Race and identity


What do you think is meant by the term racial smog?

From the video and the textbook chapter, racial smog denotes the misconceived judgment of people whereby status and identity are majorly concluded by looking at skin color (Infobase, 2017). Hence, racial smog is when an individual does not look beyond people’s skin color. In essence, the element or phenomenon creates a society of stereotype and pollutes personal beliefs of those perpetrating racism. Racial smog is a misconception that leads to identities formed from ignorance, and as such, has negative implications of intolerance which equally perpetrates violence in society (Herbes-Sommers, Strain & Smith, 2003).  Accordingly, racial prejudice outlines major issues with racial smog whereby individuals clog their minds with negative feelings of dislike and contempt for others who may not belong to their perceived ethnic groups.

How do racial categories shape our identities and social status?

To a greater extent, racial classifications shape people’s perceptions through stereotypes. Stereotypes habitually lead to assigned different meanings on social roles within various ethnic groups (Bell, 2017).  History holds significant problems with racism, especially instances when people were separated based on their skin color, religion, and language. Accordingly, any assigned identity based on social status leads to separation and easily results in racial smog. Most of the thoughts that people hold on each other have been inherited from which the initial perceptions or thoughts from ancestors are transferred from generations to generations. The assigned racial identity determines or defines what, where and whether an individual will enjoy privileges like health insurance (Infobase, 2017). For example, whites have privileges because of their color, all due to how identity has been assigned to them by society.  The situation shows how social and historical contexts contributed to racial smog and as such, the assigned status became part of people’s identities which further increases racism and racial prejudice.

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  1. Bell, G. C. (2017). Talking black and white: An intercultural exploration of twenty-first-century racism, prejudice, and perception. Rowman & Littlefield.
  2. Herbes-Sommers, C., Strain, T. H., & Smith, L. (2003). Race: The power of an illusion. California Newsreel.
  3. Infobase, (2017). Social Implications of Race. Retrieved from https://fod.infobase.com/OnDemandEmbed.aspx?token=49734&aid=18596&loid=158992&plt=FOD&w=400&h=340
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