134lecture33(apr04) - The Social Construction of Race April...

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© 2005 David Schweingruber The Social Construction of Race April 4, 2005 http://www.iastate.edu/~soc.134
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© 2005 David Schweingruber Race is socially constructed Race: category of people labeled and treated as similar because of some common biological traits, such as skin color, texture of hair, and shape of eyes (p. 383) These traits are culturally determined Race has no “scientific” basis, e.g., DNA Biological variability exists, but doesn’t conform to our “race” categories; racial characteristics aren’t transmitted as complexes Race was invented in the 18th Century Race and racism have always been connected
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© 2005 David Schweingruber Some racial taxonomies The ancients: us vs. “barbarians” Linnaeus’ taxonomy Nazis: important distinction was Aryan vs. Jew South African apartheid: four categories (white, black, colored, Indian) Brazil: wider range of fluid skin color designations United States Most important distinction historically has been white vs. non-white
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