Humans define race by how they conceive and categorize different social realities. Thus, race is often referred to as a social construct. The differences in skin color and facial characteristics have led most of society to classify humans into groups instead of individuals. These constructs affect us all, and they often result in situations where majority racial groups cause undue suffering to those that are part of the minority. The understanding of race as a social construct is best illustrated by the examination of racial issues within our own culture, specifically those that have plagued the history of the United States.
In society, race clearly affects one’s life chances. These are the chances of getting opportunities and gaining experience for progression. The social construction of race is based on privileges and availability of resources. Looking at society and the formation of race in a historical context, whites have always held some sort of delusional belief of a “white-skin privilege.” This advantage grants whites an advantage in society whether one desires it or not. This notion is often commonly referred to as reality.
Race is a hot topic in our world. We all think we know what race is. After all, we are constantly being bombarded with it whether it be from media, politics, or sports. The truth is that race does not revolve around the idea of biological traits or characteristics. It is a modern concept that we as a society have created to divide people into categories. I will argue that race is socially constructed from a biological, political history, and sociological standpoint, and how it may impact other areas of our society.
Have you ever wondered how far back in our history the world has been full of hate, prejudice, and rage? It has been seen in the form of war, mass genocide, enslavement, and even something minimal compared to the others, like riots and looting for centuries. Despite this common knowledge, there are many forms of violence, injustice, and rage that go unseen. Carol Anderson’s, White Rage, dives deep into the idea that maybe the worst forms of rage do not come from the most obvious and attention-capturing events, but the ones who stay hidden and subside deep in their privileged and ‘noble’ positions. She wants to show you, through the eyes of a minority, what it is like to constantly be looked past and looked down upon. Anderson argues the fact that no matter how many laws and regulations are put into place to cease the existence of racism, the rage in America continues to thwart African American advancement. Through precisely compelling choice of words and a structural design that pulls everything apart only to piece it back together to form a much larger picture, Anderson brings rage, the white rage, into a new and different light. This shows readers the depth of the racial problems in our country through a recap of groundbreaking historical events, advancing or obstructing African Americans, along with the white backlash.
Race is a particularly powerful way of maintaining the dominance of the social group in power. The construct of race is about stratification, which puts a racially justified hierarchy among people in society to keep the dominant social group in power. Stratification can influence the resources an individual receives. Therefore, social workers sometimes use a theoretical approach called, Critical Race Theory (CRT), to guide their work in making certain general assumptions about issues of power, race, ethnicity, and racism. This is because CRT is an alternative theory that offers a radical lens to make sense of racial inequality in society, which could prove useful when analyzing a client’s situation. The
The overarching theme of critical race theory is centered on race and racism, however in higher education, critical race scholars recognize that racial identity and this form of oppression (racism) intersects with other subordinated identities (such as gender, class, religion, ability/disability, sexual orientation, etc.) and forms of oppression (sexism, homophobia, ableism, etc.) to influence People of Color’s lived experiences (Bartlett & Brayboy, 2005; Brayboy 2005; Kumasi, 2011; Lynn & Adams, 2002; Solórzano & Yosso, 2001). This means that in higher education, critical race theory challenges the dominate discourse on race and racism as it relates to educational theory, policy and practice (Solórzano, 1998).
Despite changes in the landscape for treatment of ethnic minorities in the United States over the past 200 years, issues with racism has never stopped being an issue and continues to tarnish and tatter the very fabric of our nation. There has been a history of violence against Black people that dates back 400 years, to a time when the first slave was forcefully brought here to the USA (Rogers, 2015). From that time on, people of African descent have been dehumanized and treated as second-class citizens and this has become an ongoing community issue (Diversi, 2016). Racial classification was created as a way to condone slavery and maintain the primacy of the white race (Tolliver, Hadden, Snowden, & Manning, 2016). Aymer (2016) explains that the Critical Race Theory (CRT) provides a way to understand that the violence that Blacks face in America originates from the societal belief in White superiority and, when trying to understand the Black reality, centuries of racial oppression must be discussed (Aymer, 2016). CRT acknowledges that racism is primarily a problem in America and has contributed to the social disparities in the U.S. In addition, it notes other forms of oppression that are important to discuss and work through. CRT does not believe in the legal rhetoric that there is an impartial, equal way of dealing with individuals in the community that has nothing to do with color and everything to do with achievement and hard work. It also takes on an interdisciplinary
An intelligent Black boy, who dumbs himself down to avoid criticism. The Hispanic girl who stays at home to take care of her family, instead of going to school. The Asian who pursues a career in medicine, despite wanting to be an actor. All of these strange actions can be explained by the Critical Race Theory. In short, the Critical Race Theory examines how victims of racism and stereotypes counter prejudice. Under the Critical Race Theory falls stereotype threat in which victims assume the roles that they think are prescribed for them based on popular stereotypes. The aim of stereotype threat and the Critical Race Theory is to explain both negative and positive ways minorities are effected by their race and how this reflected in our society as a whole.
