Mapping the world's opinions

argument top image

What is "race"? Show more Show less

Race is one way humans classify one another. Race may be based on ancestry, skin color, hair type, or other physical or non-physical features. Yet, views of how humans are classified can differ person-to-person and even country-to-country. Scientists and modern geneticists have begun to find that humans of different "races" may have more in common with one another than they do with humans within the same "race." At the same time, many people look at the racial disparities in education, wealth, and health in the U.S. and conclude that there must be a biological, natural reason why Black Americans and Latinos are less-educated, poorer, or more affected by COVID-19 than White Americans. The debate of "what race is" has important - and perhaps dangerous - implications across society and between individuals.

Race is a social construct Show more Show less

Just by the fact that "race" is defined differently by so many people shows that race is a social definition not based on fixed, biological causes.
< Previous (2 of 3 Positions) Next >

Race is self-identified, self-determined, and subject to change

Race is a part of one's identity that only the individual has the full potential to discover, expand, and determine. As people transition through different phases of life, understand aspects of their culture, and develop new meanings of race, they can also identify their race differently.
< Previous (3 of 3 Arguments)


The Argument

The only way countries or institutions can gather statistics on race is for people to identify themselves racially. Census data and racial statistics are always based on self-identification.[1] Sometimes, people do not know how to identify themselves on the census because the census categories do not contain a person's self-identification.[2] People are free to identify with any racial group.[3] A person can identify as different races throughout their lifetime.[4] A person's self-identified race may change due to several reasons, such as learning more about their heritage or understanding race differently. Furthermore, other people cannot always identify another person's race. Many experience being identified by outsiders as a race that they themselves do not identify, such as acclaimed golfer Tiger Woods [5] or Hispanics of lighter complexions. [6] Other racial minorities say people's perceptions of their race change as they move to different places.[7]

Counter arguments



[P1] Racial identification is determined individually. [P2] An individual's self-determination is more valid than society's identification.

Rejecting the premises

Rejecting P2: An individual's self-determination is not always valued or viable in all societies.


Further Reading



Explore related arguments

This page was last edited on Friday, 12 Jun 2020 at 15:30 UTC