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Sociology Chapter 9 Outline

Sociology Chapter 9 Outline

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Chapter 9 OutlineThe Myth of Race
 
Race
can be defined as a group of people who share a set of characteristics
usually physicalones
and are said to share a common bloodline.
 
Racism
is the belief that members of separate races possess different and unequal humantraits.
 
Race is a social construct that changes over time and across different contexts. To be white inAmerica, for example, changed from being a somewhat inclusive category in the lateeighteenth century to being much more narrowly defined in the mid-to-late nineteenth centuryand then shifted back to a broader definition in the mid-twentieth century. All these changeswere in response to social realities.
The Concept of Race from the Ancients to Alleles
 
In ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome, the idea of race did not exist as we know it today. Peoplerecognized broad physical differences between groups of people, but they did not discriminatebased on those differences.
 
As Europeans came into contact with different peoples and cultures during the Age of Exploration, racism was used to justify the conquest and colonization of foreign lands.
 
In the nineteenth century there were a number of scientists and thinkers researching anda
ttempting to ―explain‖ racial differences. Many of their efforts were biased due to
ethnocentrism
 
(the judgment of other groups by one’s own standards and values), so theywere actually ―explaining‖ white superiority.
 
 
Social Darwinism
, another nineteenth-century theory, was the notion that some groups orraces had evolved more than others and were better fit to survive and even rule other races.
 
Backers of 
eugenics
(the science of genetic lines and the inheritable traits they pass on fromgeneration to generation) claimed that traits could be traced through bloodlines and bred into(for positive traits) or out of (for negative traits) populations. This thinking influencedimmigration policy in the early twentieth century, when undesirable populations were kept out
of the country so they wouldn’t pollute the ―native‖ (i.e., white) population.
 
 
The
one-drop rule,
which evolved from U.S. laws forbidding miscegenation, was the belief 
that ―one drop‖ of black blood makes a person black. Application of this rule ke
pt the white
population ―pure‖ and lumped anyone with black blood into one category.
 
 
Today DNA testing is used to determine people’s racial makeup, and while this process may be
more accurate, on some level, than nineteenth-century racial measures, it still supports thenotion of biological racial differences.
Racial Realities
 
Racialization
is the formation of a new racial identity in which new ideological boundaries of difference are drawn around a formerly unnoticed group of people. A recent example of racialization is the anti-Muslim backlash in America since 9/11. Being Muslim is linked in the
mind of Americans to being Arab, so anyone who ―looks Arab‖ (for men it’s often linked to skincolor and facial hair and perhaps clothing, and for women it’s often
linked to the use of a headscarf) is thought to be Muslim and therefore anti-American.
 
Race versus Ethnicity
 
Race
is imposed, usually based on physical differences
hierarchical, exclusive, and unequal;
ethnicity
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.‖ 
 
 
Symbolic ethnicity
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.
 
The
black community
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.
 
The
Latino population
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 
Asian immigrants
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 
whiteness studies
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.
Minority
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.
 
 
Ethnic identification
can persist even after a group has become fairly well assimilated. Oneexplanation for this phenomenon is
primordialism
(the ethnic ties are fixed in a deeply felt
connection to one’s homeland culture); another is that it is in people’s interests to maintain a
strong ethnic identification
it serves as a type of interest group to promote and protect itsmembers.
 
Pluralism
, in the context of race and ethnicity, refers to the presence and engagedcoexistence of numerous distinct groups in one society, with no one group in the majority.
 
Segregation
is the legal or social practice of separating people on the basis of their race orethnicity. Segregation was official policy in the United States, particularly in the South, untilthe 1960s, but despite being illegal for over 40 years, there is still ample evidence of segregation in American society today, particularly in schools, housing, and prisons.
 
The most contentious form of minority
majority group relations is, of course, outright conflict.
Genocide
is the deliberate and systematic extermination of a national, racial, political, orcultural group.
Group Responses to Domination
 
Four ways that groups respond to oppression are withdrawal, passing, acceptance,and resistance
. Acceptance and resistance can be closely linked, as members of anoppressed group might appear to accept their subordinate position while internally they feelenormous resentment. Overt collective resistance can take the form of revolution, nonviolentprotest, or riots.
Prejudice, Discrimination, and the New Racism
 
Prejudice
is negative thoughts and feelings about an ethnic or racial group;
discrimination
 is harmful or negative acts against people deemed inferior on the basis of their racialcategory.
 
While overt racism is, for the most part, considered unacceptable in America today, a
newkind of racism
is on the rise in America and elsewhere, which focuses on cultural andnational differences rather than racial ones.
How Race Matters: The Case of Wealth
 
A
wealth gap
exists between whites and minority groups in America that has historical rootsand cannot be overcome simply through income equality. Public policies formulated to addresswhite
nonwhite disparities have not paid enough attention to this particular legacy of racism.
The Future of Race
 
The 2000 U.S. Census created separate categories for race and ethnicity and, for the firsttime, allowed people to check off more than one box for racial identity. These changes havegiven us a better idea of the diversity of the American population.
 
It is predicted that by 2050 whites will no longer be a majority in the United States. Thischange could bring about a narrowing of the definition of white, similar to what happened inthe nineteenth century, as whites try to demarcate boundaries around their group in relationto the growing minorities.

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