Special Topics: Women's Studies
Professor Soyoung Park
What is Race?
The distinction of race is a prevalent topic of discussion in today's society. Many people ask questions about themselves or others. "Who am I? Who are you? Where are you from?" These are considered the 'icebreakers' of common social activity. Yet there is still confusion about how people actually perceive race.
Historically, "...race was still largely seen in Europe and North America... as an essence, a natural phenomenon, whose meaning was fixed-" (Omi/Winant, 3).
In other words, in the past whiteness was considered common and the minorities were usually subordinate. Today, however, race is seen in two very different ways. Michael Omi and Howard Winant’s article On the Theoretical Status of the Concept of Race states that some believe that race is either an “ideological construct” (4) or an “objective condition” (5). However, this is not the case. Race is neither one nor the other but rather complex a mix of the two notions.
The idea that race is an ideological construct disregards the impact of historical events in relation to the races affected. If race was an illusion, then … “Why and how did race-thinking survive after emancipation” (Omi/Winant, 4)? Additionally, race cannot be simplified into definite boxes. No person is one of the “five color-based racial categories: black, white, brown, yellow, and red” (Omi/Winant, 5).
In my opinion, race cannot be pinpointed into one specific category. It is a concept that is a complicated blend of historical, cultural, and personal events. Race can only be defined as unique.
I read the articles had already written up a response before the change to Omi/Winant "Racial Formations".
Will read that, too, but will not post a blog about it unless it is required.