Vox Explains Race as a Contrived Social Construct Rather than a Biological Determination

In the animated Vox video “The Myth of Race, Debunked in 3 Minutes,” journalist Jenée Desmond Harris explains that the nebulous concept of race is a contrived social construct, but does not have any grounding in biological identity or determination.

Of course many people feel their racial identity is very clear and very permanent, but the fact that some people have changed theirs, and that nobody can really argue with them, shows how shaky the very idea of race is. This is all because there isn’t a race chromosome in our DNA that people can point to. It simply doesn’t exist. When the medical community links race to health outcomes, it’s really just using race as a substitute for other factors, such as where your ancestors came from, or the experiences of people who may have been put in the same racial group as you. [Author] Dorothy Roberts explains that sickle-cell anemia is a prime example of this. The disease is linked to areas with high rates of malaria, which includes some parts of Europe and Asia in addition to Africa. It’s not actually about race at all.

Harris also acknowledges, however, the importance of personal racial identity to individuals in their own lives.

This of course does not mean that the concept of race isn’t hugely important in our lives. The racial categories to which we’re assigned can determine real life experiences, they can drive political outcomes, and they can even make the difference between life and death. But understanding that racial categories are made up can give us an important perspective on where racism came from in the first place.

submitted via Laughing Squid Tips