The Social Construction of Race
Inequality must also be understood from the perspective of race and ethnicity [Video, 26:41 mins]. If you ask the average person to explain why race exists, you are likely to get a biological explanation. This explanation would be true, to a point. The color of your skin and eyes is determined by genetics. If your modern ancestors migrated to a cold northern region of the globe, they evolved to have light skin and eye color as well as high nasal passages. This was necessary to survive in colder climates and higher altitudes. If your ancestors remained in or migrated to warmer climates, their genes did not mutate to acclimate. This biological explanation explains why we look different. It doesn’t explain why this matters. Sociology is the discipline that examines race and ethnicity as a social construction. This means that race has no true biological meaning, beyond minor differences in skin tone. Rather, race is significant only because society decides it is significant.
Module Notes: Understanding Inequality
St Patrick’s Day Parade
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