Eradication of Race Labels Essay

Eradication of Race Labels Essay

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Race labels have been present in society for hundreds of years. However, the concept of race has not always existed. In ancient times, while people were often divided by characteristics such as class and religion, they were never divided by the color of their skin. “Race” in the context of classifying humans was not even used in the English language until 1508 in a poem by William Dunbar (California Newsreel, 2003). Today, race defines most of the things that we do. For example, we are asked about our race when filling out most forms like standardized tests and the United States Census. But why is this important? The answer: it should not be. I believe that race divides people and allows for things such as racism and stereotyping to exist. Race should be eradicated from the human dialogue. If people have to be labeled, their ethnicities should be used, instead, as they categorize people more accurately than race can.
The races that are the most commonly used to define people are: White (Caucasian), Black or African American, American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Hispanic/Latino, and Mixed. Many people, me included, believe there is little to no biological or genetic basis to the races that are assigned to people (Templeton, 2002). Instead races are defined by morphological features such as skin color. There is no scientific evidence reputable enough to make it necessary to divide people into racial groups. If this is true, why do we even do it?
Labeling theory is a concept that states that people may be influenced, on the basis of identity and behavior, by certain terms or notions that are used to describe them. This theory can be connected to the ideas of certain racial stereotypes and how some people choose to conform to...


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California Newsreel. (2003). Race- The Power of an Illusion. Retrieved from PBS: http://www.pbs.org/race/000_About/002_04-background-01-x.htm
Glover, D., & Göransson, L. (Composers). (2011). Hold You Down. [D. Glover, Performer]
Roth, W. D. (2005). The End of the One-Drop Rule? Labeling of Multiracial Children in Black Intermarriages. Sociological Forum, 35-67.
Spickard, P. R. (1992). The Illogic of American Racial Categories. Retrieved from Frontline: https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/jefferson/mixed/spickard.html
Templeton, A. R. (2002). The genetic and evolutionary significance of human races. In J. M. Fish, Race and Intelligence: Separating Science From Myth (pp. 31-56). Mahwah: Lawrence Eribaum Associates.
(1990). In M. C. Waters, Ethnic Options: Choosing Identities in America (p. 52). Berkeley: University of California Press.




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