Race the Power of an Illusion

“Race the Power of an Illusion” not only discusses the history of our societally constructed races, but how these categories can be detrimental to those who are minorities. Psychological research has found that humans tend to categorize things. Our brains love to organizing things into lists and categories, however, what are the effects of grouping people into such categories? Race and ethnicity are just two examples of how we categorize humans.  Ethnicity refers to clusters of people who have common culture traits that distinguish from those of other people, therefore, your ethnicity is variable. However, race is a different category based on the idea of fixed, ideal, and unchanging types. These racial categories, such as black, white, and brown, are merely skin colors, but our society attaches assumptions to them.

The experiment in which the students compared their DNA to their peers’ was a new concept for me. Contrary to popular belief, the students found that their DNA was most similar to that of other races compared to their own.  This type of experiment supports the hypothesis that race is not a biological category, but a socially constructed phenomenon. I believe that replicating this experiment in biology courses in high school or college, would be hugely beneficial in understanding genetic differences in race. I also found it interesting how the video discussed that geography is a better way to explain certain genetic differences, exemplified by the sickle cell example. Sickle cell is a disease that is not specific to African Americans, but more specifically people are are living in Malaria-stricken geographical areas.

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