Examples Of Social Constructs

1230 Words5 Pages
Social Constructs are products of discrimination; race did not exist until racism existed, class did not exist until classism existed, and gender did not exist until sexism existed. These constructs occupy prominent positions in artwork, politics, as well as in social hierarchies. A social construct describes a mechanism developed by society, oftentimes with the intention of segregating and degrading people in order to establish power. When ideas are ‘social constructs’, it is not to say that said idea does not exist, but exists to castigate those for whom social constructs do not favor. Throughout history, countries have oppressed--and continue to oppress--individuals for various, arbitrary rationales--e.g, the demeaning expectations of women…show more content…
Race and gender provided the foundation for the colonization and enslavement of Native American and Africans, and class worked in consequence of these constructs. Through American colonization, our understanding and adoption of these social constructs altered completely. Before, neither Native American, Africans, or Europeans truly identified with ‘race’; emphasis was mainly put on gender and class. After colonization, the intersection of race, class, and wealth becomes truly apparent through the enslavement and maltreatment of African women. The subordination of African women supplied the British with the “legal foundation for slavery and the future definitions of racial difference.” This is seen in the Virginia Slave Codes, in which black femininity was harshly policed through laws that outlined racial differences and stripped black women of privileges, effectively blocking them from power. The Virginia Slave Codes explicitly denied black women of basic human rights, rights that white people enjoyed on an everyday basis. In every colony, European women and men lived a range of lives, from poor indentured servants to wealthy aristocrats, whereas black women were subjugated to the lowest of ranks. Because they were born in a black, female body, their status was disregarded and they were sentenced to generations of discrimination. The brutal and, oftentimes, fatal exploitation of black women during colonial America cannot be overstated as this exploitation has remained present in the politics and social life of black
Open Document