Social Construction of "Race"


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This presentation investigates how notion of “race” is socially constructed. It arose concurrently with the advent of European exploration as a justification and rationale for conquest and domination of the globe beginning in the 15th century of the Common Era. Therefore, “race” is an historical, “scientific,” and biological myth. It is an idea. Geneticists tell us that there is often more variability within a given so-called “race” than between “races,” and that there are no essential genetic markers linked specifically to “race.”
Dr. Warren J. Blumenfeld:

Published in: Education, Spiritual

Social Construction of "Race"

  1. 1. THE SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION OF “RACE” A Presentation by Dr. Warren J. Blumenfeld
  2. 2. • Dr. Warren J. Blumenfeld is available to come to your campus or community organization. • Contact:
  3. 3. FLOW • Assumptions • Human Origins • Theoretical Foundations • The Social Construction of “Race”
  4. 4. “Lucy” • First Australopithecus afarensis skeleton ever found, • 3.2-million-year-old • Discovered in 1974 by paleontologist Donald C. Johanson in Hadar, Ethiopia, • One of the known early ancestor species of all humans
  6. 6. ASSUMPTIONS • The notion of “race” is discursively constructed. • The concept of “race” arose concurrently with the advent of European exploration as a justification and rationale for conquest and domination of the globe beginning in the 15th century of the Common Era. • “Race” is an historical, “scientific,” and biological myth. It is an idea. • Geneticists tell us that there is often more variability within a given so-called “race” than between “races,” and that there are no essential genetic markers linked specifically to “race.”
  7. 7. “ETHNORACIAL ASSIGNMENT” • The construction / invention of ethnicity and “race” by dominant groups: what other groups call us. “ETHNORACIAL IDENTITY” • The meanings of ethnicity and “race” shared within a community: what we call ourselves. Brodkin, 1998
  8. 8. HUMAN ORIGINS From The Journey of Man: A Genetic Odyssey, by Spencer Wells • Single Origin Hypothesis: human ancestors originated in Africa • Eventually migrated throughout the world • Based on genetic evidence, all human beings descended from humans who lived in Africa about 60,000 years ago. • Earliest groups of humans believed to find their present-day descendants among the San people of southwestern Africa.
  9. 9. First Wave Migration • Stayed near oceans shores, tracing a band along the coastal areas of the Indian Ocean including parts of Arabian Peninsula, the Middle East, the Indian subcontinent, and into South East Asia, down into what is now Indonesia, and eventually reaching Australia.
  10. 10. First Wave Migration • Left dark-skinned people along its path, including isolated groups of dark-skinned people in south east Asia such as the aboriginal population of the Andaman Islands off of Thailand, the Semang of Malaysia, and the Aeta of the Philippines.
  11. 11. Second Wave Migration • Took a northerly course, splitting somewhere in the area of present-day Syria to sweep to interior Asia, where it split several more times in Central Asia, north of Afghanistan.
  12. 12. Second Wave Migration • From Central Asia, small group migrated towards northeast, following reindeer. These were the Chukchi people, a few of whom still live a nomadic lifestyle today.
  13. 13. Second Wave Migration • An even smaller group, estimated at no more than 20 Chukchis, crossed what is now the Bering Sea approximately 13,000 years ago during the last glacial period, and migrated into North America. • They are the ancestors of Native Americans, and 800 years later, they reached as far as South America.
  14. 14. Human Physical Diversity • African diaspora believed to have begun 50,000 years ago. • Long enough for many changes to have occurred in humans remaining in Africa. • The genetic trends reported involve humans who left Africa, and their genetic histories.
  15. 15. Human Physical Diversity • The diversity found throughout the world are related to many factors, including geographic location: • Those whose early ancestors remained closer to the Earth’s equator, maintained greater amounts of skin melanin, and thicker wavier hair for protection from skin and hair damage.
  16. 16. Human Physical Diversity • Those whose early ancestors traveled further away from the Earth’s equator, developed less skin melanin and lighter and thinner hair strands to allow the skin to absorb appropriate amounts of Vitamin D from the sun.
  19. 19. TO “OTHER”  Other and Othering “Othering” is something people do –- an action, a verb, not an adjective or noun.  “Otherness”: not static, intrinsic, immutable characteristics or traits.  “Other: From Noun to Verb,” Nathaniel Mackey, 1992. Representations, 32, pp. 51-70. Nathaniel Mackey
  20. 20. TO “MINORITIZE” • An action, a verb, not an adjective or noun. • The process of objectifying, subordinating, marginalizing, dominating, controlling, disenfranchising, violating “the Other” • Through the elements of – Defining – Stereotyping – Scapegoating – Tokenizing
  21. 21. POSTSTRUCTURALISM • General Practices: 1. The concept of “self” as a singular and coherent entity is a fictional construct (the individual comprises multiple and conflicting socially constructed tensions and knowledge claims, (e.g. gender, class, race, profession, etc.) 2. Every individual creates a new and individual purpose, meaning, and existence.
