Race is not biological; it is a political construction. Over the last centuries, many different events and institutions have created ideas and categories about race that people in the U.S. currently hold today. This tree symbolizes the growth of the political construction of race in American history. The roots are some of the key political events and policies that created our modern ideas of racial difference. Each part of the trunk represents fundamental turning points throughout history including, court cases, and legislation that solidified and institutionalized these ideas. The leaves represent the current manifestations of this long history, the present-day institutions that recreate race today. Please click through the links in the image below to see exactly what sociologists mean when they say race is a political construct.

After looking through the tree, check out our toolkit to learn more.