If race is imaginary and socially constructed, why then does it have such a profound impact on the structure of society and the automatic ways people feel towards each other?

Essay by iwantyourskullCollege, Undergraduate May 2004

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There he is. You come across him every day on your way to work. Your mouth sets into a grimace every time he sets those beady little eyes on you. Those eyes are just so unpleasant. The curve of his face is jarring. And his pigeon-toed traipse! You can't quite put your finger on it, but there's something, just something wrong with him. Something inside of your brain is telling you not to befriend or even trust this man. As irrational as this may seem, it is ingrained in you from an early age to make assumptions based on appearances. Classification teaches us to be wary of that drunken swagger that means belligerence; that indifferent gaze which is a sure sign of snobbishness.

These classifications that people make are generally there to protect them from letting troubling past experiences occur again. They are a defense mechanism, a side effect of applying knowledge from these experiences into daily life.

It is pivotal to remember that when someone glares at you it means they should probably be avoided. Still, it is important to keep in mind that the inherent, neither chosen or controlled in any way, physical characteristics of others are not an indication of personality traits or a premonition of actions. The skin color of an individual is one such integral trait.

Genetics determine almost all aspects of physical appearance. The genetic makeup or DNA holds an infathomable ammout of information about everything from hair stragliness to fingernail size and shape. It would seem, then, that there would be genetic similarities between people with the same skin color. This ideology could then easily be expanded apon; making way for assumptions that other physical, mental or personality traits would be shared between people who have common skin colors. This is exactly the...