In regards to the classification of race, certain people

In regards to the classification of race, certain people have the notion that it is an inherent part of life, naturally a part of the world. It is, in fact, a construct, created by those in power, seeking to remain in power.  In the journal, The Predicament of Blackness, anthropologist Jemima Pierre is determined to analyze these negative constructs, specifically in correlation to the African and black diaspora internationally. Working in Ghana, Pierre accounts her experiences in terms of how race is exhibited through various customs partaken in the country. From this, her examination concludes that race is a fluid process that is historically situated. Race is a process that transmutes within economic, political, and social interconnections throughout the world.In Jemima Pierre’s The Predicament of Blackness, she examines the structures of economics, politics, and racial constructs within Africa, specifically pertaining to the nation of Ghana. Pierre approaches race as “a process that is always historically situated, and of racial categories and meanings as fluid, unstable, decentred and constantly transformed by changing historical, social and political relationships” (4). She argues that races fall into a racialization process that shifts within cultural meanings. Race is historically situated by those in power of a society, who place the distinctions toward a classification of people. Engendering this identity upon specific groups of people, a seemingly organizational construct develops, promoting limitational rights and social segregation. This also allows for institutions to place restrictions on authorizations by those of different, seemingly inferior classifications.Pierre acknowledges the notions of race being historically situated and by this, expresses it to be a fluid formulation. In exploring Africa and Ghana, in particular, she notes the history of the colonial rule upon the nation. Colonialism advances racism by creating a system of segregation and labeling particular groups as inferior. In the case of Ghana, the native people were the ones being seen as inferior and throughout even after decolonization, are still viewed as lesser. A more advanced form of colonization in Africa and other predominantly black countries has presently occurred known as globalization. Pierre notes that even in an achievement of independence, “deradicalization – which would necessitate the full replacement of foreign businesses and industries, as well as their primarily European staff and economic advisors, with local enterprise and staffing – could not be fully pursued” (40). Regardless of liberation, unfortunate nations would still endure racism as it is adaptable in diverging times and places within history, exhibiting fluidity.Within her analysis, Pierre continually stresses the point of rethinking communities and identities. In the context of Ghana, Pierre “explores the multiple settings and relationships in which individuals, social groups, and the state actively participate in constructing, transforming, and challenging the various competing and overlapping racial projects” (7). The purpose of doing this is to challenge the nature of racialization in Ghana. By classifying particular people throughout the colonial period of Africa, the powerful groups have the advantage in segregating even further than just race. Its additional dimension is of separating communities and ethnic differentiation within African societies. These examples display race being a process historically situated as a construct with the study attempting to investigate racial projects within Ghana that seem to have separate procedures in order to achieve a somewhat mutual goal.Understanding the historical situation of race, Pierre wants to address this facet because of the complications arising from these racial projects as well. A project such as Pan-Africanism attempts to instill unity amongst its people in order to achieve economic, political, and social progress within Africa. Pierre notes “the relationship between Africans and diaspora Blacks, particularly as it concerns the history of Pan-Africanism and the role of heritage tourism as one of Ghana’s strategies for economic development” (150). She does so to explain how underdeveloped countries such as Ghana, attempt to achieve independence or sovereignty through economic tactics such as inviting tourists of the black diaspora. Diasporic blacks, or blackness in regards to its own community, is a racial divide, one built upon historical constructs. Pierre wants her audience to comprehend the extent of which race as a process is historically situated and the advancement to how it only further separates people who then try to accustom to it and utilize it in their own means of adaptation.Pierre emphasizes the way in which the racial aspect of slavery is understood in Ghana and how it impacts as an overall negative to the understanding of race. Pierre states that “it is because racialization processes continue to undergird Ghanaian national and political identity and activity and because certain scholars are, however unwittingly, aware of this fact – that one might worry that a discussion of race and slavery could unsettle local politics” (162). Instead of having conversations for the understanding of slavery, some Ghanaians would respond hostile to the topic of it. Pierre believes that due to people avoiding the