ABC-CLIO

Race in America

How a Pseudoscientific Concept Shaped Human Interaction

by Patricia Reid-Merritt, Editor
Foreword by Julianne Malveaux

 

Is race simply an antiquated, pseudo-scientific abstraction developed to justify the dehumanization of various categories of the human population?

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January 2017

Praeger

Pages 521
Volumes 2
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Race and Ethnicity/General
  Current Events and Issues/Gender
Description

Focusing on the socially explosive concept of race and how it has affected human interactions, this work examines the social and scientific definitions of race, the implementation of racialized policies and practices, the historical and contemporary manifestations of the use of race in shaping social interactions within U.S. society and elsewhere, and where our notions of race will likely lead.

More than a decade and a half into the 21st century, the term "race" remains one of the most emotionally charged words in the human language. While race can be defined as "a local geographic or global human population distinguished as a more or less distinct group by genetically transmitted physical characteristics," the concept of race can better be understood as a socially defined construct—a system of human classification that carries tremendous weight, yet is complex, confusing, contradictory, controversial, and imprecise.

This collection of essays focuses on the socially explosive concept of race and how it has shaped human interactions across civilization. The contributed work examines the social and scientific definitions of race, the implementation of racialized policies and practices, and the historical and contemporary manifestations of the use of race in shaping social interactions (primarily) in the United States—a nation where the concept of race is further convoluted by the nation's extensive history of miscegenation as well as the continuous flow of immigrant groups from countries whose definitions of race, ethnicity, and culture remain fluid. Readers will gain insights into subjects such as how we as individuals define ourselves through concepts of race, how race affects social privilege, "color blindness" as an obstacle to social change, legal perspectives on race, racialization of the religious experience, and how the media perpetuates racial stereotypes.

Features

  • Addresses a poignant topic that is always controversial, relevant, and addressed in mainstream and social media
  • Examines the various socio-historical factors that contribute to our understanding of race as a concept, enabling readers to appreciate how "definitions" of race are complex, confusing, contradictory, controversial, and imprecise
  • Inspects contemporary manifestations of race in the United States with regard to specific contexts, such as the quest for U.S. citizenship, welfare services, the legislative process, capitalism, and the perpetuation of racial stereotypes in the media
Author Info

Patricia Reid-Merritt, PhD, is distinguished professor of social work and Africana studies at Stockton University. She is the author of Righteous Self-Determination: The Black Social Work Movement in America; Sister Wisdom: Seven Pathways to a Satisfying Life for Soulful Black Women; Sister Power: How Phenomenal Women are Rising to the Top; and numerous book chapters and journal articles. Reid-Merritt has extensive community involvement with schools, colleges and universities, libraries, and other organizations, and in March 2015, she received the Carter G. Woodson/Mary McLeod Bethune Award for outstanding contribution to promote social responsibility in Africana studies by the National Council for Black Studies.

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