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one of the group of populations regarded as constituting humanity. The differences that have historically determined the classification into races are predominantly physical aspects of appearance that are generally hereditary. Genetically a race may be defined as a group with gene frequencies differing from those of the other groups in the human species (see heredityheredity,
transmission from generation to generation through the process of reproduction in plants and animals of factors which cause the offspring to resemble their parents. That like begets like has been a maxim since ancient times.
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; geneticsgenetics,
scientific study of the mechanism of heredity. While Gregor Mendel first presented his findings on the statistical laws governing the transmission of certain traits from generation to generation in 1856, it was not until the discovery and detailed study of the
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; genegene,
the structural unit of inheritance in living organisms. A gene is, in essence, a segment of DNA that has a particular purpose, i.e., that codes for (contains the chemical information necessary for the creation of) a specific enzyme or other protein.
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), but the genes responsible for the hereditary differences between the traditional races are extremely few when compared with the vast number of genes common to all human beings regardless of the race to which they belong. Many physical anthropologists now believe that, because there is as much genetic variation among the members of any given race as there is between the groups identified as different races, the concept of race is unscientific and unsound and racial categories are arbitrary designations. The term race is inappropriate when applied to national, religious, geographic, linguistic, or ethnic groups, nor can the physical appearances associated with race be equated with mental characteristics, such as intelligence, personality, or character.

All human groups belong to the same species (Homo sapiens) and are mutually fertile. Races arose as a result of mutationmutation,
in biology, a sudden, random change in a gene, or unit of hereditary material, that can alter an inheritable characteristic. Most mutations are not beneficial, since any change in the delicate balance of an organism having a high level of adaptation to its environment
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, selection, and adaptational changes in human populations. The nature of genetic variation in human beings indicates there has been a common evolution for all races and that racial differentiation occurred relatively late in the history of Homo sapiens. Theories postulating the very early emergence of racial differentiation have been advanced (e.g., C. S. CoonCoon, Carleton Stevens,
1904–81, American anthropologist, archaeologist, and educator, b. Wakefield, Mass., grad. Harvard 1925, Ph.D. 1928. From 1925 to 1939 he was engaged in fieldwork and anthropological research in Arabia, the Balkans, and N Africa, where he discovered
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, The Origin of Races, 1962), but they are now scientifically discredited.

Attempts at Classification

To classify humans on the basis of physical traits is difficult, for the coexistence of races through conquests, invasions, migrations, and mass deportations has produced a heterogeneous world population. Nevertheless, by limiting the criteria to such traits as skin pigmentation, color and form of hair, shape of head, stature, and form of nose, most anthropologists historically agreed on the existence of three relatively distinct groups: the Caucasoid, the Mongoloid, and the Negroid.

The Caucasoid, found in Europe, N Africa, and the Middle East to N India, is characterized as pale reddish white to olive brown in skin color, of medium to tall stature, with a long or broad head form. The hair is light blond to dark brown in color, of a fine texture, and straight or wavy. The color of the eyes is light blue to dark brown and the nose bridge is usually high.

The Mongoloid race, including most peoples of E Asia and the indigenous peoples of the Americas, has been described as saffron to yellow or reddish brown in skin color, of medium stature, with a broad head form. The hair is dark, straight, and coarse; body hair is sparse. The eyes are black to dark brown. The epicanthic fold, imparting an almond shape to the eye, is common, and the nose bridge is usually low or medium.

The Negroid race is characterized by brown to brown-black skin, usually a long head form, varying stature, and thick, everted lips. The hair is dark and coarse, usually kinky. The eyes are dark, the nose bridge low, and the nostrils broad. To the Negroid race belong the peoples of Africa south of the Sahara, the Pygmy groups of Indonesia, and the inhabitants of New Guinea and Melanesia.

Each of these broad groups can be divided into subgroups. General agreement is lacking as to the classification of such people as the aborigines of Australia, the Dravidian people of S India, the Polynesians, and the Ainu of N Japan within the traditional three race system. These exceptions highlight the problems associated with attempting to classify humanity into races and also challenge the validity of the notion of race when applied to human beings.

