Race (Quadruple Participation plus exam bonus)

I just came across this video and would really like everyone to watch and discuss as it relates to class.  This will be worth quadruple participation plus 10 points added to exam #1.   Last day to participate September 23. As you are watching: think about and then write about how it connects to class, how understanding the shifting meaning of race (and its connection to broader social and economic forces) is important and tells us a lot, and how looking at the construction and the material consequences of the creation of race is essential.  Try to write 150-200 words.

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14 comments

  1. Everything we’ve talked about in class relates to this video. Race as a construction serves the purpose of dividing individuals into categories, historically for the purpose of making severe inequalities and discrimination seem rational and natural. There are no real ways to define or measure race. This connects to the activity in class in which we tried to determine people’s races just by looking at them. I got a lot of those questions wrong because my ideas of what makes someone “black” or “Asian” are largely based on physical features. Physical features have proven to be pretty inaccurate when it comes to identifying someone as part of a specific group,yet basically everyone in the U.S. believes that physical features can tell you someone’s race/ethnicity. So race is being portrayed as something obvious and physical, even though it really is not. Also, the fact that Mexican-Americans were switched back and forth between being labeled “white” and “non-white” within a few decades shows how our ideas of race shift when the systems/people with the power to create these labels DECIDE that these ideas need to be shifted. Race seems like, more than anything else, a tool for creating power for some while taking it away from others.

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  2. Pauline Mae Piso
    CES 101 – 01

    Some people in society think that individuals know exactly what race they are. But according to the video, truth is, race “isn’t real”. Around 1776, a German Scientist comes up with the idea that there are 5 different race, based on appearance and looks. We judge race by appearance as to something a person was born with; Clear to see right off the bat and permanent. Whether it’s based off of other people’s opinions and assumptions, what you categorized yourself into, can actually mean a difference. And I agree, whatever category of race you’re put in, it could cause a positive or negative effect in our social lives. This video relates to what we talk in class because of the way people prejudge and assume others mainly off of one thing: appearance/looks.

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  3. This video connects to the class because it explains how society wants to categorize people based on their skin color, language, and ancestry. We may think that we know what we are because society or scientists have classified us as we see ourselves in today’s society. One example that the video provides is that Mexicans were considered white but changed to non-white to limit immigration then changed yet again when the U.S. needed Mexican labor. The truth is that we have been living in a world where our cultures, languages, and traditions makes us unique a not a race. Race is only an excuse to justify social, economic, or political issues. In class, we discussed how race was just an excuse to explain why individuals did not know how to swim or how companies are based on names (prefer American names) to employ someone. Race has become a big role because people are discriminated based on skin color, or stereotypes. However, I agree with the girl in the video about race not being real; race is not something that one can identify in DNA. Race is just a belief and an idea to justify someone’s appearance or behavior.

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  4. The points stated in this video connects to our class, mainly, because it talks about the fact that “race” is nothing but an idea and thought that earlier people came up with in order to separate people. Just like we discussed in class, race is used for several reasons. The narrator, towards the end of the video, said that people use race to explain certain phenomenons or actions that are caused by a group of people. The example given by the video said that some scientists categorize certain diseases as a racial conflict instead of an environmental, or an economic conflict. This all ties into what we discussed in class about the certain specialties that certain “races” hold. Sports, for example, is a major field in which people use race to explain certain athletes’ performances. Rather than discussing the amount of practice and the environment that the athlete lives in, most people tend to focus and discus about the skin color that the athlete is born with. Race is almost like an equation. People change and use the formula or definition of the equation (race) in order to get an answer that meets their understanding.

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  5. Like the video says, race isn’t real. If an individual has the ability to change race by crossing a state line, then the basis for what really defines what your own race is must be either extremely flexible, or has no solid base. “Race” doesn’t define people for who they really are, they have the ability to change who they are as a person mentally. Anything possible to do by a person that is of one specific race is just as achievable by any person of a different race, if we drop the mental barriers that have been created in the minds of people based on pseudo-science. It’s time to stop categorizing people based on what you THINK someone’s skin tone says about them, and base more on the decisions they consciously make. The only way you could possibly separate people based on genetics is their ethnicity, and that’s something you’d have to trace their bloodlines for, and even then, it doesn’t determine who they are as an individual..