  22. 22. QUEER THEORY • Queer theory is a set of ideas based around the idea that identities are not fixed and do not determine who we are. ( • It suggests that it is meaningless to talk in general about “women” or “lesbians” or “gay males” or any other group. (
  23. 23. QUEER THEORY • Identities consist of so many elements that to assume that people can be seen collectively on the basis of one shared characteristic is wrong. ( • It proposes that we deliberately challenge all notions of fixed identity, in varied and non- predictable ways. (
  24. 24. PERFORMATIVITY • “The act that one does, the act that one performs, is, in a sense, an act that has been going on before one arrived on the scene. Hence, gender and race are acts which have been rehearsed, much as a script survives the particular actors who make use of it, but which requires individual actors in order to be actualized and reproduced as reality once again” (Butler, GT).
  25. 25. “PERFORMATIVITY” VS. “PERFORMANCE” • “PERFORMATIVITY”: – Not voluntary, reiteration or reenactment of established norms, a mode of discursive production • “PERFORMANCE”: – Voluntary, a theatrical production, a bounded act in that it draws on, mimics, and often exaggerates existing signifiers and codes, rather than being an original (self-) creation
  26. 26. PERFORMATIVITY • Judith Butler argues that we all put on a gender performance, whether traditional or not. ( • It is not a question of whether to do a gender performance, but what form that performance will take. (
  27. 27. PERFORMATIVITY • “Race” is also a verb, that we are “raced” through a constellation of practices that construct and control racial subjectivities. • “Heterosexual” identity is likewise “performative” in the sense that the content of heterosexual identity has to be produced, fabricated, made up, and acted out.
  28. 28. “RACE” • “Race” can also be considered as a socially constructed category and as a “performative” – “[R]ace” is partially produced as an effect of the history of racism, that its boundaries and meanings are constructed over time not only in the service of racism, but also in the service of the contestation of racism (Butler, 1993, p. 18).
  29. 29. “RACE” • The meaning of “race” is reiterated and regulated through an ongoing process, a racial history of being “acted upon”: – [W]e can see that institutional exercises repeatedly construct race within a set of differentials that seek to maintain and control racial separateness. This could also be described as part of the performativity of race (Butler, in Breen and Blumenfeld, 2005, p. 11).
  30. 30. PERFORMATIVITY • “Gender and Race are constructions that regularly conceal their genesis [their origins], the tacit collective agreement to perform, produce, and sustain discrete and polar genders and races as cultural fictions is obscured by the credibility of those productions—and the punishments that attend not agreeing to believe in them. The historical possibilities materialized through various corporeal styles are nothing other than these punitively regulated cultural fictions alternately embodied and deflected under duress…” (GT, p. 140).
  31. 31. PERFORMATIVITY • By choosing to be different about it, we might work to change gender and racial norms and the binary understanding of masculinity and femininity [and white and people of color]. (
  33. 33. THE GREAT CHAIN OF BEING Under “Human” Category: • Monogenism Theory: – All people are descendants from an “original pair”: Adam & Eve • Polygenism Theory: – The numerous human populations of the world have descended from different “original pairs” created in different places: different genetic strains, multiple human origins, “non-Adamical man.” (Brace, 2005)
  34. 34. PHILIPPUS AUREOLUS PARACELSUS (1493-1541) • Born Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim, in Switzerland • Changed name to Philippus Aureolus Paracelsus • Studied medicine but never earned a degree • Early polygenist (Brace, 2005)
  35. 35. ISAAC DE LA PEYRERE (1594-1676) • Born in Bordeaux to a noble family of “Marrano” Calvinists. • Book: Systemema Theologica ex Praeadamitarium Hypothesi (A Theological System upon the Presupposition that Men Were before Adam). • Assertion: Adam & Eve were the ancestors of the Jews but not the Gentiles who descended from people who had lived before Adam. (Brace, 2005)
  36. 36. VOLTAIRE (1664-1778) • French Philosopher, Deist: “Only the blind could doubt the original distinction between the human races.”
