Race as biology is fiction, racism as a social problem is real: Anthropological and historical perspectives on the social construction of race

Am Psychol. 2005 Jan;60(1):16-26. doi: 10.1037/0003-066X.60.1.16.


Racialized science seeks to explain human population differences in health, intelligence, education, and wealth as the consequence of immutable, biologically based differences between "racial" groups. Recent advances in the sequencing of the human genome and in an understanding of biological correlates of behavior have fueled racialized science, despite evidence that racial groups are not genetically discrete, reliably measured, or scientifically meaningful. Yet even these counterarguments often fail to take into account the origin and history of the idea of race. This article reviews the origins of the concept of race, placing the contemporary discussion of racial differences in an anthropological and historical context.

MeSH terms

  • Anthropology* / methods
  • Biomarkers
  • Culture
  • Humans
  • Prejudice*
  • Racial Groups / genetics*
  • Social Perception*


  • Biomarkers