SAGE Journal Articles
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Abstract: While most scientists of the twentieth century argued for understanding race as a social construction, this understanding has shifted considerably in the past decade. In the current era, biological notions of race have resurfaced not only in the scientific community but in the form of direct consumer use of DNA tests for genetic ancestry testing, sometimes referred to as genetic genealogy, and the emergence of pharmacogenomics, or the marketing of race-specific pharmaceuticals. In this article, I argue that the return of race as a biological concept in the form of racial genomics can best be understood through an application of Blumer’s race as group position theory. Using that, I argue that during the past 20 years, four specific challenges to the racial hierarchy have emerged that have threatened white dominance: the original interpretation of the Human Genome Project results declaring humans to be 99.9 percent similar, thus, dispelling the idea that race has a genetic basis, the electoral wins of President Barack Obama and the ensuing rhetoric that America is a “postracial” society, and finally, the increase in interracial relationships and biracial/multiracial identities. The emergence of racial genomics, I argue, is a response to these specific threats to the racial hierarchy and to white dominance.
Abstract: The discipline of Sociology has generated great contributions to scholarship and research about American race relations. Much of the theorizing on American race relations in America is expressed in binary terms of black and white. Historically, the study of American race relations typically problematizes the “othered” status, that is, the non-white status in America's racial hierarchy. However, the sociology of race relations has historically failed to take into account both sides of the black/white binary paradigm when addressing racial inequality. In other words, in the case of race, it becomes difficult to see the forest for the trees. Thus, in Sociology, we find less scholarship about the role “whiteness as the norm” plays in sustaining social privilege beyond that which is accorded marginalized others. In order to examine the historical black/white binary paradigm of race in America, it is important to understand its structuration. This article extends the applicability of sociologies of knowledge (Thomas Theorem, social constructionism) and Gidden’s structuration theory to inform a postmodern analysis of America’s binary racial paradigm.