Blog Post 3.

Race. According to ole’ Merriam Webster, the definition of race states, ‘a category of humankind that shares certain distinctive physical traits.’ Interestingly enough, the American Anthropological Association (AAA) suggests that the idea of “race” has always carried more meanings than mere physical differences, which I believe resonates with most of us. Well, actually, perhaps I should just speak for myself on this one. Resonates with me. Although ‘race’ was originally coined to distinguish physical traits amongst humans, the word ‘race’ has become undeniably universal in terms of identifying different groups of people. When you think of the word, ‘race’, (Okay, again, when I think of the word ‘race’) my mind tends to jump to specific groups of people that embody, not only a different skin color, but different beliefs, values, cultural habits, etc. However, there are no differences, biologically, amongst humans. Society, unfortunately, has led us to think that initially-that there are distinctive, biological differences amongst people. That tends to be the issue when describing this to someone who is unfamiliar with the topic.

 

Being an Interdisciplinary Studies major, I’ve been able to take a handful of classes that have touched upon this topic. Even with a relative background knowledge of the topic, I still tend to associate race as a difference in humans that surpasses just physical appearance, at times. However, I know that, biologically we are all the same. Yes, there’s variations in humans but internally, for the most part, we are the same. I think the tricky part about explaining this topic, would mainly be trying to break society’s definition of race. Fortunately for me, I grew up in a household that accepted everyone and anyone, regardless of their skin color. However, that’s not necessarily true for everyone. There remains several people in the world today who see a different skin color as a divider between that person and themselves. Which, I feel like is the reason it may be tough to really conceptualize the idea of one, unified sense of humankind. When ideas have been passed down from generation to generation, it often times is seemingly trickier to break that thought mold.

 

Regarding the articles we had to read- I thought they were both pretty interesting. However, even more so I thought it was nice that they were easy to read and comprehend. I think that having the ability to reference either of these articles, especially the American Anthropology Association perspective, would make describing this topic a little bit easier. Which, maybe this sounds relatively nerdy but I get excited that the general population has access to this kind of material. Now, granted, it may not be the type of information that people are really going out of their way to find on your average Friday but both of these associations do a great job at explaining this topic in layman’s terms. Well, at least I think so. I especially found the third paragraph in the AAPA Statement on Biological Aspects of Race, interesting because it talks about the nonexistence of ‘pure races’. That’s literally never existed and yet, for some people, that’s a common belief.

 

Race to me really is such an interesting topic because it’s somehow managed to become so subjective. So many different people have so many varying opinions on the subject.

 

2 thoughts on “Blog Post 3.

  1. Hi,

    I like that you described what race means to you and I agree that initially, most people use race as a way to distinguish groups of people. This can be easily observed when you fill out a form and it asks you to indicate your race. Perhaps this type of language should be altered, as the readings suggested, to be more accurate. Instead, it could say origin, or even geographical origin to be more specific. I also agree that educating someone on the non-existence of race can be difficult depending on the type of household that they grew up in. Even in a household where all different “races” are accepted, there still may be stereotyping. For example, the notion that all Italian families are loud or that all Middle Eastern people are tan. Those stereotypes that are non-offensive and completely harmless can also contribute to the idea that there are biological differences among races which we now know to be untrue.

  2. also find it hard to break away from the common beliefs on race, that these clusters of physical traits somehow correlate one’s personality or preferences. I also grew up in a family that accepted everyone and I am very grateful for that. To judge others solely on their skin color really closes the world off and makes it impossible to connect with a lot of truly wonderful people. It either seems exhausting to constant be on guard when interacting with someone you perceive as different or incredibly lazy to make faceless assumptions without taking the time and effort to find more about a person. I worry that I still make assumptions and generalizations despite the fact that I know them not to be true. When I’m friends and family we often joke about the generalizations that our races have been assigned. I’m mixed race Asian and Caucasian and I have friends of many other races. Though this can be a fun conversation I sometimes wonder what it means. Partially it’s a way to laugh at the people that act differently towards us. Is it also defensive? Are we actually hurt by the casual racism and this is an attempt to laugh it off? Do we sort of believe the things supposably dismissing? Is it part of pride? Are we boosting about the traits our race supposably gifted us with? It’s interesting to think about what our race actually means to us and what it would be like if it wasn’t one of our main identifiers.

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