Race is a social—not a biological—construct. There is no gene or cluster of genes common to all blacks or all whites. Nevertheless, the concept of race has been used to create statuses and stratification. Throughout history, perceptions of race have changed over time to justify who should have privilege and who should not. Like race, racial identity can also be fluid. But the social, political, and economic implications of race remain rigidly entrenched.
As a biracial woman, Dr. Tammy Hodo has experienced two different Americas: one for whites and one for blacks. As a Ph.D. social scientist who studies the impacts the variables of race, class, ethnicity, and sex have on life chances, she has incredible insight into how to start the difficult dialogue about the irrelevance of enduring racial constructs. We need to work toward a world that doesn’t put labels on people due to variables outside of their control.