Understanding Race Exhibit 2017

What is Race?

Race is a social construct. Today scholars in many fields argue that ‘race’, as it is understood in the United States of America, was a social mechanism invented during the 18th century to refer to those populations brought together in colonial America: the English and other European settlers, the conquered Indian peoples, and those peoples of Africa brought in to provide slave labor. Thus ‘race’ WAS a mode of classification linked specifically to peoples in the colonial situation. ‘Race’ thus evolved as a worldview, a body of prejudgments that distorts our ideas about human differences and group behavior. The ‘racial’ world view was invented to assign some groups to perpetual low status, while others were permitted access to privilege, power, and wealth.

*Information collected from American Anthropology Association: http://www.americananthro.org/ConnectWithAAA/Content.aspx?ItemNumber=2583

What is Race Not?

Although there are obviously differences between one group of human beings and another, once we try to draw rigid divisions between one group of human beings and another, once we try to draw rigid divisions between them we quickly realize that it is impossible to be specific or consistent. Evidence from the analysis of genetics (e.g. DNA) indicates that most physical variation, about 94%, lies within so-called racial groups. Conventional geographic ‘racial’ groupings differ from one another only in about 6% of their genes. The boundaries between races are obscure and arbitrary, varying according to the convenience of the investigator or to which feature is chosen as the arbiter of the race a person belongs to. Racial beliefs constitute myths about the diversity in the human species and about the abilities and behavior of people homogenized into ‘racial’ categories. Racial myths bear no relationship to the reality of human capabilities or behavior. Our temperaments, dispositions, and personalities, regardless of genetic propensities, are developed within sets of meanings and values that we call ‘culture’.

*Information collected from American Anthropology Association: http://www.americananthro.org/ConnectWithAAA/Content.aspx?ItemNumber=2583

As well as world socialism.org https://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/pamphlets/racism

Resources

Further information https://booksite.elsevier.com/brochures/hugy/SampleContent/Mapping-Race-and-Ethnicity.pdf https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/aanhpi-massa-factsheet-201606.pdf https://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/pamphlets/racism https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/race-is-a-social-construct-scientists-argue/

So what? How to respond. http://www.understandingrace.org/resources/pdf/family_guide.pdf http://www.ohrc.on.ca/en/anti-racism-and-anti-discrimination-municipalities-introductory-manual

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