“what is race”

I asked six strangers abut  the question “what is race”, I think maybe I am in China, people rarely think about the question about race, most of their first response is “ Do you mean the 56 ethnic groups?”. Actually the question confused me. I am not sure whether different ethic group means different race. To me, in china, most of the ethic groups are the same race but with different culture or religious belief. The connotation of race are more incline to different physical features such as hair color, skin color and eye color. But that is just my thought. The answer I get include that race means different type of DNA, black people, yellow people, white people, brown people…Some people answered that race is about different religious belief or culture belief.  When I am in U.S., I think race maybe is a sensitive issue. The topic may make some people feel uncomfortable. While in China, people are pretty open about it. They became really talkative when I ask about this question. One interesting thing I heard from one person I interviewed  is that: “Chinese, Japanese and Korean are from the same race, while Korean are a little different from Chinese and Japanese, they have more narrow eyes.” I did not mean to be offensive, this is what I got from them.

I think for this assignment, I should do more research at first. At least I should understand the definition of race myself. People tend to answer the question with the key words of skin color and culture and religious beliefs. For me, race is not about culture or religious beliefs, it can only tells different ancestors we have in regard to their physical appearances. It is not limited to skin color.



One thought on ““what is race”

  1. Liusiyu,

    I agree with you that defining race can be difficult when we think about all of the socially constructs that have been planted in our minds about people’s skin tones and physical appearances. However, one thing that I always keep in mind is that there is only one race–the human race. Understanding that people from various cultures and ethical backgrounds can have many varying features and we can not based a persons appearance on what box we believe they should fit into. You did a wonderful job with your post and I like that you aren’t afraid to acknowledge that educating yourself will only help enhance your understanding of what race truly is.



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