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Title: Is Race a True Premise of Racism?


Cichá, Martina

Date issued/created:


Resource Type:



Ethnologia Polona 31-32 (2010-2011)


Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology Polish Academy of Sciences

Place of publishing:



24 cm


The author presents various arguments from the history of mankind, but also from our contemporary era – pointing at the relation of the majority of society toward minorities in an effort to prove that a racial pedigree is not the real source of racism. She points to the fact that for centuries the source of racism was not “the other race” but otherness, being different, human variations whether physical or socio-cultural (e.g., different religion), but also all kinds of political interests and interests of power. The term “race” as we understand it today appears as late as during the era of biological thinking of the 18th century. Various theories about race, and later, also racist theories, came to existence when the original and purely biological concept of race was substituted with sociological and psychological creations of human culture, and linguistic affinity began to be associated with distinct anthropological features. The real cause of racism is, however, diversity and the xenophobia that results from it – the fear of the alien, unknown, or somehow different. Xenophobia should not be denounced outright because it is, to a certain degree, natural even desirable for each individual. It is a form of self-defence. We are able to begin observing the signs of racism after the natural threshold of xenophobia is exceeded, after our fear of something alien or different leads to contempt, or even hate, of a foreigner. From there, it is only a small step to physical persecution. In the conclusion of the article, the author emphasizes the need to see human races in a purely “biological sense”, free of the “superstructure” attached to them by the racists. Only then it would be possible to take a serious stance on the issue of the human race or races and reject their classifications, and do so without a stubborn effort to stereotype the humankind and deny its diversity. The author puts even greater emphasis on the need to educate the public about tolerance of diversity, which she considers to be the most effective means of fighting against racism


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Ethnologia Polona



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Resource Identifier:

oai:rcin.org.pl:61367 ; 0137-4079


IAiE PAN, call no. P 366 ; IAiE PAN, call no. P 367 ; IAiE PAN, call no. P 368 ; click here to follow the link



Digitizing institution:

Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology of the Polish Academy of Sciences

Original in:

Library of the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology of the Polish Academy of Sciences



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