RACE “a social construct”
Updated: Feb 25
It has been a topic for heated discussion, and things get hot when racism is being discussed. Different people have varying opinions about racism. Racism is the belief that one race is superior to another discrimination against people based on their inborn biological characteristics. It is the belief that people possess different behavioural traits, which correspond to their physical appearance, and this can be used as a basis for the division of races in order of superiority. People who belong to the race tagged inferior are mistreated and discriminated against because of their skin colour, customs, language and place of birth. This has led to wars and slavery amongst nations. However you look at it, race is a social construct.
Initially, Africans were not considered inferior. It started after the whites started seeing Africans as competitors and began to forcefully remove them from their colonies and use them as slaves.
Racial difference is an assumption that genetic differences exist between people of different races, and this has obvious social repercussions. Racial categories have been in existence for ages, and in all sense of it, they cannot be backed up with facts people can agree on. The contemporary scientists are also of the opinion that race is never a logical way to group people.
We have to agree that racism does exist, but the basis, which is race is not real. So, what happens when the foundation of a building isn’t strong enough? Why allow racial categories to which people are assigned, based on their looks, cause discrimination and hatred among people, even when it is quite apparent that these categories are based on purely physical differences.
There are several reasons why race is still a social construct in every sense.
Since people are grouped into racial categories based on appearance, twins born by the same mother who have genetic variations could claim different races. We are not oblivious to the fact that there could be genetic variation in twins, which can make them look different. The implication of one being born with darker skin would be categorized as a black, while the other becomes white, but does this make any sense?
If Races were real, why are people allowed to switch races? People are allowed to change their race as much as they want over their lifetime, and there are records of people changing from one race to another after claiming they successfully traced their origin. This pinpoints the fact that race is just a mere imagination and is never real. There are no particular gene clusters that are common to blacks and whites, respectively. So, what is the basis of this classification?
If races are really genetic, then DNA tests can trace a person’s origin. Currently, there has not been any news of DNA tests determining an individual’s actual race. Instead DNA tests determine ethnicity. This is because race is a social construct and has done a lot of damage. Why do we need court rulings to declare an individual white, if racial differences were real? It would have been straightforward to say which race one belongs to without needing court interference.
In the year 1922, the court decided that the Japanese are not legally whites because they are classified as Mongoloids rather than Caucasian. Within some months after this ruling, the same court said that Asian Indians are not legally whites, although scientists classified them as Caucasians. Moreover, the definition “a black person” keeps changing, which shouldn’t have been so if races genuinely exist and are not just a social construct put in place to oppress others.
Race is considered an important concept in the society because it has an effect on opportunities available to individuals as well as their experiences due to historical and social reasons.
The construction of race was put in place for political and social reasons. Following the growing diversity in the United States, some subcategories have been added to the list. People are allowed to check more than one race during the census. This invariably means that people are allowed to choose whichever race they think may favour them politically or socially, and it reflects how this social construct is designed for selfish political and social reasons.
Since race-thinking has been put to genocidal ends, people are confused between observing difference and opposing racism. No doubt, there are differences between people who come from different geographical locations, but this is not because they belong to different racial groups. The concept of race always refers to the difference in skin complexion, so what happens to people from the same parents who have different skin colours.
Race is a social construct that has given rise to a lot of inequalities globally. Discriminating against people based on their race is unreasonable and should not be supported in any way because racism is only a social construct. If everyone were taught to understand that we are more alike than we are different, it would be easier to get rid of the racial discrimination that exists.