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john rex

Subject Sociology

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631221647.2002.x


This concept as it has been popularly used in politics has had profound effects on recent world history. The National Socialists in Germany believed in the existence of a superior Aryan race as well as in the existence of inferior races. They also regarded the Jews as a race and proceeded to try to exterminate them. In South Africa in recent times the political domination of whites has been justified in terms of a doctrine of racial superiority of whites over blacks. In many other countries there have been similar if less dramatic developments in which the struggle between ethnic groups has seen the emergence of theories that these groups are races. The implication of the use of the term race in all of these cases is that the factual inequalities existing between groups are inevitable because they are naturally given. Such views, however, are at odds with scientific knowledge. In 1950 UNESCO called together a meeting of experts to review what was known scientifically about races and to indicate how the term ‘race’ should be used scientifically (see Montague, 1972). This experts' committee reached the following conclusions: 1  All human beings belong to the same species, homo sapiens ; they are also probably derived from the same stock. The differences which exist between groups of humans are due to ‘isolation, the drift and random fixation of material particles which control heredity ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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