Racialization

The way I see racialization, it’s an example of viewing race as a social construct. It is a way to differentiate groups of people by the color of skin and how these different groups hold different ranks in society or equal/unequal treatments.

I see racialization frequently. In movies, music, books, etc.  A movie which is a very interesting example of racialization, is the children’s movie Shark Tale. In Shark Tale the different fish (society) represent different racial groups. For example, Oscar, the main character, is considered to be Black. The villain, Lino, represents the Italian mobsters from New York. We can tell that these characters represent these groups because of the way they talk and their lifestyle. For example, Oscar is represented as a “thug” who lives in the poorer area of the reef. I give this example because these types of movies/books/etc. help create the racialization process at an early age by telling kids, “Hey, this is how society works, this is who you are. This group of people is more superior than this one.” While I think Shark Tale is a great movie, it is important to also see the “behind-the-scenes” influence in can have on it’s audience even if it is not intentional.

If I was explaining the Gould/Morton controversy, I would say both of them were wrong. While I don’t think Morton’s claims are true, regardless of Gould’s inaccuracies, I also think it was wrong of Gould to speculate. It seems like they both found what they wanted. As much as Morton may have manipulated his results to correlate race and intelligence, Gould may have manipulated his own results because he wanted to prove Morton wrong. I think Gould had good intentions but let his biases get the best of him, just like Morton did.

One thought on “Racialization

  1. I think you are absolutely correct as to your analysis of the Gould and Morton controversy. It is ironic that Gould was preaching about how biased Morton was, while at the same time he was being biased himself. Morton’s manipulation of his results, however small it may have been, is inexcusable. I think that this calls to attention how important peer review in the scholarly world. It is on the onus of the other scholars in the field to check each other’s work. Scientific studies, especially, are too important to let false work pass as canon. I would be interested to see what would have happened had Morton’s work been submitted today as opposed to 40 years ago. The tools scientists have today help prevent measurement errors. However, with the advent of the internet, scholarly review is wildly easier than it was back in the mid 70’s. Thus, I think Morton’s finding would not have even reached the wide number of anthropologists because someone would have checked his measurements.

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