Racism refers to prejudices held against a person or group of people because of their race. Though often conflated, race and ethnicity are distinct concepts, each of which functions as a symbolic designation of a person's ancestry and cultural background. Originally conceived as a biological category, race once implied physiological distinctions among people, while ethnicity indicated membership in a cultural group. Because no scientific evidence exists to support fundamental genetic differences among races, scientists consider race a socially constructed category. While cultural signifiers such as language, fashion, and cuisine serve important functions in determining both someone's race and ethnicity, physical features, particularly skin color, play a central role in most understandings of race. The idea that race is a legitimate...

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