Despite the erroneous origins of the term race and its modern usurpation by advanced studies in biological anthropology, American society at large (and elsewhere) and mental health professionals continue to place great cultural and psychological value on the term. The main dilemma facing the scientific community today seems to be the experimental deficiency of the term race (as a physiologically empty distinction) and its widespread cultural instrumentality. It is maintained in this paper that the current usage of the term race, as perpetuated by clients, professionals, and systems in the mental health profession, is outdated, misleading, and sometimes destructive. .
The Historical Development of the Term Race.
We are all familiar with the dangerous capacity of the term race to be used for manipulation and bigotry - when some men champion their race as superior and others inferior. The Nazi's under Hitler engaged in perpetuating this perverted ideology, claiming the white race to be inherently superior in the eyes of God and Nature herself. This lauded myth of superior races did not arise overnight, but in fact has a historical development and can be traced back to the grandiloquent but deeply flawed theories of two prominent 18th century scientists - Carl Linnaeus and Johann Blumenbach. In 1735, Linnaeus published a biological schema used to classify plants and animals titled Systems of Nature, which later became the foundation for modern taxonomy (Marks, 1995). Linnaeus sought to classify the animal species Homo sapiens into subspecies, which he called races, identified across geographical regions. Homo sapiens americanus, for example, were a group from America "given the color red, the humor choleric, and the posture upright ", while the group from Europe, Homo sapiens europaeus, are described as "white, optimistic, and muscular, gentle, active, very smart, inventive, and covered with close vestments " (Cameron & Wycoff, 1998).