Race In American Culture

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The definition of race has always been somewhat of a question mark in the science of anthropology, sparking debates in terms of the ‘correct’ approach one should take in classifying race. Classification in an anthropological sense is concerned with the way different people see the world (Hendry, 2008: 20), thus a generic definition of race would never suit everyone, as different people have different theories on identifying race, and will more than likely continue to do so. Some base race purely on physical appearance such as skin and hair colour, whereas others practice a more scientific approach. Others, when asked “what is race?” struggle to give an answer, as it is a question many have never pondered on before. A satisfactory understanding…show more content…
In American culture at large, the fiction of race continues to operate as fact.” In general, American’s view race as a cultural interest rather than a biological entity. They believe that Hispanics, blacks, Asians and whites all comprise of biological units (Fish, 1995); they do not consider the variations within these groups of people as variations of race, but simply as a diverse form of that group. For example, there is an astonishing physical distinction among the peoples of Africa, but this goes entirely overlooked by Americans who view them all as belonging to the same ‘black’ race. Many view the Americans’ interpretation of race as somewhat ignorant, and that it is absolutely the improper method to use when distinguishing…show more content…
Many contend that the term ‘race’ creates hostility, particularly in America where race has become the main form of human identity, which has had a gloomy outcome on racial minorities and on those who distinguish themselves as of ‘mixed race’ (Smedley, 1998: 690). Indeed, it is a pleasant feeling to be part of a nation, to be patriotic and proud of where one has originated from, but is it really necessary to take it to the extreme where people feel ostracised and exiled purely based on physical appearances? Surely in the twentieth century the world has moved on from such low forms of racist ideologies. In terms of social acceptance, more so in the United States of America, blacks, Hispanics and Asians continue to feel discriminated against whites as they are seen as the most prominent and prosperous race throughout the country. Judging someone based purely on physical appearance should be something that the world has left in the past, yet it seems to becoming more commonplace in today’s society. In many people’s opinion race is completely irrelevant; it does not define who you are. But on the other hand are the people who see race, skin colour and appearance before anything else. Thus, the question ‘what is race?’ seems somewhat irrelevant in a world where people judge based purely on physical appearance

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