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Race and ethnicity

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  1. Introduction
  2. Skin pigmentation
  3. Modern American slavery
  4. Institutionalized and legitimized racism
  5. Conclusion
  6. References

When one thinks about the word race, the first thing that comes to mind is skin color. Somewhat recently, it has been discovered that the term ?race? may not be as relevant as we thought it was. In Actuality skin color has literally nothing to do with who we are as people or our genetic traits. This brings up several very interesting conversations concerning the topic of race. If skin color is irrelevant to our genetics, then what is race? Some may even conclude that race is completely non-important or even used as a tool to divide the human race. One may point out traits that are more prevalent amongst people of a certain skin colors, but does their skin color have anything to do with the traits that are associated with it? These are some of the many topics of discussion that surround race and racial identity.

How one identifies with a race is certainly a very interesting cultural phenomenon. In modern day society, it seems that those who consider themselves to be white must be purely white, while one can define themselves as being black, Hispanic, or Asian, with a very small amount of skin pigmentation. This comes up often with children who are the product of a biracial couple. When a child is half black and half white, the child is more likely to both identify as and be perceived as black as opposed to white.

[...] It is safe to say that the concept of race is a very difficult issue and involves far more than skin color alone. There are certainly fine lines between race, ethnicity, culture, biology and how they all relate to each other. Some have come to the conclusion that the only race that truly exists is the human race. In today's day and age, this seems to be the most reasonable way of looking at the concept of race. In the words of Helms, ?Race has no consensual theoretical or scientific meaning in psychology, although it is frequently used in psychological theory, research and practice as if it has obvious meaning? (Helms 27). [...]

[...] The one drop theory was usually used against blacks and stated that if one had one drop of black blood they were no longer white. The one drop rule was used to classify people during the civil war and Jim Crowe era in an effort to disenfranchise and enslave people of African descent. Thankfully in today's America, slavery (as it is commonly defined) and legislated segregation are now illegal. Unfortunately the ideologies present in these times seem to still be present to a certain degree. [...]

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