Race: Social Concept, Biological Idea
Race, in the common understanding, draws upon differences not only of skin color and physical attributes but also of language, nationality, and religion. Race categories are often used as ethnic intensifiers, with the aim of justifying the exploitation of one group by another. Race is an idea that has become so fixed in American society that there is no room for open-mindedness when challenging the idea of racial categories. Over the years there has been a drastic change with the way the term "race" is used by scientists. Essentially, there is a major difference between the biological and sociological views of race.
To understand our existence, we interact with other members of society and develop a set of shared notions, institutions, and structures. Sociology, the systematic study of human society, helps us understand these interactions and developments. In particular, applying the sociological imagination to the social construct of race yields insight into its fallacy and utility. This essay examines the historical origin, functions, and societal implications of race in the United States. I also connect the social construct of race with the writings of Barbara J. Fields, Kingsley Davis, Wilbert E. Moore, Marianne Bertrand, and Sendhil Mullainathan. In a larger context, the social construct of race is a system of schematic classification; race
What is the difference between a biological and a social view of race?
There is a difference between a biological and a social view of race. Biologically, race is seen as genetic, unchanging, and distinct categories of people; this includes physiological differences within different races. A social view of race is not simply scientific, but also includes the societies where people live, how race affects social hierarchy as well as psychographic and geographic traits.
People have different physical characteristics, for example skin, hair or eye color, tall or short stature, and other ways evolution has adapted humans to be able to live and thrive in different areas of the world. For hundreds of years race has been a factor in how people have categorized each other. Race is defined as “a group of persons related by a common descent or heredity, characterized by supposedly distinctive and universal characteristics” (“Race”). Race is part of what makes us unique as individuals, however it has not been scientifically identified in the physical make up of what is known as the human genome. There is no scientific proof that gives race the ability to be a social construct, yet it has been a large part of American history and society in history and still has a presence today. Race is a reality.
Throughout our lives, we’re faced with this idea of “race.” We want to deny it, but every one of us is racist in some way or another. We don’t mean to be, but it’s just something that was passed down through generations and generations and eventually became somewhat of a culture. If we’re being honest, do any of us truly even know what “race” is though? In this paper I will argue that the completely scewed meaning we’ve come up with for the word “race,” is entirely made up. We’ve strayed so far from the reality of what race really is, and now just use it as a defining characteristic of a person. Society has given this negative connotation to the word, when we don’t really even know what we’re talking about. How can we be racist towards a specific group when there’s biologically no difference between us? The only thing that separates us, are our physical attributes to the naked eye, and to a blind person, that means absolutely nothing at all.
Through the selected readings it becomes clear that race is not only a social construct but also a value that changes depending on the region in which one inhabits. Despite the lack of scientific support for race as a biological phenomenon, race still results in misfortune for many minorities. This present throughout everyday life in terms of job opportunities, education, and life experiences.
Racism is often considered a thing of the past, with its manifestation rarely being acknowledged in the United States today. Race: The Power of an Illusion, is a documentary that addresses the legacy of racism through its significance in the past, and its presence in society today. To understand racism, it is vital to understand the concept of race. Race is a social invention, not a biological truth. This can be observed through the varying classifications of race in different cultures and time periods. For instance, in the United States, race has long been distinguished by skin color. In nineteenth century China, however, race was determined by the amount of body hair an individual had. Someone with a large amount of facial hair, for example,
Biologically race is defined by a shared set of genetic characteristics and physical features. The problem with society is that
THESIS: Scientists and other intellectuals recognize the modern concept of "race" as an artificial category that developed over the past five centuries due to encounters with non-European people. Even though people still attempt to organize humans into categories according to their race, these categories have been shown to have no scientific basis.
In America, essentially everyone is classified in terms of race in a way. We are all familiar with terms such as Caucasian, African-American, Asian, etc. Most Americans think of these terms as biological or natural classifications; meaning that all people of a certain race share similarities on their D.N.A. that are different and sets that particular race apart from all the other races. However, recent genetic studies show that there’s no scientific basis for the socially popular idea that race is a valid taxonomy of human biological difference. This means that humans are not divided into different groups through genetics or nature. Contrary to scientific studies, social beliefs are reflected through racial realism. Racial realists believe that being of a particular race does not only have phenotypical values (i.e. skin color, facial features, etc.), but also broadens its effects to moral, intellectual and spiritual characteristics.