Racial World View

Race is and has been a pervasive component of American thought and experience. It has been so fundamental and intrinsic to how Americans see and explain the functioning of the world, its meaning or reality is rarely questioned. Race has been used as the ultimate classification of social identity, affecting how we interact with and are influenced by others. Race has been seen as such a part of the "natural order" of things that the mere physical variation in humans has been used as evidence of its existence and as a justification of mistreatment of broad cross-sections of the human family.

Race, as used and furthered in the US, is essentially about worth and inequality of status; it reflects unassailable social distances; it represents ideas of profound and unbridgeable differences. It is an idea based on the fundamental inequality of humans due to phenotypic differences. Race, as a strategy for organizing the worth of humans, has had long term and significant impact on every institution, idea, and system of beliefs existing in the world today.

The resulting sense of difference based on race is structured into US society through division of housing; education, training, and income disparity; pervasive social taboos against socializing and intermarriage; social restrictions against common memberships in organizations (notably the church); and virtually all means for transmitting culture-music, arts, literature, theater, television, film, recreational activities, businesses, politics and political forums, educational institutions and scientific research.

Americans have developed a racial worldview.  A racial worldview naturally assigns some people believed to be associated with particular races because of their phenotypical differences in skin tone, hair, and facial features,  to perpetual low prestige places while others are naturally assigned to positions of prestige and wealth.  A racial worldview obscures the fact that the perceived differences are actually products of historical and contemporary social, economic, educational and political circumstances rather than biological factors.

Racial World View

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Today in America there is an increasing number of interracial marriages, producing an increasing number of multicultural offspring. What happens to individuals born into a cultural dichotomy of white and non-white when the lines between races are blurred?

Watch the documentary,   (Note: this video is not Closed Captioned) and/or read this article, 

SOATV. 2017. "Documentary: The Other Race (Mixed Race)." Retrieved June 1, 2021 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GfM-F172548).
Donnella, Leah. 2016. "All Mixed Up: What Do We Call People Of Multiple Backgrounds?" NPR. Retrieved September 13, 2021 (https://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2016/08/25/455470334/all-mixed-up-what-do-we-call-people-of-multiple-backgrounds)

After completing, answer the questions the following questions:

  1. How has a racial worldview impacted your perception of who you are and the rights and privileges that are due to you?  How has a racial worldview impacted how you see those from other races and nationalities?
  2. a) Based on the video what are the stories of stereotype, prejudice and discrimination that multiracial or multiethnic people share in America?  Are similar experiences worldwide (among minority groups in other countries)? Give specific examples.  b) Please share your experiences, or the experiences of a relative or friend who is or is perceived as being multiethnic or multiracial, be specific. 
  3. Explain the following statement using at least two of the major theories (structural-functionalist, conflict, symbolic interactionist).  A racial worldview obscures the fact that the perceived differences are actually products of historical and contemporary social, economic, educational and political circumstances rather than biological factors. 
  4. Who benefits and how from the current racial worldview? How does privilege play a part?
  5. What steps can each of us take to change America's worldview?

Remember for each writing assignment students are expected to support their responses to the questions posed by applying course material and additional, external research. It is important that you include proper documentation of this research in each and every assignment.  This means you need to include in-text citations and a references page that meet ASA guidelines for EVERY assignment.  This is reflected in the grading rubric.  The links provided in the Course Overview, among other things, will provide you with information about these guidelines (see the Purdue Owl Lab or Quick Tips of ASA style for the most comprehensive listing of ASA style guidelines


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