  37. 37. CARL LINNAEUS (1707-1778) • Born Carl Linné • Swedish Botanist, Physician, and Zoologist. • “Father of Modern Taxonomy” • Book: Systema Naturae • “Linnaean Taxonomy”: System of Scientific Hierarchical Classification. • Kingdoms; Classes; Orders; Genera (Genus); Species. (Wikipedia)
  38. 38. CARL LINNAEUS • Also “The Father of Scientific Racism.” • Five levels of Homo sapiens, • Based initially on place of origin, • Then skin color and bodily fluids: – Europeanus (blood, optimistic) – Asiaticus (black bile, melancholy, sad) – Americanus (yellow bile, angry) – Monstrosus – Africanus (phlem, sluggish)
  39. 39. CARL LINNAEUS (1707-1778) • Europeanus: sanguine, pale, muscular, swift, clever, inventive, governed by laws. • Asiaticus: melancholic, yellow, inflexible, severe, avaricious, dark-eyed, governed by opinions. • Americanus (Native Americans): choleric, copper- colored, straightforward, eager, combative, governed by customs. • Monstrosus (dwarfs of the Alps, the Patagonian giant, the monorchid Hottentot): agile, fainthearted. • Africanus: phlegmatic, black, slow, relaxed, negligent, governed by impulse.
  40. 40. POST-LINNAEUS TAXONOMY Later European scientists separated Homo sapiens in six different categories: 1. Caucasoid: Europe, North Africa, Southwest Asia 2. Mongoloid: East Asia, Siberia, the Americas 3. Polynesians: 4. Native Americans: 5. Australoid: indigenous Australians 6. Negroid: Central and Southern Africa (Ramon)
  41. 41. COLONEL JEAN BAPTISTE BORY DE SAINT-VINCENT (1778-1846) • Chief of the Scientific Commission in Algeria. • Book: L’Homme (Homo: Essai Zoologique sur le Genre Humain), 1825 • Polygenist. • He recognized 15 human groups each of which he regarded as a proper “species.” • He mentioned the “certainty” that “each Adam” had to have had his own particular locale or “cradle.” (Brace, 2005)
  42. 42. LOUIS-ANTOINE DESMOULINS (1796-1828) • French physiologist • Book: Histoire Naturelle des Races Humaines • 16 “species” & 25 human “races” • He rejected the possibility that environmental circumstances or climate could produce any changes in the observed spectrum of human biological differences. • Human “species” & “races” preserve all the traits that they “indubitably had since the beginning” wherever they have remained “pure and without mixture.” (Brace, 2005)
  43. 43. JOHANN FRIEDRICH BLUMENBACH (1752-1840) • German, Professor of Medicine • Coined the term “Caucasian” to refer to people of European origin. • From Sir John Chardin (1643-1713) – French Protestant traveler – He proclaimed that inhabitants of the Republic of Georgia, situated in the Caucasus Mountains, were the most beautiful people in the world. (Brace, 2005)
  44. 44. JOHANN FRIEDRICH BLUMENBACH (1752-1840) • He was a monogenist. • The nisus formativus, or vital force, caused by differences in climate, nutrition, or mode of life over many generation had led to changes in form from that present in the beginning, represented by Caucasians. • Caucasians represented the closest approximation of God’s intent for the human form.
  45. 45. JOHANN FRIEDRICH BLUMENBACH (1752-1840) • Changes from the assumed original Caucasians he labeled “degenerations.” • Other human populations were “degenerate” to the extent that they departed from that original. • Degeneris: Latin – “removed from one’s origin.”
  46. 46. CHARLES DARWIN 1809-1882 • On the Origin of Species (1859), he posited an evolutionary theory of plant and animal development. • Physical, mental, & moral characteristics of humans evolved over time from our ape-like ancestors.
  47. 47. CHARLES DARWIN • “Biological Determinism”: Essentialist or biological bases for human behavior. • Jews, for example, have a “uniform appearance” independent of their geographic locations.
  48. 48. “SOCIAL DARWINISTS” • Extended Darwin’s theories: – Jews, black Africans, homosexuals are lower / earlier forms of human species. – They are all distinct lower “racial” types with immutable biological characteristics. – Jews are of a separate “race”: a “mixed” or “bastard race.” – Jews crossed “racial” barriers by interbreeding with black Africans during the Jewish Diaspora.
  49. 49. JEWISH & BLACK “RACIAL” CONNECTION • In European society, Jews were socially constructed as the “white Negroes” by the prevailing dominant culture (Gilman, 1999). “In the eyes of the non-Jew who defined them in Western [European] society, the Jews became the blacks” (Gilman, 1999). “[T]he male Jew and the male African were conceived of as equivalent threats to the white race” (Thandeka, 1999).
  50. 50. ERNEST RENAN 1823-1892 • French historian and writer. • Posited that the Jewish or “Semitic” mind is superficial, while the “Aryan” mind is natural and wise.
