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Sociology Definition of the Week: Race

By April 4, 2012

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Race is defined as a social category or social construction that we treat as distinct on the basis of certain characteristics, some biological, that have been assigned social importance in the society. Because of presumed biologically or culturally inferior characteristics (as defined by powerful groups in society), a race is often singled out for differential and unfair treatment. It is not the biological characteristics per se that define racial groups, but how groups have been treated historically and socially. That is, society assigns people to racial categories such as Black, White, and so on, not because of science, logic, or fact, but because of social experience. Read more about race and see an example.

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