Chapter 8 Race and Ethnicity as Lived Experience
Race: Myth and Reality • Myth 1 - Idea That Any Race is Superior • All Races Have Geniuses and Idiots • Genocide Still Around • Myth 2 - Idea that Any Race is Pure • Human Characteristics Flow Endlessly Together
Race and Ethnicity • Race - a category of people with inherited physical features that distinguish it from another category. • Socially defined category based on real or perceived biological differences between groups of people • Both a myth and a reality • Ethnicity and ethnic – refer to cultural characteristics that distinguish people. • A socially defined category based on common language, religion, nationality, history, or another cultural factor
Defining Race and Ethnicity (cont’d.) • Sociologists see race and ethnicity as social constructions because • Race isn’t based on biology (for instance, we don’t test DNA to determine race). • Racial categories change over time. • Racial categories never have firm boundaries. • The distinction between race and ethnicity is important because ethnicity can be displayed or hidden, depending on individual preferences, while racial identities are always on display.
Definition of a Minority • A minority refers to a relatively small number of people. • Refined the definition to specify: • a social group that is systematically denied access to power and resources available to the dominant groups of a society. • a group of people who are physically or culturally singled out from others for unequal treatment & • who regard themselves as objects of collective discrimination. • Not necessarily a numerical minority or fewer in number than the dominant group
Minority and Dominant Groups • Dominant Group - Group with Most… • Power • Privileges • Highest Social Status • Dominant Group Does the Discriminating • Minority Groups Occur Because of… • Expansion of Political Boundaries • Migration
Patterns of Racial and Ethnic Relations • When different racial and ethnic groups interact there are two major types of outcomes: • pattern of assimilation- groups become cultural and socially fused • assimilation, multiculturalism • pattern of conflict • genocide, population transfer, internal colonialism, segregation
Racism • Racism connects biological differences with judgment of innate superiority or inferiority. • a set of beliefs about the claimed superiority of one racial or ethnic group • Used to justify inequality • Often rooted in the assumption that differences between groups are genetic • Color-blind racism: an ideology that removes race as an explanation for any form of unequal treatment
Theories of Prejudice and Discrimination • Prejudice – is prejudging in some way, usually negative; an overgeneralization based on biased or insufficient information; applied to all members of group; unlikely to change regardless of evidence; attitude/belief. • Internalizing Dominant Norms • Lighter/Darker Skin • Ethnic Maps • Discrimination – unequal treatment of people based on their minority membership or social group. • Discrimination is action • Usually motivated by prejudice
Theories of Prejudice and Discrimination • Stereotype – a set of ideas based on distortion, exaggeration, and oversimplification that is applied to all members of a social category. • Hate Crime – a criminal act motivated by prejudice (related to race, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, or ancestry).
Institutionalized Discrimination • Institutionalized discrimination – negative treatment of a minority group that is built into society’s institutions. • the result of unfair practices that are part of the structure of society and have grown out of traditionally accepted behaviors. • American history reflects the open and legal practice of discrimination against members of various minorities (e.g., internment of Japanese Americans during WWII). • Individual discrimination is discrimination carried out by one person against another.
The Social Construction of Race • Racial passing, or living as if one is a member of a different racial category, has a long history in the United States. • Double-consciousness: W.E.B. DuBois’s term for the divided identity experienced by blacks in the United States • Race and ethnicity influence all aspects of our lives, including health, education, work, family, and interactions with the criminal justice system and health care
Institutional Discrimination • Health Care Race – Ethnicity and Mother/Child Deaths
Institutional Discrimination • Home Mortgages and Car Loans Buying a House: Institutional Discrimination in Mortgages
Functionalist Perspective • Functionalists – Focus on the ways that race creates social ties and strengthens group bonds • Acknowledge that such ties can lead to violence and social conflict between groups • Focused on the functions and dysfunctions of prejudice and discrimination • Functions: in-group solidarity and out-group antagonism • Dysfunctions: negative; destroys human relationships; social, political, educational, and economic costs of the exploitation and oppression of minorities are extremely high.
Conflict Perspective • Conflict perspective- Focuses on the struggle for power and control over scarce resources • A majority uses its prejudice and discrimination as weapons of power in the domination of a minority. • Ruling class systematically pits group against group. • Solidarity among groups weakens = they benefit • Keep Workers Insecure • Exploit Racial-Ethnic Divisions • Ex. Black / Latino conflict
Symbolic Interactionist Perspective • Prejudice and discrimination are acquired through socialization. • The labels we learn color our perceptions – leading to selective perception (labels create prejudice) • We see certain things and are blind to others • We learn our prejudices in interaction with others. • Self-fulfilling prophecy – Stereotypical behavior in those who are stereotyped • Ex. Asians’ pressure to succeed