Week 9

This is a good discussion to have. “White logic” and “white methods” are still very much prevalent in practice today and no matter how “color blind” we would like to be, these ideals are still heavily engrained in how we operate. Bonilla-Silve and Zuberi bring up an important point that addressing these topics help show researchers just how much this can limit the way people think about race. I really liked Bonilla-Silva and Zuberi’s thoughtful approach to the subject and their use of vignettes show just how personal these issues run. I did a little research on them and for these two men to dedicate their life’s work to race shows just how important the topic really is.

I think it is completely impossible to have a conversation about decolonization without acknowledging race or the social constructs of it. I think even the “least racist”, “most color blind” people are still subject to “white logic” and “white methods” because logic and methods are a predominantly white construct.

I am really interested to hear their opinions on the social constructs of race. I always thought race was biological while culture was the social construct. They argue that if race were rigid and unchangeable, it would put a restriction on our capability to understand it. I am not sure yet that the notion of race has changed over time and therefore, we need to change as well. Last year, a woman named Rachel Dolezal made the news as a racially Caucasian woman trying to “pass” as black. She had the social construct argument and in her soul, she felt black. However, when a black school wouldn’t accept her, she sued them for discriminating against her for being white. I do not know where I stand with this fluidity. On one side, I would never want to be against race as a social construct if it were to oppress anyone but this example makes be stop and think.

This social construct argument may be one of the reasons people have a hard time wrapping their heads about the white logic/methods. The fact that race can be self-imposed is, in my head, a fairly new notion. In their work, Bonilla-Silva and Zuberi also pointed out that they are two men of color discussing whiteness. This is a very delicate subject to approach… but what if there were two white men discussing blackness? People would be outraged. I understand the argument that it is almost impossible to compare the two as white people have not suffered anywhere near the extent as anyone of colored has (in life, therefore extending to effects of colonization) but I would be remiss to not bring it up.

In their writing, I think Denzin and Lincoln, tread a little more lightly. A type of reverse racism comes to mind when I read their article. They may see themselves already at a disadvantage of being able to discuss methodologies as non-native researchers aware of the colonizing effects. I do think both sides have a “political and moral” argument and everyone should have a place at the dinner table. I don’t think one way or another should have any more “weight” but fair does not always mean equal and in think case, maybe more consideration should be taken into indigenous research than Western research.

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2 thoughts on “Week 9

  1. Hi Lauren!

    I agree with you on the difficulty of “wrapping my head around race as a social construct”. I understand what they’re saying but I think it’s very difficult to ignore the biological construct of race. When you see someone who looks like you, there’s a sense of comfort in knowing that we’re alike (to some extent). But is that a result of biological makeup? Or is that comfort a result of the social construct humans made?

    To me, I think I side more with the idea that race is a social construct. I like the phrase, “there’s only one race; the human race”. I think this phrase demonstrates that as humans, we created a divide between people based on skin. Hopefully one day we will all be able to work together to achieve a healthier and happier world.

    Mahalo!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hey, Lauren!

    Kudos to you for doing some extra research on these authors 😉 …I totally resonate with everything you brought up so far in this post! Social construct is a really interesting take on matters of race. I feel as well that there are mixed feelings in this week’s readings and discussions for the same reasons you brought up too.

    I forgot to mention that point but I agree that if the tables were turned and two White researchers were discussing Indigenous research or research on Black people, there would no doubt be a hideous outrage among the community and social media would light on fire with something like that. However, I think that if we keep making White man pass over and not let them do indigenous research then how will they learn to be less biased or how will they learn how to create research studies that are culturally sensitive?

    Even coming down to semantics…why does it all come down to “race”? Like you, I also envisioned race to be biologically driven and ethnicity to be culture (one of the articles we read for 660 defines race and ethnicity as such!), but I think we are finding out that paradigms are everything in this field. What we are exposed to or choose to read in the literature shapes everything about how we should feel about and utilize social work practice…this class is changing my paradigm for sure on this new world of “indigenous” research…but you’re right…everyone is equally as hungry about explaining human behavior and everyone should be allowed and able to sit at the same table to “eat.”

    Thanks for the insight!
    -Sharla

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