March 17, 2014
The Marker of Race
One can imagine that before the existence of racial categories one of the considerable categories for people was based on how they grouped themselves. However when an outsider is who names that group from a different perspective the association behind that name may change the social outcomes of how the group is perceived. The naming of a group can come with a perceive difference especially if the category of identity is merely founded on visible traits. When analyzing what makes that category of race one must consider what the markers are that set up that concept. Markers are what essentially make a category of identity known in the way one may use it to categorize others. Therefore, it is necessary to analyze the existence of the markers of identity and why they are important in the creation of race. Specifically, the marker of skin color has been utilized as a determinant of race and that is the primary basis for judgment we rely on to assign race. For that reason, it is imperative to critique the basis for this marker and its objective. It is said that skin color marks race, yet it is invalid because its basis on perception is arbitrary since visible traits can obscure identities.
To begin, the marker of skin color as an intelligible marker of race lies on the idea that physical traits are able to determine one’s racial identity. This comes with the assumption that one is able to define who another being at first glance based on their skin color. More specifically, when considering what race is one may question who constructed the concept and why they considered skin color as a reliable main marker of race. One answer may be that it is the most visible and easiest to point out. As Anthropologist professor Audrey Smedley says in “ ‘Race’ and the Construction of Human Identity,” that race “brought about a subtle but powerful transformation in the world’s perceptions of human...
Cited: Marks, Jonathan. "Science and Race." American Behavioral Scientist 40.2 (1996): 123-33. Print.
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