conversation, it would only create assumptions and provide accounts of the country’s own experiences of slavery instead of learning the complete truth to it. This is noted when she experiences seeing a reenactment of slavery or perhaps what Ghanaians assume occurred of it. As Pierre mentions, the history of slavery in Ghana is complex but it is beneficial for all cultures whose history was impacted by it to learn the truth and to separate it from the assumption that it belongs only to diasporic blacks.In terms of how race is understood, Pierre ultimately attempts to write against what she views as three aspects;First, there is a shift in the treatment of race in which the analytical lens narrows and moves away from a focus on the interconnected realities of global White supremacy; second, there is a shift in the treatment of Africa in which “culture” – against “structure” – becomes the primary lens through which the continent is apprehended; and, third, there is a clear bifurcation between the scholarship and research on continental Africa and on the African diaspora (197).Pierre stresses that even in the context of race, whiteness is never truly focused upon as in the end, it is still blackness that gets examined typically to a negative context. Understanding whiteness, or white supremacy even further, its generalization is to stray attention away from itself in order to clandestinely and continually rise in superiority. Pierre further mentions that a trope arises in the view of Africa in which culture is generalized and placed on the whole continent. This may lead to a connection on which Pierre like many other black anthropologists, criticize the nature in which anthropology studies Africa. She takes issue with anthropology generalizing and exoticizing Africa and the many different communities within. Pierre writes in her attempts to abandon these false concepts in better understanding the historical situation of race and what can better be done to improve these ideas.Faye V. Harrison, an anthropologist similar to Pierre, conveys that race is made within particular global configurations of power. In a chapter titled, “Unraveling “Race” for the Twenty-First Century”, Harrison studies inequality within societies based on the establishment of racial classifications. More specifically, she endeavors to uncover the foundation of which it is engendered and processed from the history to the present. The development of race spurs from the context of white supremacy, “while in the overall global scheme of things, whiteness in its cross-cultural varieties has certainly come to be a principal locus of domination, it is important to note that there are also other racisms – subordinate racisms – which, nonetheless, ultimately feed into the structural power of whiteness” (Harrison 150). Mentioning subordinate racisms, she points out the notion of a racialized community – “the Other.” Created by Western ideals and whiteness, “Otherness” is a term utilized to refer to a lower-ranking group, uncivilized in its culture. Harrison draws the interpretation that through several different cultures, several different racisms also exist, engendering inferiority.Harrison notes the racial divide throughout the world, having connections to many aspects of culture, economy, and power. Virtually producing a hierarchy, those in power utilize xenophobia of immigrants entering upon their already established region of the West to create a divide. With new cultures and practices entering almost every day, a threat to the nation in itself is made, based off of the fear in the acculturating migrants. Harrison reports that “since geopolitical power and wealth are now being re-concentrated in the North rather than the South (from which most racialized immigrants come), the modern reality of global apartheid belies any notion of separate but comparable cultures” (155). The world in its state today contradicts the progress in diversity due to racial segregation still occurring but on a much more covert and intricate level. Understanding this, Harrison and many other anthropologists against racism, strive for fluid cross-cultural societies. To do so, anthropology must deeply investigate the current negative structure of power to appropriately fix its historically situated process. Michel-Rolph Trouillot, like Harrison and Pierre, was an anthropologist who expressed that race was not natural or inevitable, but something that was made within particular global configurations of power. In his book, Global Transformations, Trouillot argued the facet in which anthropology is conducted, playing a part in promoting a racial divide. Adding further to Harrison’s point of subordinate racisms such as “the Other,” Trouillot examined this in great detail, referring to these subordinate cultures as the “savage slot.” Critiquing the West greatly, Trouillot stated, The symbolic process through which the West created itself thus involved the universal legitimacy of power – and order became, in that process, the answer to the question of legitimacy. To put it otherwise, the West is inconceivable without a metanarrative. Since their common emergence in the sixteenth century, world capitalism, the modern state, and colonization posed – and continue to pose – the issue of the philosophical base of order to the West (22).The West, in relation to the “savage slot,” is the underlying power that distinguishes the two categories. Placing the label of “savage