An optional choice. You can turn on extra Character Settings before the game begins, such as Races and Lineages.
Each race has certain draw backs, and bonuses. At low levels, the draw backs outnumber the bonuses; but since they gain bonuses as they level up, and don't gain any (or many) drawbacks, if races is active there is no reason not to pick one. They are similar to Classes that way.

Races can be altered by a number of Lineages.

This is a list of known races, which is far from complete: