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Race Relations in America

            The concept "race- refers to a category of people who are believed to share distinct physical characteristics that are deemed socially significant. Racial groups are sometimes distinguished on the basis of such physical characteristics as skin color, hair texture, facial features, body shape and size. Cultural definitions of race have taught us to view race as a scientific categorization of people based on biological differences between groups of individuals. Yet, racial categories are based more on social definitions than on biological differences. Skin color is not black or white, but rather ranges from dark to light with many gradations of shade. Noses are not either broad or narrow, but come in a range of shapes. Physical traits such as these, as well as hair color and other both visible and invisible characteristics, come in infinite number of combinations. The concept of race is so embedded in our culture that even those who advocate abandoning racial classification continues to use racial terminology. A mixed-race option for self-identification avoids putting children of mixed-race parents in the difficult position of choosing the race of one parent over the other when filling out race data on school or other forms. I had to go through this process all the time because my mother is African-American and my father is Italian and white. However, will the wide-scale recognition of mixed-race identity decrease the numbers with in minority groups and disrupt the solidarity and loyalty based on racial identification? I believe the recognition of mixed-race is criticized as perpetuating scientifically unfounded classification by race. When I read statistics articles, they compared African-Americans to Caucasians. None of the articles mentioned Hispanics, Chinese, and other minorities. Douglas Massey, professor at University of Chicago, did an overview. In this overview he said, "doctors and lawyers don't like to live poor, the only difference is that black doctors and lawyers are stuck with in segregated housing market.

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