While race and ethnicity are subjectivities that deeply shape our individual and collective experiences, it must be said that neither are as inherent or “natural” as is suggested by media, pseudoscience, or institutional exercises like government censuses. Instead, to historicize and contextualize race means to understand that it is a social construct, made meaningful and ubiquitous by corresponding knowledges, language, and behavior. These five sources from The Library deconstruct what we know about race, from its colonial and imperial origins to its application within visual culture, the fashion system, and industry.

White model wearing a Gucci baclava style turtleneck sweater resembling blackface

A screenshot showing Gucci’s black turtleneck sweater, 2019. The luxury brand pulled it from its online and physical stores. Gucci apologized following complaints the garment resembled “blackface.”