  51. 51. JOSEPH-ARTHUR DE GOBINEAU, 1816-1882 • French diplomat & essayist. • Polygenist. • 1853, in Essays on the Inequality of the Human Races, posited a supposed “Aryan” race: an “original tribe” that resided in the Himalayas, which was the “cradle of the Caucasian race.” • Jews were not a part of this tribe.
  52. 52. • Austrian sex researcher • Sex “nauseous disease” • Homosexuality sign of “degeneration,” product of vice Richard Krafft-Ebing
  53. 53. • U.S. Physician, 1921: “A physical examination of [female homosexuals] will in practically every instance disclose an abnormally prominent clitoris.” Perry M. Lichtenstein
  54. 54. • U.S. Physician, 1896: “[The lesbian] is usually of a masculine type, or if she presented none of the ‘characteristics’ of the male, was a subject of pelvic disorder, with scanty menstruation, and was more or less hysterical and insane.” Allan McClane Hamilton
  55. 55. • French Forensic Medical Scientist, 1857: “This degeneracy is evidenced in men who engage in same- sex eroticism by their underdeveloped, tapered penis resembling that of a dog, and a naturally smooth anus lacking in radial folds.” Ambrose Tardieu
  56. 56. FRANCIS GALTON 1822-1911 • A cousin of Charles Darwin. • British psychologist. • A founder of the “Eugenics Movement.” • He coined the term “eugenics” in 1883 from the Greek, “well born” or “good origins or breeding.” • The science of improving qualities of a “race” by controlling human breeding.
  57. 57. FRANCIS GALTON 1822-1911 • Book: Hereditary Genius: An Inquiry into Its Laws and Consequences (1869) • Book: Inquiries into Human Faculty and Its Development (1883). • He claimed that the purpose of eugenics was to promote “judicious mating in order to give the more suitable races or strains of blood a better chance of prevailing speedily over the less suitable” (Galton, 1883, p. 25). • Assessed the relative intellectual capabilities of the so-called “races,” including Africans, Australians, Chinese, Jews, and others.
  58. 58. FRANCIS GALTON 1822-1911 • “Degenerates”: deterioration to a level below the acceptable standards that were implicit in the Great Chain of Being hierarchy of worth (in Brace, p. 178). • His work influenced mandatory sterilization laws in U.S. & Germany. • Elites in the British Isles most intelligent. • “The average intellectual standard of the Negro race is some two grades below our own” [Anglo-Saxons] (Galton, 1869, p. 327).
  59. 59. By Sheer Pluck: A Tale of the Ashanti by G. A. Henty, 1884 Black people are “just like children. They are always either laughing or quarrelling. They are good-natured and passionate, indolent, but will work hard for a time; clever up to a certain point, densely stupid beyond….They are absolutely without originality, absolutely without inventive power.”
  60. 60. FRANCIS GALTON 1822-1911 • “The Australian type is at least one grade below the African Negro” • “The Jews are specialized for a parasitical existence upon other nations.” • Jews are easily identifiable by their “Jewish physiognomy.”
  61. 61. “JEWISH PHYSIOGNOMY” • Eyes (large, bulbous) • Gaze (pathological, searing, cunning, cold, piercing) • Nose (hooked, large, curling nasal folds) • Lips (prominent, thick) • Forehead (receding) • Chin (receding) • Ears (large) • Hair (curly, black) • Skin (dark, “swarthy”) • Shoulders (stooping) • Feet (weak, flat) • Rump (deflated)
  62. 62. PHRENOLOGY • An stream of Eugenics. • The study of the shape & size of the human skull. • Based on the belief that the size and shape of the skull indicates human mental facilities and moral character.
  63. 63. PHRENOLOGY • “African skulls” indicate they are inferior to white races intellectually, culturally, and morally. • Phrenologists claimed Africans as unsuited to work other than that supervised by white people. • Justified enslavement of Africans. • A section of the “Jewish skull and brain” are “abnormally developed” indicating that Jews are highly concerned with money and finances.
  64. 64. “Manifest Destiny” • The belief that the United States destined by Providence to expand from Atlantic to Pacific (from “sea to shining sea”), & led by so-called “Anglo-Saxon race.” • Justified stealing Native American territories • Justified war with Mexico
  65. 65. “Race,” Immigration, & Citizenship • 1790, Naturalization Act • Excluded “nonwhites” from citizenship – Enslaved Africans – Asians – Native Americans (“domestic foreigners”) • 1924, Native Americans rights of citizenship • Asians continued denied naturalized citizenship status
  66. 66. JEFFERSON DAVIS President, Confederate States of America “[Slavery] was established by decree of Almighty is sanctioned in the Bible, in both Testaments, from Genesis to has existed in all ages, has been found among the people of the highest civilization, and in nations of the highest proficiency in the arts.”