“Between the World and Me”, by Ta-Nehisi Coates, is a letter written to his son about what it means to be black and how tough it is to be a part of this race in the United States of America. In this book, Coates talks about his life in the black community, starting from childhood memories all the way to present day. Coates also tries sends a message, which is that his son should not lower his guard and be completely confident about who he is, instead he should be afraid about what the world is capable of doing to a black man. In this work, Coates disagrees on what it means to be black or white in America.
The role of Critical Race Theory provides us with the idea of “racial realism”, the idea that racism, the normalcy of white supremacy is part of the everyday life of an ‘other’, in other words, racial or indigenous minorities in Canada. Consequently, the Critical Race Theory gives an understanding of the power that can be given to a definition such as ‘race’, and how heavily influence the way society functions and sparked in a cultural divide in Canada due to the simple idea that biological and aesthetic difference. The Critical Race Theory gives us the understanding of how common it is for an individual, but most dominantly, a person who is Caucasian or who has light complexion can easily identifies with their ‘race’, and view a person of another colored complexion as an ‘other’ because this normalized.
Race, Gender, and Social class are all common interests in our American Society since before the Civil Rights Movement until now and will continue to be. Many theories have been developed with the intent to analyze these concepts of human life, and genetics within the scope of society. Critical Race theory, a modern take on the subtle racism and discrimination in institutional society and our American law, is one of these theories that construct the ideas relating race, gender and social class to American society. All groups of people are affected by racism and discrimination throughout the United States. Arab Americans and the Sioux, Native American Indian group, are two groups I will analyze in relation to Critical Race theory.
Critical theories of race and racism have been used by sociologists to not only describe modern societies, but also address issues of social injustice and achieve an end to racial oppression. Critical race theory is one of the most widely used for this purpose. Its utility rests upon the assumption that race is a social construct and not an inherent biological feature. In place of the concept of inherent race, critical race theory proffers the concept of racialization. The tenet that the concept of race is created and attached to particular groups of people through social processes. In tandem with this, critical race theory contends that identity is neither fixed nor unidimensional. It also places importance on the perspectives and experiences of racial minorities (Ritzer and Stepnisky, 2013:66).
Critical race theory “ is an academic discipline focused upon the application of critical theory a critical examination of society and culture, to the intersection of race, law, and power. Critical race theory is often associated with many of the controversial issues involved in the pursuit of equality issues related to race and ethnicity” ( Luis Tyson). The movement is loosely unified by two common themes. First, proposes that white supremacy and racial power are maintained over time, and in particular, that the past may play a role. Because of the experiences of slavery, most slaves repressed these memories in an attempt to forget the past. “This repression from the past causes a fragmentation of the self and a loss of true identity. Sethe, Paul D. and Denver all experience this loss of self, which could only be remedied by the acceptance of the past and the memory of their original identities. Beloved serves to remind these characters of their repressed memories, eventually causing the reintegration of themselves” (Sparknotes). Toni Morrison’s Beloved goes into the individual story that was captive, and their human responses to slavery through their voices. “The manipulation of language and its controlled absence reinforces the mental enslavement that persists after individuals are freed from physical bondage” (Emily Clark). Reading through a critical race lense in the novel Beloved, by Toni Morrison, the experience of minorities have given Sethe, Paul D, Baby Suggs, and
Omi and Winant’s discussion from “Racial Formations” are generally about race being a social construct and is also demonstrated in the viewing of Race - The power of an illusion. Omi and Winant have both agreed that race is socially constructed in society. Ultimately this means that race is seen differently in different societies and different cultures. Media, politics, school, economy and family helps alter society’s structure of race. In the viewing , also media as well as history seemed to create race by showing how social norms have evolved in different racial groups.
Racism and the effects of racism can be seen anywhere. In the hallways of the high school, the streets, housing, neighborhoods, cities, and more, one thing is seen, and that 's segregation, which is ultimately caused by racism. Walking in the hallways at school, chances are that you’ll see a group of whites, a group of Hispanics, and a group of African Americans, but rarely do you see these three groups interacting with each other. Racism has been made a part of people’s everyday lives, a border posed by racism: segregation. Racism and its effects can not only be seen around us but can also be traced throughout countless readings in HWOC this year. Almost every literary work focuses on the topic or underscores at its effects, and today, you can walk into any library or bookstore and find something, whether it be a news article or chapter book, regarding racial conflict. This alone is evidence of how racism has integrated our society and continues to inform and manipulate our minds. The literature we have been exposed to this past year is a reflection of society, similar to a reflection in a mirror showing us the piece of hair sticking up in the back, literature is showing us the problem so it can be addressed.