Blogbook -- Chapter 1: The Conditions for the Concept of Race
Entry 5 (Wed, 03 Mar 2021) Since I’m discussing ELA and college writing or language classrooms, and race is in large part constructed by language or words, then we should be specific about the history and etymology of the word “race.” In fact, knowing about the history and development of the word “race” can provide insight into why it has the associations and power it does today. Western traditions have not always had the term “race” in their lexicon. In fact, the word wasn’t used in the way we use it today until around the later part of the seventeenth century CE. Furthermore, “race” appears to have entered Western European languages, such as Spanish, Italian, French, English, and Goidelic (or Gaelic) languages between about 1200 to 1500 CE. Statue of William Dunbar In his extensive study of the concept of race in Western history, Ivan Hannaford explains: “In most Western languages its [race’s] earliest meanings related to the swift course or current of a river or a trial by speed.