  67. 67. “Race,” Immigration, & Citizenship • 1882, Chinese Exclusion Act – Also illegal for Chinese to marry Whites or Blacks • 1917, Immigration Act further prohibited immigration from Asian countries, the “Barred Zone.” – China, India, Siam, Burma, Asiatic Russian, Polynesian Islands, Afghanistan.
  68. 68. Takao Ozawa v United States  Takao Ozawa, a Japanese man, filed for citizenship under Naturalization Act of 1906  Which allowed white persons and persons of African descent or African nativity to naturalize.  Asians termed an “unassimilateable race” and not entitled to citizenship.  Ozawa attempted to have Japanese classified as "white.“  Claimed his skin is “white”  1922, Supreme Court  Denied naturalized citizenship status.
  69. 69. 1896, Plessy v. Ferguson • Supreme Court Case • Sustaining racial segregation & “Jim Crow” laws • Setting precedent: “Separate but Equal” June 7, 1892, East Louisiana Railroad Homer Plessy forced off “whites-only” railroad car & onto “colored” car. Plessy “one-eights black,” “seven-eights white”
  70. 70. Blacks Lynched A Jew Lynched
  71. 71. Anti-Miscegenation Laws • Many states: outlawed interracial sexual relations • Outlawed interracial marriage • Example: Mildred Deloris & Richard Loving – Married in D.C. – Residents of and lived in Virginia – Arrested
  72. 72. Judge Leon M. Bazile “Act to Preserve Racial Integrity, 1924,” Ruling, Virginia, July 1958, Richard Perry Loving & Mildred Delores Jeeter “Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, Malay and red, and He placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with His arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that He separated the races shows that He did not intend for the races to mix.”
  73. 73. 1967, Loving v. Virginia • Supreme Court Decision • Struck down anti-miscegenation laws in remaining 16 states
  74. 74. Racialization of Religion • A process when a specific religion becomes identified by a direct or indirect reference to a real or imagined physical appearance or ethnic/racial characteristic. • Certain phonotypical features associated with a group and attached to race in popular discourse become associated with a particular religion or religions. Race thereby becomes a proxy for religious affiliation in the [U.S.] visual library (Joshi, 2006).
  75. 75. MADISON GRANT 1865-1937 • U.S. Lawyer, Eugenicist • Co-founder, with Henry Fairfield Osborn, of the Galton Society for the Study of the Origin and Evolution of Man, 1918. • Grant Influential in Immigration Restriction and Anti-Miscegenation Policies. • Book: The Passing of the Great Race (1916) detailing the so-called “racial” history of Europe: in fact, a work of “scientific racism.”
  76. 76. MADISON GRANT 1865-1937 • “Racialization” of Jews codified in The Passing of the Great Race (1916) • European “Racial” Hierarchy: – “Nordics” (Northwestern Europe—superior) – “Alpines” (Central Europe—somewhat inferior) – “Mediterraneans” (Southern and Eastern Europe— inferior) – Jews (most inferior)
  77. 77. MADISON GRANT 1865-1937 • Nordics: natural rulers & administrators, which accounted for England’s “extraordinary ability to govern justly & firmly the lower races” (Grant, 1916, p. 207). • Alpines: “…always and everywhere a race of peasants” with a tendency toward “democracy” although submissive to authority. (p. 227). • Mediterraneans: inferior to both Nordics & Alpines in “bodily stamina,” but superior in “the field of art.” Also, superior to the Alpines in “intellectual attainments,” but far behind Nordics “in literature and in scientific research and discovery” (p. 229)
  78. 78. MADISON GRANT 1865-1937 • Polish Jews: “…the Polish Jew, whose dwarf stature, peculiar mentality and ruthless concentration on self- interest….(p. 16), present themselves in “swarms” (p. 63). “The result of the mixture of two races, in the long run, gives us a race reverting to the more ancient generalization and lower type. The cross between a white man and an Indian is an Indian, the cross between a white man and a Negro is a Negro, the cross between a white man and a Hindu is a Hindu, and the cross between any of the three European races and a Jew is a Jew” (p. 18).
  79. 79. MADISON GRANT 1865-1937 • Former President Teddy Roosevelt, of Grant’s book: “the work of an American scholar and gentleman; and all Americans should be sincerely grateful to you for writing it” (Roosevelt, 1933, in Brace, p. 177). • Grant’s book translated in German and provided added justification to Adolph Hitler in the writing of Mein Kampf (Brace, 2005). • Hitler wrote to Grant and referred to Grant’s book as his “Bible” (Kühl, 1994, p. 85). • Grant’s book impacted U.S. immigration legislation of 1924.
