The Persistence of Essentializing Discourses in 'No Such Thing as Biological Race'

Friday, 14 February 2014
Regency B (Hyatt Regency Chicago)
Yolanda T. Moses , University of California, Riverside, Riverside, CA
In this paper the author   looks   at how our notions of biological, social and historical race play out in our institutions and in our everyday lives and in our discourses or everyday conversations, in our media and in our popular culture.  In 2013, at the end of the first decade of the 21st Century, we still have very real repercussions in our national institutions and in our lives from the power of both the concept and reality of believing that race is real, both biologically and culturally. While, in the paper the author has established the fact that “race” is a social construct, the reality is that there are still racial disparities in every aspect of our society. There is no basis in reality for the statements often heard in political and policy circles that we live in a “post-racial world” or that we should be striving for a “colorblind society.” As long as structural and institutional racism exist, and there is a racialized social hierarchy in which those in power (economic, social and political) are still in place, true racial equity is a myth. All of the conversations about race that we have in this country will not change those racialized status and power dynamics. This continues to be a fruitful area of research well into the 21st century. We still have much to learn about the intractability of this deeply embedded system of privilege in our society.