Ethnicity and race Essay

Ethnicity and race identifies the culture or ancestry we come from whether Asian, Hispanic, Latino, and the like. In my perspective, people use this as a basis for judging people: the color of one’s skin, which is often linked to the capacity of a person. This idea of a person is derived from social constructs and conventions people created; thus, creating a bias in the way some races are viewed. People usually have a biased outlook of people. An example of a social event in which ethnicity and culture comes into play are beauty pageants where ethnic culture and nationalism is largely observable.

In an article by Yeh, she mentions a study on Japanese American women who join beauty pageants (2008). The study presented the struggle of these contestants to define their race and ethnicity.  Mixed-raced people, according to the article, tend to support the racial concepts inherent to them. These materializes through “culture, gender, and community networks” (Yeh, 2008). Looking more closely, it can be said that compared to an average person who only has one race, a person with mixed-race will then to strive harder in creating a link between race and culture. This connection made will in turn grant them ethnic membership and their networks. It can be said that race and ethnicity grants a person certain privileges like acceptance to a social circle and identity.

Studying the implications of those with mixed races it can be concluded that these people carry with them two cultures with them, and these make them different or unique from those who only have one race or ethnicity. Since race is at times viewed from the physical characteristics of a person, an example would be is if you are chinky eyed, most likely you are Asian, or sometimes based on skin color, which can classify a person whether they are Caucasian, Hispanic, and the like. The scenario on people with mixed race is a good example why race is not a scientifically valid concept. Due to the fact that people use physical characteristics and genetics in order to segregate and identify a person classification, a number of factors still matter. The environment in which a person is born and the inborn characteristics of a person. This things make up the human biological diversity.

These are the reasons why we cannot immediately classify a person using science and box then into a specific race. The environment a person grows up in influences the way one thinks, decides, acts, etc. For example a person who can be physically identified to be Caucasian, as an infant, is left in the hands of an Asian family. The person may have the physical attributes specific to Caucasians but her culture is Asian. She may be more conservative with her actions and more family-based, since this is observable with the Asian culture.

The infant’s parents and the location she grew up in are the main influence on her culture and the beliefs she hold true. The environment has created in her a social norm which is different from what she should be having, and growing up in that setting, she feels an ethnical affinity with the Asian culture since that is the custom and tradition she acquired. Linking Asians with conservatism can be called a social construct, since not all Asians are conservative and family centered. This is when inborn characteristics come into play.

A person can deviate from the norm he or she grew up with. This is through certain values that are inherent in a person. The personality he or she were born with. This is another factor needs to be considered before making classifications on people. Each person is given a set of characteristics, a mixture that is different from another’s. As we all know, no two people are alike. Each of us is  an individual with their own set of beliefs. Education, gender, social stratification are some of the things that complete the equation; making each human being unique.

The classification of race is just a social construct. Reviewing the factors aforementioned it can be said that human beings are truly complex species. The characteristics people accept are trends that are common to a certain race but this is not limited to the “trend”. These characteristics should just be used as a preview to a certain society’s ideals but should not fix ideas or create biases on specific races.

In order to diminish the impact of race, education of people is important to present to them that racial characteristics and culture are not fixed, and people within an ethnical group should not be boxed since human biological diversity exist.

References:

Yeh, C.. (2008). Pure Beauty: Judging Race in Japanese American Beauty Pageants. Journal of Asian American Studies, 11(3), 380-382,384.  Retrieved February 9, 2010, from Academic Research Library.

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