Racial classification is an arbitrary system of classification that divides people by their general physical appearance or geographic origin. It is a manmade strategy that allows us to label some people as better than others. The American government is constantly changing the definition of race in order to fit the political priorities of the government. While many people have a strong opinion on the subject, others remain skeptical. Here are some facts about race:
The term race is a social construct that emerged in the late seventeenth century after European exploration and colonization. It was used to describe differences in the physical characteristics of different people in the New World. Although there are no scientific or genetic bases for race, this concept has been used for centuries to justify systems of privilege, power, and oppression. In fact, the term “race” may even have originated as a metaphor for the social hierarchy in ancient Greek and Roman times.
It is important to recognize that the concept of race is arbitrary. As a classifier, race cannot determine genetic difference, as skin color is a natural color, not a biological trait. While skin tone is important, it is not a reliable way to determine genetic difference. The pigment melanin determines skin tone. For a deeper analysis of the concept of race, see the About This Word section. It is also important to recognize that it is not useful to equate a particular group of people by skin color alone.
While the Census Bureau collects data on race to monitor compliance with anti-discrimination laws, it does not define race biologically or genetically. Respondents can mark more than one race. Over the past 200 years, the census bureau has refined the categories and removed terms that are offensive. However, this definition still remains unavoidable, and the agency hopes that the RAETT will be a good test for these issues. The results of the survey will inform how the US government categorizes races.
In addition to the study of death certificates, several other research projects are underway. The National Center for Health Statistics and the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Health are conducting studies on birth certificate records. Researchers will conduct a study on death certificates to evaluate the racial classifications. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is conducting a study of the racial classifications on death certificates to increase the accuracy of death certificate data. In addition, the Department of Health and Human Services is conducting a literature search on the topic of racial classification in death certificates.
While race and ethnicity are undoubtedly two separate concepts, they can be linked to each other. While some people may think of themselves as black or white, others will claim to be Latina. In both cases, race can be a powerful personal choice. People of color, including white people, have been accused of racism because they are perceived as being different from whites and Asians. However, despite the racial and ethnic distinctions of these groups, race remains an important concept for many people.