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Race and Racism. What is race? We all know that people look different. Anyone can tell a Czech from a Chinese. But are these differences racial? What.

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Presentation on theme: "Race and Racism. What is race? We all know that people look different. Anyone can tell a Czech from a Chinese. But are these differences racial? What."— Presentation transcript:

1 Race and Racism

2 What is race? We all know that people look different. Anyone can tell a Czech from a Chinese. But are these differences racial? What does race mean?

3  distinct divisions of the human species into groups based on physical characteristics such as - skin color, - eye and nose shape, - hair texture, etc. Traditional view


5 Which Race? English French Jews Gypsies Norwegians Saudi Arabians Ukranians Koreans Nigerians Ethiopians Algerians Native Americans Inuit Italians Australian aborigines Egyptians South Africans Chinese The Baka New Guineans

6 What race is this man?

7 ddPaternal Grandparents 1 White 1 Native American 2 Black ddMaternal Grandparents 2 Chinese 2 Thai Father Mother

8 What assumptions lie behind the designation of Tiger Woods as an “African American”? The “drop of blood” theory Southern segregation laws: 1/64 black = black The obsession to classify people by race in the US: These are social, not biological ideas

9  very few genes determine racial appearance  Hair form types and skin colours shade into each other; there is no line in nature between a white and a black race, or Asian race  Simplistic racial categories based merely upon a few traits hardly constitute a scientific approach to human biological variability.  while there is plenty of genetic variation in humans, most of the variation is individual variation.  While between-population variation exists, it is minimal

10  There are no races in the biological sense of distinct divisions of the human species  The physical traits chosen to define race are basically arbitrary and could be thinks such as red hair, or ear or nose shape  terms like Black, White, Asian, and Latino are social groups, not genetically distinct branches of humankind.  "Race is a real cultural, political and economic concept in society

11 Race is…  Categories defined and assigned significance by the society  an ever changing complex of meanings shaped by sociopolitical conflict  not a fixed, concrete, natural attribute  the institutionalisation of physical appearance  socially or culturally and historically constructed  shaped by those in power.  meaningful  social meaning which has been legally constructed  racial differences exist and are perpetuated because they have cultural significance

12 S.Washburn, anthropologist …the number of races will depend on the purpose of classification. I think we should require people who propose a classification of races to state in the first place why they wish to divide the human species.

13 The Anthropology View Although people obviously differ from each other physically, we are not able to attribute differences in culture to differences in physique (or “mentality”). In our study of culture, therefore, we may regard human race as of uniform quality, i.e., as a constant, and, hence, we eliminate it from our study.— Leslie White ( )

14 Social Meaning of Race Affects Life chances Where you live How you are treated Access to wealth, power and prestige Access to education, housing, and other valued resources Life expectancy

15 Health Disparity

16 The U.S. Census Bureau has been gathering data by race since 1790 because the Constitution specified that a slave counted as three-fifths of a white person, and because Indians were not taxed. More recently, the way in which information regarding race is collected has been hotly debated. –Some social scientists and interested citizens have been working to add a “multiracial” category to the census. –This “multiracial” category has been opposed by the NAACP and the National Council of La Raza because both groups feel that the communities they represent will lose access to funding, resources, and jobs if their numbers as counted by the census go down.

17 The choice of “some other race” has more than doubled from 1980 and –This represents an imprecision in and dissatisfaction with the existing categories. –Also, the number of interracial marriages and children is increasing.

18 “As long as Americans routinely sort each other into racial categories and act on the basis of those attributions, research on the role of race and race relations in the United States falls squarely within [a] scientific agenda...As the United States becomes more diverse, the need for public agencies to continue to collect data on racial categories will become even more important. The continuation of the collection and scholarly analysis of data serves both science and the public interest.” --American Sociological Assoc. Some people argue that since race has no biological existence, the U.S. government should cease collecting data about race the American Sociological Association asks “Would ‘Race” Disappear if the United States Officially Stopped Measuring It?”

19 Statistics Canada Collects information on 1.Visible minorities persons who are identified according to the Employment Equity Act as being non-Caucasian in race or non-white in colour Aboriginal persons are not considered to be members of visible minority groups 2.Ethnicity includes aspects such as race, origin or ancestry, identity, language and religion, culture, the arts, customs and beliefs and even practices such as dress and food preparation. It is also dynamic and in a constant state of flux. It will change as a result of new immigration flows, blending and intermarriage, and new identities may be formed.

