Theories and constructs of race pdf

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theories and constructs of race pdf

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As many social anthropologists have observed, daily human lives have defined by race irrespective of whether they agree with the analogy or not. The world is seen through the lens of African, Arab, Caucasian, Mexican or other tags that daily inundate our televisions.

We can examine issues of race and ethnicity through three major sociological perspectives: functionalism, conflict theory, and symbolic interactionism. As you read through these theories, ask yourself which one makes the most sense and why. Do we need more than one theory to explain racism, prejudice, stereotypes, and discrimination? In the view of functionalism, racial and ethnic inequalities must have served an important function in order to exist as long as they have. This concept, of course, is problematic.

Defining Race, Ethnicity, and Related Constructs

Understanding black American social identity has suffered from association with the race idea. Being black American is not a racial designation. The tendency to reduce color-conscious social identity to racial classification is a mistake. Yet being black American has become an elective identity: Americans with visible African ancestry no longer must count as black. But this hardly threatens black social identity and black solidarity, which continue to represent resistance to dishonor and mistreatment attaching to blackness in the United States.

Keywords: blackness , black solidarity , race , socioancestry , black social identity , social construction , racial identities , mixed race identity , MBW , mixed-race Americans , identity , identification , collective identity , racial norms , racial ontology , cosmopolitanism , identity politics , race , moral character , polylogism , Friedrich Nietzsche , effortful argon , Versuchen , self-knowledge , racialized experiments. The essays in Part III showed that in the contemporary biological sciences, there is no independent support for a taxonomy of human races.

And, in considering racism in Part VI , it became evident that racism at this time is less a matter of thoughts and feelings in individuals and more the result of institutional structures and political practices in society. The absence of real biological races and the location of racism in the effects of institutions and politics imply that race and racism are practical and ideological, matters of what people do and of values that benefit some groups in society, rather than how people intrinsically are.

In other words, race and racism are the result of historical events and power arrangements. Against that backdrop, it can be claimed that racial identities—what people are—are socially constructed. In the early twenty-first-century, most social theorists and their readers have an intuitive understanding of the concept of social construction.

Speaking very roughly, the concept of social construction is in play with regard to race whenever beliefs about biological race are dissolved or beliefs about the psyches, character traits, and cultures of different races are shown to be false. That is, if racial divisions and different behavior based on perceived racial differences persist in the lack of a biological reality of race, then what is taken to be real about race must be the result of what has happened and continues to happen in society.

Thus, insofar as the biological sciences have not supported p. To say that an identity is socially constructed is to deny that it has the objective reality ascribed to it. Rather, that identity is the result of beliefs and practices in society or specialized segments of society and it may or may not have a factual foundation apart from those beliefs and practices.

John Searle, in The Construction of Social Reality , offers an analysis that relates physical facts to mental facts, which explains social reality. One could account for ideas of race in society by making a distinction between human physicality as physical facts and mental facts such as attitudes and beliefs and also patterns of behavior based on both the prior physical and mental facts in the social world.

Analyses based on that distinction could account for how the hard physical facts of health as associated with racial difference are in fact embodiments of mental facts Gravlee Closer to the subject of race, in several, very famous, short articles, Ian Hacking introduced the idea that people are made up in the social sciences, as well as in lay society:.

How does making up people take place? By a parody of Nietzsche, two new kinds of people came into being, the hip and the square. As is the way of slang imported from another social class, both kinds had short shelf lives. But I am concerned with the human sciences, from sociology to medicine, and they are driven by several engines of discovery, which are thought of as having to do with finding out the facts, but they are also engines for making up people.

The first seven engines in the following list are designed for discovery, ordered roughly according to the times at which they became effective. The eighth is an engine of practice, the ninth of administration, and the tenth is resistance to the knowers: 1. Create Norms! Reclaim our identity! Thus, Hacking refers to professional practices of focusing on a population and distinguishing it from other populations according to available scientific and political technologies. Finally, and very specifically relating to racial groups over US history, Michael Omi and Howard Winant have provided widely received accounts of how the main US social racial groups came into existence, where before their members were not regarded as races in important or problematic ways.

The philosophical task, however, is not so much to relate how past constructions of race occurred, but to show how present and emerging constructions are not the natural or inevitable factually-based realities they are presented as being. The authors in this part examine contemporary racial identities along these lines. McPherson notes that there is no longer a legal compulsion to identify as black if one has traceable African ancestry, and that some individuals with traceable African ancestry may elect to identify as mixed race or Caribbean American.

McPherson then returns to W. Du Bois, in opposition to K. And McPherson goes a step further, suggesting that black American identity is not so much racial in the sense of having African ancestry, but socioancestral.

McPherson concludes:. These social dynamics are directly grounded in social reality, not in convictions about what races as such are. Black Americans can be more productively thought of as belonging to a larger black group—namely, a group comprising Africa-identified peoples.

Even though they change as social constructions, American racial identities have stability that can be related in historical, familial, and generational accounts of how they become constructed. A variety of motives from self-interest, to lack of racial solidarity, to a sense of justice, could motivate choosing mixed-race identity.

