Chapter 9 race


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  • Humans, regardless of their race, are 99.9% genetically identical. However, race is still used to classify people, and sometimes race is a basis for differential treatment of individuals or groups of people. Sociologists, then, have come to understand race as a social category, based on real or perceived biological differences between groups of people. Race is more meaningful to us on a social level than it is on a biological level. To be white in America, for example, went from being a somewhat inclusive category in the late eighteenth century to being much more narrowly defined in the mid- to late nineteenth century and then shifted back to a broader definition in the mid-twentieth century. All these changes were in response to social realities. In ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome, the idea of race did not exist as we know it today. People recognized broad physical differences between groups of people, but they did not discriminate based on those differences. As Europeans came into contact with different peoples and cultures during the Age of Exploration, racism was used to justify the conquest and colonization of foreign lands.
  • In the nineteenth century a number of scientists and thinkers researched and attempted to “explain” racial differences. However, what they were really doing was “explaining” white superiority.
  • Racial categories change over time. Look at the census: the categories of races change very frequently. In fact, 2000 was the first year in which respondents were allowed to select “one or more race” in the racial category. Prior to 2000, respondents were forced to select only one race, even if they would describe themselves as bi- or multiracial. Racial categories never have firm boundaries. For example, there is no set regulation for determining racial identity. A person may have ancestry from mixed descent, but may not identify with that descent. Or a person who was born in the United States, and whose parents and grandparents were also born in the United States, might classify him- or herself as Cuban because a great-grandparent was from Cuba. Racial categories are flexible. A recent example of racialization is the anti-Muslim backlash in America since 9/11. Being Muslim is linked in the minds of Americans to being Arab, so anyone who “looks Arab” (for men it’s often linked to skin color and facial hair and perhaps clothing and for women it’s often linked to the use of a head scarf) is thought to be Muslim and therefore anti-American.
  • Figure 9.5 Race Questions from the 2010 U.S. Census
  • The Amish, for instance, are a distinct ethnic group in American society, linked by a common heritage that includes language, religion, and history; the Amish people, with few exceptions, are also white. The Jewish people, on the other hand (contrary to what the Nazis and other white supremacists may believe) are an ethnic group but not a race. Ethnicity and race are sometimes related, but they are not inextricably linked.
  • Pluralism not only permits racial and ethnic variation within one society, it actually encourages people to embrace diversity – to exchange the traditional melting pot image for a “salad bowl.” At the core of multiculturalism is tolerance of racial and ethnic differences.
  • It is important to distinguish between prejudice and discrimination. Prejudice is an internal evaluation and discrimination is an action. While it makes sense to see these things as happening chronologically or in order, it is important to know that that ’s not always the case. Some people may be prejudiced yet not discriminate against individuals. Others may discriminate yet not be prejudiced (for instance, a manager doesn’t hire Chinese people because other people in the office don’t like Chinese people, although the manager doesn’t actually dislike Chinese people at all).
  • Chapter 9 race

    1. 1. © 2011 W. W. Norton Co., Inc. Race and Ethnicity1
    2. 2. Discussion • Describe the first time you can remember that you realized you are a particular race or ethnicity? • Describe a time when your race or ethnicity giving you an advantage? A disadvantage? • Describe a time when you observed race or ethnicity giving another© 2011 W. W. Norton Co., Inc. person an advantage? A disadvantage?
    3. 3. Race • Biological definition – a group or population that shares common genetic characteristics physical features • Sociological definition – socially constructed category of people who share certain inherited physical biological© 2011 W. W. Norton Co., Inc. traits – race is both a myth and a reality
    4. 4. Ethnicity • Populations of people who share cultural heritage, language, religion, national origin, a common history. • Not the same as race© 2011 W. W. Norton Co., Inc.
    5. 5. Ethnocentrism • Belief that one’s own groups values and behaviors are right and even better than other groups. • Fuels racism© 2011 W. W. Norton Co., Inc.
    6. 6. Racism • The belief that certain racial and ethnic groups are inferior to others and that discrimination against them is justified.© 2011 W. W. Norton Co., Inc.
