Race goes both ways

Between the two articles, the reader inhabits the mind of a man as he revisits his time as a slave while the other article speaks on how racial lines are drawn and why. The man recounts, in his tale, a moment when he was hunted like a deer: “I was now convinced it was fruitless, and began to consider that, if possibly I could escape all other animals, I could not those of the human kind; and that, not knowing the way, I must perish in the woods. Thus was I like the hunted deer” (Chapter 2). He does not simply state if he could escape the animals which inhabited the woods, but the “other animals” instead. The social construct of (black) slaves as animals or cattle warps the mind of the race who is subjugated by the construct. The race becomes the sole exclusion (in the case of the article and for the sake of argument), blacks in this case, and therefore become what the idea dictates. The boy becomes an animal because that is what society makes him.

The second article sets parameters for what racism is and how it manifests. The authors bring to light that racism as an idea was/is more than “simply the product of prejudice, nor was discrimination only a matter of intentionally informed action. Rather, prejudice was an almost unavoidable outcome of patterns of socialization which were ‘bred in the bone,’ affecting not only whites but even minorities themselves” (Omi & Winant 69). The authors make racism out to be in the minds of every and all people, small or large (intentional or unintentional). This can be taken as a natural evolution of how society grows. People see other people by skin color, social status, and other such means which segregate the populous into factions which the individual sees themselves as a part of; therefore they wish to associate themselves with others of the same status, color, etc.

In modern-day society, we still possess such social constructs. The limitations which have been placed upon individuals in the society such as the continued oppression of minorities, is directly discriminating. The fact that a law had to be implemented to provide equal work opportunities (Affirmative Action) means that society wants to break these old constraints, but by doing such breaking, the constructs are revealed. The oppression of people dates back to the Native-Americans being pushed from their land and even killed for their land. Anyone who does not fit the depiction of white male is inferior and should bow to the white man’s will. The people of yesteryear provided the basis for this travesty by putting themselves apart from humankind as a whole.

Race is a social construct, but individuals will always find themselves better than another, be it race or status. The usefulness of such ideals are questionable. I see both as useless. Nature does a good enough job of separating people (through geography which breeds dialects, from natural disasters which change areas completely, etc.). People put too much value in race and status. Race and status should breed cultural difference as to enrich society, but they should not dictate how individuals interact with each other.

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2 thoughts on “Race goes both ways

  1. Grade for now: U
    I liked your essay. You do a good job of summing up both readings and using them to strengthen your response. Unfortunately I cant give you an S yet because you didn’t do the second half of the assignment.

    “Based on what you learned from these lessons, what else could you find in your life that is a social construct? Why do you think this is a social construct? (Examples: blondes are dumb, Greek life people act a certain way, women are weaker than men).”

    Once you do this part of the assignment you will have earned your S.

  2. Erik, You didn’t really revise this post in the way Daquan was asking, but I’ll cut you slack on this one. Grade: S. -M

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