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Page history last edited by geoff hanley 14 years, 9 months ago



According to the current Merriam-Webster's Dictionary, the term race stands for 1) a family, tribe, people, or nation of the same stock.  2) a group of individuals within a biological species able to breed together.  3) a category of humankind that shares certain distinctive physical traits.


Race can be used to easily classify a group or system without going too deep into questionable details.  Take for instance the concept of human race.  Since we all belong to it, we are surely all united.  However, because we do not share identical traits or have the same physical characteristics, we must be separated by classification of a distinctive race.


Through American Studies, the word race is often used to represent historical conflict whereas much of the classification is seen through the eyes of white or non-white.  The word alone is also quite competitive as if we are all against each other on the way to the finish line.  However, in Bederman's "Manliness and Civilization", W. E. B. Dubois describes the history of the world as “the history . . . of races, and he who ignores or seeks to override the race idea in human history ignores and overrides the central thought of all history” (27).  He expresses great acceptance of such an idea in that we are all naturally seeking perfection through our own personal achievements.  Among “race groups”, we are on the way to another concept of finish line.  Dubois explains this as the perfection of civilization or the “one far-off Divine event” (27).


Bederman, G. (1995). Manliness and Civilization. Chicago: U of C Press.

Merriam-Webster. (2006). Springfield: Merriam-Webster Inc.


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