Race Essay: Some have referred to race as a “fence”

As your materials this week indicate, both “race” and “ethnicity” are slippery concepts. Both are culturally constructed around what a society thinks is important at any given moment and their meanings have changed over time.

Using what you’ve learned about race, particularly, write a 400-600 word essay on the following question. Be sure to use your own words even if you are referring to the words or ideas of someone in the materials. There is no need to footnote, simply giving the page number or video time mark within parentheses is fine.

Some have referred to race as a “fence” – one that can be used to lump others outside your social group together (usually in a socially stratified manner) and one that can fence your social group together as special. That is, it can be employed as a gatekeeper of who is in and who is out of a social/cultural group. It can be used aggressively against others and used protectively for one’s own group’s interest. How have we seen those two uses of race in the United States? Think of an instance or two from history or recent events and describe how that push-pull has exhibited itself.

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