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Chapter 3 Racial and Ethnic Inequality. Race and Ethnicity Race: –a socially constructed category of people who share biologically transmitted traits.

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Presentation on theme: "Chapter 3 Racial and Ethnic Inequality. Race and Ethnicity Race: –a socially constructed category of people who share biologically transmitted traits."— Presentation transcript:

1 Chapter 3 Racial and Ethnic Inequality

2 Race and Ethnicity Race: –a socially constructed category of people who share biologically transmitted traits that a society defines as important –Sociologists view racial categories at best as crude and misleading and at worst as a harmful way to divide humanity Ethnicity refers to a shared cultural heritage

3 Race and Ethnicity While race and ethnicity are different, the two may go together when groups share not only certain physical traits but ethnic traits as well –examples: Korean Americans and Native Americans

4 Race and Ethnicity The racial and ethnic diversity in the United States is a product of immigration –The “Great Immigration” extended from the end of the Civil War (1865) until the outbreak of World War I (1914) “Nativists” opposed immigration as they feared that immigrants might overwhelm neighborhoods and schools and threaten the country’s mostly English culture

5 Recent Immigration The next great immigration began in 1965 when Congress ended the quota system. –Immigrants came mainly from Mexico and other Latin American nations, as well as the Philippines, South Korea, and other Asian nations

6 Minorities Minority: any category of people, distinguished by physical or cultural traits, that a society subjects to disadvantages Characteristics: –They share a distinctive identity –They tend to be disadvantaged –About one-fourth of the people in the U.S. fall into a minority racial or ethnic category

7 Patterns of Minority – Majority Interaction Pluralism – a state in which people of all racial and ethnic categories have roughly equal social standing Assimilation – the process by which minorities gradually adopt the cultural patterns of the majority population

8 Patterns of Minority – Majority Interaction Segregation – is the physical and social separation of categories of people Genocide – the systematic killing of one category of people by another

9 Native Americans Conflict has marked the relationship between Native Americans and explorers/colonizers since the late fifteenth century –At first the U.S. government saw Native peoples as independent nations and tried to gain land from them through treaties –It soon used military power against those unwilling to bargain

10 Native Americans In 1871, the U.S. declared Native Americans wards of the federal government, granting them various forms of “assistance” –These attempts to encourage assimilation resulted in many Native Americans becoming dependent on the government’s Bureau of Indian Affairs

11 Native Americans Native Americans gained full citizenship in 1924. During the 1990s, Native American organizations reported gains in new membership applications One-fifth of all legal gambling in the country takes place in casinos on reservations Most Native Americans continue to struggle and share a profound sense of injustice endured at the hands of whites

12 People of African Descent People of African ancestry arrived in the Americas along with the early European explorers While slave traders brought 500,000 Africans to the U.S. as slaves, not all people of African descent were slaves The Civil War brought slavery to an end “Jim Crow” laws barred black people from voting, sitting on juries, and institutionalized segregation policies

13 People of African Descent By the early 1950s, opposition to segregation was building – the landmark Supreme Court decision in the 1954 case, Brown v. the Board of Education, eliminated “separate but equal” schooling –Rosa Parks sparked the bus boycott that desegregated public transportation in Montgomery, Alabama

14 People of African Descent In the 1960s the federal government – passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 –passed the Voting Rights Act of 1965 –passed the Civil Rights Act of 1968. Together, these laws brought an end to most legal discrimination in public life

15 People of African Descent Today, the struggle isn’t over –below-average incomes –rate of poverty is twice the national average –college completion rate is well below the national average

16 People of Asian Descent Asian Americans include people with historical ties to dozens of Asian nations. –The largest number have roots in China, the Philippines, India, South Korea, and Japan –The first Asians to migrate to North America in the modern era came from China and Japan because of the Gold Rush of 1849 –Once the demand for cheap labor lessened, whites pressured legislatures and courts to bar Asians from certain work

17 People of Asian Descent World War II brought important change to Japanese and Chinese Americans –President Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066 forcibly relocated all Japanese Americans to internment camps where they stayed until 1944 Chinese Americans fared better –In 1943, the federal government ended the 1882 ban on Chinese immigration and extended citizenship to Chinese Americans born abroad

18 People of Asian Descent Many Asian Americans prospered as the postwar economy grew By the 1980s, Asian Americans were called the “model minority” based on their cultural commitment to study and hard work and their outstanding record of achievement Many Asian Americans have assimilated into the larger cultural mix

19 Hispanic People Hispanics came to the United States from Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Spain Since few think of themselves as “Hispanics” or “Latinos”, there is no single Latino culture A high birth rate and heavy immigration have resulted in Hispanics surpassing African Americans as the nation’s largest racial or ethnic minority

20 Hispanic People While the social standing of Hispanics is below the U.S. average, various categories of Latinos have very different rankings –The most well off are Cuban Americans, who have greater education and enjoy higher incomes –Puerto Ricans have the lowest relative ranking - median family income is barely half the national average

21 Prejudice Prejudice is any rigid and irrational generalization about an entire category of people Stereotypes -exaggerated descriptions that are applied to everyone in the same category - greatly contribute to the perpetuation of prejudice

22 Prejudice The most serious kind of prejudice is racism - the assertion that people of one race are innately superior or inferior to others –In today’s society, racism is less blatant than it once was –subtle forms of racism are still very much part of our national life

23 Prejudice Three causes of prejudice –personality factors –societal factors –multiculturalism

24 Discrimination While prejudice is an attitude, discrimination is a matter of actions –Discrimination can be positive or negative –Institutional discrimination is built into the operation of social institutions, including the economy, schools, and the legal system

25 Discrimination Because prejudice and discrimination reinforce each other, societies can subject minorities to a vicious cycle of subordination One strategy designed to break the vicious cycle of prejudice and discrimination is affirmative action –creates policies intended to improve the social standings of minorities subject to historical prejudice and discrimination

26 Structural-Functional Analysis: The Importance of Culture The Culture of Poverty Values and Disadvantage Critics contend that this perspective focuses on the result, not the cause, of low social standing

27 Symbolic-Interaction Analysis: The Personal Significance of Race When race becomes a master status, it becomes a personal trait that overwhelms all others and defines any person of color Critics contend that race involves more than individual behavior

28 Social-Conflict Analysis: The Structure of Society The Importance of Class Multiculturalism Critics contend that social-conflict theory: –understates what people in the U.S. have in common –takes away people’s responsibility for their own lives –tends to minimize the significant strides that have been made in dealing with social diversity

29 Conservatives: Culture and Effort Matter Conservatives claim that differences in culture set some parts of the population apart from others –People in various racial and ethnic categories have different values and priorities –A free society must be an unequal society

30 Liberals: Society and Government Matter Liberals contend that cultural differences are not the main reason for inequality –they view racial and ethnic inequality as resulting mostly from prejudice and discrimination built into society’s institutions –they urge people to avoid thinking that minorities are themselves the “social problem”

31 Radicals: Basic Changes Are Needed Radicals suggest two ways to solve the problem of racial and ethnic inequality: –overhaul the whole capitalist economic system –eliminate the concept of race because it provides an ideological basis for dividing people


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