Semester over and grades received (an “A”), the following arrives as feedback for my final thesis… my response, as always, follows.
The perspective presented in this course is that race has no meaning beyond that which has been socially constructed. This is a sociology course, therefore, the social construction of meaning is relevant. There was never any intention to communicate that racial distinctions have any basis in biology. However, we cannot deny that meaning has been attached to skin color and other observable distinctions. To deny these distinctions is to deny the social realities of people of color. In order to fully grasp sociology one has to being willing to embrace what some call “sociological imagination.” I think that perhaps you have struggled with this in this course. If you are interested in learning more about sociological imagination I recommend the classic piece by C. Wright Mills (one of my favorite sociologists): (http://www.camden.rutgers.edu/~wood/207socimagination.htm).
I think that you make some very interesting points. I appreciate your highly developed rhetorical skills. However, I think that you have taken an ideological stand (with an implied moral imperative) that obscures your objectivity. Sometimes ideology is the enemy of good sociology.
I am familiar with Mills and have read the piece in question. I happen to differ on the matter that social constructs should be supported when they are demonstrated to be unhelpful and impediment to progress; at least we seem to be able to agree that “race” is so, regardless our disagreement on what should be done.
As a “person of color” myself (i.e., using the socially defined construct that represents cultural difference and ancestry), I do not think it possible that I can deny my own social reality, regardless of the fact that you still seem to be implying that because my skin happens to be a certain color, I do not (cannot?) know what that reality is; I hope you will understand how and why I find that personally offensive and quite ideologically and objectively obscured. I wish it were possible for you to actually know my experiences rather than assume of them because of my skin color. If you did, if you could, there is no doubt that this particular statement would be found cringe-worthy.
If I have struggled in this class, it has been in relation to keeping my cool in the face of abject and deliberate support of a known system that divides, causes social unrest and inequality; that it is done with what seems to be an intentional interest in perpetrating still another round of the same social construct that divides and causes social unrest and inequality seems rather… common, actually; similar to most efforts, regardless of who is pushing them.
How anyone can think that support on any level for the notion that “someone has to be on top” is helpful is beyond me.
Further, that anyone should support ANY aspect of the “racial” misnomer, let alone seed future generations by asserting that “white people” are or should be a target is simply disgraceful in the context of a curriculum that posits from the onset that pluralism and mutual respect is a necessary component of society.
Pardon the hyperbole, but you may as well just write in large, neon lettering on the top of the discussion forum, “All commentary is valuable and welcome, except if you’re whitey.” It is about as ridiculous.
Sorry, I just do not hold contradictory logic as necessary, needful, nor as worthwhile. If that makes me an “enemy of sociology”, then so be it, but I suspect humanity in the future will care far less about cultural practice and skin color that some seem to today and it is, frankly, a shameful lacking that humans so obviously otherwise capable of critical thought cannot or will not apply it consistently to support that future rather than roll about in the societal dirt trying to see “who can get on top this time.”