Does the white Caucasian race really exist?

Human races

Tab. 1: Classification of human races according to von Eickstedt (1934)

Blond breed beltNordide, Teutonordide, Dalofaelide, Fennonordide, Eastern European
Brown race beltMediterranide, Grazilmediterranide, Eurafrikanide, Berberide, Orientalide, Indide, Grazilindide, Nordindide, Indobrachide, Pazifide, Polyneside, Microneside
Mountain beltAlpinide, Westalpinide, Lappide, Dinaride, Armenide, Turanide, Aralide, Pamiride
Old EuropeanWeddide, Wedda, Gondide, Malide, Toalide, Ostweddide, Ainuide
Polar beltSibiride, West Siberide, East Siberide, Eskimide
North MongolideTungide, Sinide, North Sinide, Middle Sinide, South Sinide
South MongolidePalämongolide, Palaungide, Neside
North IndianidePazifide, Zentralide, Silvide, Planide, Appalacide, Margide
South IndianideAndide, Patagonide, Brasilide, Lagide, Fuegide, Südfuegide, Huarpide
Contact beltEthiopids, North Ethiopids, East Ethiopids, Central Ethiopids, Indomelanids, South Melanids, North Melanids
West NegroSudanide, Nilotide, Kafride, Palänegride
Eastern NegroidNeomelaneside, Palämelaneside, Australide
KhoisanidsKhoisanide, Khoide, Sanide
PygmidsBambutide, Negritide, Aetide, Semangide, Andamanide

Eickstedt also used exact measuring methods, but said that "race" could also be perceived directly, namely through the "type inspection" of the experienced scientist. With the "Eickstedt race formulas" he believed he could determine the proportion of races (e.g. "Nordide" and "Eastern European") in the individual and in this way determine the percentage of "racial proportions" in the populations. "Race" was used as one enduring greatness provided that are not destroyed by the recombination of the genes during reproduction. The aim was to encompass the races of humans as "zoological groups of forms" both with regard to the morphology like that Behavior to describe. The distinction between races was thus closely linked from the outset to statements about psychological and cultural characteristics that were understood as "race-typical" (see below: race and culture).

The typological approach corresponded to the idea that the "large races" were formed in 3 isolates (so-called breeding areas) through mutation and selection. Attempts have therefore also been made to find fossils of the homo sapiens to be classified as races. Today, however, these are interpreted as variants within the fossil populations (Aurignacide, Cromagnide).

Through the population genetic consideration (Population genetics) as early as the 1930s, the diversity of populations and the transitions between them came more into focus. In Germany, this view only came into play after 1945. It was also reinforced by biochemical characteristics (especially of the blood proteins; cf. Tab. 2), with which genetic differences between the populations could be described as the frequency distribution of the underlying alleles (blood groups [Tab.]). Accordingly, "geographical races" were defined as populations that differ from others in the frequency of certain alleles (according to T. Dobzhansky). The typology remained in play, in that the diversity in the populations, which was actually already recorded in its range of variation (variation), was reduced to so-called population-typical characteristics. This in turn should make a scientific race system possible. The questionability of this project becomes apparent when not only the "focal points" of the geographical trait formation, but also the "gradations between them" are to be classified as separate races (according to R. Knussmann). Transitions are eliminated here through »taxonomic racial segregation«. In this way a multitude of "races" and "sub-races" continues to be constructed, to which there is no parallel in zoological systematics.

Smooth transitions and genetic closeness

The eye-catching differences between people, such as pigmentation (skin color, hair color, eye color), hair shape and face shape (face, head) are caused by only a few alleles and are geographically largely linked by smooth transitions (human races II). People living today agree 99.9 percent in their DNA sequences. All conceivable genetic differences therefore only affect 1 per mille of the genetic substance. It is noteworthy that humans differ from one another in genetic terms much less than chimpanzees, for example. While chimpanzees of different geographical origins are phenotypically (phenotype) hardly different from one another, so that even specialists cannot assign individuals to one of the geographical subspecies, the genetic differences between them are about 10 times greater than those between humans (human races II).

Differences between human populations can indeed be recorded statistically, but they are either too small or too insignificant to be able to differentiate between subspecies ("races") according to the standards of the zoological systematics. Statistically significant genetic differences can be found between European and Asian populations, but also between North Germans and South Germans or even between the populations of different parts of the city in the same city. The variability changes largely continuously: the genetic distances between the populations are highly correlated (correlation) with the geographical distancein which they live today (see Fig. 1).

The variation of gene sequences (nucleotide sequence) connects all continents with one another (human races I). Genetic markers, which have been and are being discovered, for example, in the Human Genome Project (Genome Project, Human Genome Diversity Project), make it possible to determine the geographical origin of individuals. However, they say nothing about the rest of the genome of the person being examined, as does a morphological feature, e.g. the strength of the skin pigmentation. The visible differences between people of different geographic origins can appear large and significant because they are Surface features particularly noticeable. Geographically neighboring populations are genetically closer to each other than geographically more distant even if their representatives look very different (human races I)). The typologically recorded differences based on surface features say little or nothing about the genetic proximity or distance of people: "Race doesn't get under your skin" (R. Lewontin).