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Race and Racism What is race? Ultimately it’s a hazy term which has shifted and changed over the years; almost scientifically obsolete now Race = term.

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Presentation on theme: "Race and Racism What is race? Ultimately it’s a hazy term which has shifted and changed over the years; almost scientifically obsolete now Race = term."— Presentation transcript:

1 Race and Racism What is race? Ultimately it’s a hazy term which has shifted and changed over the years; almost scientifically obsolete now Race = term used in physical anthropology (the study of human physical characteristics) to denote a division of humankind possessing traits that are transmitted by descent and are sufficient to characterize it as a distinct human type Old examples include caucasians, mongols, negroes etc.; these classifications were intended to say, “Hey, this is a different type of human being altogether!”

2 Race and Racism The only way though that race is really thought of today in scientific terms is in reference to the idea of a “human race” i.e. another way of saying homo sapiens sapiens Genetically speaking, the human species is extremely similar across populations with different physical traits; there is a tremendous amount of gene flow or genetic mixing amongst human beings because we migrate rapidly and often and also because we are very young as a species Bottom line, scientifically/genetically/DNA speaking THERE IS NOT A WHOLE LOT TO TELL US APART FROM ONE ANOTHER!

3 Race and Racism Racism = “awareness of the biologically determined superiority of one’s own race or ethnic group with respect to others” The point of racism is to say, “Hey, biologically/genetically speaking we are so different that one of us has to be superior to the other.” Based on modern science though racism is based on an illusion; in reality, at the level of genetics we are NOT very different at all; there is no scientific backing to the idea that different races exist therefore racial superiority/inferiority isn’t a scientific possibility

4 Race and Racism Basic key point is that the response to racism is not the following: “Look, there are obviously different races, some superior to the others BUT we need to be nice to one another so we should just ignore those inequalities…” No! the Catholic response to racism is this: “Racism is not an option because the idea of race is not based on reality or scientific facts. Racism is wrong primarily because it is based on an illusion. The only real race is the human race” Again, if we want to talk about real genetic/biological difference amongst humans, it’s between males and females rather than whites, blacks, asians, latinos, etc.

5 Institutional Racism Racism infecting every aspect of society is known as institutional racism; personal opinion turned into public policy

6 Institutional Racism The level of hatred and outright racial confrontation varies across instances of institutional racism Example of HIGH level of hatred is South Africa’s apartheid system; ruling whites intentionally organized every aspect of South African civil society to oppress native black South Africans and essentially turn them into a hard labor force Example of LOW level of hatred would be the FDNY article we read; seemingly no intentional discrimination against non-whites but long-standing hiring patterns according to certain criteria lead to a disadvantage for non- whites to be hired in the FDNY; intentional reform is needed to reverse these long-standing patterns In FDNY case you may have something like, “Well, our firefighters have just traditionally come from certain parts of the city where the firefighting tradition is strong. We give some preference to people from those parts of the city because they have continually produced quality firefighters.” The issue here is that those parts of the city are limited to basically only whites

7 Institutional Racism Institutional tends to perpetuate itself in both HIGH and LOW level hatred cases In HIGH level situations (apartheid, Jim Crow) the institutions set against certain groups tend to cripple those groups to such an extent that it takes many years of resolute pressure from the oppressed to topple such institutions; basically it’s hard to root out institutional racism when you have no political, economic, or military capability In LOW level situations the lack of hatred means that no red-flags are raised and people just come to accept certain realities as the way things are Examples: whites in NYC are simply more cut out to be firefighters; low-income minorities are just bad at testing and achieving in school

8 Project for Rest of Chapter In groups, please create of PowerPoint presentation based on photographs with explanatory captions to highlight the history of certain ethnic groups in the United States and other places in the world and the racist practices which they have endured Ethnicities to choose from: African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, Asian Americans, Native Africans in South Africa under apartheid, Aborigines in Australia, Africans in Brazil

9 Minimum Requirements Minimum Requirements: 1. Presentation must be 6-8 slides long 2. At least 10 different photos must appear in the presentation; multiple photos can appear as a collage on one single slide with a caption explaining the collage 3. At least TWO slides in presentation must be centered upon a form of institutional racism perpetrated against the particular ethnic community 4. Captions and photographs must come from at least 3 different sources 5. Citation page needed at end of presentation with citations of sources in MLA format 6. Group will present PowerPoint during class and be able to provide thoughtful explanation of photos, captions, and the important facts/events behind these images

10 Example of Italian Americans Two pictures from the Ellis Island area of New York. This is the place where many Italians first entered into the U.S. during the first great wave of Italian immigration from Italians many times arrived as vast family networks of cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc. rather than as singles or even as parents and children

11 Example slide on Italian Americans As Italian immigrants pushed Westward from the Eastern U.S. ports they came through and left the safety of their tight-knit urban strongholds, they found themselves discriminated against particularly in the search for decent work

12 Example slide on Italian Americans The Sopranos is a great example of the consistent stereotypical portrayal of Italian-Americans in the U.S. as being prone to a mob/Mafia type lifestyle. Statistically speaking, Italian-Americans are involved in organized crime about as much as Asians, Russians, Latinos, African Americans and Eastern Europeans


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