Race revisited

Racial identity after the debunking of race science

Biological accounts of race fail on an empirical basis, but theoretical problems arise when race is redefined as a social category. We need a new way of thinking about identity, categorisation and justice. 

There is a growing consensus among scientists that there are no human races in the biological sense of the term. There is human biological variation. However, this variation is minimal compared with that of many other species, and our characteristics change gradually from place to place. Humans do not sort neatly into biologically distinct groups—which is what most people imagine when they think of “race”. The best candidate for a scientific synonym for ‘race’ is subspecies, and the science shows that there are no subspecies within our species.

From a biological perspective, race is science fiction. Yet racial identities are still very important to many people. There seems to be a tension here between the cold, hard science and the ways in whic

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