Doing Race Through the Culture Cycle (RaceWorks Series, Video 11)

Doing Race Through the Culture Cycle (RaceWorks Series, Video 11)


[MUSIC] How do people “do race” in society? The “culture cycle” is a tool that helps us map this out. Race operates across different levels of society: the individual level the interactional level the institutional level and the ideological level. These levels can be represented in a useful tool called the “culture cycle.” Let’s take a look at each level to see how it contributes to how we “do race.” When people think about race, they often start at the “individual” level people’s thoughts feelings beliefs biases, and stereotypes about race and racial difference. But where do these beliefs and biases come from? First, people learn about race and racial difference through their “interactions” with other people like family friends teachers and police officers and with products in society like social media TV film and advertisements. People and products communicate and transmit ideas about race and racial difference. Next, social “institutions” formalize or institutionalize ideas about race and racial difference through current and past laws policies, rules, and norms. Some powerful institutions of the past like slavery and segregation continue to influence how race functions today. Finally, “ideas” or ideologies about race and racial difference are part of our culture and are shaped by our history. These are cultural stories people tell about why some racial groups are supposedly superior or inferior to others. And these ideas are built into our world through “institutions” and “interactions” which, in turn, shape how “individuals” think, feel, and act. “Individuals” then either reinforce or resist what’s in the world around them feeding back into the cycle. These four levels continually interact and dynamically influence one another. The culture cycle can be used to map how we “do race” and help us see where we can work to start to “undo racism.” So this useful tool the culture cycle shows us how race operates across different levels of society and how those levels interact with one another. [MUSIC] [MUSIC]

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