The perception of the majority of people in any society easily denotes what dominant ideologies mean. Each society shares certain beliefs that uphold certain values accepted and indeed practiced by them as revealed by the Omi and Winant racial theory. They argued the race concept was created to justify genocide and inequality that characterized the European or whites’ colonization. Blacks were discriminated and used as slaves, a situation that led them to create a social conscious framework that Europeans were born more superior to them. These dominant versions of the society beliefs proved to be very persuasive especially if they were meant to increase support of the interests of the mighty social class and would be regarded as heaven-sent and beyond question. In 1923, Bhagat Thind would move to the Supreme Court challenging the decision of him being classified to be of African descent while attempting to secure citizenship. Thind attempted to push for Indians to be regarded as “whites” and argued his race was simply Caucasian and not black. The perception that they were Caucasian and should be classified in the same pedigree as the whites would lead to numerous battles in the courts and immigration offices. Indians were more vocal about this ideology and despite the numerous court battles they would lose and be denied citizenship as it was argued not all Caucasians were white. The societal analysis as shown by Singh Thind proves the Marxist world view on ideological dominance and the levels of strong beliefs that might push the society to new heights. According to the theory explained by Marxist, dominant beliefs served the interests and in this case the Whites, who were the ruling class.
Dominant ideology can further be exhibited in the memoir of Solomon Northup, who was a free black, born in New York, but would later be kidnapped and be sold as a slave. Despite Solomon’s color, he fought in his own ways of being free. His vision would come to pass twelve years later when attorney John P. Waddill would successfully locate Solomon and set him free from the plantation he was enslaved to. Solomon Northup, Bhagat Thind, Omi and Winant struggles for their race against the social perceptions of the dominant “whites” brought out a rebellion and a voice for the less powerful in the society. Despite the blacks who served as slaves in a white America Solomon Northup would break free from the notion Europeans were inherently superior to them. Solomon a fine fiddle player and carpenter would be drugged and sold into slavery. It is, however, his bravery and desire to be free from bondage that pulls him throughout of bondage. His praise for William Ford is remarkable as whites would never receive kind remarks from a slave willingly. Solomon described his master as noble and candid; a kind gesture indeed bearing in mind that most owners of the plantations who happened to be the slave masters were cruel (Gould 4).
The general belief of Europeans as inherently superior is cast into doubt by Omni and Winant, who believed society should contest constantly the meaning of race in regards to macro and micro levels. The dominant belief that assigns an identity judging on color or race to single out a particular group is a platform to seek control and maintaining status quo. Winant and Omni present a case that the view of controlling a particular race is a social consciousness that exists even without the presence of a single character that harbors an intention to implement it. Unlike other teachings, the issue of race is regarded as common sense according to the majority and no one requires education about the matter. The explanation given to expound on race is constructed socially and contested politically. Omni and Winant emphasized that the race operated on two levels namely, micro level, which was on an individual level and macro level which explained the collective structure of the society. According to them, race was a process whereby economic, political and social forces would determine the importance of different race categories and in turn shape racial meanings. This is in contrast to what most societies viewed race as anyone would be differentiated using skin color. Differences of skin color were used to single out intellectual, temperaments and physique attributes which were used to justify treatment of the already identified racial groups. These particular stereotypes or myths according to Omni they can significantly change if a system that practices racial ideologies or still embraces this culture ceases to exist.
Ideologies that are dominant serve to meet their interests and rarely are they neutral. The discrimination of the black population who were strong in physique automatically placing them better to work on the plantations served the interests of the Europeans that they justified with slavery (Northup 410). Individuals that failed to meet the expectations of racial formations as pointed out by Omni and Winant disrupted the micro-level culture. The racial formation idea for racial projects has since been severely deficient. It’s is important to view Omni and Winant argument in addition to the race issue, gender and class were socially constructed, therefore, leading to discrete and fixed categories in the racial formation. Notably, race co-exists with other attributes of power and cannot be the focal point of social relations.
Distinctively, racism or using race to label a particular group is a social aspect imagined and created by societies rather than a biological or genetic ideology. Distinctively, much has changed as interpretations of race or labeling the blacks as inferior to the Europeans no longer holds ground. Recent economic growth has altered racial identification, and majority of the black population have convincingly spearheaded breakthroughs that have improved the living standards of humans. The white race is still among the majority races today, but few instances of racial segregation have been reported, which is quite a remarkable fete worth preserving so as not to forget the amount of slur and torture undergone by the weaker population (Omi 54).
Conclusively, dominant myths or beliefs are irrelevant in the modern age as the majority view it as an illusion eliminated in the 19th century. Using race or color as mode of identifying a particular group is unstable, archaic tactic that should be shun away from the modern world.
Gould, Stephen Jay. The mismeasure of man. WW Norton & Company, 1996.
Northup, Solomon. Twelve years a slave. Vol. 50. LSU Press, 1968.
Omi, Michael. Racial Formation in the United States: From the 1960s to the 1990s. Psychology