The Social Construction of Race

Currently in our society, it seems almost taboo to bring up any conversation relating to  race. Why is that? It is an important topic that shapes the individuals of many different societies. Yet people feel uneasy and avoid talking about it for fear they might say something that will portray them as being racist. This is something I want to talk about. The New York Times’ youtube channel has a series of short documentary videos titled  “Conversations with…On Race”. In these videos, they bring in people of all race and ask for their experience and opinion on race.

In the youtube video titled “Conversations with Black Women On Race” a group of African American Women from different backgrounds are brought in to share their experience with race. They shared stories of unfair racial profiling, bullying, and crushed opportunities that resulted because of their race. One women shared the story of how she wanted to sing and dance on a stage, but was told her hair and the way she dressed wasn’t “suitable” for performing with the other dancers who were all white. We can see through these experiences how the social construction of African American women being viewed as undesirable or “unwomanly” has affected the lives of these women. The one thing all these African American women in the video shared is how race played a big role in their lives. Some women where abused and beaten by others because of their race, while others were ridiculed for it. Race became a big influence in the growth of these women.

In another video titled “Conversations with Asians On Race”, we hear about the experiences of how race influenced the lives of Asian Americans in this country. One Asian American shared how her parents would teach her to become more “American”, which she translated it to become more like white people. We hear how many Asian Americans gave up their identities and cultures in order to achieve becoming more “Americanized”. As an Asian American myself, I am guilty for having abandon my origin to become more American. For me, the way I saw it as a ten year old kid was that my origin and culture caused nothing but trouble for me. I was made fun of and beaten as a kid because I wasn’t very fluent in English and for how I looked and dressed. And so I decided at an early age if my origin and identity did nothing but cause trouble for me, why should I protect it? It would be much easier to live as an American in this country. This very basis of thought is shared among many Asian Americans in the video.

These videos are very powerful because they show how the social construct of race has influenced the lives of many Americans. Through these videos, viewers are shown how regular people of society are affected by the toxics of social construction of race; how people are mocked and denied opportunities because of their skin color and how it influences others to throw away their identities to avoid trouble. Although it is a topic many pretend no longer exists, it is very much alive and still present in our present society.



TheNewYorkTimes. “A Conversation With Asians on Race | Op-Docs | The New York Times.” YouTube. YouTube, 06 Apr. 2016. Web. 02 July 2016.

TheNewYorkTimes. “A Conversation With Black Women on Race | Op-Docs | The New York Times.” YouTube. YouTube, 03 Dec. 2015. Web. 02 July 2016.



7 thoughts on “The Social Construction of Race

  1. I am Asian American too and I wish I grew up with someone who taught me Chinese but my parents only spoke English around me so I would focus on being more American than Chinese. I just watched the video and it was very powerful!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I really appreciate the topic you chose. Many don’t understand that race effects the mundane experience of many people’s lives. The quotes you used were from women and I think apart of there backlash had to do with there hair and how they presented themselves which sounds like gender roles to me. I would have like to see how their race and gender intersected.

    And I also liked your opening sentence.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Ki Park,
    I strongly agree with you that race can limit one’s opportunities. In my opinion, race is not biological, its a social construct. As a chinese I see people but in the US you see race/colour. In China everyone has the opportunity to achieve the “Chinese Dream”, race is not part of the equation, is there prejudice in my country. But in the US, I feel like “If you’re white, you’re right; If you’re a brown stick around; If you’re black then get back!”

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I agree with you that race is social constructed and it limited people’s life. Nowadays, many people avoid to talk about race as you said. But race problem is still there and it created by us. I did my blog on race as well, even we have many ways showed that race problem need to fix we can’t do anything until everyone realize it.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This is a really good topic, and I think as for a Chinese student, the propose that I study in the U.S. is to gain more intelligence instead of being more”American.” I am proud of my culture and the history of China. I also think that different cultures created by different races of people are all very valuable. They are the wealth that all humans should share and appreciate in the world. This, I think that we should be proud of ourselves that we are Asian or Asian Americans no matter what other people think about us or how much discrimination we have got.


  6. I really like this topic. I used to question myself a lot about whether I should be more like an American after I came to America for High school. I remember how some Americans say it is super easy to tell if a person is an international student,because all they need to do is just observing that person’s clothing style ( I do agree that international students do dress in a fancier way in general). Later on, I changed my view of how I see myself as an international student who studies in America because of a conversation with my best high school friend who is an Asian American as well. She said something that are quite similar to what you write in the last paragraph, and that make me feel it is more important to resist being who I am and how I want to be instead of being effected by cultural differences.


  7. Social construct on race is an ongoing battle in America. Even though America itself was founded by immigrants and is called the melting pot, people of color experience racism on the daily basis. I am an immigrant who came to the U.S. during my teenage years and it was the most difficult transition of my life. Even though Asians are affected by racism, I feel that African Americans have been battling with this issue for a long time. These videos show social construct on race very elaborately because it is an interview with people who experience it everyday.


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