Social Construction of “Race” Race: A Category of people labeled and treated as similar because of some common traits such as skin color, texture of hair, and shape of eyes.
“Race” is Socially Constructed These traits are culturally determined Race has no “scientific” basis such as DNA We are born without racist attitudes, values or beliefs. It is through the process of social interaction that we acquire sets of attitudes, values, and beliefs that may contribute to racism.
Race was invented in the 18th Century Race and racism have always been connected
Some Racial Taxonomies Ancients: Us vs. Barbarians Linnaeus’ Taxonomy Nazis: Important distinction was Aryan vs. Jew South African Apartheid: Four categories (White, Black, Colored, Indian) Brazil: Wider range of fluid skin color designations United States: Most important distinction historically has been between white and non- white. U.S. officially recognizes five races plus “other” and multiple race combinations.
U.S. Racial System The U.S. racial system has focused on the white-nonwhite dichotomy
Race Race = a social construct that artificially divides people into distinct groups based on characteristics such as physical appearance (particularly skin color), ancestral heritage, cultural affiliation, cultural history, ethnic classification, and the social, economic and political needs of a society at a given period of time.
Ethnicity Ethnicity = a social construct which divides people into smaller social groups based on a shared sense of group membership, values, behavioral patterns, language, political and economic interests, history, and geography.
Culture The customs, arts, social institutions, and achievements of a particular nation, people, or social group
Cultural Racism Aspects of society that overtly & covertly attribute value and normality to white people and whiteness and devalue, stereotype, and label people of color as “other,” different, less-than, or invisible.
Institutional Racism The network of institutional structures, policies, and practices that create advantages and benefits for whites and discrimination, oppression, and disadvantages for persons of color. The advantages to whites are often invisible to them or are considered available to “everyone”