Race: Floating Signifier

1549 WordsJun 23, 20127 Pages
Analysis Response: Biology, Race, and Floating Signifiers In the video, Race: The Floating Signifier, Stuart Hall counters the thought that race is connected with the biological aspect. Rather than considering race as due to the biological make up of an individual, it is a collection of characteristics brought together that forms one 's race. That is how Stuart Hall views race, as a floating signifier, something that is ever changing and not static. This paper will discuss the troubles of using biology/science to categorize a person, talk about a different way of thinking of race, and provide the confused case of race of Alexis Morrision, a physically white woman with the possibility of being considered black. Situational cases will also…show more content…
Hall explains the ties of physical appearance from the biological idea to the classification of a person. Similarly, the Bucks family 's illegitimacy and feeble-mindedness was thought of as biological and assumed that any offspring would be classified as illegitimate and feeble minded as well. There was later proof that neither Emma, Carrie, nor Vivian were feeble-minded, which tarnished the idea that their "feeble-mindedness was the fault of genetics. It is just what is coupled with their category as being illegitimate children and thought to have passed down the line. In the film, Stuart Hall talks about how race is not a stagnant thing, meaning "not the same thing" where ever, whenever. It actually changes, depending on the time, the place, the people, and the situation. With the case of Alexis Morrision, she was considered black to some people and white to other people for different reasons. If she were in a different state, there might be a consensus on what race she was depending on the people in that state and their view of looking at race at that time. If she were in a different time period where the stereotypical attitudes of a white woman and black woman were switched from those stereotypes in her time, would she be black or would she be judged by a different criteria? Her identification of race in the eyes of others will never be consistent and will continue to change depending on her location,
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