on Statistics in Race: “The House We Live In”

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            The issue of racial prejudice traces its very unjustly intertwined roots back to the earliest years of societies and cultures in the world, even before the turn of the century, even before anyone had a concrete idea of racial definition and the implications attached to them. The racial struggle, specifically in United States of America’s enduring history, has kept generations of minorities short of any kind of social and economic opportunity in any and every other form and shape.

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Essay on Statistics in Race: “The House We Live In”

In the glorious and rich history of all humankind, specifically with the United States of America, the times passed and cultures have been rather blessed with many continuing diversities among people, coming from places far and wide that manifest an interconnected series of events. For the purpose of differentiating the members of the society, countless definitions of commonly identifiable biological and physiological features resulted in general classifications and groupings established through social circulation. In the clashing wide continuum, varying beliefs and priorities that were pushed to transcend the simple into the unthinkable and the definitions within, between, and among these beliefs and priorities have been set to fit one’s sense of personal right and wrong—with particular insight on one’s convenience. In sharing of sentiments by a dominant group, a basis for unity in one commonly held point of view could be furthered now as rule more than opinion, when especially the dominant group have found it imperative to maintain meanings within these differentiations into a status quo and established way of life for them and everybody else—which have been justified and defended with reference to the most bogus lines of reasoning that do not constitute justice, liberty, and equality. In “PBS-Race; The Power of An Illusion-The House We Live In,” there are outrageously no sense statements and depressingly claimed, held factual pieces that bring the question of the human spirit and what good it left in man, if any. These are the very ingredients that make up the horribly gloomy cycle of racism rooted in culture within cultures, which provides a sense of realness and truth that such is ever-present.

At the dawn of the twentieth century, the United States of America was flooded by immigrants from all over the world with the sheer aspiration to improve their chances for a better way of living. It is important to note that “of the twenty-three million new comers between 1880 and 1920, the vast majority were from Eastern and Southern Europe” (PBS, 2003a, n.p.). The influx of immigrants then presented an issue of foreign invasion, directly-focused on racial orientation, on a country that has always been a “highly racialized society,” with American History being involved in slavery and the subjugation of the Native American Indian (PBS, 2003a, n.p.). With this figure identified, a debating concern from social scientists and lawmakers was raised pertaining to co-existence with the foreigners, putting into consideration the already then present minorities during that time as well (which were identified to be the Negros, Mexicans, and Chinese). However, what surfaced to be more of a distress than a concern was that foreign race influx was seen as a direct and imminent threat to the majority group (Whites) in terms of them reaping the full promise of being born citizens of the United States of America. During the global economic experience of difficulty which resulted in wars and depressions, the twenty three million statistic stood as more than a number; it stood as one of the many historical and statistical figures which initially solidified a sustaining succession of pre-emptive actions that kept the majority group up to their toes on how to preserve their actual dominating presence in the American society. In many ways, it was a doorway to other statistics, statements, and measures which implied a chain of racial abuse among changing times, from past, present, and even maybe unto the future.

The rather underlying implication as to being more than a statistic also gave way to ridiculous statements with no real evidence and justification which, regardless of whether they were true or not, were perceived more as a mere outlet of expressions and observations on negative race commenting and criticizing. As it was seen when all the world’s road races found America then, many would attach associations via possibly stereotyping one person and assigning such to the whole group to which that person belonged: “Italians, Slavs, and Jews were often desired as laborers, but also feared and were seen as promiscuous, lazy, stupid”  (PBS, 2003, n.p, Part 1/6). In addition, in articulating his views upon the influx of races in 1911, renowned biologist Charles Davenport hinted a decline and concluding deterioration in the general quality of life and society caused by the eventual pulling down of an inferior race by the superior race. With this, science was used as a differential tool to ostensibly show evidence of lowliness among the minorities with an impression of a concrete racial order that proposes that their genetic and biological fate had already sealed their entire fate, regardless of skill, character, talent, etc.—which would often lead to not only discrimination, but worse, death. As science was introduced in the picture of racial differentiation, the real characterization of who-was-White-and-who-was-not-White stood in shaky ground, for the evolutionary and genetic definitions themselves gave valid loop-holes which the Whites themselves denied. To illustrate this point, historian James Horton cited varying statistics, referencing to one’s ancestry, which was a clear abuse, for as he put it, the concept of race had become a changeable and even interchangeable “social construction” (PBS, 2003b, n.p.).

Times have passed even more and the definitions of White never really changed, only to those who were not White—even when regardless of skin color, men and women have sacrificed their lives for the country and their nation’s principle. When World War II ended, the American minorities, specifically the African-Americans who had served their country justly well, were expecting equal opportunities for all, regardless of skin pigmentation, but as social and racial tradition would hold, any form of opportunity was exclusive to the Whites. With this, another statistical reference was worth noting is the concept block-busting, and White-to-Black neighborhood turn-over was expressed through personal experience by a Roosevelt resident, Bunny Frisby: “on the street I moved on when I moved, there was predominantly White, within two years, it was predominantly Black”  (PBS, 2003c, n.p). This use of statistical reference presented the apparent direct relationship between value within of a citizen’s economics and the non-White racial orientation associated with that person which was simply put—if one person wished to invest in land, realty, and or property regardless of financial capacity, the potential of growth in personal financial equity would not in any way be feasible. This experience would echo throughout different neighborhoods across states, which would be the prerequisite of further economic inferiorities that would enslave generations of the minorities. As socio-economic status was dictated by the color for their skin, not to be White meant that job availability may be prospectively promising but would just not fully be as promising as it should be. Jobs which impede growth and success hindered financial stability which carried for those who would decide to foster and support families of their own. Skin color exponentially evolved in seemingly lower than substandard implication and grew in negative association, but the status-quo remained fairly the same—it sealed one’s faith, regardless of acquirable and learned skill, craft, knowledge, etc. In addition, a sense of white community bandwagon had occurred among those who were not truly discriminating by nature and belief, just with fact that would the White-to-Black neighbor turn-over would threaten the personal financial equity, in terms of property, to those Whites who choose to live in a Non-White neighborhood communities. With all this, key discrepancy and effects between racial economic treatment by society’s long standing terms would be well more identified, grasped with comparative net worth; as sociologist Dalton Conley points out, “Today, the average Black family has only one-eight the net worth or assets of the White family” (PBS, 2003c, n.p.).

The ever attaching of assumptions with regard to skin color only upsets the balance within human relationships which then extends to other forms of understandings that are diluted in rather deconstructive criticism. The vicious cycle is fuelled by a series of this unsolicited and unwanted assumptions, held together by a disposition built on high pride and kept to be the norm by easily citing natural historical and evolutionary facts and claims, to name a few, which are used out of context, with no compassion and no dignity to sustain harmony. As a result, regardless of what statistic may be used towards the betterment of relations among races, no matter where in the United States of America, or even outside, progress and equality can never be met.


PBS (Producer). (2008a, December 10) Race: The Power of an Illusion – Part 03 of 03 – The

House We Live In 1/6 [Documentary]. Retrieved March 7, 2009 from


PBS (Producer). (2008b, December 10) Race: The Power of an Illusion – Part 03 of 03 – The

House We Live In 2/6 [Documentary]. Retrieved March 7, 2009 from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bu3iQ96ly3o&playnext_from=PL&feature=PlayList&p=2B40952C43B4BEEF&index=13.

PBS (Producer). (2008c, December 10) Race: The Power of an Illusion – Part 03 of 03 – The

House We Live In 5/6 [Documentary]. Retrieved March 7, 2009 from



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