Race: The Power of an Illusion, Episode 3

I think the last episode did a phenomenal job concluding the series by touching on some of the most important aspects of America’s history of racism. As we discussed in class, it is hard to have conversations regarding racial inequalities if you do not know the history behind how such discrimination was created. Being completely honest, I was naïve about a lot of the information in the video regarding how such racism was constructed, especially concerning the differences in immigrants acquiring “white” status. It is almost unimaginable that the courts determined who was white and who was black, in that one could walk across state lines and legally change race.  For example, in Virginia if you were 1/16 African American you were considered black, but in Florida it was 1/8.

Episode 3 proved that the “everyone is born with the same potential” theory is unjustified.  This type of argument is repeatedly used in political conversations surrounding welfare and government assistance. Certain conservatives believe that the government should not be spending money in assisting poor people, because every person is born on the same slate and those people made decisions that put them in that position. I personally believe that this theory is not only immoral but unjustified. As the video mentioned, the average black family has 1/8 of that of an average white family.  This inequality has been created from past generations, not simply one’s own personal life choices. Racial and ethnic minorities are born as a disadvantage, compared to whites.

One of the most crucial things I have learned from this class already is that colorblindness is not the same as equality. In a perfect world, we would not separate people into categories of race, however, our society has already constructed these categories. It is important to study such racial disparities, and work to eliminate them. This course has already widely expanded my knowledge and awareness of such issues.

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