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Understanding Race

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The ideology of race in the United States can be traced throughout the complicated historical relationship of the Western Europe and the USA. The general issue and ideas of race have been formed under the influence of the government, science and culture. Up until the arrival of the European colonists on the shores of Northern America in the early 1500, the land belonged to the Native Americans. The Spanish, French and English tried to create settlements in Florida, Virginia and Canada by the mid-1600. This led to the bacon’s rebellion that united the black servants and the whites against the Virginia planters. As a result the status of the Africans has changed.  They were not servants with freedom any more. Later on in 1770, English colonists started to rebel opposing the British Crown.  After all these revolts, the Africans were denied their freedom and rights. There was a promotion of the idea of race that acknowledged the white people as superior and the Africans as inferior in the United States.  By the 19th century, the issue of race had spread. It was based on theories that different races represent different species and that race signifies variance in human types (American Anthropological Association, 2011).

In 1700s famous naturalists and economists in Europe were trying to classify the biological variation in humans. During this era a term “race” was plied with species, varieties or sorts. The ideological components of this term included the attitudes, beliefs and values that existed in the Northern America. It was a period of time when naturalists like George Louis argued that only the same species can interbreed despite belonging to different groups. This is the basic explanation why the term “race” with its current meaning of superiority by some people over the other didn’t exist in the 18th century. The scientific explanations and observations were impacted by the cultural beliefs. Racial science took a predominantly dangerous turn in the 1800s, when Non-Europeans became the constant subject of so-called “scientific demonstrations”, that alleged to investigate racial variety and cultural beliefs. The phenomenon of the racial difference was tested via the usage of the human beings who were developed enough to display the evolutionary hierarchy. People were grouped according to their color, from the darkest to the lightest. This was the main cultural factor that perpetuated the notion that the Africans, the Natives and the Asians were inferior to the Americans and the Europeans (American Anthropological Association, 2011).

Human variation is the aspect that involves the understanding of biology and whether certain biological modifications are able to be defined as race or not. These variations include spectrum, skin type, molecular cells and health connections, race and human variation and the human variation quiz. Within the human spectrum people tend to draw lines and thus group objects into the different categories. One of the main categories of describing people is according to their heights. However, height is a continuous aspect and for this grouping people in accordance to it is an illogical action. this is a perfect example that color is also a continuous factor and should not be used to group people, as it does not tell anything about the identity of an individual (American Anthropological Association, 2011).

According to Alan Goodman, “all skin colors, whether light or dark, are not due to the race but to adaptation for life under the sun”; it is therefore only a skin deep. Biologically, skin type is just a physical characteristic that evolved from the process of evolution.  Our ancestors were moving to warm and open places in search of food and water. As a result, their skin became darker in order to adapt to the hot conditions. Therefore, skin color cannot be attached race or origin. Another aspect is health connections and race and the question whether genes are responsible for our health. According to the professional anthropologist Janis Hutchinson, “genes are a constituent in complex disease such as diabetes and hypertension”, but the environmental aspects such as discrimination and racism are also vital. Therefore, it is very important to note that race does not affect the health conditions. Instead, the health variations are the result of a combination of genetic and environmental causes. Exploring our molecular cells is a factor that aims at explaining the fact that none of the physical characteristics that are associated with race are acquired genetically. Therefore, it is essential for human beings to understand that their complex characteristics are caused by many factors with one of them being the natural environment (American Anthropological Association, 2011).

Race and human variation are aspects that state that traditional race ideologies do not give an accurate view on human alternation; they claim that each group has a significant level of uniqueness whereas this is not true. Instead, populations are connected to each other via shared variations. For example, the Asians and the Europeans have a set of ranges that are almost similar. Finally, the race quiz is a feature that aims at challenging the fact that the issue of race is so entrenched into our lives and appears to be the natural cause of things (American Anthropological Association, 2011).

A skin color changes with geographic location. Human skin variation has an adaptive character that is closely associated with the natural features and the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Long-lasting contact with sun rays has a negative influence on the skin cells. For this reason the skin had evolve to a lastingly dark color so as to protect itself from the sun. The population concept describes race as a group of the local population that has different genetic components from the other group of local populations in a habitat. The essentialist concept is a definition of race on the classification of human species on the basis of the difference in the physical traits that are hereditary.

In the video “A girl like me”, the doll test is a strong implication of the view point of the black people and the white people. It is vivid that in the contemporary world racism is still affecting people. According to the video, there is a notion that white people are prodigious but tend to be cooler in comparison to the black people. Almost all children in the video choose the white doll; justifying their choice of the specific doll by the fact that it was white. When asked why they choose the white doll over the black doll, they stated that another doll was black.  The cultural dynamics in the American society that make these black children to pick the white dolls are represented through the way their black relatives are treated and  the social status that one has simply for being black. It shows that they would prefer being white, because life is easier with that color. Having natural and straight hair was one of the attributes that the black girls stated as being associated with beauty in the American society (American Anthropological Association, 2011). This is due to the fact that white girls were considered beautiful and had those physical attributes. In my opinion this emphasis exists in order for a black girl to fit in the American society.

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