Eradication of Race Labels

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Race labels have been present in society, not only in the United States, but all around the world, 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, religion, and others, 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 it was used in 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 little to none scientific evidence that makes 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 th...

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...n group in Africa. African Americans are people whose ancestry is mostly or totally made up of people from Sub-Saharan Africa. Not all “black” people’s ancestors are only from Africa. Take me for instance. My whole family is from Haiti. My parents moved to America when they were young adults, and my brother and I were born here. I am sometimes labeled as African American; however I am quick to correct people if they say so in my presence. I have not had African ancestors since the 1500s, and I consider that to be too far back for me to be correctly labeled as African American. I label myself strictly on an ethnic basis: Haitian, or Haitian American since I was not born in Haiti, and more generally Caribbean. The Black/African American argument is one reason why I think it would be better to label people based on ethnicities instead of races if labels are necessary.
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