Race and Gender
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Race is the division of humankind, it is used to give the biological meaning which means, that it gives individuals physical divisions that are hereditary, and that are captured by terms such as Black, White, Brown, and Asian. Each race is given physical and distinct characteristics, to go along with that specific group, meaning that each group possesses a certain type of characteristics or abilities specific to that race. This can therefore lead into racism. Racism occurs when one race is inferior or superior to another race or races. According to Time Wise “Society puts out the message that black folks are violent, and dangerous, and tough, and to be feared, many whites and many blacks will come to accept those messages, and the necessary flipside: that whites are passive and not to be feared.”(Wise, August 12, 2011) – meaning that blacks are superior over white people. This is then perceived to black people that white people are “easy targets”.
Gender is what is “normal” between the two categories of male and female and what is valued and acceptable in a man or a woman in a given circumstance. It is something that we do, which is something that is determined by our actions and behaviours to differentiate male and female attitudes, which is an ongoing process. Gender can be undone by reversing the roles of what men and women do, which can be caused by structural change (i.e. job loss), an example of this, are stay – at- home fathers. According to Noelle Chesley, “At-home fatherhood presents opportunities for men to strengthen their parenting involvement in ways that diminish differences with their wives….; these couples often experience greater convergence in their parenting experiences and develop a sense that parenting responsibilities are more equally shared”. (Chesley, 2011, p.657) By this undoing of gender, it presents equality between the genders, but can also cause gender stereotyping.
Race and gender intersect in the formation of identities of which race they fit in and what genders they fit in. For example, a black male vs. a white male can lead into stereotyping, if you saw a young black man in a hoodie vs. a young white man in a hoodie, you would probably assume that the young black man would do something to harm you rather than the young white man. There are ways to avoid dominate racial roles, simply by educating our youth. According to Tim Wise, “Teach not just about racism but antiracist resistance. Doing so would promote ally ship, break down stereotypes on all sides, and encourage the kinds of solidarity that troubled and divided cities”. (Wise, August 12, 2011) With the concern of gender roles there is no way to completely avoid it permanently, but there are ways to avoid it in the short term. An example of this is as follows: if you see a professional woman race car driver, women would be cheering for her, proving a woman can do what a man can do. However, much of the time when you see women in advertisements, endorsing a product of a company, geared towards a male audience, you would see them laying on top of a car hood, reverting them back into their original gender role, and reminding people that the person is a woman.
In conclusion, race and gender are both socially constructed concepts, and race is the biological meaning that gives physical division of individuals, and gender is given to distinguish between male or female. All persons are human beings, one kind, and should be classified as one race and be treated equally. With gender everyone was just born into the whole thing, because females do female things and males do male things, and this is an ongoing process throughout our every day lives, and once one person does something that is out of the norm, we begin to question them, with comments such as, “is he gay”. Both race and gender give identities of who each person is and this is where they begin to connect into the category they fit in, black male or white male, black female or white female and etc. If people took the time to get to know everyone better, and focus at the racial stereotypes that jeopardizes lives, instead of condemning entire communities for the ignorant acts of a few, racial roles could be dominated this way, but gender roles would always be something that would be questioned, because it’s a system that people are born into, and if someone was not doing the normative thing, then it would not be normal and could possibly cause harm to someone’s well being, even though it could bring equality between both genders.