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Essentialism - Essay Example

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Essentialism can be defined as a set of characteristic belonging to a human being or an animal, these characteristics are the one that identifies it as belonging to a particular group or it functions. Essentialism divides people into classes such as those of race, gender, class,…
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Download file to see previous pages Proponents of essentialism argue that the essence of a group does not change and in situations where people believe they change, they just had not discovered those essences. For instance, in the modern day situation regarding homosexuals, the belief that homosexuals were initially heterosexuals who changed would be quashed by essentialists who argue that homosexuals had been homosexuals since they born only that their ‘homosexualness’ had not been discovered. In Newman’s book, ‘manufacturing identities’ essentialism in race is very evident especially in the censuses that were conducted in the country. for instance during censuses that were conducted before 1900, people were classified according to races depending on type of blood they had; the five categories were blacks (colored), mulatto (people with some black blood), Chinese, Indian and whites. Another example that Newman has brought forward is that the society considers men to be more aggressive and less nurturing just because they are men while women are soft and adapted by nature to nurturing just because they are women.
In the modern case scenario, the situation has not been different with essentialism being evident in our daily lives. For instance, the race that an individual belongs to has been used to determine the characteristics that belong to member of that group, this is widely the reason behind cases of racial profiling in the world. For instance in the in America, violence was associated with blacks therefore if any black man was violent it was believed that the reason for him being violent is the ‘blackness’ in him. Essentialism based on gender has also been rampant in military and other employment opportunities for instance engineering where it is believed that a man will make a good engineer or a military man simply because he is a man. Essentialism based on class is also common especially in economic ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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