Ethnic Studies

1154 WordsJun 23, 20185 Pages
Race has no biological meaning. There is only one human race; there are no subspecies, no single defining characteristic, traits, or even gene, separates one “race” from another. Instead of being a biological concept, race is a social construct, and a relatively modern one at that. It was created to give light-skinned Europeans an advantage by making the white race superior and all others inferior. Throughout its history, the concept of race has served this purpose well. Ancient civilizations, although they practiced slavery, did not classify people based on race, but on other characteristics, such as religion and status. The concept of race first developed in the 18th century, as a way for slaveholders to justify slavery and secure…show more content…
They were stereotyped as “plodding, degraded, and servile people – indeed, virtual slaves,” and were treated as virtual slaves also, (Chan). After slavery was abolished, white landowners wanted Asians to immigrate to America because, as one of them said, “emancipation has spoiled the negro, and carried him away from the fields of agriculture… we therefore say let the coolies come,” (McFerson). Later, while working on the railroads, they were paid far less than the unskilled white workers, no matter what job they held. They were viewed as “perpetual foreigners” and their “opponents used Asians’ alleged inability to become ‘real’ Americans as an excuse to exclude them and to deny them participation in American political and social life,” (Chan). In fact, they could not become “real Americans” because they were not allowed citizenship until the 1940s and 1950s. In the 20th century, there was confusion as to whether Asian Americans should be considered akin to blacks or whites. Earlier generations had entered the country as a replacement for black slaves, but during segregation, many Asians were allowed to attend white schools, theaters, and restaurants. They were not, however, allowed to live in white neighborhoods and when the matter was pressed, they were grouped with blacks. In the 1960s, in the midst of the Civil Rights movement, they were given the status of a “model minority” to make blacks seem inferior and to confer honorary whiteness on Asians. In Hawaii,
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