Material Type:
Community College / Lower Division
Ohio Open Ed Collaborative
  • Oss0212
  • Sociology
    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial
    Media Formats:

    Recognize and describe race as a social construction


    OER Text Material 

    Sociology: Understanding and Changing the Social World, Section: 10.2
    This section does a great job critiquing the biological conceptualization of race and discusses why race is socially constructed. Ethnicity is also defined and ethnic identity is briefly discussed. Examples such as former president Barack Obama and Tiger Woods are used to illustrate the challenge of placing people into racial categories. These examples are currently relevant, but may need updated in several years.

    Supplementary Material (Videos and Reading)

    1. YouTube: The Myth of Race Debunked in 3 Minutes – 

     A great three minute video that explores race as a myth.  The video describes the historical start of racial categories and changes in racial categories over time with specific examples.  

    1. Trevor Noah on Apartheid and the Social Construction of Race – Sociological Cinema
      This source provides a link to a 13 minute stand-up routine by Trevor Noah. It is a great way to illustrate the social construction of race. Instructors should use prudence when deciding if this clip is appropriate for a class. Given Trevor Noah’s affiliation with the Daily Show and the current social and political climate, the clip might be polarizing.
    2. What is Race? – PBS
      This source includes the historical context of race, great examples of social construction, problems with a biological viewpoint, and an interactive game.
    3. Let’s Talk about Race
      Excellent ted talk that uses thumbs to illustrate the social construction of race.