Race and Ethnicity

Published: 2017-12-26 12:55:15
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Social Construct

The race is a social construct. Over the years, scientists and sociologist have undertaken numerous research to establish the meanings of race. The race is a worldview that many societies develop based on the color of the skin, the color and type of hair and the nature of the years. Sociologists such as Du Bois have undertaken research to affirm that race is a misconstrued perception that segregates humanity based on the physical characteristics despite there being no genetic differences amongst the human race. As someone from the Asian origin currently studying in the United States, I have firsthand experience on the issue of race. The three beliefs that have been affirmed through race include race as a double consciousness based on the race, a constantly evolving social construct and race being part of the American social system. 

As a Thailand citizen who went to an international school and currently studying in the United States, I have come to understand the concepts of racism as constructed by the society. The race is pegged on how people see themselves and other individuals who have different characteristics compared to them in their own eyes. In the United States of America, the white people view themselves to be predominant and superior in the society compared to individuals of the Asian origin. Through the double consciousness, the way in which a society with the same characteristics views themselves of different from the way they would view themselves from the perspectives of people from other races (Bruder, 2013). The level and extent of the socialization process are also based on the worldview that one has created in his or her mind. For example, the socialization process in school is different based on the races that they have in the society. The blacks, Asians, and American tend to have a different caucus. Within the caucuses that they create, they view themselves as being dominant. However, individuals of the Asian origin see their American counterparts as being superior and tend to shy off from taking leadership roles even in the school.

According to the racial formation theory, race is an ever-evolving concept that is politically motivated and is a fluid topic. The construction of race has been a motivating factor in the access to resources, affirmation of rights and the access to power. Power if often a reserve for the domineering race. Though the United States of America projects itself as being an equal society, the white people have control over the power instruments. The issue of race is also fluid and with relating characteristics (Brent, 2009). In Thailand, the issue of race is not as common as it is the United States. The race is a widely discussed topic in the United States despite the Thailand people viewing the human race as a common factor despite there being racial undertones in the society. 

Racism Social Issue

The race is built on the foundations of America since the 19th Century. The issue of racism has been used to depict the American society as being evident in the education system, political system and the interactions amongst different races. The increased activity of the social activist groups to root out racism and xenophobia in the United States is a principal cause of the agitation against racism in the country. 

Growing up, I always seemed to have an identity crisis based on the status of my rice. I was not sure of my race despite the exams having a slot of one’s race. Though I grew up in Thailand, I went to an international school, and the set of evaluation excercises that was done in the international school was very much more different from the exams done in the Thailand education system. One had to state whether he or she was an Asian or White category. I could not understand the meaning of the racial segment that I had to mark, and I often left the question black. Currently, I have grown to know that the education system was the same as that of the Europeans and the Americans and the issue of race and division of the students based on the ethnicities  was not an unrelated topic to discuss. Additionally, being of the Asian origin has created stereotypes that done not resonate with my personality. Despite my interest in the art subjects, many peers believe that I have a natural understanding of Mathematics and my career interests are science related. 

Through the sociological classes that I have undertaken, I have grown up to understand that race is a construction of the society that many people misconstrue. Race can lead one to developed an inferiority or superiority complex based on his or her ability to comprehend how the community values and understands the term race. I have been able to fathom why people from non-native cultures tend to group up and the natives also tend to have their caucus. The level of interaction amongst the different races us also minimal since there are perceived differences amongst different races based on their physical characteristics.

State of racism today

The problem of racism in America is yet to be defeated. Someone’s skin color defines many variables in their lives from vulnerability to poverty to how the police handle them. Nothing pertaining racism has changed significantly concerning the recent presidential campaign and election because Democrats used to get a bulk of the African-American votes, but Trump garnered less than one percent of the black voters in certain polls. This is because he was deliberately labeling the Mexican-American immigrants criminals and rapists. He requested that Muslim immigration should be banned to stop terrorism. Moreover, he described the African-Americans as a group of the unemployed, uneducated, poor, and violent criminals. The affirmative action case ruled in 2016 by the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the controversial program by the University of Texas, which uses race as one of its admissions procedure ("Affirmative Action Should Replace Top 10 Percent Rule, - The Daily Texan"). The advantages of this affirmative action are that it helps increase diversity because there would be an admission of some percentage of people from different races. It enhances moral commitment by the university because it will strive to treat students equally and ensure justice for all. Additionally, the affirmative action helps protect Black American students from cases of hatred within the school. This is due to the strict punishments on those found guilty of attacking others based on race. Lastly, the affirmative action helps provide better opportunities to children of the minority groups who face poverty and violence. However, the affirmative action is disadvantageous because it is a demeaning action. It makes the minority to feel they are given special help and cannot thrive on their own. It enforces reverse racism as it protects the majority leaving the minority to feel angered for being considered bad people. Lastly, it leads to stigmatization because the minority students might feel they were admitted based on their race, and not because of their potential. Most White Americans claim that they do not uphold racial discrimination but the affirmative action makes their approval rates against racism to drop below the Black American’s. This could be because they realize that their actions are pertaining racism speak louder than words to evade racism (Lynch, 11). Through the affirmative action, the Black Americans are given a minority chance to be employees and students. Hence, racial discrimination is upheld contrary to their say that there is no racial discrimination.

