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Lecture 8

Lecture 8 -- Race & Racism.docx

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ANT 2000
Elyse Anderson

Race & Racism (Video = “Race: The Power of An Illusion”)  TJ = Thomas Jefferson  NA = Native American  Race = isn’t about the way you look; it’s about people assigning a meaning to the way you look  People should realize race is a socially constructed idea, not an inherent fact of science  TJ helped write the Declaration of Independence, yet he owned slaves himself  Argued that TJ was the first person to define/give a theory about race  How could TJ possibly own slaves himself and still talk about freedom for everyone?  TJ’s idea of race evolved with the new concept of the need for physical labor = started to include not just color but wealth and religion, too (social class/power was changed to reflect these new opinions; almost always the African-Americans were the lowest class no matter what)  Very gradual process though  Basically Africa = ideal labor source because could always just get more, also already knew how to grow rice and tobacco, also couldn’t blend into society like Native Americans  White people are not going to be complicit with the system unless they benefited somehow; in this case, prestige and status  Gave idea that black = automatically associated with Africa; then became normal to assume a person’s color automatically meant a certain status or power, part of the problem because became too normal  Native Americans (interestingly enough) were considered closer to white people than Africans because they maintained their independence and freedom; TJ especially thought that they weren’t equivalent to whites but they had potential to be so  TJ himself didn’t have much interaction with the natives though; so he was just ruminating  Thought best method to get along with Native American neighbors and eventually acquire their land = to “civilize” them by steadily integrating European culture into their lifestyles  TJ believed it seems that Native Americans could definitely assimilate into white culture while Africans definitely could not  TJ calls on science to specifically ask how/why science makes blacks inferior to whites  Science and slavery would help propel thoughts on ideas of black people (what happened as time went on and America developed); inevitably Native Americans got involved, too, in this analysis because of their lands  As LA Purchase occurred, plenty of good land was still owned/used by Native Americans (land for crops li
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