Visualizing Sociology in Everyday Life

8. What does it mean to classify family members as different races?

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What does it mean to classify family members as different races?
photo: Ray Elfers
What does it mean to classify family members as different races?
photo: Missy Gish

The story of race relations in the United States involves more than 400 years of sorting people into clear-cut racial categories according to selected physical characteristics such as hair texture or skin shade without regard for family ties. The end result is a deep-seated belief that racial categories are natural and distinct. Therefore we have come to accept that a “white” mother can have “black” children and siblings can be of different races.

 

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