Race: Race and Social Constructed Idea Essay

Submitted By Alejandrabrasil1
Words: 1020
Pages: 5

There have been many attempts to understand and clarify the idea of race; however, there are some intriguing aspects of race related specifically to personal gain. The French philosopher Francois Bernier brought up one of the first theories of race. Which emphasizes: “Race is aimed at grouping people by identifiable, ‘permanent’, physical difference(s).” Even though some physical differences are clearly visible, today through science it is proven that genetically we share no differences. In this sense, race is a social phenomenon. The aim of this paper is to analyze the peculiarities of race, as an attempt to achieve personal gains, with the argument that race is a social constructed idea, which is build upon personal benefit. People tend to identify differences they want to see to justify personal gain. It was in 1775 that Immanuel Kant published his first idea of race. Kant argued in favor of monogenesis. In this regard, he believed human were descendent from one single root. A root composed of a biological seed and dispositions, when triggered by a precise environment would generate variations, this was the natural cause of variations. To illustrate his belief that all humans are from the same species he stress: “Proceeding in this way, Negroes and whites are clearly not different species of human beings (since they presumably belong to one line of descent), but they do compromise two difference races. This is because each of them perpetuates themselves in all regions of the earth and because they both, when they interbreed, necessarily produce half breed children, or blends (Mulattoes)”. Kant explains that a child bear from a white woman and a black man, will blend white and black traits. Such bi-racial mixture suffices the transitional human, whose characteristic belongs in the boundaries of the four races. This, natural characteristics or predispositions are extremely variable upon specific conditions. Condition based on migration, interbreeding, or environment, which create racial differences. In theory, the bi-racial individual was considered “different” due to his lack of purity, not being bread from one-race individuals. Interpreting Kant, humans belong to the same species but are composed of different races. Differences that justify social classes and positions. Voltaire a French philosopher was Kant’s counteract. He believed in polygenes. The idea, humans are descendent from several species, instead of a single species. Voltaire’s theory emphasizes that if humans derived from different species they are different in all means. As stated by Voltaire: “None but the blind can doubt that the whites, the negroes, the Albinos, the Hottentos, the Laplanders, the Chinese, the Americans, are races entirely different.” Heterogeneous races, used to divide and classify each type of humankind. Understanding Voltaire’s thoughts, each race was no only different by physical means however, also by their origin. Each race with a certain status, one was better than the other. Therefore, you can rule over them. Voltaire is clear, race is used to track reality, there is a need to categorize humans, to differentiated the different species of mankind, because all of those differences are real. In both Kant and Voltaire there is no scientific approach, meaning there is not scientifically proved if humans race is derived from one single species or many. All their ideas are based upon visual observations and travelers diaries without any accuracy. Disregard less, if humans derived from one species or many, both writers, emphasize undoubtedly that humans belong to different categories, meaning different status. There is an aim behind their theories. Both writers belong to the 18th century; it is crucial to look at the historical events during this period to better understand their theories. During