  80. 80. 1924 Immigration Act  1924 Johnson-Reed Immigration Act: a.k.a. “National Origins Quota Act,” or “National Quota Act”  Restrictive quotas: Eastern & Southern Europe  Viewed as Europe’s lower “races” Jews (“Hebrew race”), Poles, Italians, Greeks, Slaves Prohibitions of “aliens ineligible to citizenship” (Asians from 1790 Naturalization Act)  Increased numbers Great Britain, Germany
  81. 81. IMMIGRATION LEGISLATION • The National Origins Act of 1924 established quota percentages based on the census population in 1890. The number of immigrants to be admitted annually was limited to 2% of the foreign-born individuals of each nationality living in the U.S. in 1890. – Restricted immigration rights almost exclusively to northwestern Europeans in order to “protect our values … [as] a Western Christian civilization.” (Feagin 1997, p.35). – Functioned to prevent Catholics, Jews, and other non- Protestant groups from immigrating to the United States.
  82. 82. Wagner-Rogers Bill • 1939, Congress refused to pass Wagner- Rogers Bill • Would have permitted entry of 20,000 children, primarily Jewish, from Eastern Europe over existing quotas. “20,000 charming children would, all too soon, grow into 20,000 ugly adults.” Laura Delano, cousin of F.D.R.
  83. 83. Japanese American Internment (Concentration) Camps • 120,000 Japanese Americans • Uprooted from homes • Transported to Internment Camps • Interior U.S.
  84. 84. Have We Learned Anything? • Following the 9/11 attacks • 31% of U.S.-Americans agreed with the statement: • “Muslims in the U.S. should be incarcerated like we incarcerated Japanese Americans during WWII.”
  85. 85. CHARLES BENEDICT DAVENPORT (1866-1944) • Instructor of Zoology, Harvard University • 1910, Director of the Cold Springs Laboratory, Long Island, NY • Founded Eugenics Record Office • Books: Heredity in Relation to Eugenics (1911); Race Crossing in Jamaica (1929).
  86. 86. CHARLES BENEDICT DAVENPORT (1866-1944) • Argued against miscegenation, mixing of Whites and Blacks resulted in cultural and biological “degradation.” • Favored mandatory sterilization of “the unfit.” • Elected chair of Galton Society for the Study of the Origin and Evolution of Man, 1918.
  87. 87. Harry Hamilton Laughlin (1880-1943) • U.S. Eugenicist • Davenport hired Laughlin to become superintendent of the Eugenics Record Office in 1910 - 1939. • Advocate with Davenport for mandatory sterilization of “the unfit.” • Crafted his “model sterilization law” for the “uprooting of inborn defectiveness” (Laughlin, 1914, p. 13).
  88. 88. Harry Hamilton Laughlin (1880-1943) • His law included involuntary sterilization for “the feeble minded, the insane, criminals, epileptics, alcoholics, blind persons, deaf persons, deformed persons, and indigent persons.” • Majority of U.S. states passed sterilizations laws, and as late as 1992, 22 still had them on their books. (Brace, 2005)
  89. 89. Harry Hamilton Laughlin (1880-1943) • 1927, Germany passed sterilization law, and in 1933, Hitler made it compulsory by passing the Law for the Prevention of Hereditarily Diseased Offspring. • Hitler’s law loosely based on Laughlin's model. • Over 350,000 persons involuntarily sterilized in Nazi Germany. • Laughlin awarded honorary degree by the University of Heidelberg in 1936 for his work on behalf of the “science of racial cleansing.”
  90. 90. NAZI “RACIAL” PHILOSOPHY • “Racial” arguments were the cornerstone for justification of persecution of Jews (as well as most people of color and people with disabilities). • Jews and others were descendants from inferior “racial stands.”
  91. 91. NAZI “RACIAL” PHILOSOPHY • Germany lost WWI because of its internal enemies: the Jews. • Nazi campaign of “moral, racial, and sexual purity” led to an intense and violent campaign against Jews and other groups. • Estimated 6 million Jews were murdered: equal to two-thirds of European Jewry, and one-third of the entire world-wide Jewish population.
  92. 92. NAZI “RACIAL” PHILOSOPHY • The Nazis asserted that Jews were polluting the Aryan “race.” They forced Jews to wear the Yellow Star of David patches, a sign of “race pollution.”
