Race versus Ethnicity
is imposed, usually based on physical differences
hierarchical, exclusive, and unequal;
is voluntary, self-defined, nonhierarchical, fluid, cultural, and not so closely linkedwith power differences. An ethnic identity becomes racialized when it is subsumed under a
forced label, racial marker, or ―otherness.‖
is ethnicity that is individualistic in nature and without real social cost forthe individual. Whites who explore and express an affinity for their European roots can be said
to be adopting a symbolic ethnicity. It makes them feel good about their heritage and it’s
something they can focus on and express when
they choose to; it isn’t an identity that they
must assume all the time.
Ethnic Groups in the United States
European colonizers decimated
Native American populations
through war and theintroduction of new diseases as well as through the practice of forced assimilation, wherebyNative American children were put in government-run schools and taught to reject theirculture and embrace Anglo culture. Today Native Americans are on the bottom of thesocioeconomic ladder.
in America is marked by high rates of poverty, crime, unemployment,incarceration, and health problems. The community is also expanding as new immigrants from
Africa and even ―old‖ immig
rants from the Caribbean resist being lumped together with AfricanAmericans.
in American is very diverse, though one common trait is that mostLatino immigrants have come to the United States voluntarily in search of economicopportunity. Latinos have a somewhat ambiguous racial identity
sometimes they are groupedwith whites and sometimes not.
The first wave of
to the United States in the mid-nineteenth century wasmade up mostly of unskilled laborers. The current, second wave consists primarily of well-educated and highly skilled people from all over Asia. Asians are unique among U.S. minoritiesin that they generally achieve a high economic status.
The Importance of Being White
White people are not identified, first and foremost, by their attachment to a specific race, sothey have more flexibility and power to choose how they want to be identified. Being the
dominant race, they don’t have to think about race much at all.
The development of
is important because it shows that being white
something that has been held up as a standard of normality or neutrality
is as much a socialconstruction as any other racial category.
Majority Group Relations
Robert Park’s 1920
straight-line assimilation model
involved four stages
contact,competition, accommodation, and assimilation; in 1964, Milton Gordon offered up a variation
on Park’s model, one that involved seven stages that immigrants could pass through or
become stuck in. Gordon did not assume that full assimilation was always the outcome.