With race being a hard concept to grasp, many competing theories have arisen to explain what race is and how to categorise someone by race. The dominant explanation for race in early history has been characterised by race realism. Colloquially, race realism is the theory that scientific evidence proves race to be objectively definable by trends in geography, appearance, and most prominently, genetics. Previous research from Stanford geneticist Noah Rosenberg (2005) that looked to support this topic has relied on small sample sizes and data that had otherwise been misconducted. When Sarah Tishkoff (2009) of the University of Pennsylvania conducted the same experiments more thoroughly and with larger sample sizes, evidence contradictory to earlier experiments arose and invalidated the findings supposedly supporting race realism. Considering this, we used data from an extensive public survey to assess society’s underlying beliefs and attitudes towards race while looking to confirm that race realism had been invalidated at a social level. In alignment with the newer findings, the data we collected suggests that people of younger generations have been less and less exposed to the ideas of race realism, and all have come to the conclusion on their own that it is arbitrary to objectively define someone by race. The study showed that while these generations still socially group themselves into races as a result of ancestral and geographic history, there is no genetic property that ties them to their personal sense of identity. Thus, the study concludes by providing ways to further educate the population and avoid the pitfalls of race realism, as certain social groups in the media still back the obsolete ideas of race realism to this day.
Lawless, Ryan, "Critically Assessing the Invalidity of Race Realism and Finding Solutions to Educate Society on Racial Theory" (2020). Student Scholarship. 3.