This essay Definition of Race has a total of 893 words and 4 pages.
Definition of Race
February 29, 2016
Race defined by Merriam-Webster dictionary is “a category of humankind that shares certain distinctive physical traits” ("race," n.d.). Over time race is has proven to be so much more than that. The current view of race is more socially constructed than it is biological.
Traditionally race has been looked at in a biological manner. This means that race was defined simply by viewing people by biologically inherited factors. (I.e. DNA) Obviously DNA is a small portion of what people consider to be a racial distinction. Biological factors are scientific. This also means that they will never change. Blacks would be considered black in all parts of world as would whites. However, this is not the case. “A person who could be categorized as black in the United States might be considered white in Brazil or colored in South Africa.” (Onwuachi-Willig, 2015, para. 1). If race remained a scientific/biological construct it would not change based on a person’s view.
In today’s society the science of race is lost. People view race in a manner of their own personal perception. If a person views themselves as a superior race their reasoning will be considerably different than that of another, whom considers themselves superior. One person may consider themselves superior due to their wealth, while another may consider themselves superior due to their religious background. With the many variations in what society considers race it’s no wonder race is such a dominate factor in American culture. “Race is a socially constructed concept.” (Schaefer, 2014, p. 9). Race only matters so much in America because we use it to define so many things. The creation of racial groups, ethnic groups, and gender groups simply goes to show how much emphasis is put on race. Racial groups are how people group those based on apparent physical differences. Ethnic groups are how people are grouped by national origin or distinctive cultural patterns. Gender groups are obviously the separation of males and females. By using these different groups you are essentially being racist. People within these groups have no choice of being a part of them. By society differentiating people in this way racism is going to be a never ending battle.
Traditional views of race hindered the assimilation of underserved groups because race was a factor. By differentiating people by race we inhibit their assimilation into American society. I feel this is true because once people feel threatened by their race they hold onto it. If people assimilate to a society that is so set on race, they themselves give into a race conscious society. If race wasn’t so important, then assimilating into American society would be less of a battle for underserved groups. All people of America would be much happier if they were not defined by any type of race, whether that is the traditional view or the contemporary view.
The new definition of race in contemporary America is closely related to the melting pot approach. I feel that this is the only definition that still works because America is not changing for the better. In a melting pot approach it is defined as “a place where different peoples, styles, and theories are mixed.” ("Google", n.d.). This to me sounds like America. All different people, their styles, and theories are mixed together in one place. Although I do not feel as though these differences are “melted.” This is also why I would consider contemporary America as more of a salad bowl. A salad has different parts that are tossed together, but fail to mix/melt.
I feel as though pluralism is what America should be working towards. Pluralism is about coexisting. If everyone in America felt that what they thought, how they dressed, what they looked like, and what religion they practiced were not being judged they would be able to coexist. Being able to coexist means being able to learn from one another. Learning from each other is the way the world should work. Finding new approaches to life rather than judging and hindering others for being different would make America a more beautiful place to live. There are a lot of freedoms we have in America, but escape from the idea of race is not one of them.
Race is an uphill battle,
Topics Related to Definition of Race
Social constructionism, Kinship and descent, Social inequality, Racism, Race, Historical race concepts, Race and society, Ethnic group, Melting pot, Master race, White people
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