Race and Racism

I recommend a minimum of 1 pages (double spaced) in answer to each question (#1 and #2). The best answers do not simply repeat what the text says but provide detailed interpretations of the text and analysis of the author’s arguments (i.e., analysis of the argument forms, and evaluation of its arguments). You are required to answer all the questions below. If you would like to meet with me to discuss your paper, please see me during my office hours. The 1st paper is also governed by the University’s plagiarism policy. See the syllabus concerning this policy. All students must submit their paper to this link. When you are using our assigned reading, you may consider an “in text” citation as sufficient (i.e., giving credit to the author by name in your summaries, direct quotes, and paraphrases). You may use outside sources (websites, articles, books, etc.) to interpret the authors’ texts, but I am interested in seeing your own interpretation of the texts. So simply substituting someone else’s interpretation for your own is highly discouraged. So it is best to use primarily the assigned reading (as well as any notes from lectures), your own reading comprehension skills and documentaries (in the Videos section of Canvas) when it comes to interpreting the text. (The editors’ preface/ introduction to The Idea of Race is also useful for understanding the essays in that book.) I am looking for your own interpretation here. Keeping this recommendation in mind, if you want to use secondary sources for statistics, to provide evidence for your own arguments or even to assist you in interpreting the text, you may do so, but these sources must be properly cited using any style guide (e.g., Turabian or MLA). (See the “Paper Assignments” in the Modules section for links to Turabian and MLA style guide(s).) Failure to do so violates the University’s policy on plagiarism. Papers should be double spaced and use 12 point font.
Answer all of the following questions (50 points each for 1 and 2):
Select a theorist from the sections on early “racist science” (e.g., Bernier, from The Idea of Race) and explain the following: (BERNIER IS ATTATCHED IN FILE)
1A) What is the main thesis of the theory? What evidence does the author provide to support this thesis? What are the unscientific elements of this theory? Why do you find them to be unscientific? Explain your answer? Do you find any racist elements in this theory? What specifically are the racist elements or claims of this theory? Why do you consider them racist? Explain your answer. Be sure you provide reasons and explanations to support why you take the author’s theory to be unscientific and racist. You should include some reference to Franz Boas and/or modern genetics to demonstrate what exactly is unscientific about “racist science.” (For critiques of scientific racism, see readings for Module 5; for modern genetics, you may refer to the any on-line documentaries posted in Canvas on the subject.) You should also, at minimum, offer a clear definition of what you understand “racist” to mean and a clear explanation of how the theory fits or does not fit this definition.
1B) Based upon and demonstrating your knowledge of the assigned reading (including Blum and Anderson) and documentaries, explain how this racist science had a historical and political influence (domestic and international) in the 19th and/or 20th Your answer should clearly identify and explain why these historical/political developments are racist.(For direct political influence of racist science, see readings for Module 3, Module 4 and Module 6.)
2A) Based upon your knowledge of the assigned reading (Blum’s book, Omi’s and Winant’s essay in The Idea of Race), explain in detail the theory of racial formation as well as the idea of racialization. Be sure to describe the different levels of the process of racial formation and provide examples of each level. Drawing on your knowledge of the assigned reading (e.g. Anderson or Rattansi) and/or the documentaries (esp. Race: the Power of an Illusion), explain what role governments have in these processes and conditions (e.g. segregation). (See readings for Module 3, Module 4 and Module 6.)
B) What is the theory of “racial constructivism” as described by Blum in his summary of the social construction of race? Demonstrating your knowledge of the readings, what arguments support the main thesis of this theory? (See the assigned reading for Blum in Module 6.)
C) Do you agree or disagree with our authors’ assessments of this theory? Why or why not? Explain your answer.

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