French physician Francois Bernier was the first to use the word “race” as a category for scientifically classifying humans in a 1684 essay titled “A New Division of the Earth, According to the Different Species or Races of Men Who Inhabit It”.
In addition, Johan Friedrich Blumenbach (1752-1840), a medical professor in Germany, argued that human beings fall into five races: Caucasian, Mongolian, Ethiopian, American, and Malay. He argued that Caucasians derived from the Caucasus Mountain region and embodied the ideal human from which the others degenerated. It was a popular belief that Caucasians were the ideal form based on a skull that had been found in the Caucasus Mountains, near the alleged location of Noah’s ark. What this classification achieved is the setting up of a color line. Blumenbach classified five chief races of mankind and by attributing psychological value and importance to race; this became what we know as racism.
Science has a lot to do with the usage of “race” to identify a people. Although there is uncertainty in the title about the correctness of the term “race” versus “species” to classify human variation, Bernier relied on categories based on outward physical characteristics such as skin color.
A prime example is Swedish botanist Carolus Linnaeus’ system of biological classifications in Systemae Naturae, published in 1735. Linnaean taxonomy is the system of scientific classification of plants and animals now widely used in the biological sciences. He formalized the distinction among the continental populations of the world and his work helped characterize the concept of race. In the tenth edition of Systemae Naturae, which was published in 1758, Linnaeus projected four subcategories of Homo sapiens: Americanus; Asiaticus; Africanus; and Europeanus. In short, the moral components of race–such as beliefs, values, etc., were not as prevalent where racial hierarchy was already established by slavery, but the word race was a general term that was used interchangeably with species, sort, type or variety. This is why there is no such thing as a race of people.
The concept of Race is a new ideology and has not always been with us. Genesis Chapter 10, known as The Table of Nations, gives an example of how people were split into nations and lands and language, not races. In fact, “definitions of who is black vary quite sharply from country to country, and for this reason people in other countries often express consternation about our definition.” (F. James Davis). What has happened then? How has a nation of people now become a race of people? They told you about a brown man, a black man, a yellow man, a red man, and a white man. It’s as if they took their crayons and painted us the colors of their expectations. After coloring they began the tasks of assigning these colors to class and certain geological locations in that they may properly identify them. Not necessarily so that these people may identify themselves, but so that racial superiority would reign supreme.
The U.S. Census Bureau defines race as “a social category recognized by the United States and does not attempt to define race biologically, anthropologically, or genetically”. The Census Bureau recognizes five categories of race: White (people with origins in Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa,) Black or African American (Africa), American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander. The census also includes a Hispanic ethnic category. It is an ethnic category rather than a race category because the Latino community is said to include many races, such as White, Black, Native American, Asian, and mixed.
The truth is that every single person on the face of the earth belongs to a nation of people, as he was so divided since the beginning, and thus he falls into whatever family according to his nationality. Every people have a nation to which they belong, followed by a specific set of laws, customs, and traditions separated only by land and this is why race does not exist, because there’s no such thing as a race of people. Sure, we may use the term for understanding sake, one may say “my race is..” so that the person next to him gets it, but he does not really belong to a race, he belongs to a nation. Prejudices, Biases, and oppression of one people who feel superior over another people does exist, but race within the concept to which we’ve grown to know it, does not.