slot” on underdeveloped societies, the West through its industrial advantage, is able to be raised higher within its own established hierarchy. Trouillot explained that through historicizing its history, the West has the advantage in undermining “the Others” as inferior, establishing power behind itself in the essence of dominating other cultures. Trouillot further analyzed the notion of power and its representation as the key in how cultural society and history would process. In an attempt to remake anthropology into a more earnest field, he examined how the powerful rose and shaped the worldview of many. Through such investigations, Trouillot believed, Power became the key mediator of the new relation between past and present. Since power launched on a global scale was what tied world populations, power became the theoretical axis connecting anthropology and history, the central concept – sometimes illicit, often explicit – in accounting for the many ways in which the past helped shape the present (120).Trouillot understood that it is the group who has power, is able to marginalize and stabilize the acceptance of particular norms and processes within society. In the case of his argument, the notion of “savage slot” and “the Other,” power is against these specific groups, creating disgrace against them. Trouillot through his analysis understood that power engenders race as it is not an innate concept.Restating Pierre’s idea, she defines race as “a process that is always historically situated, and of racial categories and meanings as fluid, unstable, decentred and constantly transformed by changing historical, social and political relationships” (4). This ultimately ties into inequality, power, and social justice in the world. Comprehending that power is the ultimate producer in what is normative, race falls into the creation of it. From that, it creates a historically situated process in which classifications of people are treated unequally, typically by those who identify higher in the power structure of that current order. With individuals receiving unfair treatment, social justice has an issue of restoring the appropriate opportunities to who they belong. With race being constantly transformed from societies, inequality, power, and social justice are ever present in enduring the historically situated process.Inequality, power, and social justice is a way of thinking about race similarly to how systemic racism in the world today exists. Through the utilization of where power resides, it has the advantage of promoting inequality and hindering social justice, permitting unfairness for particular individuals. In specificity, it applies to systemic racism, restricting minorities from privileges allowed to those in favor of the power system already in place. In context to the West, white supremacy continues to dominate, as minority people of the black diaspora, as well as immigrants, are targeted against unfairly. What can be done to challenge this is continuing the fight by spreading the message of social justice, not only in the West but throughout the world. Educating others fairly and justly would allow for equal placement for potential future opportunities to not benefit the individuals, but the collective overall. Once the collective has a similar notion to combat unjust systemic racism, then they may be able to overthrow it and establish a system of equality to successfully continue the progress of acculturation.Race is a process that transmutes within economic, political, and social interconnections throughout the world. Pierre’s analysis expresses criticism toward racial identities placed upon specific groups of people to create a seemingly organizational construct that promotes limitational rights and social segregation. Although understanding her definition of race as a historically situated process, nations will still endure racism as it is adaptable in diverging times and places within history, exhibiting its fluidity. Pierre heavily emphasizes race as a process that is historically situated and the advancement to further separate people. She, however, attempts to investigate particular racial projects, specifically in Ghana, that want to achieve a mutual goal of a liberation from racism. From her collected studies, Pierre notes the complexity of how race separates cultures such as those in Ghana from diasporic blacks regardless of both experiencing racisms. Pierre takes issue with anthropology generalizing and exoticizing Africa and proposes better ways to improve upon these false presumptions.Other anthropologists such as Harrison, concur with Pierre, adding that within several different cultures, racisms also exist to engender inferiority. From her work, one is able to comprehend that the world contradicts the progress in diversity due to racial segregation occurring on a covert and intricate level. Anthropologist Trouillot further deepened this concept by examining the construct of the West and its undermining of “the Others” to establish power.  From his analysis, Trouillot understood that power engenders the concept of race through racism. With race being constantly transformed from societies, inequality, power, and social justice are ever present in enduring the historically situated process. It is through challenging it as a collective, however, individuals could rid a racist system to progress varying acculturations.

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