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anthro paper - Rachael Ropeik Sec 009 Race From the...

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Rachael Ropeik 2/15/08 Sec 009 Race From the beginning of time people have separated themselves by their physical differences, known as phenotypes. More often than not, phenotypes such as skin color, eye color and body composition have separated one ethnic group from another. In the early colonial period in America, there were three distinct groups primarily based on skin color. There were whites, people of European decent; blacks, people of African descent; and yellows, people of Asian descent. According to Conrad Kottak, “race, like ethnicity in general, is a cultural category rather than a biological reality” (Kottak 2007, 373), this goes to show that phenotypes don’t have any scientific basis for division of people – in fact, “on average, any two randomly chosen people in the world will have a 2 percent difference in their genetic material” (Lecture 1/28/08). This shows that all humans are almost completely genetically identical, and there are no subspecies. This is where the common paradox about race comes: “an illusion but yet profoundly real”. Race doesn’t exist outside of the phenotype categories we place upon ourselves; however, for centuries, as our species has evolved people have socially constructed race into our everyday society with laws and institutions that prevent equality for all ethnicities. As Professor Fricke stated, “Race is not a viable scientific way to categorize people: independent assortment in reproduction means that the association between individual characteristics & ‘race’ won’t hold” (Lecture 1/28/08). In the United States specifically, race has been institutionalized – seen in the GI housing bill, education, and intelligence – this is where the paradox comes in because all of the aforementioned constructions are
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merely based upon phenotypes with no actual biological differences, thus making race an ‘illusion’. The GI housing bill, as described in “Race the Power of an Illusion”, has shaped cities around the country for decades since the new deal reforms in the 1930’s. After World War II, hundreds of men were coming home with nowhere to live. Previous to this time major cities such as New York City, Boston, and Philadelphia were characterized by tenement apartment houses. The majority of society lived in these large cities in close
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