Race has always been considered one of the heatedly debated questions. Biases and prejudices, so frequently occurred in everyday life, widely affect the racial minorities. Mass media along with multiple researches conducted raise tension between the people by promoting an idea of whites` superiority. As a result, blacks are more often suspect in crime committing. They are more likely to be incarcerated than whites. Many of them inhabit the poorest regions and live below the poverty line. They also have limited access to the educational and career opportunities. The problem of race has long been affected the USA, and its consequences remain evident even today. Many scientists have tried to explain race from both social and biological perspectives. However, race is proved to occur as a social, rather than biological phenomenon.
The definition and the history of race have been discussed in the “Race: The Power of an Illusion” series. A well-known biological anthropologist Alan Goodman specifies that “Race is not based on biology, but is rather an idea that we ascribe to biology” (as cited in “Race: The Power of Illusion). Indeed, many people (especially white people) assign their superiority to the biological advancement. However, any difference can be measured whereas there is no measure for race difference. People may be differentiated by their skin color. Others see the difference in hair, height, or face. An inability to develop a universe measurement tool indicates that race is not a biological phenomenon. It is more likely to be a variation in evolution like a color of eyes, the nose form, or cheekbones.
Race as a product of social interpretation forces people to generate the ideas of what traits and behavioral model are typical for each race. A historian Robin D. G. Kelley states that “Race was never just a matter of how you look, it’s about how people assign meaning to how you look” (as cited in “Race: The Power of Illusion”). It is so deeply rooted in the history, that people continue using race as a prediction of conduct. For instance, blacks are widely associated with the crime, assaults, and drug trade. Although whites are as frequently involved in crime, media does not pay much attention to it, thus exhibiting its biased views. These prejudices make a long-term impact on the society. Being clichéd, people start behaving as the society predicts them to behave, thus increasing the gap between the races.
Although for historical reasons the society is affected by racial inequality, the vast majority of people do not exhibit any biases or prejudices. They solely rely on the benefits that it offers them. A legal scholar John Powell considers that “The slick thing about whiteness is that you can reap the benefits of a racist society without personally being racist” (as cited in “Race: The Power of Illusion”). Racist views have occurred long ago and inherited by the next generations. Contemporary people can seldom explain the reason for their racism. They do not treat racial minorities as a social threat but behave so due to their inherited views and attitudes. It means that the racial superiority as a social no longer exists. White people are no longer affected by biases that are rooted in contemporary social context. They are more likely to exhibit hostility as an indispensable part of their upbringing and education.
Racism seems beneficial for whiteness as it provides them with multiple opportunities. For instance, a while employer is more likely to send a job offer to a white employee not because of his suitability but because of the societal expectations. Black people are accused of crime more often as the society anticipates it. Believing that people can be sorted into races allows whites to take advantage of this phenomenon and gain undeserved power and control.
Racism is beneficial for racial majorities even if it is considered a violation of the human rights. Hulteen states that “No promise of equality, no beautiful word about freedom and justice, can serve as a substitute for the bestowal of basic human rights for all people” (85). Indeed, people are so concentrated on the problem of race, equality, and freedom that they forget about basic human rights which guarantee the security of every citizen, regardless of their race, religion, etc. It seems that by paying too much attention to the difference in race, they intensify racial discrimination. In the USA, racial inequality is one of the debated questions. The historical past of the America and almost three centuries of slavery do not allow this society to forget about it. The more they discuss racial discrimination, the more people start thinking about it, thus violating the human rights guaranteed by the society.
In closing, it is necessary to say that “Race: The Power of Illusion” series have made me realize that the USA has created an illusion of whiteness superiority, thus creating more favorable conditions for their development and prosperity. In the modern world, people have no reason to exhibit hostile racist views. Nevertheless, they continue paying special attention to racial inequality and do not allow other people to forget it. The series have helped me to understand that in the USA, this problem is created artificially. An assumption that racial discrimination has a biological explanation is a myth. It has been set up by the society long ago with the purpose of providing control over enslaved minorities and then inherited by the next generations.