Tribes and Race

Race

Race is a classification system used to categorize humans into large and distinct populations or groups by anatomical, cultural, ethnic, genetic, geographical, historical, linguistic, religious, or social affiliation. First used to denote national affiliations, the term began to be used to relate to physical traits in the 17th century and promoted hierarchies favorable to differing ethnic groups

It is argued that race has no biological or genetic basis: gross morphological features which traditionally have been defined as races (e.g. skin color) are determined by non-significant and superficial genes with no demonstrated link to any characteristics, such as intelligence, talent, athletic ability, etc. Race has been socially constructed despite the lack of any scientific evidence for dividing humanity into racial groups with any generalized genetic meaning. It has become a reality of the world.

Social Construct and Perception of People

When people define and talk about a particular conception of race, they create a social reality through which social categorization is achieved. In this sense, races are said to be social constructs. While race is understood to be a social construct by many, most scholars agree that race now has real material effects in the lives of people through institutionalized practices of preference and discrimination from a long time.

Scholars continue to debate the degrees to which racial categories are biologically warranted and socially constructed, as well as the extent to which the realities of race must be acknowledged in order for society to comprehend and address racism adequately. Accordingly, the racial paradigms employed in different disciplines vary in their emphasis on biological reduction as contrasted with societal construction.

In the social sciences theoretical frameworks such as Racial formation theory and Critical race theory investigate implications of race as social construction by exploring how the images, ideas and assumptions of race are expressed in everyday life. A large body of scholarship has traced the relationships between the historical, social production of race in legal and criminal language and their effects on the policing and disproportionate incarceration of certain groups.

Tribes

A tribe is defined, as a social group existing before the development of, or outside of, states. Many anthropologists used the term tribal society to refer to societies organized largely on the basis of kinship, especially corporate descent groups.

Some political economic theorists such as Elman Service hold that tribes represent a stage in social evolution intermediate between bands and states. Other theorists, such as Morton Fried, argue that tribes developed after states, and must be understood in terms of their relationship to them.

‘Tribe’ is a contested negative term due to its roots in colonialism. The word has no shared referant, whether in political form, kinship relations, or shared culture. It conveys a negative connotation of a timeless unchanging past. To avoid these implications, some have chosen to use the terms ‘ethnic group’, or nation instead.

 Etymology

The English word tribe occurs in 12th-century Middle English literature as referring to one of the Twelve Tribes of Israel. The word is from Old French tribu, in turn from Latin tribus, referring to the original tripartite ethnic division of the Ancient Roman state: Ramnes (Ramnenses), Tities (Titienses), and Luceres, corresponding, according to Marcus Terentius Varro, to the Latins, Sabines, and Etruscans respectively. The Ramnes were named after Romulus, leader of the Latins, Tities after Titus Tatius, leader of the Sabines, and Luceres after Lucumo, leader of an Etruscan army that had assisted the Latins. According to Livy, the three tribes were in fact squadrons of knights, rather than ethnic divisions. The term’s ultimate etymology is uncertain, perhaps from the Proto-Indo-European roots tri- (“three”) and bhew (“to be”). Gregory Nagy, Greek Mythology and Poetics, he says, citing the linguist Émile Benveniste in his Origines de la formation des noms en indo-européen, that the Umbrian “trifu” (tribus) is apparently derived from a combination of *tri- and *bhu- where the second element is cognate with the ‘phu-‘ of Greek ‘phule’, and that this was subdividing the Greek polis into three phulai.

In 242–240 BC, the Tribal Assembly (comitia tributa) in the Roman Republic was organized in 35 Tribes (four “Urban Tribes” and 31 “Rural Tribes”). The Latin word as used in the Bible translates as Greek phyle “race, tribe, clan” and ultimately the Hebrew or “sceptre”. In the historical sense, “tribe,” “race” and “clan” can be used interchangeably.

 Sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Race_(human_classification)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tribe

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About Rashid Faridi

I am Rashid Aziz Faridi ,Writer, Teacher and a Voracious Reader.
This entry was posted in Human Geography. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Tribes and Race

  1. rabirius says:

    Very interesting post.

    Like

  2. Pingback: Clan, Gotra and Tribe | Rashid's Blog

  3. Pingback: Clan, Gotra and Tribe | Rashid's Blog

  4. Pingback: Gujjar Tribe | Rashid's Blog

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