Week 5 Blog Post

Race and gender are socially constructed ideas based primarily on physical attributes with no actual scientific or biological basis. Race was introduced many years ago by white men to give them a sense of superiority and power over their non-white counterparts. Several different races that are acknowledged, so of which being asian, black, and white. As far as gender goes, the main two are female and male. For both gender and race, there are many people who fall into several categories, or fall into a completely different category altogether.

Determining race is mostly done be looking at ones outwards appearance but can also be determined by ones behavior. The color of ones skin, the size of their nose, or even the way they wear and style their hair can be indicators to which race you would categorize someone as. If a person had brown skin, for example, they would automatically be classified as black. If it were someone who had lighter skin, it would be more difficult to distinct just by skin color, so other features get looked at. If the person had narrow eyes, they could be categorized as asian, while someone with a bigger nose might be categorized as black. Categorizing people in this way makes it more difficult to separate people into these groups because a person could be considered white while still having features belonging to another group. An example of this would be wanting to identify someone as asian but have a larger nose, which is sometimes attributed to be being black. Another difficulty that arises from relying on these types of things to categorize people into racial groups is the fact that people can change many of these features. Take Rachel Dolezal for example, who grew up as a white woman who now has curly hair and darker skin and is identifying herself as black. Since looking at physical appearances don’t always lead to one conclusive category, more aspects must be looked at, including the way someone acts and behaves. Some behaviors that are sometimes associated with being black include being loud and using slang, which we all know is not always the case.
Gender is no longer determined just by the lack of or presence of certain body parts, like sexual and reproductive organs. Similar to race, gender can be determined by the way someone dresses or how they behave. If you were to see someone with facial hair or an Adam’s apple, you would most likely qualify them as a male. Inversely, if you were to see someone with a full face of makeup, or very dainty hands and feet, you would probably considered a woman. There are so many physical qualities like these that can easily be changed, similarly to features used to identify race. Besides someone wanting to make these cosmetic changes, they could have genetics that alter some of these aspects. An example of this would be a woman who has more facial and body hair than is normally considered for a female. Gender has for a long time been a mainly biological aspect, which is why most of what we know about it was probably learned in school or from our parents, especially during puberty. As we are being to understand that gender is more complicated, it gets talked about more in school as well as in the media.
For a long time, race was taught in schools, as if it were developed with some amount of science. When people began to realize that race was a social construct rather than a factual part of life. Since race is not really taught as it was back then, we have to consider other means of carrying on the use of race. Some of the biggest ways that the concept of race seems to stem from what we learn from our family or from television. Among families, there are usually certain values and ideas that persist for generations, sometimes including race and how they feel about people among other races. As far as television goes, actors portray many different roles and characters, which are oftentimes meant to be everyday people that we would come across. For such a long time, people who were meant to represent people who are considered black, portrayed us as things like loud and ghetto women or gang-bangers and crackheads, which paints the black race in a negative light. Even though everyone is different, if you are considered black, you could still be associated with these things. This is also strengthened by the media when a black person is involved in an issue that is deemed newsworthy. Whether they are on the news for a positive or negative reason, it still sometimes seems as though they try to paint them in a bad light if possible.

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