as an ideological Construct
It has been argued
that race is an ideological construct.
Robert Miles (1982; 1993) argues that its use serves only to legitimise
it, giving comfort to those who would wish still to maintain that
there are indeed real biological differences
between groups of humans.
The race concept
that emerged in the race science
of the 19th and early 20th centuries linked physical variation with
personal, social, and cultural competencies. It was this that enabled
science to be enlisted as a justification for differential treatment.
Thus race was always more than just a way of thinking about and
describing human difference. It was a social relationship characterised
by unequal distribution of power and resources. Beliefs about race,
and the stereotyped
images of others which they entailed, were among the symbolic resources
which were mobilised by dominant groups in their efforts to protect
their positions of power.
Sociologically, then, race does not refer to categories of human beings
(whether biologically or socially constituted). Rather race is a social
relationship in which structural positions and social actions are ordered,
justified, and explained by reference to systems of symbols and beliefs
which emphasise the social and cultural relevance of biologically rooted
characteristics. In other words, the social relationship race presumes
the existence of racism.
The term 'racism'
is almost as contentious as race. It is a concept denoting attitudes,
beliefs, and ideologies and social actions and structures.
There has been an
increasing tendency in recent years to use the term to refer not
merely to the propagation of ideas about biological race but more
widely to apply to any expression of inter-group hostility or ethnocentrism.
Some have argued
that the old style biological racism has increasingly been replaced
by a ‘new racism'. Proponents of the idea that there is a
'new racism' draw attention to the increasing frequency with which
political arguments in favour of the exclusion of migrants, or the
segregation of members of different population groups, appeal to
notions of cultural incompatibility and to the allegedly mutually
disruptive and negative consequences of forcing such cultures to
mix. These ideas can be found in, for example, arguments about so-called
minority (or group) rights in South Africa and more recently the
debate about asylum seekers and refugees.
can be seen in the way peoples experience of health services was
different compared to the host communities in the UK. Take a
look at this clip of a person who came to the UK from …. And
his experience of racism in the NHS