Anthropologists popularized the notion that Europeans evolved from a smarter set of pre-humans than did Africans and Asians. Anthropologists disseminated the idea that there were distinct races, of which the Europeans were the most genetically advanced. These anthropologists made a lot of money from selling books since many people were looking to relieve bad consciences from the treatment they saw accorded to Africans and Asians.
Many European people used anthropology to justify inhuman treatment of Africans and Asians on the basis that they were not fully human. Other European people used anthropology to justify the extermination of certain ‘races” on the basis that such “races” were different species or gene pools competing with a single European gene pool in an evolutionary battle. After tens of millions of people died in genism-justified racial and ethnic holocausts, anthropologists at the end of the 20th century apologized for all the horror. Anthropology reinvented itself as a non-racial science.
Now the anthropologists say their predecessors had been just plain wrong all along. It is admitted that most anthropologists were frank racists who used scientific jargon and methods, often fraudulently, to support their prejudices. Today, anthropologists tell us they are sure that race has no biological or genetic meaning. Modern anthropology is based on the fact that all people have evolved from common ancestors.
200+ years of anthropological race was fiction. 200+ years of anthropological racism was real. A whole lot of people were hurt very badly by the cloak of credibility anthropology gave to bigots, genists, racists and xenophobes. We must not let it happen again.
One theory is that all humans alive today evolved directly from a single tribe or woman in Africa that lived a couple hundred thousand years ago. Therefore, we are all part of a single race. And that skin tone and facial feature variations just reflect inbreeding of random mutations among geographically isolated communities. This is called the Eve Theory or the Out of Africa Theory. The basis of this theory is the tremendous similarity in the DNA of all people. No matter what their external appearance is.
A second theory is that all humans alive today evolved from different pre-human communities that lived in different parts of the world several hundred thousand years ago. This theory also believes that we are all part of a single human race because the globally separated pre-human communities still interacted with each other (via conquest or otherwise) and exchanged genes (consensual or rape).
Furthermore, this theory believes that the globally separated pre-human communities all evolved from common ancient African pre-humans millions of years ago. This is called the Multi-Regionalism Theory.