The Pros And Cons Of Racial Formation

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Birthed into our society as a marginalized individual encompasses sociohistorical obstructions that hinder one’s life chances in attaining equality amongst the hegemonic group. These obstructions are historically formed both latent, and manifest through legitimacies such as law and through social consensus of norms, beliefs, and values. Such obstructions are called gender and racial projects consisting of ideals, stereotypes, and laws that help shape boundaries of groups. Racial formations are defined by Michael Omi and Howard Winant, as the “sociohistorical process by which racial categories are created, inhabited, transformed, and destroyed” (69). Collectively, racial projects form racial formations, a process of racial interactions we conform …show more content…
For instance, the 1970 Louisiana law enacted (later appealed) to define classifications of race declared that any person born with at least 1/32 “negro blood” would be legally recognized as black, or African American (Omi and Winant 1994:68). Another racial project, colorism, is not so formal or overt. Colorism is a social behavior we subconsciously perform (and consciously) to classify persons of different races, and even our …show more content…
The one-drop rule, as noted above is an example of boundary work, and colorism may be applied both inter and intra racially. Anti-miscegenation is another example of Boundary work. Former laws restricted mixed race marriages and dating, however, miscegenation laws and social norms affected individuals at different severities. Black men who date outside their race are labeled as “sell-outs” or “uncle toms” by their communities (intensified racism), while white men (rebound racism) who date outside their race are less penalized and often are not held accountable for “protecting whiteness” (Dalmage [2000] 2011:97,99). My own experiences with this form of borderism are similar with intensified racism noted above. My fathers side of my family would criticize me for dating any male that was not black. They perceived me as someone who rejected her black side and showed preference to being white.

Boundary work is parallel to racial projects, though not identical. While they both are incumbent of systematic social forces that shape our interactions, boundary work adheres to more than just race. We incorporate gender, class, and other social structures along with race, to define and enforce hegemony, and boundary work aids this hierarchy (Massey 2007:36-45). Gender, for example is one of the most significant structures

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