Representations and Misrepresentation of Race in American Culture Essay
The existence of the human race has been an issue that has raised concern in the whole world. The human race is faced by various challenges, which hinders their long-term existence and their generic propagation. Modern changes in technology have been one of the main issues of concern especially with the innovation of gene mutation that is meant only to propagate the superior gene. The race is a biological trait. However, ethnicity is a cultural attribute. Race is mostly described by the color of the skin, while additional bodily variances in appearance are perceptible amongst two persons of unlike race. This paper looks at the representations and the misrepresentation of culture in America, as discussed by Steve Olson in his book “Mapping human history.”
Ideally, the occurrence of mutations in genetics mostly of the mitochondria is claimed to be the reason behind the migration of the different races between the different continents especially the mixed population. Hawaii state has always been marked by controversy in that even the scientists are not able to tell the original inhabitants of this beautiful island state. A prime reason is that most of the current inhabitants of this state are not true offspring of the first people who live on this island commonly known as the Polynesians. However, there is an existing correlation in the biological and ethnic heredity of the people especially because most people only identify themselves with the racial background. The main cause for the misrepresentation of the aboriginals of Hawaii is the intermarriage between the natives and the visitors to the island (Olson, 260).
The government of the United States splits its population into four major categories based on their racial background. The major categories are the American Indian, the Alaskan natives, the Blacks or the African American, the Asian and the pacific islanders, and the Caucasians or the whites. However, this grouping lives out a large proportion of people who cannot identify themselves in the four major categories. They are described as others in the American grouping system. The basic differentiating factor of the racial background of these people is their physical attributes. They include the color of their skins, the shape and the size of their yeas, the size and the shape of their skulls, and the types of their hairs. These dominant factors are most notable among the blacks, the whites, Asians and the Indians (Olson, 259). However, there is an element of misrepresentation in that it is not possible to tell how different their genetic makeup is in the four groupings. Olson notes, “The rapid growth of interracial marriages in the united states and elsewhere marks a new face in the genetic history of humanity. Since the appearance of modern humans in Africa more than 100,000 years ago, human groups have differentiated in appearance as they have expanded across the globe and have undergone under some measures of reproductive isolation” (Olson, 259). He also asserts, “This differentiation has been limited by the recentness of our common ancestry and the powerful tendency of groups to mix over the same time” (Olson, 259).
The native inhabitants of Hawaii have highly been misrepresented in various statistics. Statistics show that the natives of Hawaii live in the lower end of the social and economic life. In addition, they have the lowest incomes and the highest unemployment rate in America among any ethnic group. Moreover, the native inhabitants of Hawaii have the highest rates of health problems and have the lowest life expectancy ratio. Besides, they are least likely to go to colleges, and almost certainly to be imprisoned. However, it is the utmost misleading to generalize this kind of statistics in a large group of people such as the native Hawaiians. These amounts to misrepresentation since a large portion of Hawaiians, comprising of a fifth of the entire native population are now educated and very successful. In addition, they are not marginalized in their native land as Native Americans are in their native land due to the increasing population of their black, Asians, and Indian counterparts (Olson, 259).
While determining the race that an individual belongs to, a person ought to consider some factors. Some of these factors are ethnicity affiliations, which is a choice that a person makes to affiliate with another, or an ethnic group. Other considerations ought to be given great concern, for instance, the social associations and adoption of children (Olson, 259). Moreover, the government ought to consider the various attributes that are associated with these groups. Mostly, these groups are brought together by political, or cultural, historical distinctions. This differentiates them from what the issue of race should be, based on biological aspects. Therefore, the governments’ basis of dividing the population in America into four major racial groupings is misrepresenting and needs to be revised so that it can accommodate all the people in the country (Olson, 261).
Olson, Steven. Mapping human history: discovering the past through our genes. New York; Houghton Mifflin, 2009. Print.