Race is a social construct that was developed to classify people into huge and different groups through ethnic, anatomical, cultural, genetic, historical, linguistic, geographical, and social attachment. Initially, race referred to people using a common language to identify national affiliations, but with time observable physical traits were used to denote race. The idea of race means that humans are divisible into biologically distinct and exclusive groups in terms of physical and cultural features. The ideology of race is also associated with the beliefs of the superiority of the whites. These beliefs were concretized during the scientific revolution and American colonization that established political relations between Europeans and people with different cultural and political traditions. Therefore, race is a social construction, the idea that people have perceived through their daily interaction. Race does not have any significance in the taxonomy because all humans belong to the same species of Homo sapiens. Assertions from various scholars and institutions affirm that race is a creation of the human mind, and the racial differences that humans have created over time are unfounded.
Europeans speculated about physical, social, and cultural differences among various groups as they came across different people from different regions of the world. The development of Atlantic slave trade slowly displaced earlier slave trades throughout the world. This created an incentive further in the classification of human groups to justify the inferiority of the Africans. Europeans internal interactions also contributed in the development of the race such as the hostility between English and the Irish. The hostility affected the early thinking of the Europeans concerning the differences among people. Through such thinking, the Europeans began categorizing themselves and other groups based on the physical appearances. They attributed individuals belonging to various group conducts and capabilities that they claimed to be deeply established. Consequently, a set of beliefs took hold of that connection to the inherited intellectual, behavioural, and moral traits on the differences between the groups.
Moreover, race is an ideology that is based on colour. Race depends on the notion that some races are better than others based on colour are. Whereas racism is based on the point of view that the people across the world can be sub-divided into distinct groups and judged on that basis, colour provides distinctive value to individuals in the same racial group, categorized from light to dark colour. Apart from skin colour, colorism entails other physical features related to the colour of the skin such as facial characteristics, hair texture, and eye colour. Skin-colour stratification has developed due to prevalence of colorism, which has contributed to inequality in resource distribution. Skin colour has influenced the social construct of race because light-skinned people are treated better than those that are dark skinned.
The experiences of ethnic groups in America shape the lenses in which the citizens understand racial conflicts. In the American society, the term race entails the distinctions that are drawn from the physical appearance of the people in the community. The racial groups in the United States were caused by the violent confrontations between the white settlers and the indigenous Indians and later the Spanish. Racial prejudice is perceived as unfavourable and discriminatory attitudes or beliefs towards an individual or a group based on ethnicity and skin colour. In the case where racial prejudice is supported by institutions and laws, this scenario is considered as racism. Racial prejudice is experienced in the United States by individuals of the European descent against other groups such as Latinos or African-Americans. Racism leads to tensions between people of non-European descent such as the Asian Americans and African Americans.
Golash-Boza has carried out various studies on racism and its dynamics within the United States. The author has created a significant influence within the United States in which, she educates most students on the understanding of the actual meaning of life. With awareness, most people and institutions have been able to counter various effects of discrimination especially based on race. Golash-Boza (27) believes that race has already been stigmatized on various societies, and the only way to counter its effects is through education, such that people cease from using it as an identity.
Racism is an illegal act in the United States. Racism hinders the minority groups from achieving their full potential, and thus cannot make a full contribution to the society. Racial prejudice leads to racism in the society. Race is conceived as a social construct or a cultural category in which people talk about themselves and other people. Human race is described as a social construct. Race defines the ethnic groups in the society that lead to differences between the scientific and the popular usage of the word. Race is defined according to the ancestral populations and not the current social classification of a group in the society. In America, the African-Americans, European-Americans, and the Native Americans were considered as different races. These groups were grouped according to the personal appearance, Non-white ancestry and the social circle of an individual.
Race is Socially Constructed
Race is socially constructed; is a stamen that has been used to justify that race us inexistent, and is a mere creation of the human mind. Most studies have confirmed that classifications of human beings based on race cannot be biologically verified because external traits such as color do not depict the physical aspects and behavior of an individual. Most people believe that there are several distinct races with well defined differences. Almost every individual has identified himself or herself with a specific race, and they claim to have a certain identity and in most cases, these identities are based on race.
Treitler (33) asserts that Race is a known fiction and there is no genetic marker that can be used to identify someone’s face. He considers that current social instinct as a social stigmatization of race, which is biased in every possible degree (Treitler 36). The distinct human classes have formed an ideological demarcation between various people of different geographical locations, which has become the core definition of race. It is clear that race is an idea created by humans because they use a few differences in the way of doing things to created racial and cultural boundaries. Similarly, the ideologies on biological evolution have created scientific racism because certain geographical locations are believed to have created certain conditions that have over time led to the development of certain traits or color. For instance, the black race is believed to have emanated within the tropics where there is high sunlight, hence the creation of melanin. The same concept does not explain why people from other areas such as Asia have no black skin color, yet the area is equally hot.
How US ethnic groups responded to racism against them
After many incidents of racism against some ethical groups in the US, it called for the groups to stand up and fight for their rights. To achieve this they responded in several ways. They formed numerous coalitions and organizations whose purpose was to monitor how their groups were treated and fight for their justice by mobilizing all resources available. These organizations pushed for the establishment of different racial/ethnic studies in institutions of learning in order to ensure that they were established and well recognized. They formed civil rights movements who fought to gain rights which only existed to the white citizens, they pushed for the right to apply for employment without fear and walk or sit anywhere without segregation. The civil rights movements organized and mobilized masses in the communities to fight racism; they also made racism’s roots understood in the capitalist system and the role it had in dividing the people into the working class and those hobbling in struggle. This civil rights groups organized several sit-ins in protest for their rights, they also organized freedom rides around the ethnic groups to inform them of their rights and encourage them to fight for them and they organized boycott to force the government and the justice system to acknowledge their rights.
Most indications on race and various scholarly backgrounds affirm that race is not real, but it is a creation of human mind. Humanity is same, they only aspects that change is the geographical location. The ideological gap that humans have created has over time reduced because of the ongoing awareness that race is indeed not real. Additionally, too many discussions on race have increased the thought of racism, which has made many people to dwell on the vice, a factor that is overly unfounded. Extensive education to create the awareness about the essence of race is necessary to reduce the problems that current idea of race has created. Awareness creates the notion that there is no significant difference between various racial quarters. The understanding will create unity amongst people from across the globe and eliminate racial discrimination.
Treitler V. B. The Ethnic Project: Transforming Racial Fiction into Ethnic Factions (Stanford Studies in Comparative Race and). Stanford University Press, 2013.
Golash-Boza T. M. Race and Racisms: A Critical Approach. Oxford University Press, 2014