What role does social race play and how important is it in the competition for scarce resources like jobs?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The term “social race” is typically used by social scientists to refer to a grouping that is truly socially constructed even though people think that it has a biological basis.  The idea of social race in the competition for scarce resources is important because people identify themselves on the basis of the social race to which they belong. 

In the United States, people often think of whites, African Americans, Hispanics, and Asians as members of different races.  These are social races because they are not rooted in biology.  Even so, many Americans identify themselves with one or the other of these races. 

When we identify ourselves as members of these races, we then tend to favor the people of our own race.  When we engage in the competition for scarce resources like jobs, we often support government policies that will help members of our race.  If we are in the position to hire or promote people, we will often choose those who are of our race.  This is why, for example, we might tend to oppose immigration because we do not want more resources to be used to help people of another race.

Thus, social race can be an important factor in how we divide up our scarce resources.

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