Race as a Social Construct

Before commenting on my posts, please understand my experience about race may differ from yours because I am a Black woman. My intent is not to attack any non-Black racial group at all, but to address my expressed opinion about race as I see it in the States.

Reading both required articles had me eager to hurry and finish them. I am not the least bit surprised that race has caused racism and asserting that Europeans/Whites are superior to any other cultural/racial group of people. With heated debates about racism, I love that these articles acknowledge that this exists. It is as if racism is taboo in the United States due to races not wanting to acknowledge what took place in history and what continues to take place today–institutionalized racism. Therefore, according to these researchers on this topic, racism exists and it is used as a mechanism of control. Looking at urban cities, Black, urban youth lack many resources afforded to white, affluent neighborhoods. This segregation that took place many years ago through the creation of highways, red zones, and the denial of loans to Blacks, etc. has created this oppressed group and can also be tied to the strain theory. However, I think that labels (or identifying someone by their race) are important. Life cannot exist without labels. Imagine a cop being called to a scene and everyone has on the same thing  and there is no mention of race. This would cause problems and may lead to unlawful arrest of said person. As an African-American, many of my peers within the Black community prefer to be acknowledged as a Black man/Black woman. We believe that the label “Black” has a lot of culture and history behind it. Culture stemming from beliefs, practices, behaviors, attitudes, etc. that exist within the Black community and make us unique. Instead of refusing to acknowledge our unique differences, we should be embracing one another’s differences. After all, life would be pretty boring if we were all the same color, with the same culture, beliefs, hair, etc. I think it is an opportunity to educate one another and spread this knowledge onto others.

If I had to explain the non-existence of biological race, I would explain that race is a social construct, created by Europeans, to control persons of darker skin and justify slavery. I would also tell them that anthropologists use three broad demographics to classify people. These three demographics are European, Asian, and African ancestry. Anthropologists have identified these characteristics based on skull findings. For example, those with African ancestry have larger naval cavities while Europeans have more narrow naval cavities. I would also mention that while race has caused racism, one must understand why it was created. It was created by the Europeans to be the superior race and justify slavery. This social construct has led to the mass genocide, brutal beatings, lynchings and rapes of Native Americans, Africans, and African-Americans. So while it is a social construct to oppress darker skinned people, race, according to anthropologists does not exist.

3 thoughts on “Race as a Social Construct

  1. Hello!

    I could not have agreed with a blog post more! I was really hoping that an African American or even a different POC would speak out on what they thought about this week’s readings and lecture and tie it with their own beliefs with their race. I agree with you that there should be labels and labels are important, it’s just the stereotypes that need to go. As an Asian woman I would just like it for people to try to understand the racial differences and also understand that a person’s ethnicity is also ingrained in their everyday life from family traditions and composes who they are as a person. If we as humans embraced differences even with topics other than race/ethnicity such as fat-shaming or slut-shaming the world would be such a better place.

  2. Hey Aaliyah,
    I just read your post and I just wanted to say thank you for sharing your thoughts on this. I completely agree with you and find it extremely unfortunate that so many negative connotations have been attached to people of other ancestries by those of European decent purely because of their ability to do so in the past. However, I also wanted to thank you for bringing up the present in the way that you did. I believe that so many white people in the past were willing to listen to bad science in order to ignore the injustices that they were committing against other groups. But no one wants to believe that this is still happening today, because the face of racism has changed. While slavery has been legally eradicated and progress has been made, white people are still ignoring their injustices instead of making the changes necessary in order for equality to exist. For this reason, I think it is most important to listen to people of minorities and hear what they have to say, because they know their injustices better than anyone. I truly hope for a better future and for more ears to be opened to these injustices.
    Thank you, again, for your post,
    Julia

  3. Your blog post was really interesting. I agree with you that race is socially constructed, and its a way to make one race more superior. In your post you mentioned that black communities don’t have the same resources as white communities, I agree. However, I also believe that the black community aren’t as aware and educated of their resources, and since we’re unaware of them we don’t utilize them. Overall your post was very insightful and you made a good point as to why the concept of race even exist.

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