Week 7 @ TMSE – Race by Rochelle Williamson

This week our discussion was on “RACE”, which is a very complicated subject. Because of the complexities of the subject, students gained a wealth of information. The students learned that there are many different “RACES” of people throughout the world. Students were given the opportunity to come up before the class to point out the different “RACES” of people from across the world whose pictures were located on the PowerPoint Presentation screen. The students were very eager to display their knowledge. It was stressed that Anthropologists study people just like those shown and they also study other people from various parts of the world.

TMSE students also learned today, that the United States is called the “MELTING POT” because there are so many different kinds of people living here. A demographic racial breakdown of the “RACES” here in America were illustrated to the students which allowed the students to clearly see the racial diversity of our country. It is important that students are taught the origins of things, so the history behind the word “RACE” was shared. The word “RACE” first began to surface around the 15 th Century. People from Europe began to travel and explore the world. This period was called the AGE OF EXPLORATION. The word “RACE” was originally a Spanish word called “RAZA” which mainly referred to horse breeding. However, the English speaking people adopted this word to mean “race, ethnicity, breed, strain, and lineage.”

The main take-way from class today was that “RACE” is just a man-made word used for putting people into groups. Sometimes grouping people can be harmful and limit a group’s or an individual’s ability to become successful because they may not be given the same opportunities and resources as other groups. When this happens, the students learned that such negatives actions can be termed as “racism” which can ultimately lead to many negative stereotypes and myths. On the other hand, students were also shown that there are positive aspects of putting people into groups. An example of a benefit of grouping people can be seen when Anthropologists group various “RACES” so they can be studied. This process allows Anthropologists and other people the opportunity to learn a lot about a particular culture and see how well a group survives and thrives over time, as well as note when discrimination is present.

Students also learned that for all humans, “RACE” is not determined by Biology. All humans are all 99.9% the same. We have the same body structure: same number of bones, teeth, and organs. We also have similar genes and blood types which flows through our bodies. However, there are small differences in humans which are called HUMAN VARIATIONS. Such variations includes things like: face size, ear size, hair color, hair texture, eye shape, and etc. Students learned that these variations arose over time because of humans’ ability to adapt to their environment. The students learned that the closer ones lives to the equator the darker the skin color and farther away one lives from the equator the lighter the skin color. So, TMSE students were able to realize that geographical locations, climate, and weather all play important roles in determining the color of one’s skin and the shapes of one’s eyes as well as other bodily differences. The students learned that the human body’s ability to change with the environment is called HUMAN ADAPTATIONS.

Last, and certainly not least, students learned that being born or placed in any particular “RACE” does not limit what they or anyone can become in life. Students were shown famous, accomplished and even some ordinary people from all “walks of life”, and they were encouraged and motivated to believe that they could become whatever they desired in life, regardless of their “RACE” or skin color.

Students arguing over which person belonged to what race! They quickly learned this would not be so easy
Students arguing over which person belonged to what race! They quickly learned this would not be so easy

For Today’s Activity, we learned how using “RACE” as a grouping system, is not always an easy method. Deciding a “RACE” can become a confusing guessing game and students found this notion to be true when they played “THE RACE GUESSING GAME.” Students were given the option to choose from five possible racial identities (White, Black, Asian, American Indian and Hispanic). They were then instructed to place and glue their individual pictures onto one and only one possible category for their singular picture. Students were given a total of fifteen pictures to make their analysis. Much to their surprise, most students found the process to be somewhat complicating and confusing because there were just so many similarities among the faces of the various races. The students could not find true definitive separations among the various “RACES” pictured and were unable to identify all pictures correctly. Nevertheless, I think “THE RACE GUESSING GAME”, as a whole was an enjoyable and an enlightening experience for all the TMSE students. I enjoyed teaching this class today!

 

Glueing down the answers before we revealed how the individuals in the photos ACTUALLY identify
Glueing down the answers before we revealed how the individuals in the photos ACTUALLY identify

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