Week 2 Analytical Post

Racialization is the act of grouping people into races in order to guide one as to how to treat them based on their group membership.  This can be as simple as seeing a darker-skinned man walking down the street, classifying him as African-American, and becoming tense or assuming he may cause a crime because of how he looks.  In reality, that man has a distinct personality, dreams, wants, and behaviors that may or may not fit into a closed minded definition.  One of the most blatant examples of racialization was the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.  A white man saw a dark-skinned man in a hoodie and immediately racialized him as a threat as an African-American.  He then proceeded to shoot him without provocation because of this racialization, and the opinions he had of that race, in his mind.

The Gould/Morton controversy is a fascinating one.  In the mid 19th century, Samuel Morton, an American anthropologist, published skull measurements of various people from various races.  He then proceeded to conclude that Caucasians has the largest skulls and, therefore, had the largest brains and were the smartest.  Stephen Jay Gould published a book in 1981 called The Mismeasure of Man, claiming that Morton had misrepresented his data based on his own racial biases and his data was, therefore incorrect.  In 2011, scientists evaluated Gould’s claims and concluded his claims were overstated and incorrect.  I think that Gould’s inaccuracies do not necessarily lend credibility to Morton’s claims, rather they call for a need for further investigation.  Gould clearly overstated and fudged the data, but that does not necessarily mean Morton’s data was without bias.  I would like to see another skull measurement study done to see how far off, if at all, Morton’s findings were.

6 thoughts on “Week 2 Analytical Post

  1. I completely agree with your definition of racialization. Too often people are quick to judge others based on the color of their skin and a stereotype they have in their mind. I used a similar way of words to describe what I thought it was, an elaborated that it can be influenced by the media and our every day interactions. The example of Trayvon Martin really supports your definition of racialization in that it’s an act of grouping people into races in order to guide one as to how to treat them based on their group membership. That was unfortunately the case for Trayvon Martin, as well as many other African Americans. I talked about the Black Lives Matter movement and how it has become an outcome of radicalization. It is sad that these notions have become so engrained in our society that violence is taking place and becoming the “new norm”.

    The Gould/Morton controversy is still relevant today. Though Morton’s measurements matched up to the best he could do during the 19th century I think that it needs to be held accountable that he identified multiple skulls incorrectly (not sure if it was with or without his knowledge), giving him the results he yielded. Did he simply assigned skulls as he measured their capacity, to claim Caucasians had the largest brains with the most intelligence? I’m not sure. In a sense, Gould does a similar thing during his experiment. Gould’s inaccuracies with his own measurements I think represents that he had his own bias coming into the evaluation of Morton’s results. I agree with you that there should be more experiments done to see how far off Morton was with his results, but for simply the fact that he did identify things incorrectly and the concept of race has vastly changed from what it might have been during the time that he was alive.

  2. I agree with your racialization definition and I love how you wrote the example of the Trayvon Martin incident. I wish racialization wasn’t a problem, but sadly in our society it exists and happens on a every day basis. Even all the new incidents that being happening, like in Baton Rouge and Minneapolis, have been cases of racialization. These cases are so sad and breaks my heart, I just hope that the violence will eventually cease to exist and we can all be one.

    I think Samuel Morton conclusions and predictions about the skulls was really silly to me. For him to think that since Caucasians has the largest skulls therefore, had the largest brains and were the smartest was very bias. I agree with you, I also think they should do another skull measurement study. Overall, you made really good points, and I really did love your Trayvon Martin example.

  3. I really like the definition you gave for racialization and I completely agree. Your example I thought was very good as well given everything that’s been going on these past few weeks with the Black Lives Matter movement.
    Being from Puerto Rico, we’ve never felt like we undergo racialization because we are so mixed. We only knew cultural differences between races from what we saw in movies or heard on the radio. That’s why I used the example of movies in my post. Through racialization, movies unconsciously show us who belongs where according to the rules society has set.

  4. I really like the definition you gave for racialization and I completely agree. Your example I thought was very good as well given everything that’s been going on these past few weeks with the Black Lives Matter movement.
    Being from Puerto Rico, we’ve never felt like we undergo racialization because we are so mixed. We only knew cultural differences between races from what we saw in movies or heard on the radio. That’s why I used the example of movies in my post. Through racialization, movies unconsciously show us who belongs where according to the rules society has set.

  5. I really like how you brought up the idea that by assuming a black man will cause harm or commit a crime you are being extremely closed minded. It is impossible to look at someone and know who they are and what they stand for just based on how they look. While profiling may happen naturally, it is important not to act on it and to take a step back and really think about what you are doing. There are people who commit crimes every day who look completely different from each other! Race has nothing to do with it.
    I also agree that Gould’s inaccuracies do not lend credibility to Morton’s claims. You bring up a good point, I think that more investigation would have to take place after because we do not necessarily have enough information.

  6. I wholly agree on your comment on racism. I once saw something on facebook that mentioned that even if you are trying not to be racist, it can still be really hard to not be racist. For if you see a black man on a sidewalk coming towards you and you move to the other side of the road, you are racist. But if you stay on the same side of the road because you know that moving to the other side will clearly label you as racist, that is still a racist action. What this points out is that unless you have a pure mentality on race, it can be a difficult loop to get out of, though I believe that education is something that can fix many people’s skewed prejudices.
    I also once saw a video where a black man and a white man were sitting on a couch watching the news and a story comes up about a black man committing a crime and the black man is thinking “Oh jeez, I hope people do not start hating me and my entire race for this.” It is a horrible thing that for some races, this is there reality. A white person would never watch the news and have these worries. If a white person commits a crime we blame the person. But if a black or Latino person, or even someone from another race commits a crime then many people are ready to jump and blame the race for the crime.

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