Race!

I’m glad that 50 years ago the Supreme Court had enough sense to say banning interracial marriages was wrong. I’m also glad to hear that the percentage of people that are against such marriages has fallen and the number of people that say an interracial marriage would be acceptable to them has risen. That is all fantastic. I wish, however, that we didn’t need to focus on these gains.

I’m not entirely sure if we should or shouldn’t focus on things like this. Sometimes it sounds a bit too much like we’re patting ourselves on the back – look at us, we’re so progressive and wonderful! And sometimes it sounds a bit like writers are trying too hard to reassure everyone that racial inequality is dwindling. It’s a bit like the race question on various questionnaires. I want the public to have information on what percentage of college students (for example) are [insert minority group here] because it calls attention to inequalities. At the same time, it often feels like we’re overly focused on what groups we belong to.

We shouldn’t need to applaud ourselves for acceptance for interracial marriage. We should be happy more individuals are able to see past appearances and connect across various cultures to marry. That’s great. But I can’t help but question the habit in the United States of highlighting race in situations where it shouldn’t matter. I guess I have something from this article , from my earlier post, on my mind – they mention “stereotype threat”:

“The objects of a stereotype can find their performance greatly affected by simply being reminded that the stereotype exists.”

And go on to discuss a few instances of this. It makes me wonder about all those questionnaires asking about race.

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2 thoughts on “Race!

  1. Jimi says:

    I was preparing to write a response blog of my own to this post, but decided against it for a number of reasons. However, I do want to share something with you that I found on this topic. A bit of history, I was preparing my presentation for my Intro. to Lit. class on Alice Walker’s “Everyday Use” when I tripped over this article, I found that it related so closely to the short story that I just had to include it in the presentation. I hope that you will enjoy the article as much as I did and be able to appreciate the spirit of “coming togetherness” that it seems to imply.

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2012/02/04/national/a101235S38.DTL

    • Funny, I never connect “African-American” with “descendant of slaves.” I always assumed African-American was like European-American or Asian-American. Thanks for the link – it was an interesting article.

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