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SOCI 1003 (31)

chapter 10

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SOCI 1003
Elizabeth Nisbet

SOCA01- Chapter 10 Notes Chapter 10-Race and Ethnicity Defining Race and Ethnicity The Great Brain Robbery: Dr. Samuel George Morton: -collected and measured human skulls that came from various times and places -their original occupants were members of different races -believed he could show that the bigger your brain the smarter you were -found that races ranking highest in the social hierarchy had the biggest brains while those ranking in lowest had the smallest brains -those w/ the biggest were white of European origin, then were Asians, native North Americans, and lowest was blacks -said that power, wealth, and intelligence were due to brain size and mental capacity -thus people used findings to justify colonization and slavery 3 main issues compromise his findings: 1. Archaeologists today cannot precisely determine race by skull shape -thus it is unclear whether his skulls belonged to whites or blacks 2. His skulls formed a small, unrepresentative sample 3. 71% of skulls he identified as Negro were womens compared to 48% of the skulls he identified as Caucasian -womens bodies are on average smaller than mens -thus Mortons findings are meaningless but influential for a long time Race Biology and Society: -in medieval Europe, aristocrats called themselves blue bloods b/c they apparently could see blue veins underneath their skin and none under the skin of tanned peasants -~80 yrs ago, some scholars believed that racial differences in average IQ scores were genetically based -ex. Peter Sandiford -argued that Canada should keep out misfits and defectives from immigrating to Canada -encouraged the recruitment of British, German, and Danish and discouraged Polish, Italians and Greeks -said his data showed mental superiority in Northern Europe than Southern or Eastern Europeans -Asians scored highest but he claimed they were only exceptions and should still be kept out -in the US, Jews scored below non-Jews on IQ tests in the 1920s -more recently, African Americans have one average scored below Euro-Americans -these people who argued against Jewish immigration and education for inner-city African Americans ignored 2 facts 1. Jewish IQ scores rose as they moved up the class hierarchy and could afford better education 2. Enriched educational facilities have routinely boosted the IQ scores of inner-city African-American children -evidence shows that the social setting in which a person is raised and educated has a big impact on IQ -considering sports, it seems like most blacks make up most of the NBA and NFL as well as hold top records in running -but no gene linked to general athletic superiority has yet been identified -athletes of African descent do no perform unusually well in many sports such as swimming, hockey, cycling, tennis etc -sociologists have identified certain social conditions that lead to high levels of participation in sports (as well as entertainment and crime) -operate on all groups of people -people who often face widespread prejudice and discrimination often enter sports, entertainment and crime in large numbers for lack of other ways to improve their social and economic position -prejudice is an attitude that judges a person on his or her groups real or imagined characteristics -discrimination is unfair treatment of people b/c of their group membership -ex. Not until 1950s that prejudice and discrimination against North American Jews began to decline -all Jewish squad of New York Knicks in 1946 -ex. Koreans in Japan today are subject to much prejudice and discrimination and so enter into sports and entertainment, but less in Canada, and so enter into engineering and science -thus, social circumstances have a big impact on behaviour -it is impossible to neatly distinguish races based on genetic differences (easier b/w people from distant locales, but not within continental landmasses due to genetic mixing) -ethnic and racial intermarriage has been increasing in Canada -ex. Tiger Woods -claims he is of Cablinasian ancestry (part Caucasian, black, Native American Indian, and Asian) -some scholars believe we all belong to one human race originating from Africa -humanity has experienced so much inter-mixing that race as a biological category has lost nearly all meaning -most sociologists continue to use the term race b/c perceptions of race continue to affect the lives off most people (everything from wealth to health) -perceptions of racial difference are socially constructed and often arbitrary -ex. Irish and Jews were once regarded as blacks -shows that racial distinctions are social constructs not biological givens -thus race can be defined as a social construct used to distinguish people in terms of one or more physical markers -most sociologists believe that race matters b/c it allows social inequality to be created and perpetuated -ex. English who colonized Ireland, Americans who went to Africa for slaves, Germans who used Jews as scapegoats -a scapegoat is a disadvantaged person or category of people that others blame for their own problems Ethnicity, Culture, and Social Structure: -race is biology as ethnicity is to culture -a race is a socially defined category of people whose perceived physical markers are deemed significant -an ethnic group comprises people whose perceived cultural markers are deemed significant -differ in terms of language, religion, customs, values, ancestors, etc. -just as physical distinctions dont cause differences in behaviour of various races, so cultural distinctions are often not by themselves the major source of differences in behaviour of different ethnic groups -b/c social structural differences frequently underlie cultural differences -ex. the social-structural disadvantages to blacks and aboriginals-not their culture-made them less economically successful than Jews and Koreans on average -much of Canadian research supports arguments that culture is unimportant in determining economic success of racial and ethnic groups -differences in annual income b/w racial groups is largely due to factors such as years of education and number of years immigrants have been in the countryEthnic and racial stratification in Canada: -what matters in determining the economic success of an ethnic or racial group are the resources people possess such as education, literacy, financial assets (as seen w/ the Jews and Koreans compared to the Aboriginals) -another factor is the kinds of economic opportunities open to people -ex. in mid-twentieth century Canada was a society sharply stratified along ethnic and racial lines -people w/ most power and privileges were of British origin -WASPs controlled big corporations and dominated politics -later immigrants had less power and privilege (European had higher status than Asians) John Porter: -called this ethnic and racial stratification of Canada a vertical mosaic -thought retention of ethnic and racial culture was a problem b/c it hampered upward mobility of immigrants -thus making Canada a low-mobility society -by 1970s many Canadian sociologists, as well as Porter, had to qualify their view that ethnic and racial culture determines economic success or failure -after WWII many ethnic and racial minority groups were economically successful despite prejudice and discrimination -economic differences b/w ethnic, and to a lesser degree racial, groups diminished -ethnic and racial diversity increased among wealthy, politicians and professionals -thus, ethnic and racial culture mattered less than the structure of mobility opportunities in determining economic success -in addition to the resources a person possesses, the structure of opportun
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