Week 1 Activity- What is Race

At first place, I want to say that this is not a very simple activity for me to carry on. Finally, I found six strangers from the street with different age, gender, ace, class and etc. Six people provide me different answers of “what is race”, and most of them are hesitating when they tried to answer this question. Most of them said with the sentence patterns of “I think race is maybe…” or they add some words like “I’m not pretty sure about the answer”. Most of the answers involved a “group of people”, some of the answers involve the skin color, language, and customs.

Something surprised me from this activity was four of six people were not sure about their answers of “what is race”. But they all expressed their ideas clearly in the end. The reason that why I was surprised about it was I think people should be certain about this question since they may learn or contact to the definition of “race” before. What did I learn from this assignment about the ways people think and talk about race is how to summarize the thing or items that you are not that certain with. There was a man nearly 60 years old told me very clearly about what is race connecting with the group of people sharing the similar cultural practices and physical characteristics. He then provided me some examples.

I think one very important thing that I learn from this assignment about conducting anthropological research is I, myself need do the good preparation. Firstly, I need to have a basic understanding of the item, and then when I asked the question to others I need get good preparation of what he or she may asked you. Another thing is I need to be flexible when he or she could not say anything about the term. These are the activity that I carried on of asking “what is race” to strangers.

One thought on “Week 1 Activity- What is Race

  1. I, too, encountered people that had difficulty in answering the question of, “What is race?”. All but one of my respondents indicated it was a difficult or complicated question. I also had a respondent flat refuse to answer me. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that several of my respondents indicated they knew there is no biological evidence that humans have subspecies categories. Therefore, we are one species that happens to have different physical traits. There is no such thing as race defined by physical traits. That means that the definitions of race that any one person harbors has nothing to do with their physical traits, it has to do with their socially constructed views of race. A person’s cultural upbringing has a direct relationship to their definition of race, and racism.

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