Date: Fri, 31 Oct 1997 14:13:49 -0500
From: Evan Morris words1[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]WORD-DETECTIVE.COM
Subject: Re: "race" (was PC Dictionaries?the N word? racism? race?)
At 05:50 AM 10/30/97 , Duane Campbell wrote:
In biology and taxonomy (which is what we are discussing here, whether we
know it or not), race is a subdivision of a species, that is, an organism
that has recognizable genetically transmitted attributes but is not
different enough from others of its ilk to constitute a separate species.
There are races of house sparrows and lab rats and begonias. Another word
for the same thing is sub-species, but I suspect that applied to humans
that could be even more offensive.
My understanding is that race (or subspecies) is defined in terms of
differential reproductive success. Inasmuch as there not different rates
of reproductive success in "interbreeding" between the various human
"races," there is no such thing, technically speaking, as a human
subspecies or "race."
The social category of "race" is, of course, another matter entirely, but
there's no biological basis for it.
words1[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]word-detective.com