A Girl Like Me: Race As A Social Construction

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I believe that race and ethnicity play an extremely important role in our society. However, I must admit that, until recently, I had only a superficial knowledge of the subject. The lecture, readings and exercises helped me to reassess some of my views on this matter and gave me a better understanding of race as a social construction, and its effect on our lives. First of all, though all human beings are physically and genetically different, they have universal biological traits. Unlike ethnicity, race is not defined by linguistic, cultural, and religious backgrounds, but just by some externally visible characteristics. The term “race” was invented by European scientists who divided all of us into a few racial groups. Therefore, race is a socially…show more content…
I grew up in an atmosphere of love and self-respect. The most important lesson I learned from my parents is to appreciate myself and be proud of my roots. Therefore, the film “A Girl Like Me” by Kiri Davis made such a big impression on me. The words of one of the girls in film sound so discouraging, “At a young age I already knew the standards for a girl like me. There are standards that are imposed upon us; you’re prettier if you’re light-skinned” (2005). Racial prejudice and false stereotypes can be especially harmful to adolescents, because they affect their self-esteem. Croteau and Hoynes (2013) state that “race and ethnicity are parts of our identity, influencing our lives and the way people interact with us” (p.253). I think that a six-year-old girl, whose mother uses harmful creams to bleach her skin; in the future will certainly suffer from low self-esteem. It is simply terrible that a woman makes her daughter to feel bad because of her skin color. The reason is that many people “would never marry a dark-skinned man because they don’t want that in their gene pool” (2005). It is only one example of negative effects of racial prejudice. Furthermore, Anthony Walton raises this issue in his article “My secret life as a black man”. It is an insightful analysis of the difficulties of racial self-identification in a modern society. Obviously, he is proud to be African-American. However, he states, “I have often thought of myself as having two lives: my life as a black man and my other, real life” (n.d. p. 130). I think it is the shame of society that, “A black man, if he chooses to enter mainstream society, must manipulate many contexts, must alter his appearance often and change his diction and demeanor as circumstances require” (n.d. p.

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