Understanding Race

Studying anthropology and sociology this past year I have been exposed to several great resources that have helped my develop my perceptions about the formation and implications of race in America. Racism remains a huge problem in the United States. At Beloit College, my proximity to discussions about race has been an invaluable part of my college education.

I was introduced to this first resource, Race: The Power of an Illusion, in my 100 level cultural anthropology course. This series of videos explains race as a social construct that has no biological basis.

The second resource is the Black Eyes and Brown Eyes Racism Experiment conducted by Jane Elliott. I was first exposed to this experiment in my 100 level sociology course. We watched the footage of Jane Elliott’s original experiment on her third grade class. I have yet to find a good online video of this, so I have attached a longer YouTube video of a session where Jane Elliott, years later, conducted the same experiment on college students. Through this experiment the importance of race is very clear. Being color-blind to race is not a solution. Race permeates U.S. society and is inescapable.

After these two experiences I had the opportunity to attend a Black Lives Matter event at Beloit on whiteness.

The college invited two guest speakers, Dr. Lisa Anderson-Levy, an anthropologist and professor at the college who studies whiteness, and Tim Wise, an anti-racism activist and writer. This was a great conversation that deepened my understanding of these issues.

The Black Lives Matter panels have been an incredible resource at Beloit that I highly recommend looking into if you desire to explore these issues further.

 

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