The concept of race is typically used to refer to the differences among groups of people in their physical characteristics or phenotypes. Race is a group of people who see themselves, and are seen by others, as having hereditary traits that set them apart. What interests sociologists about race the most is the social significance or value that people give these traits. By virtue of individuals’ definitions, skin color or some other racialized trait becomes a sign or mark of social status (Denton and Massey, 1989).
The Human Genome Project found that neither races nor ethnicities can be distinguished by a consistent pattern of genes (GMIS, 2007). Research shows that the characteristics typically used to classify people into racial categories (skin color, hair texture, and facial features) vary
more within races than do genes in general. When researchers examine the full range of genetic data, there are fewer differences, overall, between races than within races; about 94% of genetic variation is within races, and less than 5% is between them (Rosenberg et al., 2002).
Race is a competition. A man-made construct of a hierarchy, based upon the phenotypical features of an individual or group; and depending on your position in the race, you will be granted or denied access to certain things and places. Symbols of race (style of hair, tone of skin, attire..) become markers of social status that define some people as deserving or privileged and others as undeserving outsiders. This happens through a process called racial formation. This is where social, economic, and political forces converge to create and perpetuate racial categories and meanings, and those inherent meanings and categories in turn affect social, political, and economic processes and structures.
My whole life I’ve been told that I was black; though as a kid with fair skin and colored eyes I was frequently...