chapter  12
20 Pages

Sociological and Theological Musings about Race as a Dehumanizing Human Experience

WithJohn H. Stanfield

Sociologist Gay Seidman marveled several years ago about why it was that American sociologists interested in doing comparative sociological studies of the United States and South Africa examined comparative issues such as forced labor and capitalism without, strangely enough, an examination of race. Race is a dehumanizing experience premised on the belief that there is a one to one, a perfect correlation between real or imagined phenotypical characteristics and a population's social and cultural characteristics and behavior such as moral fiber, propensity to do good things or to commit crimes, intellectual abilities, athletic abilities, aesthetic tastes, and leadership abilities. Culture and its transformation through intergenerations of ancestors and descendents through language, traditions or what we call ethnicity or tribe or a religious peoplehood depending upon the societal context is often confused with race. The disjuncture between archaic ideas about the place of women in the Church is grossly out of step with the increasing mobility of women in labor markets.