20  There are three fundamental ways of measuring ethnicity: origin or ancestry, race and identity.  Race refers to the genetically imparted physiognomical features of a person  The change in format to an open-ended question in 1996 likely affected response patterns, especially for groups who had been included as mark-in response categories in  In addition, the presence of examples such as "Canadian", which were not included in previous censuses, may also affect response patterns.

21 Ethnicity  Each of us has an ethnicity - frequently confused with race  Shared cultural characteristics of a group  Includes: national origin, language, traditions, customs, religious beliefs/practices, etc. as well as racial category  The American Anthropological Association has recommended that the Census Bureau eliminate the term "race" and replace it with "ethnic origins," noting that many Americans confuse race, ethnicity and ancestry.

22  The ancient Greeks, for example, saw themselves as first among civilized nations around the Mediterranean  But the Greeks did not link physical appearance and cultural attainment.  They granted civilized status to the Nile Valley Nubians who were among the darkest skinned people they knew  They did not grant it to European barbarians to the north who were lighter skinned than they were  People were divided on the basis of religion, class or language or status  Race did not exist until the European expansion and exploration beginning around 1500 A Brief History of race

23 The distribution of human skin color before A.D. 1400

24 Slavery  Before the 1400s slavery was widespread in state societies  but its victims were either recruited internally or from neighbouring groups and were largely physically indistinguishable from slave-holders. i.e. slavery was not based on race Romans slaves pouring wine  Slavery was a status that might be held by anyone.  Slave descendants could acculturate into the dominant population and did not become permanently demarcated by race. Egyptian slaves

25  Europeans did not encounter them on equal terms  superior technology, especially military technology, meant Europeans were significantly more powerful After 1500  European exploration brought them increasingly into contact with other human societies

26 As a result, exploration quickly turned to conquest and gave rise to an Ethnocentric feeling of European superiority.

27 After 1500 a racial order built on the ethnocentrism of the various European colonial powers. A Women of Color with her African Slave. 1804

28  This characterisation was important because of the way in which the colours black and white were emotionally loaded concepts in European languages especially English  The contrasts denoted polar opposites  white represented good, purity and virginity  black symbolized death, evil and debasement  Africans, native Americans, and colonised Asians were devalued, intermarriage was prohibited and persons of mixed ancestry were denied same entitlements as those of solely European ancestry  evident in all European colonial societies by the late 1600s  What struck explorers most forcefully were differences in physical appearance particularly skin colour  An early distinction emerged between those who had black skin as opposed to those who had white skin.

29 Races as families or inbred lines 16 th & 17 th C: race used interchangeably with type, variety, people, nation, generation & species By the latter half of the 18 th C race is strongly equated with “breeding stock” –Farmers and herders understand animal breeds as highly inbred lineages with heritable characteristics –Emphasizes innateness of characteristics –Value judgments were and are critical to choosing the reproducing members of a line of stock, because one breeds for some specific, valued quality

30 The Scientific basis of race  The concept of race emerged in modern form between the end of the 18th century and the middle of the 19th.  Its emergence is, in part, an aspect of the general growth of scientific enquiry and explanation  In the 1700s as Western science developed it began thinking about, and explaining natural and social phenomena and to place the world’s peoples into natural schemes  a drive was underway to map and explain a similar order in the natural and social worlds.

31 Formal Human Classification Linneaus Systemae Naturae, 1758 Europeaeus –White; muscular; hair – long, flowing; eyes blue Americanus –Reddish; erect; hair – black, straight, thick; wide nostrils Asiaticus –Sallow (yellow); hair black; eyes dark Africanus –Black; hair – black, frizzled; skin silky; nose flat; lips tumid

32 Race and Social Stratification Linneaus (1758) Systemae Naturae Europeaeus (white) –Acute, inventive, gentle, governed by laws Americanus (red) –Obstinate, merry, free, regulated by custom Asiaticus (yellow) –Haughty, avaricious, severe, ruled by opinions Africanus (black) –Crafty, indolent, negligent, governed by caprice or the will of their masters

33 culminated in 1795 when Johann Friedrich Blumenbach first used the word ”race” to classify humans into five divisions  Caucasian,  Malayan  Ethiopian,  American  Mongolian, Johann Friedrich Blumenbach ( ) Blumenbach also coined the term "Caucasian" because he believed that the Caucasus region of Asia Minor produced "the most beautiful race of men".

