Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Race

1. in nonhuman biology, a group of intraspecific populations, often geographically isolated, sharing certain conspicuous traits that make them perceptively distinct from other groups or sub-populations within a species; a taxonomic rank considered equivalent to or just below the subspecies. The biological concept of race is very difficult to apply to observed patterns of human variation; rather, human varieties can be considered cultural constructs that are contingent facts of history.

See biological race, ecological race, geographic races, and physiological race.

2. In law, any group of persons related by common descent, blood, or heredity; a known stock; any group distinguished by self-identification or commonly known to others by a group name; a population so identified in the literature of the legal profession.

3. colloquially, any commonly recognized nation, strain, tribe, or ethnic stock of humans distinguished by physical traits as well as by codes of behavior and moral conduct that are different from, and usually perceived as less correct than one’s own; aka the peasant’s perspective.

See folk taxonomy.

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