Race realism is the view that biological (genetic) human races exist, in opposition to race denialism, such as considering races arbitrary social constructs. Critics tend to dislike the term race realism and to prefer terms such as racialism, easily confused with racism.
Arguments regarding the existence of races
Jean Philippe Rushton stated in 2002:
Today most scientists and historians engaged in the serious study of race do so from either the race-realist or the hermeneutical perspective. On one side, those I have termed race-realists view race as a natural phenomenon to be observed, studied, and explained. They believe human race is a valid biological concept, similar to sub-species or breeds or strains. On the other side, those I term the hermeneusticists view "race" as an epiphenomenon, (like gender as opposed to "sex") a mere social construction, with political and economic forces as the real causal agents. Rather than actually research race, hermeneuticists research those who study race. Alternative and intermediate positions certainly exist, but the most heated debate currently takes place between advocates of those polar positions.
The race-realist approach is empirical and employs a myriad of scientific methodologies, including surveys, social demography, IQ and personality tests, and behavior genetic analyses (e.g. twin studies). The hermeneutical approach relies on textual, historical, and political analysis. The race-realist viewpoint is descriptive, explanatory, and typically avoids prescribing policy. Because the hermeneutical viewpoint sees inexorable links between theory and practice, its writings are often prescriptive and assume an advocacy position. To their opponents, the race-realist approach comes across as cold, detached, and suspect of hiding a "racist" agenda. Hermeneuticists appear to race-realists as muddled, heated, and ideologically committed to an anti-racist activism.
- Rushton, J. P. (2002). The Pioneer Fund and the scientific study of human differences. Albany Law Review, 66, 207-262 http://psychology.uwo.ca/faculty/rushtonpdfs/ALR.pdf