Race: an ethnic group, regarded as showing a common origin and descent; a tribe, nation, or people, regarded as of common stock. In early use freq. with modifying adjective, as in british race, roman race, etc. (oed) Thee are no genetic characteristics processed by all blacks but not by non-blacks similarly, there is no gene or cluster of genes common to all white but not to non-whites. ian f. When it first appeared in english around the beginning of the 16th century, the word race" had a fairly neutral meaning, referring simple to different kinds of people or things. By the late 18th century, the term was increasingly used to designate fixed, biological, and hierarchical differences between people. It became, in other words, caught up in the currency of power. Racism" is not so much a product of the concept of race as the very reason for its existence.