Color terminology for race  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Identifying human races in terms of skin color, at least as one among several physiological characteristics, has been common since antiquity. Via rabbinical literature, the division is received in early modern scholarship, mostly in four to five categories. It was long recognized that the number of categories is arbitrary and subjective. François Bernier (1684) doubted the validity of using skin color as a racial characteristic, and Charles Darwin emphasized the gradual differences between categories.

The modern categorization was coined at the Göttingen School of History in the late 18th century – in parallel with the Biblical terms for race Semitic, Hamitic and Japhetic – dividing mankind into five colored races: "Caucasian or White", "Mongolian or Yellow", "Aethiopian or Black", "American or Red race" and "Malay or Brown race".

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Color terminology for race" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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