  93. 93. 1950s - 1960s • Tumultuous social change • Challenge underlying assumptions • Authority • Power relationships
  94. 94. Civil Rights • 1954, Brown v. Board of Education (Topeka, Kansas) • Supreme Court • Unconstitutional: “Separate but Equal” in public education Linda Brown & mother Linda Brown attending integrated school
  95. 95. Civil Rights Rosa Parks • 1955, refusal to give up seat white person • Montgomery, Alabama • Municipal bus boycott
  96. 96. Civil Rights Lunch counter sit-in to end segregation
  97. 97. Civil Rights 1963, National March on Washington Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
  98. 98. Civil Rights • Movement to improve working conditions, wages • Farm Workers César Chávez Founder, National Farm Workers Association
  99. 99. Free Speech Movement • 1964-1965 • Student Protest • University of California, Berkeley • Students insisted university lift ban of on- campus political activities • Grant students' right free speech & academic freedom
  100. 100. Vietnam War
  101. 101. Environmental Movement • Earth Day – Proposed: U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson – First, April 22, 1970 – Environmental teach-in
  102. 102. Disability Rights Movement
  103. 103. 1952, McCarran Walters Act • The McCarran Walters Act overturned the 1924 Act. • The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 removed 'natural origins' as the basis of U.S. immigration legislation, and was framed as an amendment to the 1952 McCarran-Walter Act.
  104. 104. Immigration and Nationality Act 1965 • Abolished National Origins Formula from • National Origins of 1924 • Increased immigration from Asian and Latin American countries and religious backgrounds • Allowed 170,000 immigrants from the Eastern Hemisphere, 20,000 per each country • 120,000 from Western Hemisphere • 300,000 total visas allowed
  105. 105. Cultural Pluralism  Horace Kallen  Jewish immigrant and sociologist  Polish and Latvian heritage  Coined “cultural pluralism” to challenge the image of the so-called “melting pot,” which he considered to be inherently undemocratic  Kallen envisioned a United States in the image of a great symphony orchestra, not sounding in unison (the “melting pot”), but rather, one in which all the disparate cultures play in harmony and retain their unique and distinctive tones and timbres
  106. 106. “STATISTICAL DIRECTIVE NUMBER FIFTEEN” U.S. Office of Management and Budget, 1973 Official Racial Categories 1. African American 2. Asian American 3. Puerto Rican / Latino 4. Native American / Pacific Islander 5. Non-Hispanic White
  107. 107. “Racial Profiling” • “Racial profiling occurs when race is used by law enforcement or private security officials, to any degree, as a basis for criminal suspicion in non- suspect specific investigations.” • Racial profiling constitutes a form of discrimination, based on race, ethnicity, religion, nationality, and other identities “undermines the basic human rights and freedoms to which every person is entitled.” Amnesty International
  108. 108. Racial Oppression “Racial oppression is not just what happens to raced people, it is the how and why people emerge as raced. It is precisely because racial oppression is so persistent and painful that it becomes imperative to ask how power and discourse operate to produce raced bodies” (Wilchins, 2004, p. 121)
  109. 109. References & Further Readings • Adams, Maurianne and Bracey, John. (2000). Strangers and neighbors: Teaching and writing about blacks and Jews. The Chronicle Review of The Chronicle of Higher Education, November 3. B7-B10. • Andree, Richard. (1881). Zur Volkskunde der Juden. Leipzig. • Biale, D., Galchinsky, M., and Heschel, S. (1998). Insider/Outsider: American Jews and Multiculturalism. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. • Blumenfeld, W. J. (2012). On the discursive construction of Jewish “racialization” and “race passing”: Jews as “u-boats” with a mysterious “queer light.” Journal of Critical Thought & Praxis, 1(1), 1-28. • Blumenfeld, Warren J. (2006). Christian Privilege and the Promotion of “Secular” and Not- So “Secular” Mainline Christianity in Public Schooling and in the Larger Society. Equity and Excellence in Education, 39(3). • Blumenfeld, Warren J. (2006a). Outside/Inside/Between Sides: An Investigation of Ashkenazi Jewish Perceptions on Their “Race.” Multicultural Perspectives: Journal of the National Association for Multicultural Education. 8(3). • Blumenfeld, Warren J. (2001). Black and Off-White: An Investigation of African American and Jewish Conflict from Ashkenazi Jewish American Perspectives. Doctoral Dissertation, Social Justice Education Program, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Massachusetts. • Brace, C. Loring. (2005). “Race” Is a Four-Letter Word. Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press. • Brodkin, K. (1998). How Jews became White Folks & What That Says about Race in America. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.
