Social Constructions of Race: Overview

Social constructions are intertwined with the concept of race and define its perception by people on the basis of their convictions with regard to society. At various times, they tried to examine and describe the differences between them on the grounds of this concept through the lens of numerous theories. Thus, the supporters of eugenics claimed the importance of racial characteristics for new generations, and nativists protected their land by ascribing negative characteristics to other nations. All these approaches were underpinned by allegedly scientific evidence received by racists. As a result, the development of ethnocentrism was enhanced by the varying motivations of participants in the process of exploring the field.

Another interesting fact is that the attitudes towards races have been continuously changing throughout history. People attempted to use this characteristic to explain their differences in social conditions and distinguish themselves from others. For example, the trend to consider Irish immigrants as potential criminals based on their origin adversely affected their perception by other white citizens. The change happened after the introduction of new laws limiting the number of people allowed for citizenship, and African Americans became the seeming threat. Therefore, the so-called restrictive racial categories were applied to various nations at specific periods of time, determining the position of population groups in society.

Finally, the idea of race in modern times differs from the ancient notions, which were formed under the influence of not physical characteristics but people’s locations. For instance, in Egypt, physical markers were linked to geography, and no other features were emphasized in distinguishing inhabitants of different places. This perception undermines the roots of racism as such and makes it impossible to imagine when applied to the present-day world. Moreover, in the past, mythical explanations were prevalent in contrast to the currently popular beliefs in science. Thus, this outcome is partially conditional upon the use of varying explanations for a race in society.

The principal question regarding the topic is related to the impact of racist views on modern society and, more specifically, the mechanism of defining the so-called privileged population groups. In the past, they were clearly based on the perspectives of people concerning their perceived safety and alleged threats. Meanwhile, at present, the situation is more complicated as the needs of people are continuously changing and other considerations are emerging. The involvement of numerous nations in the process of promoting prosperity and well-being creates more conflicts, but there is no clarity on how race affects it. Therefore, it is interesting to learn more about how this concept influences societal affairs now.

In further discussion of the social constructions of race, it would be interesting to examine the possibility of a change in the current state of racism. More specifically, it means revealing the reasons why it still exists in present-day society and what measures can help combat it. As can be seen from the theoretical information from the book, the former is related to citizens’ desire to ensure their well-being, and they tend to exaggerate the perceived threats. In turn, the latter represents a set of actions which will allow overcoming the underlying problems in this area. In this way, a combination of these two aspects will be beneficial for enhancing the understanding of the subject as applied to reality.

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