Race and Social Construction


Race is a social construct because racism is something that has beencreated by people. When individuals begin to view each other, measuresuccess and relate with each other based on color, then racedevelops. As a result, society develops a mindset that some peopleare better than others, for instance, that being black makes oneinferior while being white makes one superior. However, we havepeople in society, both black and white that are all successful. Onthe other, there are both black and white individuals that areunsuccessful. Thus, it is wrong to judge people simply based on theirskin color.

In the following discussion, the essay argues that race can be undonein America by embracing a spirit of brotherhood, by changing how thepress portrays different people, and through dealing with myths aboutrace.


In order to undo race, people ought to embrace a spirit ofbrotherhood. This means that people have to start viewing themselvesas one society, instead of communities differentiated by being blackor white. In “Not an American Problem but a World Problem”,Malcom X (4) notes that the reason we have people treating each otherdifferently because of a difference in skin color, is because Americais a society, which lacks brotherhood. He further notes that when asociety practices brotherhood, they are able to develop a doctrine ofoneness and humanity is able to view each other as one, and not asociety comprising of different races.

Race can also be undone by changing how the press portrays differentpeople. The press is biased when reporting issues relating to blackpeople and white people. For instance, Malcom X (6) provides theillustration of bombs being dropped in African villages in Congo.During the incident, the press covered the issue by portraying theAfrican victims’ as rebels who deserved to be bombed. By doing so,imagery is created of Africans as evil. But, the same press whenreporting about white people evokes sympathy from the public. Forinstance, the hostages held in Congo were referred to as whitehostages held by cannibals (Malxom X 8). By using the word white,race is constructed. The press creates the image that whites aregood, while blacks are evil. One cannot help but question about theinnocent African children who were bombed, they equally deservedsympathy. Thus, it is important that our American press stopsdepicting one race as better than another. The press is highlyinfluential and when used properly it can bring an end to race.

In addition, the American society must deal with its myths aboutrace. According to an episode on “Race: Power of an Illusion”,Americans have a long past of searching for disparities among them(California Newsreel 1). It is this search that has resultedin racial beliefs that tie society to ideas that one race is betterthan the other. The episode further explains that group differencesshould not be based on the traditional belief that people aredifferentiated by race. The same idea is supported by Jackson andPenrose (2) who argue that nationalist movements created by societyare the main source of inequalities based on race. The movementspromote the idea that some people are better than others, in mostcases whites, and hence blacks are not fit to be part of theircountry. Once such movements or myths are abolished the issue of racecan be undone.


It is possible to undo race as it is something that has beensocially constructed by the American society. This can be achieved byembracing brotherhood, which ensures that people treat one another asone. Second, Americans need to change how the press reports issuesaffecting blacks and whites. Both groups should be portrayed asequals. Last is changing our myths on race, which involves changingthe long established view that people are different, and replace itwith the perception that we are all equal regardless of skin color.

Works Cited

California Newsreel. Race- The Power of an Illusion, 2003.Web. 8 Sep. 2016.http://www.pbs.org/race/000_About/002_04-about-01.htm

Jackson, Peter and Penrose, Jan. Introduction: Placing “race” andnation. In Peter, Jackson and Jan, Penrose (Eds.), Constructionsof Race, Place and Nation. Minneapolis: University of MinnesotaPress.

Malcolm X. Not just an American Problem but a World Problem. NationalHumanities Center 3(2007): 1-16.http://nationalhumanitiescenter.org/pds/maai3/community/text10/malcolmxworldproblem.pdf