Critical Summary of “The ‘Morphing’ Properties of Whiteness”
Within the definitions and perceptions of race exists a dichotomy that Duster illuminates as inconsistent, transforming, and historically erratic depictions of what represents the racial categorization of “white”. Vacillating between racial portrayals of “whiteness”, embodying a divergence between the fluidity of historic and social transformation and a disingenuous reflection of bigotry, disrespect, and intolerance, Duster distinguishes race as a compilation of divergent biochemical, neurological, and social identities (Duster n.d.). Cognizant of concessions shown to the “white” race, Duster denotes an inevitability to refute the moral reality of “white’ exclusivity, and attempts to illuminate the vacillating conceptual perspectives on the “elementary truths” about race (Duster nd).
Duster alludes to the necessity of utilizing a balanced methodological approach towards a true understanding of the origins of racial stratification in America. Utilizing the analogy of water evolving through progressive stages of fluidity, he denotes that race and the conceptual context of “whiteness” can reflect both the flow and ebb of the progression through water, vapor, and solids, but can also transform through concurrent stages of social change. It is the evaluation of vacillating perspectives and timely progression that provides a balanced understanding of race.
Recitations of historic attempts initiated to biologically define differences in race and ethnicity culminated in the “Revised UNESCO Statement on Race” in 1995. The realization that ethnicity and race represent a culmination in more areas of commonality than in areas of differences, manifesting in the realization that race is the sum of parts and not representational of exclusive biological origins. The impetus to scientifically categorize race is supported by empirical evidentiary, hence first order constructs, that some racial classifications have “polymorphic markers”, preordaining them to certain disease process (Duster nd), while social scientists interpret the more nebulous second order construct which necessitate trying to interpret logic in an inconsistent society. Duster relates the utilization of visual racial clues to supplementing racial injustice through discriminatory practices such as housing and loan availability designed to designated racially specific areas and boundaries, hence manufacturing inaccurate second order constructs.
Identifying examples of conscious systematic apartheid hidden behind “race neutral” reform, duster relates the racial discrimination of blacks in the inclusion of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, the Wagner Act of 1935, and the National Housing Act. Fueled by the need to justify the supremacy of “whiteness”, were attempts to identify and qualify deficiencies of intelligence and predilections to disease in the “non-white” population that would have negative societal...