When we think of race, we often picture people’s physical differences. While physical variations do exist among human groups, the distinction between whites and blacks is artificial and artificially imposed. Even in societies without fixed racial categories, there are many examples of differences among people. However, racial categories have little to do with how people behave toward each other. Instead, they are more of a metaphor, a way to categorize people into groups.
The concept of race began to develop in the 17th century, when Europeans began colonizing the New World. The term “race” was initially associated with differences between different groups, including Africans, Amerindians, and Europeans. In the nineteenth century, after the abolition of slavery, the concept of race became a social construct and an effective mechanism for social stratification. However, it was not until the 20th century that race ideology took hold fully and became widely used.
The United States Census Bureau collects data on race in order to monitor compliance with anti-discrimination laws. The categories used by the Bureau are based on general appearance and are not attempts to define race genetically or biologically. These categories have changed considerably over the past 200 years and may be outdated and offensive to certain groups of people. The term “race” is often used in a negative sense, such as in the context of criminal justice.
The mortality rate for blacks is up to 50 percent higher than that of whites. While death rates for other groups are more accurate, there are some limitations to official statistics. Death rates for blacks are typically under-registered, while disparities between racial and ethnic identification and inaccurate age reporting make them less reliable. Even corrections for these problems are often insufficient to remove the disparity. Nonetheless, the black-white gap is still significant.
While critical race theory has roots in a variety of intellectual currents and literature, it has also spawned a wide range of issues. For example, the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests, the emergence of LGBTQ clubs in schools, ethnic studies model curriculum, free speech debate on college campuses, and alternatives to exclusionary discipline have been attributed to the theory. In fact, it was this theory that led to the Parkland school shooting.
Although racial health disparities are unacceptable in most societies, they are even less acceptable when considered alongside the deprivation faced by African-American and Native Americans. It is imperative that the disparity be documented and remedied. Further, it is important to realize that the differences are not due to the lack of knowledge on racial health issues. It is imperative that the government take action to ensure the rights of all individuals, including blacks, as well as to reduce health disparities in the United States.
Race discrimination is an unacceptable practice and must be avoided in universities. The University has strict policies against discrimination and supports the Black and Minority Ethnic Staff Network and the Black Students Campaign in their quest for Race Equality. Human resources business managers and the Equality & Diversity section should be contacted for guidance on the issue. They are more than happy to assist in any way. There are numerous resources available on race-based issues on university campuses.