The American Anthropological Association 's Definition Of Race Essay examples

The American Anthropological Association 's Definition Of Race Essay examples

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I will preface this piece by stating that as a student who has only taken sociology courses in my years at American University, I believe that I have implicit biases towards the ASA definition over the AAA definition. Additionally, I am very critical of the field of anthropology as a whole, and I would be unsurprised if that did not shine through in my assessment. That being said, I will attempt to be as objective as I possibly can be in my description, analysis, and comparison of the texts.
The American Anthropological Association’s definition of race is easy to sum up. Essentially, this succinct description states that the AAA does not believe that race is a biological phenomenon, and that it is a learned behavior ingrained in cultures. It cites historical and social forces, as well as biological evidence against conflating race with biology, (i.e. DNA) but does little other than that to conceptualize how race is defined in the cultural sense. Additionally, the organization refutes historical racist claims that race, culture and biology are one and the same as a means of further defining the term. By comparison, the American Sociological Association presents a much more lengthy definition of race. The ASA situates the term in its generally accepted socio-historical context as a social construct used to establish a hierarchy between people at the beginning of the era of colonialism. Furthermore, the ASA argues that sociologists must continue to research and investigate the social implications of race because of its continued existence in our society. Rather than dismiss it as an element of human history, the ASA states, “Refusing to acknowledge the fact of racial classification, feelings, and actions, and refusing to measure thei...


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...o the omission of Du Bois and other scholars of color from the canon.
Moving forward from this point, I would like the discussion to be driven more towards ways in which both fields can be more proactive in dismantling the oppressive system of racism – be it in a public policy capacity or in some other manner. Additionally, I would like to start a conversation with both fields, specifically anthropology, directed towards the use of the words Latino and Hispanic. Throughout this class we have problematized these terms as excessively broad as well as under defined, and if both of these organizations start taking a harder look at how they define “ethnicity” in conjunction with “race” and, more specifically, how those two definitions conflict or agree with the way that “Latino” and “Hispanic” are used to define a large pan-ethnic group of people in USAmerican society.

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