Inventing the Concept of Race: There’s Nothing Natural About Segregation

Many people believe that racial segregation is natural. People simply want to be around others who look like them. This line of reasoning assumes there is something coded in our DNA that compels us to marry, live, and work around people from the same ethnic backgrounds. If this were true, why did the interracial marriage rate drastically increase after laws forbidding it were abolished? If a natural inclination to racially segregate existed, why were anti-miscegenation laws necessary in the first place?

This Olio will trace the historical invention of the “race” concept as a step-by-step, intentional process designed to prevent interracial collaboration. We will look at important laws and images that tell the story of how and why “race” was invented. This class will also address what happened to ethnic groups that did not fit within the “black/white” dichotomy, the performance of whiteness, and how these processes continue to impact us today.

Teacher: Angie Beeman

Angie Beeman is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Baruch College. Her work focuses on the evolution of racism and how this process affects institutional practices, identities, and interracial organizing. In her past work, she developed the concept of emotional segregation, which she defined as an institutionalized empathetic barrier between European Americans and people of color.











When: Fri., Jul. 21, 2017 at 7:00 pm
Where: The Strand
828 Broadway
212-473-1452
Price: $20, includes complimentary beer and wine
Click here to buy tickets or for more information from the venue's website
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Many people believe that racial segregation is natural. People simply want to be around others who look like them. This line of reasoning assumes there is something coded in our DNA that compels us to marry, live, and work around people from the same ethnic backgrounds. If this were true, why did the interracial marriage rate drastically increase after laws forbidding it were abolished? If a natural inclination to racially segregate existed, why were anti-miscegenation laws necessary in the first place?

This Olio will trace the historical invention of the “race” concept as a step-by-step, intentional process designed to prevent interracial collaboration. We will look at important laws and images that tell the story of how and why “race” was invented. This class will also address what happened to ethnic groups that did not fit within the “black/white” dichotomy, the performance of whiteness, and how these processes continue to impact us today.

Teacher: Angie Beeman

Angie Beeman is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Baruch College. Her work focuses on the evolution of racism and how this process affects institutional practices, identities, and interracial organizing. In her past work, she developed the concept of emotional segregation, which she defined as an institutionalized empathetic barrier between European Americans and people of color.