|Type of paper:||Essay|
|Categories:||Race Intercultural communication|
1. Experiences with Race
A race exists after the categorization of people based on the physical characteristics or descent (Mortillaro, 2016). For instance, people can be classified as Whites or Blacks. In this context, one group of individuals is considered inferior to the other. A perfect example of racism can be explained in the scenario that happened in South Africa during the Apartheid. At that time, people were either classified as either Blacks or Whites. Despite the natives being Black, they were treated as second-class citizens by the immigrant Whites.
There has been a sociological debate of whether race is a biological or social construct. Some scholars believe that race is biological because the characteristics used to categorize people are physical and could be due to biological differences. Others feel that racism does not have a biological origin and is purely a social construct (Mortillaro, 2016). The explanation of race being a social construct seems to hold some water.
Anthropologists argue that there is no genetic basis for race. In fact, there are more differences within races than between them. One study revealed that human beings are almost identical. The researchers noted there are no DNA strands meant for Black people and others for Whites (Mortillaro, 2016).
Anthropologists also claim that human beings evolved in sub-Saharan Africa before they migrated to other areas in the world. The differences in color are brought about by the process of natural selection and human beings adapting to the environment. Moreover, the issues of race arose due to scramble for power especially during colonization. There are also notable differences on how the subject of race has been evolving over time which is an indication that the issue is a social construct (Mortillaro, 2016).
I was introduced to the subject of a race early in my childhood considering that I come from a country with a mixture of Blacks and Whites. My family has never been affected by racism because both of my parents are of the same race. However, I can recall when I was bullied by some students in my elementary school because I did not belong to their race. I reported the issue to the school management and nothing was done about it. The negative experience opened my eyes to see how the issue is rampant in our country. I wish people could understand that race is a social construct and refrain from treating other people differently because of their complexion or origin.
Assimilation occurs when a person from a minority culture adopts the behaviors of another to become part of the new culture, in most cases the majority group. Most of the times, we assimilate to fit into the majority culture and feel comfortable. Assimilating into another culture means giving some of the practices one is used to and adopting the customs of the new culture (Abramitzky, Boustan & Eriksson, 2016).
For instance, I was born and brought up in a Protestant Christian religion. Therefore, we could go with my parents to church in most of the Sundays. However, my parents migrated when I was of age into a new home they had purchased. It happened that most of the people in the region where we migrated to, were Catholics. Protestant churches were very far from where we were living. Thus, the easiest option was to assimilate into Catholic religion because that was the dominant religion in the region. Nevertheless, giving up on our religious beliefs and following what Catholics are taught was not an easy decision to make.
My parents were reluctant to convert to Catholic. They felt uncomfortable about changing what they were used to do for many years since their youthful age. Moreover, it was a painful experience for me because it meant missing what I was used to doing in our protestant church. When we finally made the decision, the majority of members who were faithful believers of the Catholic church warmly welcomed our decision. They could visit and welcome us to their prayer meetings. It did not take a lot of time before we become used to the new religion. In fact, after a short time, we were comfortable as if we were in our earlier church.
The experience is a good illustration of how cultural assimilation occurs. Assimilation can either occur voluntarily or it can be forced by a country's policies or situations. The unfavorable circumstances could not allow us to continue worshipping as before. However, this type of assimilation cannot be referred to as forced.
People usually assimilate into other cultures because they do not have an option and not because their culture is wrong or inferior to the one practiced by the majority. The process is always uncomfortable. However, after it has successfully taken place, the people who have assimilated into another culture get used to the new culture and regard it as a normal way of doing things. One can only assimilate in case there are differences in the two cultures. Ethnicity and race are some of the ways of stimulating assimilation.
Abramitzky, R., Boustan, L. P., & Eriksson, K. (2016). Cultural assimilation during the age of mass migration (No. w22381). National Bureau of Economic Research.
Mortillaro, N. (2016, October 14). What is race? Is it biological or a social construct? Retrieved from https://globalnews.ca/news/2997715/what-is-race-is-it-biological-or-a-social-construct/
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