Forum looks at race, gender in 2008 election


The play of race, class and gender roles in the 2008 election was the subject of a discussion Oct. 28 about the dynamics of various factors that might possibly influence the way people will vote in this year’s election.

The sociology and anthropology department, the UNF Women’s Center, the Intercultural Center for PEACE and the American Democracy Project sponsored the discussion as the first of a series of discussion forums called Deconstructing Race in the 21st Century.

The discussion was opened by Dr. Jeffri Anne Wilder, UNF assistant professor of sociology and anthropology.

“We will either see the first black man as a president or the first woman in the vice presidency,” Wilder said. “For many, this situation reflects color-blind society, in which racism is an issue of the past. But is this really the case?”

The importance of understanding how realistic it is to distinguish people on the basis of their skin color was emphasized by Dr. Ronald Kephart, UNF associate professor of sociology and anthropology.

Race is learned through our environment and is not biological, he said.

“[People rely on common sense when asking,] ‘Isn’t it obvious [we are different]?’” Kephart said. “But 1,000 years ago, common sense was that the Earth is flat.”