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  6. This video was very interesting to me. Almost everything she said ties back to something we have discussed in class. In the beginning of the video she says “Even though race drives a lot of social and political outcomes, race isn’t real.” That’s because race isn’t real. Race does not define who we are. We can not help what color our skin is no matter what. She says “There isn’t a race chromosome in our DNA that people can point to.” I agree with that 100%. That is just proving her point even more that race doesn’t exist. The meaning of race has changed a lot throughout the course of history. In the video it said you could just cross a state boarder and be considered a different race. That’s crazy to me! Also in the video it says there are 5 different groups of people you can categorize yourself in. So once you are born you are already categorized into one of these 5 groups. The Americans of the European decent bought into this right away and started to racially categorize people. If race doesn’t exist then that shouldn’t have happened. Finally, at the end of the video the girl says “…racial categories are made up…” that got me thinking. She is right, they are made up. In class we watched a video and I learned that you can be more genetically the same as someone with a different skin color rather than someone with the same skin color. That just proves that race does not exist.

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  7. Is race real? According to this documentary video race is indeed not real. We learn about race and its aesthetics in my Ethnic Studies class everyday. Jahann Friedrich Blumenbach tried to categorize humans according to race in 1776. He cam up with five different affluent groups that we have learned about in class; Caucasian, Mongolian, Malayan, Ethiopian and American. As we learned in class and in this film is that whites were their own distinct category they then would feel superior to blacks. Thomas Jefferson once said:
    “ To these objections, which are political, may be added others, which are physical and
    moral. The first difference which strikes us is that of color.”
    Social and economic forces have changed throughout the years. For instance, if you were Mexican or of the decent in 1929 you were considered White. In 1930 that changes and you were put into the category of Non-White to limit immigration. When the United States need to increase labor force this was again switched back in 1942 to be considered White. In 2000 the government decided that there were going to be more than one race and added a multi racial category.

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  8. This video relates to our class completely is basically summarizes everything we have been learning into a short and sweet video. The video basically says that race is rewarded by society and how their is no chromosome of race. Also in the video they use historical events to show you how race can be changed just by writing bills for example the Mexicans/ Latinos were viewed as white in the beginning then they got identified as something then during world war 2 when they needed more labor work forces they were re-identified as white so they can work for the labor forces. These events and statements shows that race is nothing but something society made up. I 100% agree with these statements because if their isnt a race chromosome then how would we know which race is which, that we are all same on the inside and race is just a way we identify ourselves and who we are. It also says in the video that “6.2% of people identify themselves as other on the consensus” this shows that many people don’t know what race they are because race is such a board thing to talk about. It also says how diseases has nothing to do with race it all about the environment and where we are placed geographically. Towards the end of the video it says that ” … racial categories are made up…” this quote made me think of the many different instances in which race is made up for example how before the one drop rule in which blacks could just cross the border of a state and they would be a different race. Also how again there is no race chromosome so how do you identify someones race in which there is no chromosome to tell you to do so. In conclusion there are many different instances in which race is made up and changed by crossing borders. Race is given by society but not really given scientifically.

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  9. Watching this video I could relate almost everything she talked about back to something we have discussed in class. The whole point she is trying to get across is that “Race isn’t real”, and she has many things to back that up. As we have went over several times in class during discussions and through videos, that is the basis of what most people are trying to get at. What is race? Is race real? Like she said, “there is no biological explanation to show race. There are no chromosomes in DNA to distinguish race”. It’s all based on looks and how people see and differ from other people. When we did the activity in class trying to decide what race people were from the pictures, that was an example of how society bases race on appearance, and how they are often wrong. All because one person, Johann Blumenbach, said that there are races because of different appearance, background, etc, society has stuck with that ever since. People look different, speak different languages, live in different places, and have different cultures and ethnicities, but in reality we are all the same. Society categorizes people into race based on fundamental differences, and they can suddenly change their views to resolve contradictions when priorities change. Like when Mexican and Latinos were considered white, then not considered white to reduce immigration, and then back to white to increase labor force during WW2. Or how you could change race just by going into a different state, that obviously shows that there is no certain way to distinguish race.

