The social and political climate in the U.S. is changing dramatically, and we have no better time to consider the role race plays in defining our nation. With all of the recent debates about race and identity, new shows have been launched on television that promise to break new ground while reinforcing the erasure of race in society. What exactly is race and what should it mean? This article explores the nuances and implications of race, as well as its role in defining U.S. identity.
While many believe that race refers to physical variations, physical differences between human groups are not a sufficient basis for the categorization of individuals. Human groups, regardless of context, have many overlapping traits and cannot be clustered into distinct racial packages. Therefore, modern researchers have questioned the relevance of racial classifications. As a result, the notion of race no longer has biological validity. In fact, scientists have questioned the very existence of race as a concept.
Various data collection methods should be used to categorize people based on race. For example, in the 1990 Census, data on race and ethnicity were tabulated based on reports of family members, not the birth record. The data was then assigned by an algorithm based on the parents’ race. However, when racial data were collected in the 1980s, the race of a baby was determined by observation of a government enumerator filling out a questionnaire and observations.
The majority of whites (51 percent) say race is getting too much attention in our society today. In comparison, nearly half of blacks and Hispanics think that it is getting too little attention. Only a quarter of Asians think there is just enough attention on race in the U.S., according to a survey of 1,023 U.S. citizens. So what is the role of race in our society? Is it necessary to focus on race issues?
The concepts of race and ethnicity are hotly debated in the field of epidemiology. There is no consensus on which terms should be used when analyzing the health of different groups. In contrast, younger whites tend to focus on the unique characteristics of groups that are more atypical in comparison to other ethnic groups. And older whites are more likely to focus on the similarities rather than differences. But whether these differences are beneficial or detrimental is hard to say.
While the perceptions of racial and ethnic groups are becoming more polarized, a recent survey reveals that Americans are more likely to hold racist views than they were before the Trump election. While whites are less likely than blacks to hold racist views, the proportion of people with at least a bachelor’s degree is significantly higher than those with some college education. For instance, fewer black people say that they never think it is OK to call someone a racist because they are white.