Racial Identity and Socially Constructed Race Essay

Racial Identity and Socially Constructed Race Essay

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Michael Omi and Howard Winant’s arguments from “Racial Formations” are about how race is socially constructed and is shown in Caucasia by Danzy Senna. Michael Omi and Howard Winant believe that race is socially constructed in society; therefore, the meaning of race varies within different cultures and societies. According to Omi and Winant, influences such as, media, school, politics, history, family and economy create society’s structure of race. In Caucasia, media, family and school are forces that create race by stating how one should conform to social norms for different racial groups.
In Caucasia, the theme of ‘racial etiquette’ plays a big role in the society that Birdie lives in and this proves Omi and Winant’s claim about how race is socially constructed ( Omi and Winant 4). For example, “Rules shaped by our perception of race in a comprehensively racial society determine the ‘presentation of self, distinction of status, and appropriate modes of conduct” (Omi and Winant 4). In this statement, Omi and Winant meant that people tend to make rules for classifying a racial group based on one’s physical features and disregarding their true ‘race’. An example from Caucasia that proves Omi and Winant’s argument is, “Who’s that is she Rican? I thought this was supposed to be a black school” ( Senna 43). This quote from Caucasia shows how people makes judgments about Birdie because of on her skin tone, and in the school, environment rules are often created through one’s perception; Birdie is seen as ‘white’ and her sister is seen as ‘black’, people create such rules to grouping one based on their skin tone because it is what they know so they assimilate races by physical appearance. Also, Omi and Winant states, “Everybody lea...

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...o portray races and how they would act and society might take in the idea and conform to it. Also, family today, plays a huge role in racial identity because some one may look like one specific race but may be mixed with other races. Also, environment such as school can change a person’s racial identity because the person may choose to be friends with a group of specific races and would have to change their way of dressing or speaking in order to fit in. Today’s society very much proves Omi and Winant’s ideas of how race is socially constructed and it is similar to the way society is constructed in Caucasia.

Works Cited

Omi, Michal, and Winant, Howard. "Racial Formations." Racial Formation In the United States: from 1960s to the 1990s. Second ed. New York: Routledge, 1994. 3-9. Print.

Senna, Danzy. Caucasia. New York: Riverhead, 1999. Print.

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