When society seeks a biological basis for human desires and behaviors, it increases the danger of attributing a quality of determination to behavior patterns that otherwise may have been left for an individual’s choice. If a “gay gene” was discovered, it could have resulted in prenatal tests aimed to label the not-yet-born baby as gay and strict recommendations on raising them as one without the baby’s consent. The same thing goes, for example, for the concept of addiction. The search for the gene of alcoholism intends to find a biological solution to the disease that could be attributed to a number of factors, studied, and successfully treated without labeling a person as a born addict.
Naturalizing identity categories through the use of scientific methods help to increase the number of minority rights supporters. Those who agree that people are born gay and lesbians are less anti-gay than those who think that being gay is a choice (Walter, 2014). Finding genetic, biological, psychological, and sociological explanations for sexual orientation helps convince the general public that is not a perversion but a “normal deviance” that should be equally valued.
“Racialized and Colonized Bodies”
Documentation of racism prevalent in society increases public awareness of the existing racial problems. In a country where the attitudes towards race still remain controversial and are primarily regulated through legislation, the understanding of public discourse is essential to governing and promoting social and cultural changes. If the most sensitive issues are studied and recognized, they can be addressed both on the national and individual levels.
The racialization launched by colonialism is still noticeable in modern society, shaped by the racial classification created hundreds of years ago to provide privileges and benefits to the white population. It still affects common perceptions of both appearance and behavior of the members of racial minorities (DeMello, 2013). For example, people of color are still sometimes insulted by being compared to animals, which is a tendency that goes back to the ages of the African slave trade.
Being a member of a particular identity group shapes the way we think about this group and society in general. Most members of racial or sexual minorities experience hostility in their daily lives, which increases unity within their social group and a sense of identification. Understanding the challenges that minorities have to face helps to increase public awareness, accountability, and responsibility when identity issues are concerned.
DeMello, M. (2013). Body studies: An introduction. Routledge.
Walters, S. (2014). The tolerance trap: How god, genes, and good intentions are sabotaging gay equality. NYU Press.