Socially Constructed Racism

by James Coyle on September 14, 2016 - 9:32am

Socially Constructed Racism

Race is a social construct, which means that it is an element of society which was created by man. Although it is common belief that there exists many different races of humans, all of them stereotypically having strengths and weaknesses, science demonstrates that there exists only the human race, and there are several reasons why. In the article “Race Without Color”, by Jared Diamond, it is mentioned that there exist several different valid ways of classifying races(Diamond, 1994, Par 5). In the case of humans, the outcome of the classification depends on which method is used, and using different methods will yield different results(Diamond, 1994, Par 5). It follows logically that humans cannot be split into races at all(Diamond, 1994, Par 5). It amazes me to think about this fact. I could have more genetic material in common with someone in Asia than someone who lives next door to me. The racism that I have witnessed throughout the course of my life, particularly towards people of color, is based on races which exist socially and have no scientific basis. All my life I have heard talk of different races, as it is something which seems to be socialized into us. It shocks met to realize that the races which I have been taught to separate and classify do not actually exist. It also disappoints me that although this information has been readily available for at least 22 years, and yet I still hear talk of races every day. It seems that as a society we are too stubborn to drop the socially constructed races we have been taught to use and accept that we actually are just one big race. This new gained knowledge has definitely impacted the way in which I see the world in the past few weeks. It feels good to accept that we are all one big race, and not so different from one another as was once thought.

326 words

Diamond, J. (2016, Winter). Race Without Color. In A. Nouvet (Ed.), Anthropology 381-101-LA: The Myth of Race and the Reality of Racism. Saint-Lambert, QC: Champlain. 

Comments

To me the idea of race is not solely based on color. I do understand that race is man made, but each race has its own culture. There are even other culture's within races. But I believe being able to identify with a certain race give's one pride in their way of life. I think instead of looking at the world as "one big race" i would like to see more acceptance of differences.

I was really drawn to this post as I always saw race a social construct created by societies to put other ones down. Although I, white male have never been truly subjected to it in my lifetime it bothers me that people who inflict discrimination upon others for a different appearance. But then I also think that it is not only the people who are racist who need to change but also the institutions that have made them into what they are, because really, we are taught racism without even knowing it.

I believe that the biggest issue is that we believe our skin tone defines our race. Race is much more than your skin color, hair color, or other physical attributes. When I think of race, I think of culture. The values and ways of life that an individual has chosen to live by. Society views race mainly as the color of a persons skin. When one says caucasian. the mind goes to a person with white skin, maybe even what people like to consider a "basic white girl." But lets disregard the color of skin. Instead, lets focus on that person individually. Where they were born and raised, how they were raised, the morals that they have, their belief system, their hobbies. Let's use the "basic white girl" as an example, seeing as we are all of the same age range and the majority have probably heard this at some point. Some characteristics of a "basic white girl," would be a girl that wears Uggs, a Northface jacket, and drinks coffee from Starbucks and maybe even listens to Taylor Swift, or "T-Swifty". These are just a few characteristics that people would associate with a "basic white girl." Now if you look at another female that is not, socially speaking, "caucasian" instead they are, "Indian" or "Asian" or perhaps "African American," and they share these same characteristics as a "basic white girl," what does that make them then? The color of your skin does not determine your behavior, furthermore, it shouldn't and doesn't determine their race or culture that they truly fit into.

I really enjoyed reading your post because I never thought of race that way. Race has always been a way to identify where a person is from, our their culture in our society. It is a weird concept that it is mostly just something we have made up. There have been wars waged and millions of lives taken over races because people couldn't stand being different, when in reality that's only how we as human perceive things. At the end of the day our genetics can are really much more similar then we may have originally have thought. It is not something scientific that makes us different, its just how we are raised, where we live or how we look that really determines what people classify us as. I feel as if I have gained another perceptive after reading your post.

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