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Race-Ethnicity, Essay Example

Pages: 2

Words: 545

Essay

Social Construction

What do sociology mean by the assertion that race is not biological, but rather a mere social construct?

Sociologists categorize race as a social construct because it is used to distinguish individuals in specific terms of one or more physical indicators, which is usually reflective effects that may have occurred in his/her life. In essence, just because an individual appears to be a particular skin color, does not been that he/she is classified as that race. For example. Susie Phipps unsuccessfully sued the Louisiana Bureau of Vital Records, attempting to change her classification of race from African American to Caucasian in the early 1980s.  At the time, the Louisiana state law stated that any individual with about 1/32 African American blood would be classified as black.  However, Susie Phipps was fairly light and identified herself as white, but the court disagreed with Susie Phipps argument.  This was mainly because Susie Phipps’s black blood originated with her 18th century ancestors, a white planter and a black slave.  Therefore, regardless of the individuals appearance, a person is classified a particular race by their blood.  Some individuals believe there may be better opportunities if he/she is listed as a particular race.  For example, Susie Phipps may have been hesitant to change her racial status to white because she felt that she could have received better opportunities being listed as a white woman.  In my opinion, it seems extremely racist and immoral.  Nevertheless, some people think they can receive better opportunities.

Identify and explain 2 elements or components in the social construction of race or racial formation in the United States.

A significant element of social construction within racial formation in the United States is identity. This is mainly because when filling out critical paperwork, in which the individual will rather be classified as a particular racial group, a individual’s ancestor history wont be a significant factor. For example, if an individual is applying for an African American Scholarship, and the individual has a percentage of white blood in him/her, the only factors actually being acknowledged is the person skin tone.  Therefore, being identified, as particular race doesn’t justify what is written on paper, however it is demonstrated by the skin color of that individual.

Another element is gender within racial formation in the United States. When an individual is classified as either man or woman, society tends to assume particular expectations from that gender. Gender expectations are constantly changed overtime.  For example, women expectations are different now than the expectations of women in the past.

Identify and explain 2 enduring impact or consequences (positive and/or negative) of racial formation on Americans.

Power is a great example of racial formation on Americans. No matter what race you are, or what color you may look, if an individual has a significant amount of power race wont play a factor. For example, the President of the United States usually wont is favored for face because he has so much power.  Though, President Obama is black, he has a significant amount of power, therefore he wont be viewed as an average black male in the United States.

Works Cited

Lewis, Alicia.  (2011). “The Social Construction of Race.” Vimeo.  <http://vimeo.com/11002556>.  Retrieved on October 28, 2011.

Lewis, Alicia.  (2011). “The Social Construction of Reality.” Vimeo.  <http://vimeo.com/10525868>.  Retrieved on October 28, 2011.

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