Race, Racial And Ethnic Relations

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Final Paper: What Is Race? Every day in our society, people continue to be discriminated against because of the color of their skin. We, as a society, like to believe that oppression and discrimination ended long ago, thanks to the Civil Rights movement. However, there continues to be a misunderstanding about the differences we possess in our skin color and, unfortunately, the belief that we are separated by race, continues to stratify mankind. The term “race” has been given different meanings throughout the years and, now, it is used to signify the differences in physical characteristics that humans possess and, therefore, it creates stratification and inequality. However, the Haviland text states that “The concept of race has no biological basis. Therefore, race is seen as a cultural construct” (Haviland et. al. 2014). Joe R. Feagin and Clairece Booher Feagin support this statement in their textbook: Racial and Ethnic Relations. To understand the concept of race, it is important to be aware of the origin of the word. According to the Feagin text, the meaning of race has changed through the centuries. Back in the sixteenth and early seventeenth century, race was a word intended for “descendants of a common ancestor, emphasizing linkages” (Feagin and Feagin, 2012: 5). This means that the word “race” was intended to recognize family ties, it did not take physical characteristics into consideration, only descendants; it was not utilized to separate people by their
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