The Nobel and Pulitzer Prize-winning author broke it down.
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The audience was dead silent when she said there is no such thing as race.
I bet there were confused as hell.
'Cause they and we all know racism is real, and how can racism be real without race?
I think when we oversimplify 'race as a social construct' - only - then we confuse the hell out of people.
===Disambiguation and the answer to why all this talk about race
Ice, water, and steam are all forms of water. Race also needs to be understood in different ways and through different lenses.
The lens of society
Society racializes us. A race label is applied to us regardless of our true ethnic heritage.
The lens of sociology
Race is the label that the census and school applications require of us to self identify in order to track discrimination, a requirement since the 1964 civil rights. Race (phenotype) is based on our outward appearance, whereas race (haplotype) takes into account our whole physical identity – inside and out.
The lens of medical science
Most anthropologists describe race (phenotype) as a social construct, often used to discriminate and segregate. Whereas most medical scientists, who are curing diseases, will describe race (haplotype) as real. Medical institutions collect data on self identified race (phenotype). As dangerous as the slippery slope of race-base medicine is, there has been success in finding bone marrow donors through race based donation drives for groups who find it challenging to find a bone marrow match for example.
The lens of hate
Humans are tribal by nature. Wired into us is a fear of the new that we do not understand and therefor a fear of the other. The word for this is xenophobia. Having unchecked fear and living in a society that normalizes the doctrine of white supremacy leads to the normalization of racism.
PS - I read The Bluest Eye. It's good.