A local lecturer is tackling race in a two part course.
Kodiak College English professor Jared Griffin led the first class on Tuesday and traced ethnicity all the way back to the roots of the human race.
“I begin 500,000 years ago with Lucy in Africa and you’ve gotta talk about migration patterns and then how groups of homo sapiens isolated themselves and developed different characteristics.”
Griffin says his academic focus has been race in America, and the second lecture will focus on race as a social construct in the United States.
“The concept of being white has been in flux. The whole white-black categorization dichotomy was invented about 300, 200 years ago, so it was easy for white people to say that there’s an ethnic person, there’s an “other person.”
He points to the period in American history when many immigrants fell into the category of “the other.”
“Spanish, eastern Europeans, Jewish people also weren’t always part of the white category. Even Irish weren’t part of the white category until probably after WWI.”
Griffin will cover some of the shifting standards of race in the second lecture next week. That’ll be 7 p.m. Tuesday at Kodiak College.