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Who's White Now? An Examination of The Social Construction of Race
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Social Construction

How to Cite

Myers, Quintin. 2017. “Who’s White Now? An Examination of The Social Construction of Race”. TRAILS: Teaching Resources and Innovations Library for Sociology, July. Washington DC: American Sociological Association.


The purpose of this activity is to help students in survey (Introduction to Sociology, Social Problems) or Race and Ethnicity courses understand that racial classifications are socially and legally constructed. This activity begins by outlining how students perceive race initially and then demonstrates how understandings of race in the United States have...


Subject Area(s):
Racial and Ethnic Relations
Resource Type(s):
Class Activity
Class Level(s):
Any Level
Class Size(s):

Usage Notes

This activity begins with an informal journal where students define their everyday understanding of race. Students will then provide examples of their definitions. My experience suggests that most definitions will be based on biology. Once students have defined race in their own terms, the instructor should provide the specific definition of race as a...

Learning Goals and Assessments

Learning Goal(s):

  1. Students define race through their everyday understanding.
  2. Students demonstrate how race has been defined legally.
  3. Students break down the definitions of White and non-White using the reasonings of the court.

Goal Assessment(s):

  1. Students will journal their definitions of race and share these definitions with the class.
  2. Students will sort individual photographs into categories defined by the census and legal cases.
  3. Students will journal responses discussing whether their definitions of race have changed and teased apart the reasoning of the Supreme Court in their decisions.

When using resources from TRAILS, please include a clear and legible citation.

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