As you venture onto the job hunt, prepare to get forced into categories you might not belong in.
I don’t consider myself a biological anthropologist. I’m a sociocultural type. Yet, I still know a thing or two about race issues. The biology of race, or lack thereof, got beaten into me during anthro school. I’ve worked for UF’s Institute of Black Culture, and its Institute of Hispanic-Latino Cultures. I’ve even written about race issues for The Huffington Post, on American Anthropological Association’s behalf.
What has all that taught me? Well, if you traveled the entire world on foot, you’d probably notice populations’ skin tones changing and blending almost seamlessly. This seamlessness pretty much renders exclusive racial categories like "black" and "white" useless to biologists. Indeed, races often come from cultural imagination, not biological fact. As such, racial categories awkwardly flux between cultures. For example, although today’s Americans label Italians "white," they thought otherwise only a couple generations ago. Of course, Italian biology hasn’t really changed since then. Only American culture changed.
As I’ve ventured onto the job hunt, however, something struck me. Although race isn’t biological fact, it still thrusts itself into America’s legislation, job market, and economy. Nearly every job application demands my race, in the name of fulfilling federal requirements. Worse yet, I’m forced to answer via multiple choice. As a Mediterranean-American, I don’t really identify with any of the given racial choices. The above illustration describes three other problematic examples.
How do you feel about race on job applications? How well do you fit into the given racial categories? Can you think of other examples that don’t fit into the given racial categories? Of course, any other thoughts are welcome, too. I put a lot of thought into these posts, and I sure do love it when people leave comments. Even short, stupid ones. So be awesome, and click here to say something. No registration nor email required. Yay, free speech!