Race is the grouping of humans into various groupings with regard to their ancestry, genetics, physical characters, or genetics. However, classification of humans came to be when Johann Blumenbach, a German scientist, categorized humans based on their physical traits and geography, where he made Caucasian appear to be an ideal race (Engleberg & Wynn, 2015). Blumenbach’s theory facilitated in referring to human beings based on their races, where races were justified through cultural or language differences.
Classifying humans through race is one of the worst errors that scientists have ever made, as the theory has been utilized to substantiate vicious acts of colonialism and slavery. Blumenbach’s theory has been criticized by other scholars, such as Henry Louis Gates, who maintained that no such thing exists as race, as the so-called races are only found in the human race (Firchow, 2015). Such scholars emphasized that racism is a creation of social acculturation, which cannot be recognized through physical differences. The theory is being used today to expound on social inequality, thus, creating a barrier in the study of humans.
People’s behavior contributes immensely in quashing ethical and effective communication, which consequently breed other vices that divide society. Aspects such as ethnocentrism, stereotyping, prejudice, and racism have been termed as hindrance to effective and ethical communication because they contribute in dividing humans through subjective means. Such aspects make individuals dominate others, thus, creating boundaries among individuals. While ethnocentrism perceives one’s culture as superior to others, stereotyping generalize people by oversimplifying their characteristics. Stereotypes and ethnography inhibit effective communication because people from the dominant group are not likely to communicate to people from inferior groups.
Communication can hardly occur where people treat others with suspicion based on hearsay. Prejudice involves developing negative attitudes concerning certain groups of people based on preconceived ideas. Prejudice breeds discrimination, where certain groups are excluded from benefiting from available opportunities. Prejudice also leads to racism, where a single group of individuals dominate and mistreat other minority groups. Racists perceive themselves as superior to other human groups; thus, they justify their acts of mistreating others due to their dominance. Prejudice and racism keep different human groups apart, thus, interfering with effective communication among different cultural groups.
The U.S. Census has always incorporated the question on racial identity since independence, and this reflects how the aspect of race is ingrained in American history. However, many Americans claim that they do not understand the meaning of ‘race’ as it does not depict its separation from ‘origin.’ Thus, the question of ‘race’ should be avoided during the U.S. Census because it tends to encourage discrimination of people based on their origin. Race is not a biological concept, but rather a social construct that was created from ancient population shifts. If ‘race’ was real in terms of genetics, then racial classifications across boundaries would be constant.
The ways that census officials utilized race kept changing from one census to the next owing to changes in politics. Such changes made social scientists recognize race as a fluid concept that is influenced by political thinking. Thus, the term ‘race’ should cease to be used in the U.S. Census because there seems to be no consensus concerning the word. The U.S. government perceives Hispanic/Latinos as an ethnic group, rather than a race because Hispanic people are defined by their Spanish culture and origin. This implies that other ethnic groups should stop being considered as races, as the government seeks other means to express personal identity.
Engleberg, I. & Wynn, D. (2015).Think! Communication. Pearson Education, Inc.
Firchow, P. E. (2015). Envisioning Africa: Racism and imperialism in Conrad’s Heart of darkness. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky.