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How Race And Class Affect Individuals

2249 words - 9 pages

Brittany Christian

Professor Williams

English 102

24 May 2007

How Race and Class Affect Individuals

In society today, Americans are getting hurt physically, emotionally, and

spiritually. We are not afraid to take action whenever these actions take place in different

communities. People also have their own feelings about particular subjects. Race and

class have a major impact in our lives because these are issues we face everyday. In

Chapter 6 of The Generation of Ideas: A Thematic Reader, three questions are asked

based on race and class: “Are race and class together just convenient ways for people to

classify their society so that they can better ...view middle of the document...

This means that race and class goes hand and hand because if you are

a certain race, people will automatically position you in a certain class based on our past

history back in the 1700s and 1800s. During that time, people of color were held captive

as slaves while whites were owners. Since those times have passed, black people are still

considered poor today. Many are still poor today, but some are highly successful because

everyone has freedom to do whatever they want to do. Misconception becomes evident

whenever a statement says that “all” people of color are poor, which is not true

nowadays. Steele also talks about how race and class becomes a “double bind” because

they are “defined in sharply antagonistic terms” (528). This is where race and class can

clash or intersect because we now have middle-class and upper-class black people; whites

becomes confused based on this fact despite black people being poor back in the day.

When we deal with race and class, we try to antagonize each other based on what we

perceive. Belonging in a race or class does not mean we are all the same person, but we

stand as individuals of a certain race or class. In society, we tend to determine how

a person’s lifestyle is just by how they look. The article “AAPA Statement on

Biological Aspects of Race” focuses on the current understanding of the structure of

human variation from a biological perspective. This article states that:

Popular conceptualization of race are derived from 19th and early 20th

century scientific formulations. These old racial categories were based

on externally visible traits, primarily skin color, features of the face, and

the shape and size of the head and body. . . These categories of race are

rooted in the scientific traditions of the 19th century, and in even earlier

philosophical traditions which presumed that immutable visible traits can

predict the measure of all other traits in an individual or a population.

Such notions have often been used to support racist doctrines. Yet old

racial concepts persist as social conventions that foster institutional

discrimination. The expression of prejudice may or may not undermine

material well-being, but it does involve the mistreatment of people and

thus it often is psychologically distressing and socially damaging.

Scientists should try to keep the results of their research from being used

in a biased way that would serve discriminatory ends. (American

Association of Physical Anthropologists)

Indeed, we have come a long way from where we used to be in the past. The

issues that people are letting materialism and consumerism rule their lives refer to the

second question about the danger of race and class being...

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