Race Is Not Over
Race is a mere illusion. It is politics of the struggles born from “class distinctions” that will not disappear. Laws were passed on race relations that led to segregation of inner cities. For example: “Chicago is the most segregated city in the United States.”
Discussions during lecture by Dr. Madeline Troche-Rodriquez and Dr. Anghesom Atsbaha reveals the idea that we live in this post-racial society is not necessarily true. There are some things not discussed or questioned like “whiteness” or perceptions of “White culture” and “white privilege”. On Ethnicity vs. Race, there is non-acceptance of an “interracial identity” or “intermediate” identity. A fellow classmate suggested the “bottle theory” that the reasons behind this might be due to an existing systematic racism that is reinforced through intimidation. Omi and Winant theory of racial formations is that the establishment of “racism are shaped by broader societal forces.”
It is common sense, racial logic, an individual looks around a classroom or campus and see that someone is Black or Asian or White … rather it is an observation made by another individual identity. Perspective, perception, and preconceived truths or notions is the difference between something being “real” and something being of a “social construct” like race or gender. According to Omi and Winant theory of racial formation “broader societal forces determine how and why we view race as we do.”
The 1983 court case Susie Guillory Phipps vs. Louisiana defense ruling made by Attorney General Ron Davis reaffirmed the legality of racial grouping (by genetics). Race has been a matter of scientific interpretations to determine racial classifications. Max Weber and other social Darwinists defined race as social construct. Prior to that, race was thought of as a “biological concept” devised by Linnaeus in System Naturae —the identification and ranking of variations in human beings. This social construction in which race is seen as quote and unquote “the assumption of a continuum of higher” and “lower cultural groups.”
From start of the early 18th century, the ‘Eugenics’ movement throughout Europe—well into 19th Century—prevalent thought existed that anything not of their classification is seen as the “lower” quality of human beings like “non-white” or “savages”. End quote: “Race and the interpretation of racial differences was a central factor in that world view.” Those interpretations were the reasoning behind the white Europeans as the dominant social class. Contemporary psycho-analytic thought finely touched on the most debated of subject matters.
“Hereditary factors shape intelligence’ not only revived the ‘nature and nurture’ controversy but raised highly volatile questions about racial equality itself.” – Arthur Jensen
Francis Galton, a pioneer of hereditary and biometry made a response to an eminent scientist in hereditary genius, Alphonse de Candolle who published works on the effect of social factors on scientific basics. Messieurs de Candolle concluded, “intellectual ability was heritable, and that an individual with high inherited ability could go far in any profession” when nurtured by societal forces.” In response, Sir Francis Galton had written a letter to M. de Candolle titled English Man of Science: Their Nature and Nurture and defined the distinctions between nature and nurture. Bulmer, M.G., Francis Galton, Pioneer of Hereditary and Biometry. Baltimore, Maryland: John Hopkins University Press, 2003:
“Nature is all that a man brings with himself into the world; Nurture is every influence from without that affects him after his birth…” Nature and Nurture is considered a cited reference to Shakespeare’s play “The Tempest” in which Prospero complains about his adopted son Caliban: “A devil, a born devil, on whose nature/Nurture can never stick.”
No matter ones racial classifications, the nature of an individual with intelligent ability may become prominent. In other words, an individual may become prominent in society, given the nurture of their environment and opportune circumstances.
Superficial indicators attributes to the social, economic, political … broader societal determinants of racial identity as “underprivileged” and “underclass” in racial terms rendered “black” by the establishment and maintenance of a “color line”. What it boils down to is dialectics (language, hyperbole, symbolism) and the representation of false beliefs or elicited truths on what is being signified about the subject. Films like Rain Tree and expunged Marvin Harris theory of hypo-decent explains affiliation with the subordinate group rather than the super-ordinate group that avoids the ambiguity of an “intermediate identity” (the “other” identity not defined as “this” or “that” view of Black & White) keeping away from the racist collective.
The power of the media lies not only in their ability to reflect the dominant racial thought but also in their capacity to shape that ideology in the first place. U.S. Television media lead to the perpetuation of racial caricatures, and lead the audiences to “assign and reassign” racial characteristics to particular groupings. Race is rooted in “nature” and plays the crucial role of politics and ideology shaping race and ethnic relations. Perhaps that is why Japanese competition spurs resentment to this day because they have been the most successful in breaking through to the other side—an “intermediate” identity from interracial mixing otherwise called “marrying up”. “Women on the Verge” by Karen Kelsky, a deeper look into the female psyche on interracial dating, revealed Japanese women desire to mix and procreate with a Caucasian male. Men and women attempt to skirt discriminatory barriers imposed by law and custom through reaching out to the OTHER side, by obtaining an “intermediate identity” and multicultural identity for their children.
Stereotypes influenced by race can be exposed. Subculture, films, and roles portrayed by different classes both in the media, private, and the public are a medium for exposure. African American Denzel Washington is not the first to portray the role of a BLACK president ‘til Jan. 20th Inauguration in 2009. Saturday Night Live skit portrayed a “black” president in a satirical and comedic direct-fashion that exposed perceived truths by societal forces. That exposure disrupted society. However, the dominant social class is resilient if finding innovative ways to reassert or reaffirm super-ordinate authority.
Karl Marx said, “The history of all existing society is the history of class struggles”. It is not necessarily true that we live in a post-racial society or post-class or post-modern anything society. Race is the politics of the struggles born from “class distinctions” that will not disappear. Moses (Moshe) Hess, a secular Jewish philosopher and one of the founders of socialism wrote in the epilogue “Rome and Jerusalem” (1862) “the race struggle is the primary and the class struggle is the secondary and with an end to antagonisms … the struggles of race and class comes to a stand still.”
(… Race …) “To see it as a mere illusion which an ideal social order would eliminate. In our view it is crucial to break with these habits of thought. The effort must be made to understand race as an unstable and complex of social meanings constantly being transformed by political struggle.” – Moses ‘Moshe’ Hess, a Jewish philosopher and Socialist
- Bulmer, M.G., Francis Galton, Pioneer of Hereditary and Biometry. Baltimore, Maryland: John Hopkins University Press, 2003
- Theory formulated by cultural anthropologist Franz Boaz, Omi M. and Winant H., Ch.2 Racial Formations.
- Wikipedia: Moses Moshe Hess quotation(s)
- Kelsky, Karen. Women on the Verge: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/women-on-the-verge-karen-kelsky/1100312013