The Illusive Race Question

Introduction

The whole concept of this proposition that race is like a bacteria and changes faster than academicians are defining it stems from the fact that despite bacteria being single celled, they remain very complex. They can live in extremely high temperatures and extremely low temperatures that do not guarantee survival. They also feed on almost everything.

The definition of racism continues to evolve with time and when academicians think that they have fully defined racism and that they know what it encompasses, it presents itself in a different form. The implication is that race has been resistant to factors that are supposed to define it. It is redefined by other factors such as popular culture which give it a new meaning altogether (Acuna 1).

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In the American context, it was possible to define race some years ago but the situation is now different and defining race continues to become difficult. For instance, when W. Bush was campaigning for the presidency in U.S some people would have described him as being racist because he is white.

However, it is difficult to rule out that he is racist because a majority of his supporters were black people. The implication is that if he was a racist, then the black population would not have backed him. In the 2004 elections, the Latinos were not able to recognize racism which confirms that the definition of racism is still elusive.

Ten years before this election, the Latinos living in California had unanimously agreed to vote against proposition 187 because they said that it was a racist endeavor. This led to a shortage of votes for the republicans from the Latinos. Latinos currently constitute about 14% of the American population hence they cannot be ignored by the rest of Americans.

The Black experience in America is characteristic of an endless struggle for human rights which dates back to more than 200 years ago. Among the Latino population, it is only the Mexicans and the Puerto Ricans who have experienced this kind of struggle hence they have no language to define racism and to them it goes unnoticed.

Race as it affects Latinos cannot be defined only on the basis of the experience the Latinos have gone through in America. The Mexicans apart from the experiences in US they brought with them another history of 300 years of colonialism. This makes the definition of racism take a new perspective from the earlier one (Acuna 5).

In Brazil there is a cordial relationship between black and white people who get along better than they do in the United States. However, racism is still prevalent in Brazil.

The black Brazilians are still discriminated against and they remain the poorest people in Brazil. The mixing of these two races has not done away with the effects occasioned by slavery. A state of tension has emerged as a result of the different views on race held by Americans and Brazilians.

The definition of race continues to change because as Americans define it in terms of black and white, the Brazilians look at race as a continuum of colors. For example, the view of Martin Luther king and Nelson Mandela is stronger in Brazil and weaker in Brazilian Zumbi. This is an indication that not all Brazilians look at culture as a continuum of colors but it rather depends on ideological views.

There are historical and social constructions in Brazil that indicate that race is highly dependent on class and location of the individuals. Black Brazilians earn less than white Brazilians and are less educated. From the racial point of view, Brazil and America are different in that in America whites and blacks are equal but live separately. In Brazil, there a different kind of racism where the whites and blacks live together but they are unequal.

The Latin Americans in the United States define race basing it on the continuum of color and this clashes with the US model of defining race. Similarly, the US Latinos are faced with different definitions like the Latino and Hispanic that in most Spanish speaking countries are put in one category.

This makes the definition of race even more complex and the class groups that are produced by the continuum. The process of identifying the historical and social differences between the different Latin groups is made difficult by this fact.

These groups share a common colonial heritage and speak the same language. There understanding of race in the US is therefore different. The Guadalupe Hidalgo treaty accorded Mexicans the rights to be full citizens, which was interpreted to mean that the Mexicans had been granted the status of white men.

However, what the treaty stated was contrary to the reality because Mexicans were still regarded as non whites and their citizenship was challenged. The ambivalence of Americans towards Mexicans has always been seen through US census where the Mexicans have been branded various names.

Class divisions exist among different groups in America which are hidden by the idea of nationalism. This kind of confusion is an indicator of future problems because unless race is looked at as a factor, racial disparities will not be handled effectively (Acuna 11).

Works Cited

Acuna, Rodolfo. The Illusive Race Question and Class:A Bacteria that currently Mutates. 2005. Web. 17 Aug 2011.