    7. 7. The Myth of Race • Race is a social construct that changes over time and across different contexts.© 2011 W. W. Norton Co., Inc. 7
    8. 8. The Concept of Race • Many historical efforts to explain race were biased due to ethnocentrism (the judgment of other groups by one’s own standards and values).© 2011 W. W. Norton Co., Inc. 8
    9. 9. The Concept of Race • Social Darwinism, another nineteenth-century theory, was the notion that some groups or races evolved more than others and were better fit to survive and even rule other races.© 2011 W. W. Norton Co., Inc. 9
    10. 10. Charts like this one helped phrenologists interpret the shapes f human skulls. How did nineteenth-century theorists use You May Ask Yourself, 2nd Editionhis sort of pseudoscience to justify racism? Copyright © 2011 W.W. Norton & Company
    11. 11. The Concept of Race • Today DNA testing is used to determine people’s racial makeup, and while this process may be more accurate on some level than nineteenth-century racial measures, it still supports the© 2011 W. W. Norton Co., Inc. notion of fixed, biological racial differences. 11
    12. 12. Racial Realities • Racialization is the formation of a new racial identity in which new ideological boundaries of difference are drawn around a formerly unnoticed group of people.© 2011 W. W. Norton Co., Inc. 12
    13. 13. You May Ask Yourself, 2nd EditionFigure 9.5 Race Questions from the 2010 U.S. Census Copyright © 2011 W.W. Norton & Company
    14. 14. Race versus Ethnicity • Race is imposed (usually based on physical differences), hierarchical, exclusive, and unequal. • Ethnicity is voluntary, self- defined, nonhierarchical, fluid, cultural, and not so closely linked with power differences. • An ethnic identity becomes© 2011 W. W. Norton Co., Inc. racialized when it is subsumed under a forced label, racial marker, or “otherness.” 14
    15. 15. What sociological inferences can be made from these statistics? Interracial marriage in the USA reached an all-time high in 2010: 8.4% of all marriages, compared with 3.2% in 1980, finds a Pew Research Center study, released today, that analyzes unions between spouses of different races or ethnic groups.© 2011 W. W. Norton Co., Inc. 15
    16. 16. Minority––Majority Group Relations • Pluralism, in the context of race and ethnicity, refers to the presence and engaged coexistence of numerous distinct groups in one society, with no one group© 2011 W. W. Norton Co., Inc. being in the majority. 16
    17. 17. Prejudice, Discrimination, and the New Racism • Prejudice refers to negative thoughts and feelings about an ethnic or racial group. • Discrimination refers to harmful or negative acts against people deemed inferior on the basis of their© 2011 W. W. Norton Co., Inc. racial category. 17
    18. 18. Discrimination • Families are outraged after 65 kids were banned from a private suburban swim club in Philadelphia. They believe the campers were kicked out because of their race.© 2011 W. W. Norton Co., Inc. • The swim club president said the children would change the "complexion" of their club.
    19. 19. Institutional descrimination© 2011 W. W. Norton Co., Inc. 19
    20. 20. Institutional Discrimination • Discrimination is built into the operations of an institutions. – Exclusion-African American baseball players – Segregation • Stacking-positional segregation© 2011 W. W. Norton Co., Inc. • Key Functionaries-those who hold key decision-making positions
    21. 21. Key Functionaries in Sports (2001) • None in NHL • 6% in the NFL (all AA) • 23% MLB (four AA and three Latinos) • 31% of head coaches in NBA minorities (all AA)© 2011 W. W. Norton Co., Inc. • Division 1 Colleges: 2.4% Athletic Directors are of color, 9% female • Best representation: WNBA (45% people
    22. 22. Intersectionality • Examines how gender, race, social class interact to produce various forms of privilege and oppression. • “The view that women experience oppression in© 2011 W. W. Norton Co., Inc. varying configurations and in varying degrees of intensity" (Ritzer, 2007, pg. 204 ).
    23. 23. Media representations of male/female athletes© 2011 W. W. Norton Co., Inc.
    24. 24. © 2011 W. W. Norton Co., Inc. racism Normalization of
    25. 25. Summary • Racial and ethic status serve as a basis for inequality and influences the experiences we have. • Race is socially constructed, but has real consequences. • Racism and ethnocentrism occur on individual and institutional bases.© 2011 W. W. Norton Co., Inc. • Racism and ethnocentrism occur so often they become normalized.