34  He collected hundreds of human skulls of known race and measured them by filling the skulls with lead pellets and then pouring the pellets into a glass measuring cup.  His tables assign the highest brain capacity to Europeans (with the English highest of all). Second rank goes to Chinese, third to Southeast Asians and Polynesians, fourth to American Indians, and last place to Africans and Australian aborigines. Samuel G. Morton ( )  1830s and 1840s Philadelphia doctor and polygenist Samuel Morton set out to prove that whites were naturally superior and that brain size bore a direct relation to intelligence  His work helped establish the scientific basis for physical anthropology but also the idea that race is inherently biological

35  In 1977 Stephen Jay Gould (In the Mismeasure of Man 1981), reanalysed the data  discovered that Morton’s racist bias had prevented identification of what clearly were fully overlapping measurements among the racial skull samples he used.  Gould in his desire to prove Morton wrong demonstrated the opposite bias and discovered that the skulls of black people were actually larger.  He then did a blind test and discovered the overlapping measurements

36  Boas in the 1890s broke the link of anthropology with race by showing that language, race and culture were separate things and needed to be studied separately.  Showed that mappings of Northwest Coast Native American biological traits, cultural similarities and linguistic affinities yielded different results. Breaking the link between race and anthropology

37 The Concept of race under attack  The revelation of the Holocaust, and the enlistment of science in its perpetuation, caused a wave of international revulsion.  In the 1960s the idea of race itself became the target  The anti-racists attacked the notion that the human species was divisible into five or any other small number of races.  the result was the gradual disappearance of the concept of race from natural science  In the 1960s a anthropology affirmed that race does not exist

38 Homo sapiens celebrating their diversity (from the American Anthropological Association Newsletter). Racism Vending-machine in Jackson, Tennessee

39 What is Racism?  a doctrine or belief in racial superiority, including the idea that race determines intelligence, cultural characteristics and moral attributes  Racism thus makes an association between physical psychological and moral attributes  and these are used to justify discrimination and prejudice.

40  The belief that differences between human beings are inherited such that people can be ordered into separate races where each race shares traits and tendencies not shared by members of any other race. Each race has an 'essence'.  Race was essentialized i.e. it came to be seen as real, natural, and unquestionable  All forms of racism build from the premise of racialism. Notice that racialism is not saying anything 'good' or 'bad' about races just that mutually exclusive races absolutely exist and divide the species. Racialism  Over the centuries, dominant groups have used racial ideology to justify, explain, and preserve their privileged social positions.  Racism is the socially-organized result of race ranking

41 Martin Luther King: ‘I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they are not judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character’ “I have a Dream”

42  The notion of ascribing moral, social or political significance to a person’s genetic lineage  Which means, in practice, that a person is to be judged, not by their own character and actions, but by the character and actions of a collective of ancestors.  Even if it were proved that the incidence of a men of potentially superior brain power is greater among the members of certain races than among the members of others, it would tell us nothing about any given individual and it would be irrelevant to one’s judgement of him.  Should a Hitler be raised to superior status because his German race has produced Goethe, Brahms, Wagner, etc. Racism

43  Racism claims that the content of a person’s mind (not their cognitive apparatus, but its content) is inherited;  that a persons conviction, values and character are determined before they are born, by physical factors beyond their control.  Race is employed in order to classify and systematically exclude members of given groups from full participation in the social system controlled by the dominant group  A genius is a genius, regardless of the number of morons who belong to the same race - and a moron is a moron, regardless of the number of geniuses who share his racial origin.

44 Levi Strauss sums up racism doctrine in 4 points 1. There is a correlation between genetic heritage on the one hand and intellectual aptitudes and moral inclinations on the other 2. All members of human groups share this heritage, on which these aptitudes and inclinations depend 3. These groups, called races, can be evaluated as a function of the quality of their genetic heritage 4. These differences authorise the so-called superior races to command and exploit the others

45 the physical features of race are unimportant in themselves They enter into social life only when people think they are important and act as if they are. What do people think and feel about the physical differences of race. How does race fit into our common sense views People construct racial categories which they then impose on their own and other groups They use physical appearance to mark out the social boundaries between groups They draw a false conclusion that the moral and intellectual achievements of groups are the result of their physical features. to claim that someone has expressed a racist opinion is to denounce them as immoral and unworthy. Racism is a term of political abuse related to power relations

46 On April 20th, 1999 two gun-toting students at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., killing 12 students and a teacher What if they had been black?

47  In examining inequalities anthropologists are not concerned with inequalities of ability, aptitude or talent among individuals  But concerned with inequalities that are inherent part of collective existence  and that arise from the evaluation of qualities and performances and the organization of persons into more or less stable arrangements.  These studies aim at investigating not only the existing patterns of inequality but also the mechanisms of their reproduction over time.  A major change between the past and the present has been the shift of attention from the origin to the reproduction of inequality.

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