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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Soundbites: Feb. 15

‘Race’ a limiting social construct

I don’t know about you, but since I was young, I’ve always felt awkward filling out those little empty boxes indicating my identity. To minimize confusion, my teacher used to tell us in grade school, “”Just mark Hispanic, it’s easiest.”” Then, when it came to applying for college, and money was involved with what box you decided to check, the complication got worse. And to top it all off, I learned in various classes how race is a social construct designed to categorize people to save time and money.

The money part is where it gets to me. I’m Mexican and a good chunk of Filipina and of course I’ve got some indigenous background (I am from North America, after all), but I never check Native American or Asian, even though I’m all of the above. It’s based on my cultural awareness. I asked my co-worker really quickly what he puts down on paper and in just the time he took to consider the context first he told me that I’m not the only one who’s confused about when to fill out what on paper.

Call me “”too analytical,”” but this new America of mixed-races is stirring up issues with the still existent achievement gap in education, from kindergarten to where we are now as college students. According to the New York Times, “”students of non-Hispanic mixed parentage who choose more than one race will be placed in a “”two or more races”” category, a catchall that detractors describe as inadequately detailed.”” Inadequate is the perfect word for the possibility of a certain “”race”” losing funding for educational resources. But hey, it’s not my fault the term “”race”” was created for economic purposes in America.

Even reading an article on this new movement toward balancing accountability among all social groups is confusing to understand. It was never meant to be an easy subject because race continues to be directly tied to economics. But what isn’t tied to economics and something we, as students, have to come to terms with is this shifting ideology of what “”American”” really is. We have to balance our own identities with a new incoming population of individuals who don’t fit in a check-marked box.

— Elisa Meza is a junior studying English.

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