Race as a Social Construct

Race as it pertains to the time period is a big thing to think about when dealing with something like morality.  I say morality because it is something that is subjective and race is something that one does not choose upon being born (duh).  In the “Equiano” reading the narrator starts out by saying, “I hope the reader will not think I have trespassed on his patience in introducing myself to him with some account of the manners and customs of my country”, which is what I am getting at.  People (Black people) were led to believe that they were lesser because this idea that the color of your skin represents some kind of caste which you can never escape from.  You even go onto read that the main character was very intellectual he states early on, “I was trained up from my earliest years in the art of war”. Clearly race is being used in this story as something that is defining someone regardless of who they are/what they are capable in this life.

Race and Racism is everything, and always, what society and people make it out to be.  Years ago Black people and White people could not share the same water fountain, now obviously this is wrong, but then again that is just my outlook on the matter (It is wrong).  The racial struggle going on in the reading of “Racial Formation” was an outlook that said that people with different skin colors means that their status as a human being was different, in the case of this reading the White race thought of as superior than the Black race.  This reading highlights my point more on page 55 when the author suggests that, “racial formation is the sociohistorical process by which racial categories are created, inhabited, transformed, and destroyed”.

My point with these two readings of course being that the subjectivity of morality is what creates these racial problems we see in the time of enlightenment.  I believe that in the times of these two writings race was definitely something that was a social construct even to the extent, as we can tell from history, of slavery and segregation.  In today’s society you can definitely see race is still something that people make it, we talked in class about the Miley Cyrus performance at the vma’s as something that may have been specifically geared towards a certain race of people in order to gain fan status, where as we also brought up the rapper Eminem who simply does the things he does, not to identify with a certain crowd (like we said Miley may have been) but because the audience that Eminem is popular with is because he is who he is, rather than putting up a front to get a different “demographic” like Miley Cyrus was accused of.

In my life I have noticed race play as a social construct in things as simple as lunch in high school. This was the time where everything about anyone was determined by where they sat at lunch.  People act very differently around different groups of people in this specific type of social situation.  You may have noticed as I have noticed how generally people act a certain way around different demographics as it pertains to their race, for example a spot in the cafeteria where most of the time it is all black people or all white people there is some kind of prior knowledge in all the students heads that this is where who is sitting.  Which is not to say that there is segregation within the cafeteria (that would be an insane notion) this is just to say that one can see thing so simply as this in simple situations like lunch time.

 

Equiano reading,

https://engl382fall2013.wordpress.com/readings/0922-equiano-interesting-narrative/

“Racial Formation”

https://engl382fall2013.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/omi-and-winant-racial-formation.pdf

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2 thoughts on “Race as a Social Construct

  1. great job on interpreting the material assigned. I liked your point about race being what society and people make it out to be. It’s interesting to see it change as our societal expectations change. The only thing is you did not give something in your personal life you feel is a social construct. So if you just add that you should be good to go!
    Grade: U

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