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Unformatted text preview: skin color. In fact, humans are far more alike than they are
different, and share 99.9 percent of their genetic material. S Race does, however, have social and political signiﬁcance. Social scientists call the term
race a “social construct,” that is, it was invented and given meaning by human beings.
Why? Answering that question requires looking at the creation of racial categories in
history, and what those categories have produced over time.
In the particular case of the United States, two primary racial categories—white
Europeans and all nonwhite “others”—emerged early in our nation’s history. Beginning
with the expropriation of Native American lands, a racialized system of power and
privilege developed and white dominance became the national common sense, opening
the door to the enslavement of Africans, the taking of Mexican lands, and the limits set
on Asian immigrants. “Millions of Americans still
think and talk about race in
terms of ﬁxed biological or
genetic categories. A strikingly
different way to view the
concept of ‘race’ is as an
unequal relationship between
social groups based on the
privileged access to po...
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This document was uploaded on 02/06/2014.
- Spring '14