What is race? It is defined as descendants of a common ancestor; one of the distinct variations of the human species; race or lineage. (Websters New Dictionary 1998).
As our society becomes more educated the debate on whether or not this is the true definition of race, or as today’s Sociologists see it, is race merely socially constructed. Race, as it applies across scientific lines, is determinate to represent the human species as a whole, therefore there is but one race…. Human.
The readings of “ House behind the Cedars” by Charles W. Chestnut, “Black like Me “ written by John Howard Griffin, and Life On The Color Line: The true Story of a white Boy Who Discovered He Was Black, By Gregory Howard William’s, ask the question of the determination of race. This question is still being asked from the early nineteen hundreds to the late fifty’s and up until the recent nineties. Many descendants of duel ethnicities are asking of question of “ who am I”. They are confused as to where they fit into the equation of the categorization of race
We are still consumed with the notion that there is some possible generalization that can used to determine who belongs and who doesn’t, to a certain category of ethnicity. Throughout the process of natural selection, uninhibited love and the freedom of choice, we humans continue to cloud the reality for the concept of race.
This social construction of race no longer holds as a scientific factor. Physical features such as skin color and eyes and hair have been proven scientifically to be components of the location of environment. These traits were not only used to identify one “race” from another, but also as a measure to “prove” racial superiority. As we move forward in our human history the debate of nature Vs nurture proves to be a progressive thought pattern for today’s Sociologist. John Warwick (who is considered a mulatto) demonstrates this theory, as he successfully integrates into the dominant white society. After having studying, practiced and mastered the cultural values that are expected of the privileged class he is excepted as such However, he is aware that during this time,“of certain law [s] the instrument by which tyranny riveted the chains upon it’s victims, had revolted now and than against the senseless and unnatural prejudice by which a race ascribing its superiority to right of blood permitted a mere suspicion of servile blood to quit weight a vast preponderance of its own”(pg. 112 Chestnut).
According to Blau ner the similarities in white and black perceptions are... Whites focus historically on negative black behaviors; 86% disagreed with the Rodney King trial verdict, see race as an expression of racial conduct; don t see it as a as some larger pattern of racism (institutionalized or not); see racism in the past (not the present! ); that racism doesn t exist anymore, see progress in ...
That even though his appearance may allow him to “pass”, his racial construction by law determines that he is black.
As for Greg and Mike Williams, they actually believe that they are white based upon the social stipulations in place in the nineteen fifties. There outward appearance afforded them the advantage that the “ one drop of black blood” theory would soon take away. In order to maintain the decision of the Plessy Vs Ferguson Supreme Court case, any children born of the union of an African American and White parents, were considered to be Black regardless of their outward appearance. Therefore the William Boys had to assume this social construction of their identity. Their father (on the way to Muncie) delivered the following message to his sons; Its hard to tell you boys this [but Miss Sallie] is really my momma. That means she’s your grandmother” (pg. 32 Williams).
Greg Williams not wanted to believe that his entire life was nothing more than a elaborate lie, responded” But that can’t be Dad! She’s colored “(pg. 32).
Braxton The theory of social construction states that many concepts that appear naturally are really the result of human actions and choices. The British constructed the myth that the American Indians were savages for their own economic benefit. Because the British needed to have a legitimate and verifiable reason in order for the countrymen of Great Britain to advocate the taking of the lands of ...
Upon hearing this both Greg and Mike were completely devastated to find out that they and their father were black. As their father introduced them to their new home the boys had adept to their new identity and new environment in order to survive. Due to the social construction of race the boys lost a large portion of who they were.
John Griffin saw the importance of this dilemma from another perspective. He saw that the social construction of “race” as being a problem where “ men who destroys the souls and bodies of other men (and in the process destroy themselves for one reasons neither understands. It is the story of the persecuted, the defrauded the feared and detested. I could have been Jew in Germany Mexican in a number of states or a member of any inferior group. Only the details would have been different. The story would be the same. Griffin is correct in his assumption that as long as we as a society allows the social construction of race to exist, we are condoning our children of future generations to hide from who they are if the story of human persecution under the guise of race continues. There are several indications for this happening as our world resources are depleted and the margins widen between the educated and the uneducated. As our population grow and only the privileges reap the benefit. Who will became the next group to be targeted with this criterion of ethnic destruction?
What a cruel joke of life to be conditioned to live in accordance with the laws of the land when they are in direct opposition with the laws of nature. The only choice to transcend this cruel dilemma is to adopt those laws that yield the best result for survival No one with the ability to “pass” should be held to any legal or social constraints. Nature allows us to use our skills and any other advantage given to us as a means of survival. Therefore as long as the racial classification exist to discriminate oppress, persecute, or destroy our fellow man in the name of ethnic cleansing, people who have the opportunity to “pass” will continue to do so to escape persecution.