Essay, 5 pages (1200 words)

The number of variables, such as the amount

The so-called yellow, brown and red races are all Mongoloid, and should never have been separated.

Moreover, skin colour depends on a number of variables, such as the amount of pigment in the skin and the depth of the blood capillaries under the skin. Some pigment is always present and those individuals who lack any pigment are called albino. Heavy pigmentation gives dark shades of brown. The little pigmentation and deep blood vessels result into yellow colour as in the case of Mongoloid race. Colour alone, however, may not be an adequate indicator to classify race, as in Northern India there are many people who belong to the Caucesoid race but the colour of their skin is more dark or darker than many persons who belong to the Negroid race.



Although stature is influenced by the quantity and quality of food one eats, it is nevertheless an inherited quality. Stature can be easily measured. On the basis of stature, peoples may be classified into short, medium and tall. With exceptions, the male range is between 130 cms (4 feet 3 inches) and 200 cms (6 feet 7 inches), the female range from 120 cms (4 feet) to 187 cms (6 feet 2 inches).

3. The shape of the head:

The shape of the head is one of the first param­eters, used scientifically for the division of mankind into races. It is relatively easy to measure, and has a high degree of accuracy. The shape of the head, expressed as an index of breadth over length x 100.

It is known as the Cephalic Index.

4. The shape of the face:

It gives a variety of features. The face may be long or broad, the chin jutting out or receding. Generally, the faces of the Chinese and Polish people have more horizontal dimensions or width of the face as against the narrowness of that of the Scandinavian or the Nilotic African.


The shape of the nose:

The width and height of the nose is also of great importance in the physical measurements of the various races. An index of the ratio of nose width at the nostrils to its length x 100 enables us to differ­entiate between long narrow noses (less than 70), medium noses (70-84) and short flat noses (over 84). Coupled with the long nose is the existence of a distinct bridge, whereas the broad nose is often depressed. Generally, the nose of Europeans is narrow, and those of Africans broad. Among the broadest nose, Negroes are the Kajji of the Niger delta of West Africa; among the Caucasoids with narrowest nostrils are the Swedes.

6. Eyes:

Eye colour can be classified the same way as skin colour. But even more significant is the shape of the eye, for in this respect Mongoloids differ from other races.

The upper fold of the Mongoloid eye drops over to give the impression of a slit-like opening. This is the epicanthic fold, and when it is more emphasized at the inner corner of the eye it tends to give the impression of an outward and upward slant, often accentuated because of the comparative absence of brow ridges and eyebrows in Mongoloids.

7. Hair:

The forms and colours of hair also vary from race to race. For the sake of convenience, hair may be classified into: (i) straight hair, long and lank and rigid, and round in cross section; (ii) wavy hair; and (iii) kinky or woolly hair, much flatter in cross section, and emerging from its follicle in a spiral, and in extreme cases forming hard tufts. Colour of hair, again depending on the amount of melanin in the hair, sometimes mixed with a red pigment, varies from ash blond (no melanin) and strawberry blond (much red pigment), to black (great amount of melanin).

8. Body build:

For the determination of body build and constitution of the body, the shoulder width, breadth, and depth of chest, width of hip and other dimensions not named here are measured in some of the social groups.

On the basis of body build, the people may be classified into three divisions, namely, the picnic (short, stocky build); the athletic (large and brawry); and the leptosome (tall and slender).

9. Blood group:

Of the physiological traits that are employed in the classification of races, a blood type is one of the most important and it has been most studied. Among the Caucasoids (whites) the blood group is more A than B, among the Mongoloids blood group B is most dominant while among the Negroes both A and B groups are found. It has become vividly clear from the above analysis of physical traits of various racial groups that no single group of human beings has a monopoly of any single trait, or cluster of traits. Every major grouping runs a scale from short to tall, from broad to narrow, from light to dark. This is why, with the years, it has become increasingly evident that the outstanding factor in the study of physical types is variability.

No two human beings are exactly alike, nor two families, nor two local popula­tions, to say nothing of two races. It may be summarized that all human beings comprise a single species {Homo sapiens), they manifest differences in certain physical traits, and being from one species, all members are mutually fertile. It is because of these common characteristics that intermingling of blood has taken place to the extent that there is hardly any pure race, even in the remotest and isolated areas of the world. This impurity of race has been mentioned in a statement issued by the UNESCO in 1952.

There is no evidence for the existence of so-called ‘ pure’ races. Skeletal remains provide the basis for our limited knowledge about earlier races. In regard to race mixture, the evidence points to the fact that human hybridization has been going on for an indefinite but considerable time.

Indeed one of the processes of race formation and race extinction or absorption is by means of hybridization between races. As there is no reliable evidence that disadvantageous effects are produced thereby, no biological justification exists for prohibiting inter-marriage between persons of different races. After the Great Age of Discoveries (15th to 18th centuries), man has become more mobile, migrating from one region to another and from one country to another.

Consequently, at present, the Caucasoid sub-races have submerged the aboriginals and native peoples in North America, South America, and Oceania. Similar is the case in Asia, Africa and the elands of the Pacific, Indian and Arctic Oceans. Fast mobility of man has led to intermingling of blood and cross-breeding and this in its turn has made the idea of pure race as futile.

At present, admixture is probable, even in short span, that racial purity becomes a meaningless term. The anthropological ideas discussed above are scientific but limited; the categories are to a large extent abstract and very difficult to apply to small groups of people. Moreover, a layman has broadened the term ‘ race’ until it has become almost meaningless. He has, in addition, often ascribed to his own race ’superiority’ implicitly a mental superiority for which there is no evidence.

These misconceptions have led to many wars and tragic chapters in man’s history. Thus, the word ‘ race’ has undesirable overtones. Even then, a layman thinks in terms of black, yellow, red and white. Thus, from a layman’s point of view, race is what people have been taught it is.

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