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Humanities Essay: Race and Nation

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Humanities Essay: Race and Nation

Sean Stout
Sean Stout July 17, 2019
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In what way does racism affect or impact the production of sociological research and knowledge base?  There have been a number of answers to this question wherein people believe that science gives the liberty of neutralizing all and any kind of external influences upon the process of research, thereby ensuring the process is completely objective in nature, while also being devoid of adulterations pertaining to racial and social construction biases. However, the truth remains that race and power are never outside of the research process and they certainly affect almost every element of the way researchers conduct their research studies for myadmissionsessay reviews by influencing almost every aspect of the research ranging from designing the questionnaire for the study to the ultimate interpretation of the data collected therein.

The contemporary noting of race essentially emerged from within the Western European colonial project that commenced way back in the 15th century.  The principle ideology behind race is its inclusion of a credence pertaining to the innate disparity existing among various groups of human in order to validate and rationalize their plunder of those human groups that were below their social status including the lands these weaker sections of the society owned.

Race continues to be an ideology of the taxonomy of bodies that have been built upon structural inequality. The very philosophy of race is highly flexible, albeit the same has transformed dramatically over the course of time. For instance, the constant and long-ranging focus on biological changes between amidst the races has shifted to some extent to one that focuses on cultural differences being the primary premise for inequality, at least within the United States.

With this above brief description about race and its significance in the modern-day society, the current paper highlights the opinions presented by four different authors namely:

Arthur de Gobineau in his article titled ‘Essay on the Inequality of Human Races’

Harriet A. Jacobs in the article ‘Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl

Stephen Kaufman in the article ‘Kristallnacht,’ and lastly

Bartolomeo de Las Casas in the article ‘Hispaniola’

In each of the above articles, the authors have presented discussions about race and nationality from their own independent perspectives.

The essay on the Inequality of Human Races of Arthur de Gobineau was essentially intended to be more of a philosophical inquiry into disintegration and deterioration. However, over the course of time, the same work has transformed into one of the earliest examples concerning racism.Gobineau was basically a Legitimist who lost all hopes concerning France giving into antimonarchism and monopolization. This essay was actually a book that Gobineau penned post the 1848 revolution when he started reading the works of Xavier Bichat and Johann Blumenbach who were popular anthropologists of that time.

In this particular work, which is actually one of his most influential works till date, Gobineau goes on to contend the superiority of the whites over people of other racial groups and labeled the ‘Aryans – the people of German origins’ as the key representatives of the summit of evolution.

He further advances this theory by stating that the destiny of human civilizations is often decides by racial configuration and that the white, particularly the Aryan societies are known to succeed in this world till as long as they ensure their society is not polluted by the inclusion of people of other racial origins like for example the Blacks or the Hispanics and Asians.

He goes on to assert that the more is the dilution that happens in the racial composition of a civilization, the possibility of the society losing its vivacity and originality is also more as such dilution would lead the society to descend into corruption and depravity(Gobineau).Gobineau’sopinions and ideologies were admired mostly by people from the United States and also by those people living in German-speaking zones rather than within France, eventually becoming a key motivation for a wide range of racial theories.

Another work that speaks of race and its influence of the overall society in general is the work of Harriet A. Jacob titled ‘Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl.’  Published just before the advent of the American Civil War, this slave-narrative of Harriet Jacobs was the personal life experience of her encounter with slavery and her difficult escape from the same.

Harriet A. Jacobs is one of the most influential authors of American black literature who, post her arduous yet successful escape from slavery, went on to narrate her life in a spectacular feminist slave narrative wherein she presents the various facets of slavery in a remarkable manner, principally focusing upon the experiences of African-American slave women.

This work of Jacobs is actually heart-rendering tale that depicts the ordeals of African-American women who were subject to racial discrimination by the racist whites of the then society.  One particular point that Jacobs highlights is the horrifying sexual abuse that the African-American women have to endure by their racist white masters.  Jacobs asserts that intense racist attitudes were not just limited to the slave-owners of the South, but also among the opponents of slavery.

This work is a testimony presented by Jacobs in relation to the human grief and anguish experienced by slave women, under the captivity of slavery; sexual abuse of the slave masters (both the owner as well as his wife)(Jacobs); the yearning for freedom; the arduous pursuits of acquiring some decent education; the significance of family and the ordeals of upholding family bonds while leading the life of a slave, freedom from slavery; and the creation of an identity for oneself after getting freed from the shackles of slavery.

Kristallnacht, whose exact meaning is “the night of broken glass,” happened on the fateful night of November 9, 1938; which also precisely marks the onset of the Holocaust. On Kristallnacht, some thousands of homes, synagogues, and commercial trades of several Jews were brutally destroyed by the Nazis, and as a consequence of this massive violence, the streets in Germany and Europe (precisely the places that were occupied by the Nazis)were covered with a blanket of smashed glass from all those synagogues windows of Jewish shops and homes, which ultimately resulted in the phrase “the night of broken glass,” being coined.

In his work related to this miserable Kristallnacht, Stephen Kaufman presents the true story of two Jews of German origin, namely Gerda Just and Hans Kaufmann.  These two individuals were known to have met and married in England, shortly after World War II.  Both of them managed to flee Germany just before the commencement of World War II, leaving behind all of their belongings including their parents, ultimately to perish in camps of Auschwitz and Gurs.

Roughly about 30, 000 Jewish men were imprisoned and sent to the Nazi concentration camps. The Kristallnacht was essentially a result of an outrageous act of a Polish Jew who shot Ernst vomRath (1909-38), a German diplomat.  While the Jews were subject to repressive policies and mostly non-violent harassment, this outrageous act changed everything into intense hatred and violence almost instantaneously.

Similar was the account of Bartolomé de Las Casas, a Spanish Dominican priest, who penned a letter addressed to the Spanish Monarch directly, in a hope that the King would bring in new laws for preventing the Native American from being brutally exploited. During the sixteenth-century, slavery was a widely accepted practice across the Spanish dominion, despite the same being questioned quite often. The various laws of Spain during those days regarded all detainees of war as prospective slaves, with a few provisions being in place in this regard.

Las Casas’s literatures quickly became famous in and around Europe and were largely used as humanitarian defense for several other kingdoms within Europe in challenge the colonial empire of Spain using independent structures of subjugation and settlement.  Las Casas was known to have worked untiringly till his death in pursuit of preventing the enslavement of all the natives, who is known to have passionately repented his backing of African slavery.

To conclude, it is to be understood that racial differences are not something that are hereditary in nature.  Instead, they are learned. When various racial groups consolidate in a political movement in pursuit of founding a unique political structure, such groups could be defined as nations acting as representatives of nationalism and relevant beliefs. Race and ethnicity are closely associated with nationality, more so in cases that involve transcontinental migration or colonial extension.

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