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For better or for worse, race places a very large part in people‘s

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For better or for worse, race places a very large part in people‘s  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Sep 2018, 16:31
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For better or for worse, race places a very large part in people‘s perception of others in the world and in their own society. The notion of one‘s own race often influences the actions and interests of an individual (either towards or away from activities typically associated with a group) and, in many cases, the perception of another individual‘s race influences the perceiver‘s actions toward that individual. Races are inaccurate as biological categories. The existence of racism, and the genesis of our racial taxonomies themselves in the history of colonialism and slavery, argue for abandoning racial categories altogether.

Few would deny the importance of racial categories in our everydaylives, nor the social problems and conflict race has caused. Less well known are the scientific problems with race: racial categories cannot be reconciled with what scientists know about human biological diversity. Biological races are branches of a species that have been unable to reproduce with each other for a significant period of time. Their separation may be due to geographic or other barriers, but anatomically, members of different races can interbreed, since they are of the same species.

Breeds of domesticated dogs are an example of races cultivated by humans. In contrast, human groups have interbred for our entire history as a species, and none have been isolated long enough to be considered true races. The American racial classification system is no more scientifically valid than are other racial taxonomies, local conceptions of race affirmed in other societies or countries. Racial taxonomies in different countries are not biological races, but rather what anthropologist Charles Wagley calls “social races."

Racial classification presupposes that people with certain phenotypes share a common recent ancestry that others do not share. However, physical traits are not a reliable indicator of recent shared descent. There are no sharp borders between human groups, as there are between so- called races, because physical traits change gradually. Anatomical features in human populations represent adaptations to evolutionary forces: skin colour is an adaptation to latitude, facial shape to climate or altitude, and blood type to endemic diseases. Any particular trait is shared by groups of people of varied heritages, people who adapted to similar conditions in different parts of the world. Since different features do not vary together, no assortment of traits can accurately delineate any group as a true race.

If race were biological, different societies would understand race in similar ways. In fact, societies use widely varying criteria to determine race. Nor are these criteria all internally consistent. Although most Americans believe that appearance or genetics form the basis of race, in the United States, a person's race, legally, is determined by his ancestry, the race of his parents. Further, some state laws, legacies of slavery, place biracial individuals into the race of the minority parent, without regard to chromosomes or physical appearance. In Brazil, on the other hand, people do not consider ancestry when identifying a person's race, and there exist many more racial categories than in the US. Race in Brazil derives solely from appearance. One's race can change from day to day, and may differ from the race of one's family, including that of full siblings. The racial taxonomies in Brazil and the United States differ, but neither one is based on scientific principles.


1. The passage cites Brazil as a country in which racial definitions have a meaning that might not otherwise be readily apparent. The author suggests that a person who is Brazilian might change his race by:
A. altering his birth certificate.
B. marrying a person of a different race.
C. having his DNA tested.
D. getting a sun tan.
E. surrendering his passport

2. The overall purpose of this passage is to:

A. present a hypothesis that may explain a recent discovery.

B. compare and contrast two methods of classification.

C. criticize the basis of a popular belief.

D. describe worldwide variations in a cultural phenomenon.

E. praise a widely accepted belief



3. The author of this passage would be most likely to agree with which of the following statements about abandoning racial classification?

A. We can improve our society through conscious and concerted effort.

B. The United States' racial classification system should be replaced with that of Brazil.

C. It would be disastrous for scientists to strip people of their valued beliefs.

D. All beliefs that are not scientifically sound should be abandoned.

E. The society has reached the point of no return and nothing can be done to change it

4. The author presents the example of racial classification in the United States in the passage most probably in order to show that:

A. racial taxonomies may be logically inconsistent and widely misunderstood.

B. the system of racial classification in North America is grounded in scientific research.

C. individuals should be allowed to choose and to change their own racial identification.

D. racial classifications are most accurate when they take all factors (appearance , ancestry, and DNA) into account.

E. there is not enough being done by the authorities to control this problem


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Re: For better or for worse, race places a very large part in people‘s  [#permalink]

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New post 02 Oct 2018, 18:05

+1 kudos to the posts containing answer explanations of all questions


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Re: For better or for worse, race places a very large part in people‘s  [#permalink]

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New post 02 Oct 2018, 22:15
Can someone pls help me understand how A is the correct answer for Question 3 ?
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Re: For better or for worse, race places a very large part in people‘s  [#permalink]

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New post 03 Oct 2018, 00:49
Arpitkumar wrote:
Can someone pls help me understand how A is the correct answer for Question 3 ?

Hi Arpit
We can use process of elimination for this question

3. The author of this passage would be most likely to agree with which of the following statements about abandoning racial classification?

A. We can improve our society through conscious and concerted effort.This is the only option which has some backing from the passage

B. The United States' racial classification system should be replaced with that of Brazil.The author compares these two but never suggests this

C. It would be disastrous for scientists to strip people of their valued beliefs.Again. No where we can find any evidence for this claim

D. All beliefs that are not scientifically sound should be abandoned.too extreme. This is again a very large generalization. The author never talks about all beliefs

E. The society has reached the point of no return and nothing can be done to change it Too extreme. The author only talks about racial classification and never concludes anything like this
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Re: For better or for worse, race places a very large part in people‘s &nbs [#permalink] 03 Oct 2018, 00:49
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For better or for worse, race places a very large part in people‘s

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