufficient to characterize it as a distinct human type 4 obs : inherited temperament or disposition 5: distinctive flavor, taste, or strength

Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary

Race, technically, refers to differential concentrations of gene frequencies responsible for traits which, so far as we know, are confined to physical manifestations such as skin color or hair form; it has no intrinsic connection with cultural patterns and institutions.

Milton M. Gordon

Assimilation in American Life

Race is a group that is socially defined but on the basis of physical criteria.

Pierre L. van den Berghe

Race and Racism: A Comparative Perspective

Race - Identifying markers rationalizing a subdivision of a species. Some anthropologists classify the races in these five categories: African/Black, Oceanic/Brown, American/Red, Asiatic/Yellow, European/White. Other anthropologists use these terms: Ethiopian/Black, Malayan/Brown, American/Red, Mongolian/Yellow and Caucasian/White. Webster's dictionary defines race as any of the three divisions of mankind distinguished by skin color or a class of individuals from a common stock. Although an argument could be made for four or five divisions of mankind, Webster only recognizes three. Others claim there are as many as 36 races. Others claim there is only one race - the human race. The concept of race was established by Eurocentric cultures/peoples so that they could dehumanize, disenfranchise and/or destroy non-White peoples.

Phavia Kujichagulia

Recognizing and Resolving Racism: A Resource and Guide for Humane Beings


  • it is NOT based on biology; it is a CREATED category with historical roots used to classify groups of people.
  • historically it was not determined by skin colour but by class inequalities (for example, the English defined the Irish as a "lower" race.)
  • during colonial expansion by European nations, race was defined in terms of skin colour where non-white people were considered "lower" races.
  • today, relationships between differently raced people are still determined by this moment in history and remain unequal, where white people have the most power and privilege and are considered the norm (ie. non-raced.)
  • it is important to understand that white is also a created racial category.
  • it is also important to understand that though racial categories derived from oppressive contexts, they can also be reclaimed and used as forms of resistance by communities of colour.

Anti-Racism Media Education (ARMEd),
accessed December 20, 2002

Race - A category of the human species sharing more or less distinctive physical traits transmitted in descent; a concept that has little scientific validity but continues to have a meaning in particular social contexts.

Enid Lee, Deborah Menkart and Margo Okazawa-Rey (eds.)

Beyond Heroes and Holidays: A Practical Guide to K-12 Anti-Racist, Multicultural Education and Staff Development

Copyright ©2001, 2009. Center for the Study of White American Culture, Inc. All rights reserved.