Did you know race is a word that came into English in the 1500’s via the French (1066 and all that), who took it from the Italian word razza (old Latin), meaning “breeding stock”, which is possibly from the older Arabic ra meaning head (Hebrew ‘rosh’). In the 1500’s it even included different wine “races”.

By the 1600’s it meant any family, tribe or nation with common characteristics, and by the 1774 it referred to distinct human groups. In Biology it refers to the classification of a sub species group. (Source Websters, Oxford, Wikipaedia, Online entymological dictionary)

Editorial Comment: Race is therefore not an evolutionary term since it predates Darwin, and even his evolutionist grandfather, Erasmus. So there are as many races of man as there are nations or tribes that can be distinguished.  However, racism as a concept was certainly reinforced by Darwin’s work.

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