Presentation on theme: "Chapter 8: Race and Ethnicity as Lived Experience"— Presentation transcript:
1 Chapter 8: Race and Ethnicity as Lived Experience
2 What Is Race?Race is a socially defined category, based on real or perceived biological differences between groups of people.Humans, regardless of their race, are 99.9 percent 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.2
3 What Is Ethnicity?Ethnicity is a socially defined category based on common language, religion, nationality, history, or another cultural factor.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. On the other hand, the Jewish people, 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.3
4 Defining Race and Ethnicity Sociologists see race and ethnicity as social constructions becauseRace isn’t based on biology (for instance, we don’t test DNA to determine race).Racial categories change over time.Racial categories never have firm boundaries.Race isn’t based on biology (for instance, we don’t test DNA to determine race).Racial categories change over time. If you look at the U.S. census, you will see that the categories of races change very frequently. In fact, 2000 was the first year that respondents were allowed to select “one or more races” 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. Instead, the boundaries defining racial categories are flexible. For example, there is no set regulation for determining racial identity. A person may have ancestry from mixed descent yet may not identify with that descent. Or a person who was born in the United States, 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.4
5 Race and EthnicityThe distinction between race and ethnicity is important because ethnicity can be displayed or hidden, depending on individual preferences, while racial identities are always on display.Despite the fact that these immigrants weren’t considered “white” upon their arrival, after a period of time, many of these immigrants learned to “speak like Americans” and took on an outwardly American lifestyle. They were able to hide their ethnicity as a way to alleviate the tension caused by cultural clashes and bigotry against them.5
6 Showing EthnicitySymbolic ethnicity is an ethnic identity that is only relevant on specific occasions and does not significantly impact everyday life.Situational ethnicity is an ethnic identity that can be either displayed or concealed, depending on its usefulness in a given situation.You may have a friend whom you’ve met recently who surprised you because you had no idea that she was of Irish heritage until St. Patrick’s Day, when she proudly displayed her ethnicity. This ethnicity may not impact her day-to-day life, but it becomes relevant in this occasion. This is an example of symbolic identity.Situational identity may not be relevant on a certain date, but rather, based on a certain situation. For example, if you are of a certain ethnicity and you know that your employer is prejudiced against people of your ethnicity, you may choose to not disclose your identity in an effort to preserve your job. However, when you are applying for financial aid at college and you see that there is a scholarship available for someone with your ethnicity, you may choose to reveal your ethnic identity in this potentially beneficial situation.6
8 For discussion: why is the racial make-up in the United Startes changing? What social factor might be influencing these trends?
9 What Is a Minority?A minority group is a social group that is systematically denied access to power and resources available to the dominant groups of a society.It is not necessarily fewer in number than the dominant group.In South Africa, blacks dramatically outnumber whites by a ratio of seven to one, yet before the 1994 election of president Nelson Mandela, whites controlled the country whereas blacks occupied the lowest status in that society. Minority does not mean numerically inferior; it refers to the group that has less access to resources or power. However, it is interesting to note that the unequal and unfair treatment of the minority group typically generates a strong sense of common identity and solidarity among group members.9
10 RacismRacism: a set of beliefs about the superiority of one racial or ethnic groupUsed to justify inequalityOften rooted in the assumption that differences between groups are geneticSometimes people argue that racism is no longer an issue in the United States. It is true that our race relations have changed, but many sociologists argue that racism has not been eliminated. In the past, it was socially acceptable in many places to display racist attitudes and to use racial slurs. That’s not politically correct or acceptable anymore, so people tend to reserve their attitudes until they know they are in like-minded company; however, this in no way means that racism has been eliminated. It’s just more difficult sometimes to identify, which, many argue, is actually worse.10
11 Prejudice and Discrimination Prejudice (a thought process):An idea about the characteristics of a groupApplied to all members of that groupUnlikely to change regardless of the evidence against itDiscrimination (an action):Unequal treatment of individuals because of their social groupUsually motivated by prejudiceIt 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 may refuse to hire Chinese people because other people in the office don’t like them, even though the manager himself doesn’t actually dislike Chinese people at all).11
12 Types of Discrimination Individual discrimination is discrimination carried out by one person against another.Institutional discrimination is systematic discrimination carried out by social institutions (political, economic, educational, and others) that affects all members of a group who come into contact with it.While any kind of discrimination is problematic, institutional discrimination is bigger than individual discrimination and more difficult to address. Individual discrimination is a type of discrimination by one individual against another. Institutional discrimination refers to a structural disadvantage for an entire group of individuals based on their group membership. Institutional discrimination is often more difficult to observe because it is not just one person acting against another. It might instead be embedded in policies, rules, traditions, or beliefs, and usually no one person can be held accountable. Therefore, eliminating institutional discrimination is a significantly more challenging task than eliminating individual discrimination.12
