February 13 2019

As much as one would like to believe race is never truly the ultimate factor, circumstances tend to prove otherwise. Events throughout history have created the qualities of America as we distinguish today, one quality being the social construct: race. Social construction allows society to produce boundaries to gain an improved perspective outside of one’s own group and outlook. Social construction is defined as “a concept or perception of something based on the collective views developed and maintained with a society or social group.” Race is a form of social construction because it is a way that society identifies a group of individuals. It can be controversial because it is describing an individual as something other than just a person.

The “land of the free” somehow transformed into a place of limited opportunity. Minorities struggle to live the “American dream” and consequently became the butt of a bad joke. Sometimes these morals create dangerous constructs for our country and can never be erased. Individuals such as Philandro Castile, Sandra Bland, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice and so many more have been the victims of the perilous social construct: race. Their lives were taken because of the color of their skin in a land that was later founded on “liberty and justice for all” after others had to also sacrifice their lives for it. The fight did not end when the Declaration of Independence was signed and the Amendments were passed and everyone were given “equal rights’. The fight continues and the social construct is being held up by those that wish to make “America great again” leaving others wondering, when it was ever really so great to begin with.

If one is able to ignore or claim the social construct, race, does not exist, they are indeed on the inappropriate side of the construct. As one who has lived the life as a minority in our great country, they can attest to the struggles of living within this formulated concept. One can confirm the happenings: as a woman, as a black woman, as a black woman raising a black son, and she can testify how all the odds are against her at every angle. Yet there are those that are either consciously or unconsciously trying to remind her that it is something that you can overcome if you work hard. Not knowing that she was supplied with the teaching that “you have to work twice as hard to get half of what they have.” Not knowing, she is preparing to educate her son on the proper do’s and don’ts of how to interact and converse with the police just so he can make it back home that same night. Not knowing that she was equipped with the brutal and constant reminder that inferiority exists and there will be people that hate her just because of the pigmentation that illuminates her skin, who have produced an identity and stereotypes for one another.

Because it is a social construct, race can also create stereotypes to further constrain a group of individuals. Society categorizes people to keep count, to label them and try to understand a group’s culture. Scientifically, there is nothing that ties an individual to one particular classification. Society tends to define races and somehow we unknowingly apply that definition and categorize not only others, but also ourselves. The foundations are inevitable and may possibly never change, but that does not mean progress can never be made to modify the morals and stereotypes within that construct. Every few decades produces the same issue that makes one question if progress is even being made. The disputes mirror the struggles others endured years ago. Race is the most problematic social construct and as history proves time and time again, it simply cannot be ignored.

 

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