Race as a social construction

Race is a social construction because we have defined and grouped people into categories based on what society finds acceptable. People created the phenomenon and race has no true root in who people actually are. When we see others and others see us, judgments and opinions are drawn, whether we like it or not. It is not natural.

The power structure of our society has been molded by the social construction of race in so many ways. It’s importance in our society has stayed relatively the same, but over the course of history the meaning of race has drastically changed. The people at the top in society decide where each race ranks on the totem pole.

I don’t think you should correlate group and individual identity with the portrayal of media images, but it is going to happen no matter what. What I mean by this is that when you see a type of person on television doing something, it is very easy to correlate his actions with people who look similar to him or act the way he is acting. This is basically racism.

“The Wire” was a very interesting show that I had not seen before today. I found it to be a unique portrayal and look into how inner-city life functions on a daily basis in Baltimore and other places. While I do not think any television show can match up exactly with real life, it seems like they did a great job and captivated the attention of academic thinkers around the world. Just the fact that classes have been created to analyze the program shows that it is well-regarded. I was surprised to find out in this article that President Obama is a fan of the show. I plan on renting the series and watching from the very beginning with my roommate.

I don’t think the show is necessarily too sophisticated for the average television user, but due to the nature of the show content and overall nature, many will choose not to give it a chance. Even when it was new on television, I had no idea what the show was about and ignored anything I heard about it because I do not subscribe to HBO. Now that is out on DVD, I will have to rent it.

An interesting map of crime in Baltimore, MD. You can see how grouped the crimes committed are in certain areas of the city. Here is the Link.

Murder Rates for 20 most populated U.S. cities.


About spencerpopp

Journalism senior at the University of Oklahoma. Originally from Omaha, Nebraska but consider Dallas, TX my most recent home.
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4 Responses to Race as a social construction

  1. cwilson07 says:


    I really enjoyed reading your second blog about how race has become a social construction. I definitely agree with how society places certain people in different classes and in different categories based on what their skin color is, if they are male or female, old or young. As far as the race issue is concerned, I like how you touched base on society as well as race. Saying that society needs to remain as one, but even though it has kept the same frame of mind changes are still relevant and still happen and will continue to happen. My thoughts were similar to yours about media and the images it can create about race. Simple images unfortunately can easily falsely represent any race, and that is not fair to any race that has to deal with it. The worse part about that is the fact that it may never change. Overall, I enjoyed your blog, and I look forward to reading some more of them.

  2. anna2marie says:

    I appreciated your blog on how the social construction of race and the power structure of society contribute to racism. I, too, had never watched “The Wire” because I do not subscribe to HBO. The only thing I had heard about this series was when an OU graduate, who is currently teaching in another country, asked if I had seen the show. I never realized the impact the series was having in this country and across the world. After being introduced to the series in class, I am certainly becoming more aware of all the stereotypical the media uses in its programming.

    The graph was a good method of presenting additional information. I had no idea that Baltimore had such a high crime rate. Thank you for doing this extra research because we can all learn from each other. I enjoyed your blog and look forward to reading your work.

    Anna Marie

  3. Kate says:

    Spencer, the graphic you have included was shocking, it would appear that “the Wire” depicts Baltimore’s high crime rates accurately. The Google Map of Baltimore crime is also startling. Inspired by the data you present, I found a blog posting Baltimore crime here. The author of this page has assembled a list of 2010 victims and a chronology of violent crime actions/articles with links to the news articles where they are reported. As I explored online resources for the Oklahoma City area and my community in particular, I was relieved to see the data reflect that I was “safe”. After our conversation regarding White Privilege in class today, I am immediately aware that I have the privilege of living in a community which is experiencing a different reality. Crimes more likely to occur in my neighborhood involved property rather than murder and other violent crimes if this map has predictive power. While Baltimore residents are more likely to be shot, robbed, burgled, or assaulted.

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