Essay On Race And Race

1458 Words3 Pages

Our daily lives are affected by race whether we are aware of it or not. How we live different aspects of our lives depend on the colour of our skin. From the types of jobs we have, the income we earn, where we live etc. In societies fundamentally structured by race, it is important that we do not abandon the notion of race, but instead pioneer a revolution in the way that races are understood. In this paper, I will examine how the dominant groups in society define race in terms of biology, which leads to the notion of white privilege, which is their advantaged position in society, at the expense of other racial groups. In 2005, Ottawa resident Chad Aiken, who was 18 at the time, was stopped by police while driving his mother’s Mercedes Benz. How we are seen and how we see others often affects different aspects of our lives, and the lives of others. The entire social structure that we live in is affected by at least one construction of race. However, I would like to examine the concept of race first. There is no gene that is common to all black or white people; it is not biological. If race was “real”, then racial classifications would be constant all around the world, but someone considered black in the United States might be considered white in Brazil. In addition, racial categorizations in census forms vary widely between countries and across time in the same country. It is important to note that, in 2003, as part of the Human Genome Project, researchers concluded that “3 billion base pairs of genetic letters in humans were 99.9 percent identical in every person”. Which leads me to say that race is a social construct. It is important to explore this further to better understand the capacity race has to affect other parts of life. Race is a social construction because the existence of race requires that people collectively agree and accept that it does exist. It typically works through race indicators which are used to indicate which race you are, and consequently what sort of status you have in society. The Thomas Theorem is a theory that states “If men (and women) define situations as real, they are real in their consequences”, White privilege is institutionalized when the practices and policies of an institution systematically benefit whites at the expense of other racial groups. Peggy McIntosh published an article entitled “White privilege: Unpacking the invisible knapsack”, which names in very clear ways, how everyday, having white skin confers privileges that white people don’t often realize they receive. By illuminating the many forms that white privilege takes, Peggy McIntosh urges readers to exercise a sociological imagination. She asks us to consider how our individual life experiences are connected to and situated within large-scale patterns and trends in society. She includes a “white privileges” checklist which include answering yes or no to statements. For example, can Chad Aiken confidently say “I can be pulled over by a police cruiser and not have to worry about it being about my race”, or “I can be pretty sure that if I ask to talk to the “person in charge”, I will be facing a person of my race”. White people are generally free from this systemic bias, suspicion and low expectations that racialized people must endure everyday because it is built into our culture. When a criminal has white skin, his actions are never connected to his race, while a criminal perceived as a brown-skinned Muslim might inspire hatred and suspicion of other

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