Racialism is the belief that the human species are naturally divided into races, that are ostensibly distinct biological categories. Most dictionaries define the term racialism as synonymous with racism.[1]

Definitions and differences

In 1903, W. E. B. Du Bois said that racialism is the philosophical position that races existed, and that collective differences existed among such categories, the races.[citation needed] He further stated that racism required advancing the argument that one race is superior to other races of human beings. In In My Father’s House (1992), Kwame Anthony Appiah summarized Du Bois's philosophical stance by writing that racialism is a value-neutral term and racism is a value-charged term.

Today, the consensus among geneticists is that racialist beliefs are not supported by modern population genetics. [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] Some U.S. medical studies have found partial genetic correlations of incidence of diseases and subsets of American racial groups, but those subsets (i.e. African Americans, White Americans) are not genetically representative of everyone who is included in the American definitions of "black" or "white".[8][9]

According to Oxford Dictionaries Online, racialism is "another term for racism".[10] The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines racialism as "a theory that race determines human traits and capacities" and defines "racism" as "a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race".[11]

In discussing how race is used by scientists, Takezawa et al. summarized the finding of a 2014 interdisciplinary workshop on scientific ethics by saying:

"We need to anticipate the various potential social and ethical problems entailed in population descriptors. Scientists have a social responsibility to convey their research findings outside of their communities as accurately as possible, and to consider how the public may perceive and respond to the descriptors that appear in research papers and media articles."[12]

In Racial Culture: A Critique (2005), Richard T. Ford claimed that although "there is no necessary correspondence between the ascribed identity of race and one's culture or personal sense of self" and "group difference is not intrinsic to members of social groups but rather contingent o[n] the social practices of group identification", the social practices of identity politics may coerce individuals into the "compulsory" enactment of "prewritten racial scripts".[13]