Race vs Culture: Difference and Comparison

Owing to cultural and racial variety, certain individuals and communities may create biases against members of a specific race or ethnic group and engage in discrimination.

Race and culture both pertain to individuals, groups, and categories, yet they do so in quite different ways. To begin, it is necessary to understand what the terms race and culture signify.

Key Takeaways

  1. Race is a social construct based on physical characteristics, while culture is a set of shared beliefs, values, and practices.
  2. Racism arises from the belief that certain races are superior or inferior to others, whereas cultural discrimination stems from differences in customs and traditions.
  3. Both race and culture are subject to change and evolution as societies and communities interact.

Race vs Culture

The difference between race and culture is that race categorizes people into groups based on physical characteristics and culture classifies people into groups on the basis of shared social behavior and norms. Race is genetically inherited, thus having a narrow scope, and culture is socially acquired, thus having a wider scope.

Race vs Culture

The race is a human classification based on common physical or social characteristics that are acquired through hereditary inheritance.

Since the second part of the twentieth century, the race has been viewed as a primarily pseudoscientific categorization system. It is viewed by modern science as a cultural structure, an identity that is ascribed based on societal conventions.

Culture is an umbrella word that refers to the social behaviors and conventions that exist in human cultures. It is made up of different traits such as education, morals, arts, rules, conventions, skills, and so on.

It cannot be inherited; it is acquired via socialization. People developed culture through the enculturation and socialization processes.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonRaceCulture
CategoryA race is a classification of individuals based on common physical or social characteristics.Culture encompasses the social behavior and norms, knowledge, beliefs, arts, laws, customs found in human societies
CharacteristicsBased on physical characteristicsBased on social beliefs and practices
InheritanceIt is inherited through genetic factorsIt can’t be inherited; it is acquired from the society
ScopeNarrow scope as it includes limited featuresBroader scope as it covers most lifestyle characteristics
ExamplesAfrican American, Asian. Native AmericanSouth- Asian culture, Western culture

What is Race?

A race is a classification of humans into groups that are regarded as separate within a particular civilization based on common physical or social characteristics.

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The phrase was initially used to refer to presenters of a common language, and subsequently, it was used to indicate national loyalties.

By the seventeenth century, the phrase had come to allude to physical characteristics.

The race is viewed by scientific discovery as a human institution, an identity that is ascribed based on societal conventions.

Scientists all over the world think about and interpret race in several different ways even though there is universal scientific agreement that the typological and essentialist points of view on race are untenable.

Some scientists consider the concept of race is unsophisticated or intrinsically uninformed. However, some researchers also employ race to help differentiate between the observable variances in behavior and certain sets of qualities.

Other scientists also argue that race has no taxonomic relevance in human life. This is because all humans belong to the same subspecies.

The association of race with discredited notions of racial superiority has resulted in the race being increasingly considered as a primarily pseudoscientific categorization system since the second half of the twentieth century.

Although the term “race” is still used in general, it has sometimes been replaced by less ambiguous and loaded terms such as “populations,” “people,” “ethnic groupings,” or “communities,” depending on the context.


What is Culture?

Culture is an umbrella word that incorporates social behavior and conventions found in human communities, as well as the information, beliefs, arts, laws, conventions, capacities, and traditions of the people who live in these civilizations.

Culture is acquired by humans through the cognitive processing of enculturation and socialization, as seen by the diverse culture found in different civilizations.

A cultural norm helps enforce appropriate behavior and conduct. It also acts as a guideline for clothing, behavioral aspects, language, mannerisms, etc.

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It also acts as a foundation and basis for social group standards.

All human communities have cultural universals. These include forms of expression such as art, music, dance, ritual, and religion, as well as technology such as tool use, cooking, housing, and apparel.

Intangible heritage refers to components of social organization (including practices of political structures and organizational institutions), mysticism, philosophy, literary works, and science,

whereas material culture refers to physical manifestations of culture such as new technology, architecture, and art.

Culture may be an oppressive and domineering force, but it can also be a source of innovation, resistance, and freedom. It is also a critical component of human social existence and social structure.

We might not have connections or society if culture did not exist.


Main Differences Between Race and Culture

  1. Race classifies several individuals on the basis of their common physical or social characteristics, whereas culture is the social behavior and conventions, beliefs, and practices present in human communities.
  2. Race is determined by physical features, meanwhile culture is determined by social ideas and behaviors.
  3. Race is inherited through genetic factors and culture can’t be inherited; it is acquired from the society.
  4. Race has a narrow scope as it includes limited features and culture broader scope as it covers most lifestyle characteristics.
  5. Examples of race include African American, Asian. Native American and examples of culture include South- Asian culture, Western culture.
Difference Between Race and Culture
  1. https://psycnet.apa.org/record/1950-04082-000

Last Updated : 03 July, 2023

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