Chapter 9 SOCI.docx - The Myth of Race Race can be defined...

Info icon This preview shows pages 1–2. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
The Myth of Race Race can be defined as a group of people who share a set of characteristics—usually physical ones—and are said to share a common bloodline. Racism is the belief that members of separate races possess different and unequal human traits. Race is a social construct that changes over time and across different contexts. To be white in America, for example, changed from being a somewhat inclusive category in the late eighteenth century to being much more narrowly defined in the mid-to-late nineteenth century and then shifted back to a broader definition in the mid-twentieth century. All these changes were in response to social realities. The Concept of Race from the Ancients to Alleles In ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome, the idea of race did not exist as we know it today. People recognized broad physical differences between groups of people, but they did not discriminate based on those differences. As Europeans came into contact with different peoples and cultures during the Age of Exploration, racism was used to justify the conquest and colonization of foreign lands. In the nineteenth century there were a number of scientists and thinkers researching and attempting to "explain" racial differences. Many of their efforts were biased due to ethnocentrism (the judgment of other groups by one's own standards and values), so they were actually "explaining" white superiority. Social Darwinism , another nineteenth-century theory, was the notion that some groups or races had evolved more than others and were better fit to survive and even rule other races. Backers of eugenics (the science of genetic lines and the inheritable traits they pass on from generation to generation) claimed that traits could be traced through bloodlines and bred into (for positive traits) or out of (for negative traits) populations. This thinking influenced immigration policy in the early twentieth century, when undesirable populations were kept out of the country so they wouldn't pollute the "native" (i.e., white) population. The one-drop rule , which evolved from U.S. laws forbidding miscegenation, was the belief that "one drop" of black blood makes a person black. Application of this rule kept the white population "pure" and lumped anyone with black blood into one category.
Image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Image of page 2
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

{[ snackBarMessage ]}

What students are saying

  • Left Quote Icon

    As a current student on this bumpy collegiate pathway, I stumbled upon Course Hero, where I can find study resources for nearly all my courses, get online help from tutors 24/7, and even share my old projects, papers, and lecture notes with other students.

    Student Picture

    Kiran Temple University Fox School of Business ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    I cannot even describe how much Course Hero helped me this summer. It’s truly become something I can always rely on and help me. In the end, I was not only able to survive summer classes, but I was able to thrive thanks to Course Hero.

    Student Picture

    Dana University of Pennsylvania ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    The ability to access any university’s resources through Course Hero proved invaluable in my case. I was behind on Tulane coursework and actually used UCLA’s materials to help me move forward and get everything together on time.

    Student Picture

    Jill Tulane University ‘16, Course Hero Intern