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Skin color as a spectrum

I found it really interesting how in Roy (15), he discusses that race is treated as a bounded category instead of along a gradient. Although skin tones are quite variable, people are classified as either "black" or "white". Somehow this distinction was created along a random line. Furthermore, in different parts of the world, the classification or "breaking point" of being either "black" or "white" is different. This reinforces the fact that it is purely socially constructed.

This ties into what was talked about in the film, "Race: The Power of an Illusion." They discussed how different skin tones developed as people traveled further away from the equator. Although I have heard this before, I never thought about the fact that if someone walked from Africa to Norway, the skin tones would slowly get lighter. This clearly makes sense as we all adapt to fit our environment. I guess the thing that the entire society needed to accept, especially during the eugenics era, was that everything such as intelligence, athletic ability, etc. was already evolved before this migration of people. So really truly, we are all from the same ancestors and then just had some appearance changes later. I don't know what is so hard for society to understand about this! We continue to disregard the fact that race is socially constructed. Despite the evidence that race is NOT biological, it still has serious implications in our world today.

However, I guess I still struggle with how gender and sexuality is almost completely socially constructed. We learn things that become such a part of who we are and how we think that it is really hard to move beyond that. I hope we have another discussion regarding this issue in class; I don't feel that we gave the topic ample time.

Comments

I think it is very interesting how society does judge someone's physical appearance and places them into a racial category. There are many other people in the limelight that come from multiple ethnicities but are placed into a single race. Another example besides Barack Obama is Tiger Woods. He is known for his success and being black in a mainly "white" sport, but he actually has a very diverse background.

I find this an interesting topic also, due to the fact that racial categorization is still so important today. When I think of this, I think of the Barak Obama. Even though he's black and white, society recognizes him as black due to his physical appearance. He's not noted for his multiracial lineage, which goes to show how far Americans have come in understanding racial categorizations.

It is so interesting how people think of race just as either black or white there's never an in between. I am Mexican and am asked in one question what my ethnicity is and then in another question I am asked my race and there's only two choices. It completely baffles me! I am not a single race, I have indigenous, spanish and black roots and it is RIDICULOUS we are being forced into a narrow definition. Thanks for discussing this.