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Womens- Race- 1-31 - LECTURE7 RACE: Outline for today...

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1/31/2011 LECTURE 7 RACE: Another Social Construction Outline for today Social Construction of Race (and Avocadoes) History and “Racial Fabrication” Why Race Matters in Women’s Studies Women of Color Epistemologies WS/AC 240 January 31, 2011 Jennifer McFarlane-Harris From Week 2 (Gender): Gender as difference - what about differences within gender o Socially constructed : we attribute meaning to biological difference: males & females masculine & feminine (men & women) o We “do” gender through social and cultural practices. The idea of gender difference supports inequality (domination) But what about differences within gender? Like gender, Race is socially constructed ****DIFFERENCE: there is no biological substrate for race. With gender we have a difference between sex (biological substrate) and gender (the social overlay- the meaning we make out of that substrate.) science does not agree on a set of factors that we call “race.” Race SEEMS to be determined biologically- but its not. There are no fixed clusters of traits that explain race. Scientists don’t recognize race as an acceptable way to divide humans. No biological evidence for a small number of biologically discrete racial groups Humans vary on gradients – across the world. We think of sickle cell as a disease that affects African Americans, but it affects other ppl across the world. Geographical and Genetic Histories Definitions of “what race is” change through history Definitions of “what race is” vary around the world
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“Race” vs. “Ethnicity” RACE vs. ETHNICITY: Race refers to a person’s appearance. Ethnicity, on the other hand, relates to cultural factors such as nationality, ancestry, religion, beliefs, and values Similarity between the two: Belief in descent from a particular group as a part of their membership to that group. Social or cultural constructs for categorizing ppl based on perceived differences based on appearances and behavior. Women who are not White share the experience of discrimination based on race or ethnicity (hence, term “Women of Color”) Racial “Fabrication” (Lopez) Human interaction rather than natural (biological) differentiation is the source for racial categorization. Racial Fabrication vs. Racial Formation: Humans rather than abstract social forces produce races. Lopez says: “Racial is a social fabrication.” Few differences between different so-called races than inside of one race. What groups or structures benefit from the meanings we give to race. As human constructs, races are an integral part of a social anyone who has any Negro blood The meaning-systems surrounding race change over time as a fabric that includes gender and class relations. result of human intervention.
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