Race and Identity
Historian Robin Kelley stated, “Race was never just a matter of how you look, it’s about
how people assign meaning to how you look.” With that in mind:
a. After viewing the video clip, Social Implications of Race, what do you think is meant
by the term racial smog?
b. How do racial categories shape our identities and social status?
After viewing the video clip I believe that when the term racial smog is used they are referring to society today and
the cloud of distrust that covers us. Even though the world has been through a lot of changes this still exists. I am
married to a Haitian man and I am Caucasian. When we first started to date my family just was not going to have
it. They fought with me constantly to end the relationship. I, of course did not, to me there is no difference, if he
treats me good and with respect then it does not matter. We then had our first daughter Naomi. She is beautiful and
did modeling when she was younger. I remember going to a birthday party when she was 3 at one of my friend’s
and a Caucasian women asked me what she “was”. Referring to her background and heritage. I said she is ½
Haitian. She replied by saying “she is beautiful hope that does not cause her issues in the future”. I asked her what
she was implying and she said “Because she is ½ black.” I looked at her and said “its people like you that would
cause any issues”, and I left. It was really disheartens for me since I love my children and hope they will never have
to encounter anyone that would think lower of them because of their skin color etc.
According to this video clip they say people in some areas will have a lower social status. For example lower
incomes, higher mortgages etc. One part of the clip struck me as odd and which pretty much summed up the “racial
smog” we live in the section with the African American man who works in a university but is always asked if he is
the couch. In this statement implying that if you are black you must be a couch. Another girl said its “easy to be
white”. It’s sad to think that we still live in this type of environment, where on survey’s, school paperwork, medical
paper work, job application etc., which we have to fill out as an option our ethnic background. Why? Is that even
relevant? I am thinking no.
Information derived from Films on demand Social Implications of Race Films Media Group. All
Rights Reserved.
Crapo, R. H. (2013). Cultural anthropology. Copyright © 2013, Bridgepoint Education, Inc.