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Sociology 370 - Racism (movie character analysis)

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Racism is discrimination of people based on their race. In the United States, there are people of various races such as the Whites, Indians, Asians, Hispanics, and African-Americans hence the country is vulnerable to racism claims. However, debate as to whether race is biological or socially constructed prevails. Social scientists on one hand believe race is socially constructed whereas scientists believe race is biological in nature (Chan & Dorothy, 4). As a social constuction, race is defined as “an idea created by human beings in certain historical and material conditions and is used to represent the world in certain ways, under certain historical conditions and for certain political interests” (Chan &Dorothy 4: cited in Robert Miles, 2000, 192).

The idea of race as a social construction is also advanced by Omi and Winant who claim that it is the society that dictates what is good and bad and attach symbols to people and things (13-22). The society thus decided who is to be considered as part of ‘them’ or ‘us’ and who is to be excluded. If it were not the case, all human beings would be equal and same as they were all created in the image of God.

For example, in the movie at Grandma Bonnie’s house where Wanda’s birthday party was taking place, Ceephus (Oscar’s uncle) claimed that the only Black presidential candidate was not one of them because he was not affected by slavery. In this case, Blacks are viewed as those who came to America through slavery especially during the Transatlantic slavery and this is the same reason they are viewed as inferior. Slaves were the properties of the Whites who are the dominant group hence are the ones who define races.

Whites are seen as superior and privileged than Blacks who are disadvantaged and inferior. Scientists view race as biological. In this case, racial divisions are natural and fixed and are based on biological characteristics such as skin color. They are also divided according to religion, class and geography. There is an assumption that skin color, facial features, hair color and texture are related to intellectual, moral or cultural superiority. The Whites thus are assumed to more intelligent than Blacks simply due to their color.

The whites also consider themselves pure, virtuous, beautiful, beneficent and Negroes who are black are associated with evil (Jordan 35). In this case, the Black race is seen as dangerous hence is always

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