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Introduction to Sociology Chapter 11 - Race and Ethnicity

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1 Introduction to Sociology Chapter 11 - Race and Ethnicity
Roderick Graham

2 The Social Meaning of Race and Ethnicity
Race - A socially constructed category of people who share biologically transmitted traits that members of a society consider important We think of race in biological terms but it is a socially constructed concept The meaning and importance of race not only differ from place to place but also change over time

3 The Social Meaning of Race and Ethnicity
Scientists invented the concept of race to organize the world’s physical diversity Caucasoid Negroid Mongoloid Sociologists consider such terms misleading and harmful There is more genetic variation within each category than between categories From a biological point of view, knowing people’s racial category allows us to predict nothing about them

4 Racial Categories?? Caucasoid Congoid Capoid Mongoloid Australoid

5 The Social Meaning of Race and Ethnicity
Ethnicity - A shared cultural heritage Common ancestors Language Religion Like race, ethnicity is socially constructed Race is constructed from biological traits and ethnicity is constructed from cultural traits

6 Hispanic – Race or Ethnicity?

7 Hispanic – Race or Ethnicity

8 The Social Meaning of Race and Ethnicity
Minorities - Any category of people distinguished by physical or cultural difference that a society sets apart and subordinates Based on race, ethnicity, or both Two important characteristics: Share a distinct identity Experience subordination Not all members of a minority category are disadvantaged Usually make up a small proportion of a society’s population

9 Prejudice and Stereotypes
Prejudice - A rigid and unfair generalization about an entire category of people Prejudice may target people of a particular social class, sex, sexual orientation, political affiliation, race, ethnicity A powerful form of prejudice is racism – the belief that one race is superior to the other Prejudice often takes the form of stereotypes An exaggerated description applied to every person in some category Especially harmful to minorities in the workplace

10 Measuring Prejudice: The Social Distance Scale
Recent study found three major findings Student opinion shows a trend toward greater social acceptance People see less difference between various minorities The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, may have reduced social acceptance of Arabs and Muslims


12 Theories of Prejudice SCAPEGOAT THEORY
Prejudice springs from frustration among people who are themselves disadvantaged SCAPEGOAT A person or category of people, typically with little power, whom other people unfairly blame for their own troubles Minorities often are used as scapegoats They have little power Usually are “safe targets”

Extreme prejudice is a personality trait of certain individuals Conclusion supported by research Indicated that people who show strong prejudice toward one minority are intolerant of all minorities Authoritarian Personalities Rigidly conform to conventional cultural values See moral issues as clear-cut matters of right and wrong

Claims that although extreme prejudice is found in certain people, some prejudice is found in everyone “culture of prejudice” Taught to view certain categories of people as “better” or “worse” than others CONFLICT THEORY Proposes that prejudice is used as a tool by powerful people to oppress others Another conflict based argument Minorities encourage “race consciousness” to win greater power and privileges

15 Discrimination Discrimination - Unequal treatment of various categories of people Prejudice refers to attitudes Discrimination is a matter of action Positive or negative Subtle to blatant

16 Discrimination Institutional Prejudice and Discrimination
Bias built into the operation of society’s institutions Schools, hospitals, police, workplace, banks People are slow to condemn or recognize institutional prejudice Prejudice and discrimination reinforce each other Situations that are defined as real become real in their consequences

17 Powerful Members of Minority Groups…Is there a Pattern?

18 Majority and Minority: Patterns of Interaction
Four models Pluralism Assimilation Segregation Genocide

19 Majority and Minority: Patterns of Interaction
Pluralism - A state in which people of all races and ethnicities are distinct but have equal social standing US is pluralistic to the extent that all people have equal standing under the law US not pluralistic for three reasons Although most of us value our cultural heritage, few want to live with only people exactly like ourselves (we are forced to) Our tolerance for social diversity goes only so far People of various colors and cultures do not have equal social standing

20 Majority and Minority: Patterns of Interaction
Assimilation - The process by which minorities gradually adopt patterns of the dominant culture Assimilation is… Avenue to upward social mobility Way to escape prejudice and discrimination directed against more visible foreigners Amount of assimilation varies by category Assimilation involves changes in ethnicity but not in race

21 Majority and Minority: Patterns of Interaction
Segregation - the physical and social separation of categories of people Segregation enforces separation that harms a minority de jure segregation (by law) de facto segregation (in fact) Continues in the US (de facto) Hypersegregation Having little contact of any kind with people beyond the local community

22 Genocide Genocide - The systematic killing of one category of people by another Deadly form of racism and ethnocentrism Common throughout history Even the US committed genocide against Native Americans

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