  110. 110. References & Further Readings • Butler, Judith. (1990). Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. New York: Routledge. • Butler, Judith. (1973). Bodies that Matter: On the Discursive Limits of Sex. New York: Routledge. • Cameron, S. C., & Wycoff, S. M. (1998). The destructive nature of the term race: Growing • beyond a false paradigm. Journal of Counseling & Development, 76, 277-285. • Feagin, Joe R. (1997). Old Poison in New Bottles: The Deep Roots of Modern Nativism. In J. F. Perea (Ed). Immigrants Out: The New Nativism and the Anti-Immigrant Impulse in the United States (pp. 13-43). New York: New York University Press. • Feagin, J., and Feagin, C. (1993). Racial and ethnic relations. New York: Prentice Hall. • Fishberg, Maurice. (1911). Jews, Race, and Environment. New York: Schribner’s • Foucault, Michel. (1980). The History of Sexuality, Part 1 (R. Hurley, Trans.). New York: Vintage Books • Freire, P. (1970). Pedagogy of the oppressed. New York: Continuum • Galton, Francis. (1883). Inquiries into Human Faculty and Its Development.. London: Macmillan. • Galton, Francis. (1869). Hereditary Genius: An Inquiry into Its Laws and Consequences. London: Macmillan.
  111. 111. References & Further Reading • Gates, H. L. Jr. (1989). Figures in Black: Words, signs, and the “racial” self. New York: Oxford • University Press. • Gilman, Sander. (1991). The Jew’s Body. New York: Routledge. • Gramsci, Antonio. (1971). Selections from the Prison Notebooks (Q. Hoare & G. N. Smith, Trans.). New York: International. • Grant, Madison. (1916). The Passing of the Great Race. New York: S. Scribner’s Sons. • Hamilton, A. M. The civil responsibility of sexual perverts. American Journal of Insanity, 52, April 1896, 503-509. • Hitler, Adolph. (1943). Main Kampf. Ralph Manheim (trans.) Boston: Houghton Mifflin. • Itzkovitz, D. (1999). Passing like me. South Atlantic Quarterly, 98, 1-2. • Joshi, Khyati E. (2006). The Racialization of Hinduism, Islam, and Sikhism in the United States, Equity and Excellence in Education, 39(3). • Krafft-Ebing, R. V. (1886). Psychopathia sexualis: Eine klinisch-forensische studie. Stuttgart: Ferdinand Enke. • Kühl, Stefan. (1994). The Nazi Connection; Eugenics, American Racism, and German National Socialism, Oxford/New York: O.U.P.
  112. 112. References & Further Readings • Laughlin, Harry H. (1914). Report of the Committee to Study and to Report on the Best Practical Means of Cutting Off the Defective Germ-Plasma in the American Population. Eugenics Record Office, bulletin 10. Cold Spring Harbor, NY. • Lewis, E., & Ardizzone, H. (2001). Love on trial: An American scandal in Black and White. New York and London: W. W. Norton Co. • Lichtenstein, P. M., (1921). The “fairy” and the “lady lover.” The Medical Review of Reviews, 27: 327. • Laughlin, Harry H. (1914). Report of the Committee to Study and to Report on the Best Practical Means of Cutting Off the Defective Germ-Plasma in the American Population. Eugenics Record Office, bulletin 10. Cold Spring Harbor, NY. • Lewis, E., & Ardizzone, H. (2001). Love on trial: An American scandal in Black and White. New York and London: W. W. Norton Co. • Lichtenstein, P. M., (1921). The “fairy” and the “lady lover.” The Medical Review of Reviews, 27: 327 • Ramon, Gloria. Race: Social Concept, Biological Idea, • Selden, Steven. (1999). Inheriting Shame: The Story of Eugenics and Racism in America. New York: Teachers College Press.
  113. 113. References & Further Readings • Schlossberg, L. (2001). Introduction: Rites of passing. In M. C. Sánchez and L. Schlossberg (Eds.). Passing: Identity and interpretation in sexuality, race, and religion (pp. 1-12). New York: New York University Press. • Sefa Dei, G. J. (2000). Towards an anti-racism discursive framework. In G. J. Sefa Dei, A. Calliste (Eds.). Power, knowledge, and anti-racism education: A critical reader (pp. 34-40). Halifax, Canada: Fernwood Publishing, pp. 34-40. • Tardieu, A. A. (1857). Étude medico-legale sur les attentats aux moeurs. Paris: J. B. Baillière. • Thandeka. (1999). The Cost of Whiteness. In Tikkun, May/June. • Wagner, Richard. (1850, 1894). The Jews in Music. Taken from The Theatre, Richard Wagner's Prose Works, Volume 3, pages 79-100, Essay originally published in 1850 in Sämtliche Schriften und Dichtungen: Volume V, pages 66-85. • Wells, Spencer. (2002). The Journey of Man: A Genetic Odyssey. New York: Random House. • West, Cornel. (1993). Race matters. New York: Vintage Books. • Wilchins, Riki. (2004). Queer Theory, Gender Theory. Los Angeles: Alyson Books • Zuckerman, M. (1990). Some dubious premises in research and theory on racial differences: Scientific, social, and ethical issues. American Psychologist, 45(12), 1297-1303.
  114. 114. [NOT] THE END