Race And Ethnicity Has A Social Construction

1037 words - 5 pages

The chief lesson to be taken away from this semester’s class is that race truly is a social construction. This sounds a bit cliché but a deeper analysis of American history in regards to race and ethnicity cements the fact that race would not exist if it did not serve as a method of maintaining power and control on numerous occasions regardless of time or area. Internal colonialism has served as one of the most dominant processes involved in the exploitation of subordinate populations throughout the history of the United States. The use of immigrant populations for economic growth has also contributed to the rise of race because of its ability to allow foreign workers to aid the United States in economic progress while still maintaining the “whiteness” that many of the social elite consider to be necessary in order to be a true American. One of the most questionable aspects of the existence of race is the fact that it has never been truly defined and has been very flexible depending upon certain situations. This is because the social construction of race has always been implemented in order to preserve power and to ensure that the social elite remain atop the social ladder. In reality, race is non-existent, but the ideologies associated with this false concept have continued to thrive in order to serve as a justification for the questionable tactics associated with American policy-making, growth, and expansion.
Most present-day Americans are familiar with the concept of Manifest Destiny, the history of American slavery, and the poor treatment of immigrant groups upon arriving in the United States. However, many are not familiar with the exact reasons that these processes occurred. It is only upon further examination of these subjects that one can begin to scratch the surface of what exactly led to the construction of race. Some would say that race does exist because it can be seen, based upon things such as skin color or hair texture. However, science has dispelled the myths that support any sort of biological differences between “races”, regardless of differences in physical appearance. The true answer to the race question lies in historical process. Africans were brought to America against their will during the slave trade. Numerous Chinese were encouraged to come to America during the late nineteenth century. Native Americans were forced from their lands and onto particular areas of land deemed suitable by the American government. The common theme between all of these occurrences is that each one benefitted America greatly. However, while American leaders needed these populations in some particular way, they did not want foreigners to infiltrate their ranks and they did not want to be viewed as imperialistic. America, being known as the land of freedom, would not benefit from the international opinion that it was a land of imperialistic endeavors and unjust treatment of citizens. The best way to satisfy the need for labor...

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