Passing for the race others think one is not and conforming or not to norms for racial identities raise ethical questions for members of mixed-race groups. Because these groups are the fastest growing racial category of US births, these questions of autonomy or freedom versus loyalty and constraint are not likely to blow over.

Examples range from dressing or speaking in certain ways that are or are not expected given racial identities, to more important actions of solidarity. Mallon takes racial identities to be membership in, or designation as, racial kinds. However, the reality of such kinds is disputable, but even if they were real, it is not clear how racial identities could necessitate racial norms.

A strong communal sense of racial identity could support such norms, but that kind of group cohesion is neither evident nor possible in American life, because it is not materially supported by the nature of group life. Before concluding with general skepticism about whether any racial norms can be justified, Mallon writes:. Note first that contemporary American races and ethnicities—African American, Asian American, Italian American, Jewish American, and so on—are not geographically local p.

They are rather big groups of diverse people distributed across the United States, and they have a range of different attitudes and alignments.

It is thus implausible to regard all members as in a reciprocal cooperative community with one another. While there may be spatiotemporally local conditions in which race or ethnicity is coextensive with a cooperative community, this is not the typical case for American racial identities.

Jason D. Moreover, holding a racial identity is misanthropic, because it precludes ethical interactions with other human beings on an egalitarian foundation. Still, Hill does recognize a political and moral need for a self-view that can enable advocating and acting on behalf of those who have been treated unjustly or oppressed, based on racial or other disadvantaged identities.

For ethical motivation and political and social values, Hill claims that cosmopolitanism does a much better job than any racial identity:. Unlike holders of racial identities, the cosmopolitan is both the possessor of a distinct self with a unique moral psychology and the holder of an identity suffused with real attributes. To cap a general consensus that actual moral experience is more important than fixed racial identities, based on understandings that these identities are socially constructed, this part ends with a somewhat pessimistic, but nonetheless strengthening, perspective.

It, therefore, requires courage. Gilroy, Paul. Against Race. Find this resource:. Hacking, Ian. Accessed May 16, Omi, Michael, and Howard Winant. Racial Formation in the United States. New York: Routledge.

Searle, John R. The Construction of Social Reality. New York: Simon and Schuster. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice.

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Search within In This Article. Closer to the subject of race, in several, very famous, short articles, Ian Hacking introduced the idea that people are made up in the social sciences, as well as in lay society: How does making up people take place?

Hacking , 5 Thus, Hacking refers to professional practices of focusing on a population and distinguishing it from other populations according to available scientific and political technologies. Before concluding with general skepticism about whether any racial norms can be justified, Mallon writes: Note first that contemporary American races and ethnicities—African American, Asian American, Italian American, Jewish American, and so on—are not geographically local p.

Find this resource: p. Find this resource: Hacking, Ian. Find this resource: Omi, Michael, and Howard Winant.

What We Mean When We Say 'Race Is a Social Construct'

Andrew Sullivan and Freddie Deboer have two pieces up worth checking out. I disagree with Andrew's though I detect some movement in his position. The problem with people who argue for inherent racial inferiority is not that they lie about the results of IQ tests, but that they are credulous about those tests and others like them when they shouldn't be; that they misunderstand the implications of what those tests would indicate even if they were credible; and that they fail to find the moral, analytic, and political response to questions of race and intelligence. I think this is a good point, but I want to expand it. Most of the honest writing I've seen on "race and intelligence" focuses on critiquing the idea of "intelligence. As Freddie mentions here , I had a mathematician stop past to tell me I needed to stop studying French, and immediately start studying statistics -- otherwise I can't possibly understand this debate.


pdf. O'Neil, Moira. Invisible Structures of Opportunity: How Media Depictions of. Race Trivialize Issues of Diversity and Disparity. Washington.


Why Social Constructs Are Created

A social construct is something that exists not in objective reality, but as a result of human interaction. It exists because humans agree that it exists. Some examples of social constructs are countries and money.

Understanding black American social identity has suffered from association with the race idea. Being black American is not a racial designation. The tendency to reduce color-conscious social identity to racial classification is a mistake. Yet being black American has become an elective identity: Americans with visible African ancestry no longer must count as black. But this hardly threatens black social identity and black solidarity, which continue to represent resistance to dishonor and mistreatment attaching to blackness in the United States.

This questioning gained momentum in the s during the U. They thus came to believe that race itself is a social construct, a concept that was believed to correspond to an objective reality but which was believed in because of its social functions. Craig Venter and Francis Collins of the National Institute of Health jointly made the announcement of the mapping of the human genome in There are no bright lines that would stand out , if we could compare all the sequenced genomes of everyone on the planet. Moreover, they argue that biology will not explain why or how people use the idea of race: History and social relationships will.

COMMENT 1

  • Critical race theory CRT , the view that the law and legal institutions are inherently racist and that race itself, instead of being biologically grounded and natural, is a socially constructed concept that is used by white people to further their economic and political interests at the expense of people of colour. Mentpecentchild - 04.06.2021 at 03:57

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