13 Race in America: Theoretical Approaches Functionalist theoristsFocus on the ways that race creates social ties and strengthens group bondsAcknowledge that such ties can lead to violence and social conflict between groupsFunctionalist theory states that racial and ethnic differences are a necessary part of society. Even racial inequality has functions that help maintain social order.13
14 Race in America: Theoretical Approaches (cont’d.) Conflict theoryFocuses on how the struggle for power and control over scarce resources is broken down by race.Whites have much more power and access to resources than non-whites.Early conflict theorists tried to explain race as a result of economic oppression. The theory states that racial and ethnic differences create intergroup conflict—minority and majority groups have different interests and may find themselves at odds as they attempt to secure and protect them.14
15 Symbolic Interactionists Race in America: Theoretical Approaches (cont’d.)Symbolic InteractionistsFocus on the ways that race, class, and gender intersect to produce an individual’s identitySee race as an aspect of identity established through interactionThere are several different ways that we project and receive our racial and ethnic identities. The theory states that race and ethnicity are part of our presentation of self.15
16 Race in America: Theoretical Approaches (cont’d.) Racial passing, or living as if one is a member of a different racial category, has a long history in the United States.The way that we are perceived in the physical world, our embodied identity, has historically been used as a basis for discrimination. This issue becomes particularly interesting today as we examine online communication, where our physical traits often remain hidden from those with whom we interact.16
17 Race, Ethnicity, and Life Chances Race and ethnicity influence all aspects of our lives, including health, education, work, family, and interactions with the criminal justice system and health care.You may remind students of Max Weber’s idea of life chances, that our opportunities in life are different depending on the class into which we are born. We talked earlier about how race and gender intersect with class, so how could a person’s race affect their life chances?Health care is an area in which we find widespread disparity between racial and ethnic groups. Disparities in access to health care may help explain the differing life expectancy rates for men and women of different races.17
18 Race Relations: Conflict or Cooperation? Genocide is the deliberate and systematic extermination of a racial, ethnic, national, or cultural group.Population transfer is the forcible removal of a group of people from the territory they have occupied.Interactions between dominant and subordinate groups can take many different forms.Can your students think of examples of genocide? Probably they will mention Nazi Germany. But how about within the United States?The treatment of Native Americans is an example of population transfer.18
19 Race Relations: Conflict or Cooperation? (cont’d.) Internal colonialism is the economic and political domination and subjugation of the minority group by the controlling group within a nation.Segregation is the formal and legal separation of groups by race or ethnicity.Internal colonialism could be thought of in terms of slavery or indentured servitude.As an example of segregation, in the U.S. South up to the 1960s, not only did blacks live in separate neighborhoods, they were restricted to “coloreds-only” sections of buses, parks, restaurants, and even drinking fountains.19
20 Race Relations: Conflict or Cooperation? (cont’d.) Assimilation: the minority group is absorbed into the mainstream or dominant group, making society more homogeneous.Racial assimilation: racial minority groups are absorbed into the dominant group through intermarriage.Cultural assimilation: racial or ethnic groups are absorbed into the dominant group by adopting the dominant group’s culture.Assimilation is the central idea behind America’s “melting pot.” Minority group members may lose their previous ethnic or racial identity.20
21 Race Relations: Conflict or Cooperation? (cont’d.) Pluralism (or multiculturalism) is a pattern of intergroup relations that encourage racial and ethnic variation within a society.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.21
22 Chapter 8: Participation Questions Is this class representative of the U.S. population? What is your race?white, non-HispanicHispanic or LatinoAfrican AmericanAsiantwo or more racesotherprefer not to answerU.S. Population:White, Non-Hispanic = 63.3%Hispanic or Latino = 16.7%African American = 12.2%Asian = 4.8%Two or more races = 2.1%Other = 1.1%Prefer not to answerThese questions can be used with “clickers,” cell phones, or other audience response systems to increase participation in your classes. They can also be used to encourage discussion without technological input.
23 Chapter 8: Participation Questions Do you think that you have ever been discriminated against on the basis of your race?yesnoThese questions can be used with “clickers,” cell phones, or other audience response systems to increase participation in your classes. They can also be used to encourage discussion without technological input.
24 Have you ever participated in symbolic or situational ethnicity? Chapter 8: Participation QuestionsHave you ever participated in symbolic or situational ethnicity?symbolicsituationalbothneitherThese questions can be used with “clickers,” cell phones, or other audience response systems to increase participation in your classes. They can also be used to encourage discussion without technological input.
25 Would you be willing to date a person who is of another race than you? Chapter 8: Participation QuestionsWould you be willing to date a person who is of another race than you?yesnoThese questions can be used with “clickers,” cell phones, or other audience response systems to increase participation in your classes. They can also be used to encourage discussion without technological input.
26 Chapter 8: Participation Questions If you were dating a person of another race, would your family accept your partner?yesnoThese questions can be used with “clickers,” cell phones, or other audience response systems to increase participation in your classes. They can also be used to encourage discussion without technological input.
27 Class ActivityAnswer the following questions in groups of 3-5 and be prepared to share:1. Do you identify with your race and/or ethnicity? Why or why not?2. Would you ever date someone from another race/ethnicity? Why or why not? Also, would your family be okay with this. Why or why not?
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