Social Construction of Race

1867 WordsJul 15, 20188 Pages
There is perhaps no bigger and more expansive social construction known to man than the construction of race. In earlier times race meant a tie to national origin, Greek race, Roman race, etc. race underwent a big change in meaning to it’s more contemporary form to distinguish biological differences of physical features and skin color (Wiegman 157). Film and television in this century and the twentieth century have aided and perpetuated stereotypes of race. These stereotypes have been most associated with minority or non-white groups in particularly, and most discussed pertaining to African-Americans in these mediums. Dating back to the earliest silent films all the way through the 20th century and into the new millennium…show more content…
Just like society at large, religion is, in America, the most important aspect and the dividing line between the “other”. Governor Al Smith of New York, an Irish-American and the Democratic candidate for president in 1928 faced fierce backlash for being Catholic and was a deciding factor in him losing the election (cite). Likewise thirty-two years later John F. Kennedy ran for president and face head winds so strong he had to address it at a Protestant ministers conference in Houston, TX, and demonstrate his insistence that he would not listen to the pope and was a loyal American (cite). Today fifty years after the Kennedy Administration what was “other” is now “white”, for instance, Nancy Pelosi, the former Speaker of the House and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia both Italian-Americans both Catholics are as Wiegman describes “part of an expanding whiteness” (Wiegman 158). While the aforementioned example is not about film, the filmic representation of the marginalized white groups mirrors American society as a whole. If as Wiegman notes whiteness is expanding, how far will it expand? And if infinitely, what does that mean for African-Americans and other minority groups? Only time will tell. Following the Second World War the predicament of European Jews was of little to no concern to those in the United States according to Patricia Erens author of The Jew in American Cinema (197). In the 1950s with the onslaught of McCarthyism studios were against making any

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