We’ve always had readings on race and ethnicity in Emerging and some of our favorites will be returning for the third edition, including Steve Olson’s “The End of Race: Hawaii and the Mixing of Peoples,” Jennifer Pozner’s “Ghetto Bitches, China Dolls, and Cha Cha Divas,” and Wesley Yang’s “Paper Tigers.” But for this addition we are adding in Maureen O’Connor’s “Race, Ethnicity, Surgery.”
O’Connor explores the world of “ethnic plastic surgery,” a range of niche procedures available to non-Caucasians usually to give them more Caucasian features. What’s great about this essay is that it considers the intersections of race, ethnicity, medicine, beauty, vanity, and aesthetics. One of O’Connor’s central questions is whether these practices serve to further blur racial borders or instead act to enshrine white standards of beauty. I love that it’s an essay that gets at race and ethnicity from a different angle, through the notion of beauty. I am hoping that might provide a broader avenue for students to enter into this conversation.
O’Connor is another one of those essays that can be sequenced a few different ways. It will work really well in any series of assignments about race and ethnicity but also works in sequences on beauty or considerations of ethics and medicine. I like that versatility and I hope you will too.
Want to offer feedback, comments, and suggestions on this post? Join the Macmillan Community to get involved (it’s free, quick, and easy)!