Race Classification and Racism

Attempts have been made to classify humans since the 17th cent., when scholars first began to separate types of flora and fauna. Johann Friedrich BlumenbachBlumenbach, Johann Friedrich
, 1752–1840, German naturalist and anthropologist. He introduced and developed the science of comparative anatomy in Germany. His De generis humani varietate nativa (1775; tr. On the Natural Varieties of Mankind, 1865, repr.
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 was the first to divide humanity according to skin color. In the 19th and early 20th cent., people such as Joseph Arthur GobineauGobineau, Joseph Arthur, comte de
, 1816–82, French diplomat and man of letters. The chief early French proponent of the theory of Nordic supremacy, he was antidemocratic and anti-Semitic.
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 and Houston Stewart Chamberlain, mainly interested in pressing forward the supposed superiority of their own kind of culture or nationality, began to attribute cultural and psychological values to race. This approach, called racism, culminated in the vicious racial doctrines and anti-Semitismanti-Semitism
, form of prejudice against Jews, ranging from antipathy to violent hatred. Before the 19th cent., anti-Semitism was largely religious and was expressed in the later Middle Ages by sporadic persecutions and expulsions—notably the expulsion from Spain under
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 of Nazi Germany and was used to justify slaveryslavery,
historicially, an institution based on a relationship of dominance and submission, whereby one person owns another and can exact from that person labor or other services.
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 and segregation (see integrationintegration,
in U.S. history, the goal of an organized movement to break down the barriers of discrimination and segregation separating African Americans from the rest of American society.
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) in the United States, apartheidapartheid
[Afrik.,=apartness], system of racial segregation peculiar to the Republic of South Africa, the legal basis of which was largely repealed in 1991–92. History
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 in the Republic of South Africa, and European imperialism and colonialism generally.


See R. Benedict, Race: Science and Politics (rev. ed. 1943, repr. 1968); C. Lévi-Strauss, Race and History (1962); M. Mead et al., ed., Science and the Concept of Race (1968); S. M. Garn, ed., Readings on Race (2d ed. 1968) and Human Races (3d ed. 1971); J. C. King, The Biology of Race (1971); L. L. Cavalli-Sforza, The Origin and Differentiation of Human Races (1972); S. J. Gould, The Mismeasure of Man (1981); I. F. Haney Lopez, White by Law: The Legal Construction of Race (1996); A. Montagu, Man's Most Dangerous Myth: The Fallacy of Race (6th ed. 1998); G. M. Frederickson, Racism: A Short History (2002); M. Yudell, Race Unmasked: Biology and Race in the 20th Century (2014).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/cup/


a scientifically discredited term previously used to describe biologically distinct groups of persons who were alleged to have characteristics of an unalterable nature. The concept has been used in the English language since the 16th-century Its meaning has altered several times over the last 400 years in line with changing concepts about the nature of physical and cultural differences and, more importantly the ideological uses of the concept to justify relationships of superiority and exploitation. Banton in Racial Theories (1987) provides a comprehensive account of the different uses of the concept of race.

Social scientists now recognize that ‘race’ is exclusively a socially constructed categorization which specifies rules for identification of a given group. Many writers will not use the term except in inverted commas to distance the use of the word from its historical and biological connotations. It is preferable to refer to ETHNICITY or ETHNIC GROUPS. Despite the discredited nature of the concept of’race’, the idea still exerts a powerful influence in everyday language and ideology. See also RACE RELATIONS, RACISM, ETHNICITY, ETHNIC GROUP.

Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



in biology, an ecologically or sometimes geographically related group of organisms within a species or subspecies.

The members of a race have similar morphological, physiological, and ecological characteristics and are distributed in a region that is part of the range of the species or subspecies. Various races are often found in the same locality, but they are differentiated by their living conditions (ecological race). Thus, many plant species include an alpine race, a xeromorphic race, and a race that requires shade. Among animals, there are seasonal races of crustaceans. Many races of parasites are distinguished by their functional adaptation (specialization) to certain plant or animal hosts (races based on hosts). In ichthyology the term “race” refers to local populations (schools) of fish.

Sometimes, geographic races are regarded as subspecies. The term “race” is also used with reference to breeds of domesticated animals.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

What does it mean when you dream about a race?

Running a race may depict how the dreamer feels about his or her waking life (a hectic “rat race,” perhaps?), possibly indicating the dreamer should slow down or change his or her approach to life.

The Dream Encyclopedia, Second Edition © 2009 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.


