Omi And Winant Racial Formation Summary

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It is commonly thought by many that the concept of race originates from innate biological and genetic differences between different groups of people. However, in their work, Racial Formation in the United States: From the 1960’s to the 1990’s, Michael Omi and Howard Winant argue that racial categories are anything but (1994). Omi and Winant use the perspective of “racial formation” to convey how race is not derived from biological differences between people but rather from social, economic, and political forces that divide people into different racial categories.
Omi and Winant use the racial formation perspective to argue that race is a fluid and socially constructed method of classifying people based on social, economic and political differences.
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Massey builds off Omi and Winant’s concept of racial formation in his article Racial Formation in Theory and Practice: The Case of Mexicans in the United States published in the medical journal PubMed Central. In his article, Massey acknowledges how “mechanisms of social stratification” (2009) ultimately lead to racial categories. He states that the “categorical definition of an out group” (2009) caused by racial formation leads to the systematic exclusion and exploitation of those included in the out group. While Omi and Winant mainly discus the origins and effects of racial categorization with regards to African Americans, Massey focuses on that of Mexican Americans. Beginning in the 1970’s, Mexican Americans began to experience the process of “racialization” (Massey 2009). Massey argues that this process accelerated in the 1980’s and 1990’s, with Mexican Americans increasingly categorized as members of the most “dehumanized and vulnerable” (2009) out group. Massey builds off of Omi and Winant’s idea of racial formation and uses it to argue that this concept is the cause of the increasing exclusion and exploitations of Mexican Americans in the United …show more content…
They both argue that this socially facilitated process of categorizing people based on their differences causes myriad detriments to those who are victimized. While all authors agree upon the effects of this phenomenon, they differ in how they present their argument by exploring the effects on two different racial groups—African Americans and Mexican Americans. Both articles effectively use the concept of racial formation to argue the harmful effects of the socially constructed concept of