Essay: Cultural Anthropology
1. What evidence does the author present to argue against the view that races are biologically based types? What arguments does the author make to suggest that the physical features used to categorize people into “races” are arbitrarily selected?
Race is a topic that has been on debate by professionals for a very long time. In this debate, it is very important just as Jeffrey Fish puts it that one has to start by explaining to all what race is. Race and ethnicity have been the major concepts that are used to groups human beings. The race of the man is the one that is seen to have been modified a lot among all the other races. Although the evolution of man has been very slow, it is very significant.
In order to oppose the argument of races being biologically based types, the author starts to give the example of the physical differences that exist in animals because of adaptive value concept. This is evidenced in the differences that existed in the settlers of the new world who had different environments as consequently had different characteristics. Those living in the far north, the Eskimos, had light faces, rounded bodies and were short. All these features were because of the weather. The rounded figures helped in insulating the bodies and since the sunlight was either very little or none at all, they had to have light skin colors. In contrast, there were Indians who lived in the far South especially in South America and Central America. These places have intense heat and as a result, the people had thin frames and dark complexions. He further opposes that racial differences are biological as it is shown when we are meant to understand the precise behavior patterns and learning styles of the Latino children, the whites, Native Americans, Asians and the Blacks. With all the different types of people, there is no single group that is seen to have advanced due to biological characteristics.