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According to Omi and Winant (1994), racial formation is a process which entails determination of the racial categories’ content and importance and how this shapes racial meaning based on economic, social and political forces. They argue that a racial formation approach to race should be adopted in order to expose racial stereotypes and myths in the popular imagination. They argue that these myths and stereotypes are responsible for maintenance of the current U.S social order. Therefore, Omi and Winant (1994) advocate for adoption of racial reformation approach to help in understanding that race is dynamic and is often transformed by political ideologies of the day. They further argue that this will help in addressing social stratification, prejudice, super-exploitation, discrimination, cultural resistance and cultural domination. Omi and Winant (1994), moreover, point out that racial reformation will enable many Americans to realize that each identity, social practice and institution has some degree of racial dimension.

According to Omi and Winant (1994), ‘racial rule can be understood as a slow and uneven historical process which has moved from dictatorship to democracy, from domination to hegemony’. This statement implies that racial rule has evolved slowly and its meaning has changed haphazardly. This excerpt is significant for their argument as a whole. According to Omi and Winant (1994), the evolution racial rule has been influenced by economic, political and social forces. Since these forces did not occur evenly in all parts of US, it implies racial rule has evolved unevenly. Moreover, political landscape has been evolving slowly since colonization of US. Racial labeling started when white settlers came to America. Racial identity was specifically shaped by slavery. Omi and Winant (1994) argue that racial identity was first based on English and free in mid 17th century. Thus racial rule was based on whether a person was an indentured servitude or free. This was followed by the term ‘white’ which emerged around the year 1680 which was meant to identify the white settlers.It is during this period that the term ‘black’ evolved. It was used to denote the color of Africans who were imported to US to work as slaves. Omi and Winant (1994) note that the term ‘black’ (to denote skin color) emerged during this period of racial slavery. The term ‘white’ was challenged by the influx of different groups of people (southern Europeans) into US in 19th century (Omi& Winant, 1994). At this time racial categorization was sparsely based on nativism especially in institutions. The abolishment of racial slavery in mid 19th century also influenced the transformation of the racial rule in America. It is at this time that the terms working class and non-working class emerged (Omi& Winant, 1994). This was influenced by ideological and political struggles. It is worthy noting that color lines were also used to racially identify individuals during this period. After, independence in late 19th century Exclusion Law was passed in 1882 by Congress to bar some racial groups from voting. In the 1970s, the racial rule of domination emerged to replace democracy racial rule and majority of blacks in the U.S were seen as underclass. This was mainly influenced by economic imbalances. At the same time cultural norms also influenced the labeling of individuals into different racial groups. In addition, competition from countries such as Japan was resented at this time and hence hegemony racial rule emerged when US started to strive to dominate other countries. Thus, the above mentioned excerpt summarizes historical development of racial categorization and evolution as discussed by Omi and Winant.

Code: Sample20

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