Week 6

This week’s idea that race is simply a social construct and not a biological fact is something that had not crossed my mind before but now seems so obvious that I feel silly for not thinking about it before. Race is defined differently among different societies, which I find often leads to the question of identity. “Who are we and where did we come from?” these are two questions that it seems to me everyone asks themselves. We all want to have a concrete answer because it would make things so much easier. Whether this is due an instinctive human need to feeling like we belong or as mentioned before, the human “drive to categorize” I cannot say. Probably a little bit of both. Whatever the reason, it is true that social constructs (such as race) has real effects that impact our societies.

While watching the video, I was surprised to find out the number of slaves brought to Latin America. Three million slaves brought just to Brazil alone! There were six times more slaves of African descent in America than white, European inhabitants. We can only imagine how brutal the system had to be in order to keep that many people down. This is quite evident when you find out that most of them died within three years of arriving, keeping  in mind that they had to be relatively fit and healthy before they started their voyage. There really is no way to make up for what millions of people had to live through but I think it is really important that we acknowledge what happened and educate people. This helps maximize our chances to avoid another institution like this one from taking place. Furthermore, I found it quite disheartening to learn that the process of emancipation was largely attributed to the liberals. By ignoring the way slaves fought for their freedom we are choosing to ignore the millions of lives lost during this struggle for freedom.

The last part of the video talked about Pelliza de Sagasta and her view of the feminist movement. She described women as “celestial conceptions” who should be everything but emancipated. I do not know much about her however, it is quite evident that she speaks from a privileged position. Of course women who were higher class and lived a comfortable life did not want things to change. Perhaps she never experienced the struggle so she saw this movement as an inconvenience rather than a necessity for the majority of women. However, this idea is not surprising and can still be seen by throughout societies today.

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