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Race And Ethnicity

This is a powerpoint to accompany Introduction to Sociology:

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Race And Ethnicity

  1. 1. Introduction to Sociology: Race and Ethnicity
  2. 2. Race and Ethnicity ● A race is a human population that is believed to be distinct in some way from other humans based on real or imagined physical differences. ● Ethnicity, while related to race, refers not to physical characteristics but social traits that are shared by a human population.
  3. 3. The Changing Definitions of Race ● Essentialist - "A great division of mankind, characterized as a group by the sharing of a certain combination of features, which have been derived from their common descent, and constitute a vague physical background, usually more or less obscured by individual variations, and realized best in a composite picture." ● Taxonomic - "An aggregate of phenotypically similar populations of a species, inhabiting a geographic subdivision of the range of a species, and differing taxonomically from other populations of the species." ● Population - "Races are genetically distinct Mendelian populations. They are neither individuals nor particular genotypes, they consist of individuals who differ genetically among themselves." ● Lineage - "A subspecies (race) is a distinct evolutionary lineage within a species. This definition requires that a subspecies be genetically differentiated due to barriers to genetic exchange that have persisted for long periods of time; that is, the subspecies must have historical continuity in addition to current genetic differentiation."
  4. 4. Social Construct or Biological Lineage? ● Some sociologists and biologists believe race is a social construct, meaning it does not have a basis in the natural world but is simply an artificial distinction created by humans. ● The understanding of race as a social construct is well-illustrated by examining race issues in two countries, the U.S. and Brazil.
  5. 5. Races in the US Census
  6. 6. Biology and Genetics ● Some sociologists (and other researchers) still believe that race is a valid and useful measure when understood as fuzzy sets, clusters, or extended families. ● Some biologists and health care practitioners also draw on race as it relates to specific diseases.
  7. 7. Prejudice, Bias, and Discrimination ● Prejudice is the pre-judging of something. Prejudice involves coming to a judgment on a subject before learning where the preponderance of evidence actually lies. Alternatively, prejudice can refer to the formation of a judgment without direct or actual experience. Prejudice generally refers to negative views of an individual or group of individuals, often based on social stereotypes. ● Discrimination is the actual mistreatment of a group or individual based upon some criteria or characteristic. ● Although prejudice can lead to discrimination, the two are separate concepts.
  8. 8. Racism ● Racism can refer to any or all of the following beliefs and behaviors: – race is the primary determinant of human capacities (prejudice or bias) – a certain race is inherently superior or inferior to others (prejudice or bias) – individuals should be treated differently according to their racial classification (prejudice or bias) – the actual treating of individuals differently based on their racial classification (discrimination)
  9. 9. Individual-Level Racism ● Individual-level racism is prejudice, bias, or discrimination displayed in an interaction between two or more people. ● Examples of individual-level racism could include: – a person believing people of other races/ethnicities are intellectually inferior and that the inferiority is a characteristic of the race – a person holding the belief that all young African males are dangerous – an employer firing someone because of his/her race
  10. 10. Structural Racism ● Structural racism refers to inequalities built into an organization or system.
  11. 11. Cultural Racism ● Cultural racial discrimination, a variation of structural racism, occurs when the assumption of inferiority of one or more races is built into the culture of a society.
  12. 12. Historical Racism ● Historical economic or social disparity is a form of inequality caused by past racism, affecting the present generation through deficits in the formal education and other kinds of preparation in the parents' generation, and, through primarily unconscious racist attitudes and actions on members of the general population.
  13. 13. Racial Profiling ● Racial profiling involves the singling out of individuals based upon their race for differential treatment, usually harsher treatment.
  14. 14. Color-Blind Racism ● Bonilla-Silva suggests that a "color-blind racism" ideology supports racism while avoiding any reference to race. Specifically, he outlines four frameworks of color-blind racism: – Abstract Liberalism - using liberal language divorced from context and history to deny racism exists (e.g., all Americans are free now so they can be whatever they want) – Naturalization - (similar to the heavily critiqued study noted above) arguing that racial disparities, segregation patterns, and other racial phenomena are natural occurrences divorced from historical and structural socialization processes between races (e.g., whites just like to be around whites) – Cultural Racism - (outlined in detail above) drawing on cultural based beliefs and arguments to explain racial inequalities in contemporary society (e.g., blacks have too many babies or Mexicans are just like that) – Minimization - arguing that discrimination is no longer prevalent in society (e.g., its not a big deal now like it was back then)
  15. 15. Minorities ● Racism is usually directed against a minority population, but may also be directed against a majority population. ● The definition of a minority group can vary, depending on specific context, but generally refers to either a sub-group that does not form either a majority or a plurality of the total population, or a group that, while not necessarily a numerical minority, is disadvantaged or otherwise has less power (whether political or economic) than a dominant group. ● A majority is that segment of the population that outnumbers all others combined or one that is dominant.