A distinctive human type possessing characteristic traits that are transmissible by descent.
Descendants of a common ancestor.
An infraspecific taxonomic group of organisms, such as subspecies or microspecies.
A fixed variety or breed.
(design engineering)
Either of the concentric pair of steel rings of a ball bearing or roller bearing.
A channel transporting water to or away from hydraulic machinery, as in a power house.
A rapid current, or a constricted channel in which such a current flows; the term is usually used only in connection with a tidal current, which may be called a tide race.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


1. a rapid current of water, esp one through a narrow channel that has a tidal range greater at one end than the other
2. a channel of a stream, esp one for conducting water to or from a water wheel or other device for utilizing its energy
a. a channel or groove that contains ball bearings or roller bearings or that restrains a sliding component
b. the inner or outer cylindrical ring in a ball bearing or roller bearing
4. Austral a wire tunnel through which footballers pass from the changing room onto a football field
5. another name for slipstream


1. a group of people of common ancestry, distinguished from others by physical characteristics, such as hair type, colour of eyes and skin, stature, etc. Principal races are Caucasoid, Mongoloid, and Negroid
2. the human race human beings collectively
3. a group of animals or plants having common characteristics that distinguish them from other members of the same species, usually forming a geographically isolated group; subspecies


a ginger root


Cape. a cape at the SE extremity of Newfoundland, Canada
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


This article is provided by FOLDOC - Free Online Dictionary of Computing (foldoc.org)


(1) See race condition and RACE encoding.

(2) (Research And Development of Advanced Communications) A European program of telecommunications R&D introduced in 1987. Over the subsequent 10-year period, more than 100 projects were undertaken.

(3) (Random Access Card Equipment) An early magnetic card storage device from RCA that was used with its IBM-compatible Spectra 70 mainframes. The units read and wrote data on a deck of 4x18" cards with a magnetic recording surface. The card was released from the cartridge, passed down a raceway, wrapped around a read/write head and returned. Operating in the late 1960s, the machine jammed frequently, and an operator had to remain nearby to extricate and replace the damaged cards. See CRAM, Data Cell and racetrack memory.
Copyright © 1981-2019 by The Computer Language Company Inc. All Rights reserved. THIS DEFINITION IS FOR PERSONAL USE ONLY. All other reproduction is strictly prohibited without permission from the publisher.


Are you competing or running from or to something? In order to have a good understanding of this dream you should consider those factors. If you are simply running, it may be an indication that you need to slow down in your everyday life. If you are competing, you need to consider your competitive drive and realistically look at the current challenges. If you are running in a race and win, your unconscious may be expressing confidence that you may or may not feel in the wakened state. Running in your dreams may also symbolize the energy levels, the strength, or the force that you have to get through life.
Bedside Dream Dictionary by Silvana Amar Copyright © 2007 by Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.
References in classic literature ?
Each round is called a 'Lap.' The men must run sixteen Laps to finish the race. Not to put you to your arithmetic again, they must run four miles--the longest race of this kind which it is customary to attempt at Sports like these."
It was a serious question with these experts whether Fleetwood was not "a little too fine." Superbly trained, it was admitted--but, possibly, a little over-trained for a four-mile race.
the famous "staying power" that was to endure in the last terrible half-mile of the race, when the nimble and jaunty Fleetwood was run off his legs.
He knew that he would not see them during the race. Two were already riding forward to the point from which they were to start.
"If you can, lead the race; but don't lose heart till the last minute, even if you're behind."
At his quarters no one was left at home; all were at the races, and his valet was looking out for him at the gate.
"When I say 'Go!'" Zeb called to them, "you must dig out and race until you reach those three trees you see over yonder.
"Go!" cried Zeb; and at the word the two horses leaped forward and the race was begun.
He has won the race, and won it fairly; but what can a horse of flesh do against a tireless beast of wood?"
First, because upon it depends the very life of the race of Mahars, and second, owing to the fact that when it was public property as at first so many were experimenting with it that the danger of over-population became very grave.
"David, if we can escape, and at the same time take with us this great secret what will we not have accomplished for the human race within Pellucidar!" The very thought of it fairly overpowered me.
"You are right, Perry," I said, "and while you are teaching them to pray I'll be teaching them to fight, and between us we'll make a race of men that will be an honor to us both."