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5.1: The Concept of Race - Introduction

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    Historical Context

    All the history books that I have read suggest that race was first recognized when the Europeans came over to America and saw the Native Americans. But what did the Europeans think of the peoples on their trade routes? What was different about the Native Americans that sparked a racial hierarchy to begin? Or is it our history books that are flawed due to being written by either by Americans or Europeans and are therefore biased?

    The main concern of the Europeans was religion and how people of different colors fit into that scheme. Were they also “Children of God or soulless creatures that needed to be saved? The discussion of the “conversion” of “savages” is an entirely different bag of issues, so to speak. But this is, nevertheless, the beginning of the mistreatment of people for their skin color…in theory.


    The definitions that I am referencing are from “The Social Construction of Difference and Inequality: Race, Class, Gender, and Sexuality” with Tracey E. Ore describing race as “a group of people who perceive themselves and are perceived by others as possessing distinctive hereditary traits.” Whereas ethnicity would be “having cultural traits such as language, religion, family customs, and food preferences.” I state the definition of ethnicity because the two can be confused with one another but they can also be intertwined.

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    5.1: The Concept of Race - Introduction is shared under a not declared license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

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