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  10. Apologizes, please read this comment as it is the revised version of what I posted above. Thanks.

    Race, as always, has existed in our history as a social construct. It’s something that dictates our everyday lives and has done just that for most, if not all, of our existence as the human race. Just because it has been around forever though doesn’t mean that it’s real in anyway. The video states that race, thus racism, was created to undermine an entire group of people just so that another, more privileged group of people, in this country specifically, could continue to live their privileged lives. It became so ingrained in our culture and livelihoods that the color of your skin would supersede the content of our character no matter who you were. All that mattered was the color of our skin. Nowadays, the shifting meaning of race is showing the steady growth of understanding in our culture; understandings that will dispel the evils of the social construct that is racism. Social and economic issues tell us a lot about our lives and culture as it pertains to this situation, but information like that can only be used to dispel an evil, that isn’t even real, such as race.

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  11. Race is a social construct something that isn’t necessarily real, but really matters. Race is not made up by one’s genetic makeup, but by man I personally define myself as black or African American. If we take away the word race, I would categorize ethnicity as African. But I can’t get much further with who I am and my family background because my descendants were more than likely slaves who were brought over on ships from Africa. The three myths of race connect to class and the outside world because of how race and ethnic background correlates to environment, social status, level of education, neighborhoods, and financials.
    What I find most interesting about this video is the fact that on the census would change what races people could check. People of Latin origin were considered white at one point when the United States needed workers in 1929, but then when they didn’t need workers they were once again considered nonwhite. Where one person lives is dictated by how much money they make, the level of education they achieved and that all can be connected to what they look like, how they identify and how society categorizes them as well.
    If people can change their race or what they identify themselves as, then race isn’t really real. Take the Rachel Dolezal social situation as an example, she said she was black, identified as a black woman, had black children, looks black, but had biologically white parents and family members. There is no test for which race someone is. It was Rachel’s word against someone else. I personally feel like there’s really no true way how to tell someone who they are as a person and what they identify as. If race doesn’t exists because it’s a social construct why is it so important? If people say racism isn’t real then what is the proper way to describe how people are being treated and categorized in some situations other than ethnic discrimination?

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  12. Everything in this video is completely relevant to what we discussed in class. If anything, this gives us a brief synopsis of what we’ve been talking about the past few weeks. Race is social constructive concept that divides up individuals based off of their physical appearance but on their genetic level we are all 99% similar. Back then in the United States, a white scientist was able to “conclude” who was white based off of their appearance which is very bias in a sense of judgement. Throughout history, racism has gotten worse. Society tries to push the notion that everyone is the same and that we should all be treated the same with equality yet we are still constantly discriminating people from first glance. How do we expect to grow as a society, as a nation, if we are constantly judging those around us? Being colorblindness is not going to solve the issue, we need to address the issue through an educated and sympathetic approach.

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  13. The video talks about how race is given by society and isn’t a tangible. Historical events show how race can be changed by something as arbitrary as a bill. Like with Latinos in the beginning of the 20th century where considered white, changed to non-white, but then as soon as needed more people in the labor force they were re-identified as white. These events and statements shows that race is nothing but a made up concept. I agree with these statements because if there isn’t a chromosome for race then how would we know which race is what? Also the video says in the video that a large number of people identify themselves as “other” on the consensus, showing that many people don’t know what race they are because race is such a board thing to talk about. The fact that health issues have nothing to do with race and that it is more about the environment also supports how race is a made up concept.

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  14. This video was very interesting as it talked about what we have been learning in class, for example specific features that have proven to be not correct when it comes to identifying someone as part of a specific group,yet basically everyone in the unites states believes that physical features can tell someones race. In addition the fact that mexican americans were switched between being labeled white and non white within a few years has shown how our ideas of race shifted when the people with the power to create these labels decide that these ideas need to shift. Its all based on how people are different from other people meaning looks. When we did this activity in class to decide what race people were from the pictures he showed us, it was an example of how you look is the impression you will give others.

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