Saturday, April 16, 2011

Racial Preservation, Maybe?

In class, we have been doing a lot of talking about how to view race from an eliminativist point of view. We have often brainstormed of ways to get rid of the system of thought that perpetuates a racial realist viewpoint. Yet, we haven't thought of this phenomenon of race in all ways possible. I've been doing some thinking this week and I came up with the question, "But who are you really?" Over the years, people have come to grow comfortable with their racial identities, because they are so deeply embedded in our society, and some even use race as a defining characteristic of their being. Instead of focusing on the elimination of race-focused thought, let's focus on the perpetuation of race-focused motivation. If indeed race was no longer believed to be existent, then what would happen to the ego and confidence of the poor woman who is barely making it, but can say "I am an independent, STRONG BLACK WOMAN."She would no longer be able to magnify her strengths because "blackness" would not be recognized. Even though there are definite negative aspects to the preservation of racial categories in the sense that they attribute to the maintaining of the perception of an essence in each of us, I believe that there are also definite positive aspects to each of us having a racial group to belong to and uplifting ourselves through our common history. Everyone wants to belong, and evven if race didn't exist, I strongly believe that humans would find a differet way to distinguish themselves from one another. SO.....rather than eliminating the belief in or existence of racial categories, why can't we just remove the harmful and biased artifacts within them?


  1. Ivy,

    This is a good point, and one that often arises in the eliminitavist/conservationist debate. I don't think it's possible for us to "just remove the harmful and biased artifacts within [racial categories]" because, as we have discussed in class, the idea of race is built on faulty premises. Race is always an oversimplification of any individual that it is applied to, and therefore would seem to usually be harmful and biased. Nevertheless, as you point out, racial pride is one (possibly) major benefit of perpetuating the idea of race. I think that it would be possible, however, for us to build strong identities on other ideas. For example, your hypothetical woman could take pride in being a strong poor woman who has overcome the obstacles associated with her class. Class identity, at least, is based on something measurable and real.


  2. I agree that people identify with their race, mainly because race is often thought to be intertwined with culture. Considering the eliminitavist/conservationist debate, I believe that we should conserve race but eliminate the hierarchal structure that is associated with it. The question is HOW do we go about doing this? Do you think that education is the answer, or does greater action need to be made? Although schools are no longer segregated, students often spend time with people of the same race. Therefore, I believe that there should be an effort made to increase interactions between people of different races as a way to debunk the stereotypes that still exist today.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.