In “Racial Formations,” Michael Omi and Howard Winant argue that race is constructed by society. In Society, race is used a classification system. Danzy Senna, author of Caucasia, describes a store about two biracial sisters who learn to adjust to society’s expectations that are portrayed in physical appearances, media, and assumptions based on race; their lives are greatly affected by society’s views on racial classifications, racial etiquette and racial ideology.
Many people are classified by their race or skin color. In Caucasia, Birdie and Cole take a trip with their mother, Sandy, to city hall to find a school for both of them to attend. The three meet with a government worker; and with only one glance, she immediately places Birdie and Cole in two different schools based on their skin color. Birdie was selected for a predominantly black school and Cole to a predominantly Irish school “in the interest of dahvesetty” (Senna 37). The actions that the woman took to separate Birdie and Cole irritated Sandy, pushing her to threaten the woman slightly by saying “No, I don’t think you understand. They’re sisters. They stick together. You got a problem with that” (Senna 38)? Senna implies that the government worker assumes that Birdie and Cole aren’t sisters due to their different skin colors and classifies Birdie as white and Cole as black, and she places both in schools that are predominantly the opposite race of each other so that diversity may be achieved.
Classification also occurs in Birdie’s flashback to when Cole was jumped by a pack of Irish girls. They first approached Cole and Birdie smiling but then shoved Cole into a rack of clothes and sticks a piece of chewed bubble gum into her hair. Immediately, the pack of Irish girls ran off yelling: “‘go back to the jungle, darkie. Go wash your ass. Go, you little culahd biscuit”’ (Senna 40). The Irish girls see that black skinned people are inferior to them, so they see that it’s okay to act...