Should people discuss racial-ethnic issues and categories or be color-blind?

Issues concerning race are painful to debate because they pose controversy and stress. Hence, people have opted for colorblindness for discrimination to end as people would be treated equally regardless of their culture, race, or ethnicity. Colorblindness seems good as people would be judged on what unifies them and not on their differences. However, it is not the best because it will not bring harmony at a personal and national level. To some extent, it acts as the practice of racism. Colorblindness makes the society reject its negative racial encounters, nullify their unique views, and discard their cultural heritage. The minorities agree that race matters because it influences perceptions, opportunities, and income ("Colorblindness: The New Racism? Training Tolerance - Diversity, Fairness, and Justice"). Colorblindness works by making shortcomings and conflicts become an individual rather than a societal problem. Therefore, people should change and see multiculturalism to celebrate and acknowledge ethnic racial dissimilarities. This makes it easier to recognize the value of each tradition. 

Do European Americans benefit from invisible privileges?

Yes, they do benefit from invisible privileges because McIntosh recounts that he has received undeserved skin privilege several times. In school, he was taught that the Whites are normative, morally neutral, and ideal. He claims that his African American friends, co-workers, and acquaintances are not privileged to experience many conditions like the Whites. For instance, he can protect his children from those who dislike them, get a job with an affirmative action manager without being suspected to have gotten it because of his race, and if, in need of medical or legal help, his race will help him get it faster unlike the Black Americans.

W.E.B Du Bois might say that the issue of color line is still rampant as concerns race relations today. There is much exploitation, domination, and small opportunities for the people of color. The minorities still have double consciousness because the Whites still view the Blacks as copycats when in real sense they are acting as they are supposed to (Kirkland, 138). The minorities often compare themselves to the majority who look down upon them. Hence, makes them realize better their differences from the majority. Therefore, double consciousness is still in existence.

Solutions to prejudice and discrimination

Prejudice is the uncompromising and ridiculous opinions and attitudes held by one group about another, whereas discrimination is the behaviors focused on a certain group. These can be solved through various theories, for example, the selfesteem hypothesis, which holds that gaining greater selfesteem and education helps eliminate prejudice and discrimination. The contact hypothesis claims that bringing together the different groups for them to learn and appreciate their backgrounds and experiences helps eliminate the vices. Through the cooperation hypothesis, the conflicting groups are required to collaborate by putting aside their personal interests and work collectively to attain common goals (James, 1200). Lastly, legal hypothesis helps solve the issue of prejudice and discrimination through the application of laws that condemn the discriminative behavior.

 

References

Brent, J. (2009). Searching for community: representation, power, and action on an urban estate. Bristol, UK, Policy Press.

Bruder, M. (2013). A practical handbook for the actor. New York, Vintage Books. http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&scope=site&db=nlebk&db=nlabk&AN=721014

"Affirmative Action Should Substitute the Top 10 Percent Rule, Not The Reverse - The Daily Texan". Dailytexanonline.com. N.p., 2017. Web. 17 Mar. 2017.

"Colorblindness: The New Racism? | Training Tolerance - Diversity, Fairness and Justice". Tolerance.org. N.p., 2017. Web. 17 Mar. 2017.

James, M A. "Racial Discrimination. Prejudice Exaggerated.". BMJ 306.6886 (2014): 1200-1200. Web.

Kirkland, Frank M. "On Du Bois’ Notion of Double Consciousness." Philosophy Compass 8.2 (2013): 137-148. Web.

Lynch, Frederick R. "Affirmative Action Is Dead; Long Live Affirmative Action." Perspectives on Politics 3.02 (2005): 10-11. Web.

Rudolph, Dana. "The National SEED Project - White Freedom: Unpacking the Unseen Knapsack." Nationalseedproject.org. N.p., 2017. Web. 17 Mar. 2017.

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