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LS 2J03 Notes - Week 1 - September 9&10, 2013.docx

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McMaster University
Labour Studies
Robert Storey

LABOUR STUDIES 2J03 – WORK AND RACISM WHAT IS RACE? - September 9, 2013 Understanding Race - Race is a contentious concept – it has been a source of disagreement and questioning - Race is an evolving concept—it has not always had a standard meaning. It has shifted over the years The Biological Conception of Race - Race is defined as a human group characterized/distinguished by certain phenotypical traits - These phenotypical traits are innate and immutable Characteristics Commonly Used To Determine Or Judge Race - Skin colour - Hair texture - Facial features Correlations And Implications - Makes a correlation between the physical characteristics and the social behaviours and traits of people (Mensah 2010, 12) th - Serves as the ‘scientific’ basis for Social Darwinism and Eugenics Movement in 19 and 20 century Europe and North America Criticisms Of The Biological Conception Of Race - UNESCO Conference findings o Attributes commonly used to classify people in racial groups are arbitrary and have no scientific basis o Distinct and discrete racial categories no longer exist, due to migration, intermarriage, social exchanges and intermingling o Phenotypical characteristics play no role in determining differences in social behaviours Race As A Social Construction - Race is defined as a “social construct used to describe certain physical genetic differences among people” - Racial group membership is dependent on society’s classification - Racial categorization is contextual The Limitation Of ‘Race’ - Using the term ‘race’ contradicts the recognition that no real race exists - Reasserts ‘race’ as real and concrete - Reproduces inaccurate and simplistic views of different groups of people The Reality Of Race - As long as race continues to have significant social consequences, it requires analytical attention - Limitations of the Constructive Approach to Race o Can minimize the very real and powerful impact of race on individuals o Limit the capacity of individuals to respond to racial discriminations UNDERSTANDING RACE AND RACIALIZATION - September 10, 2013 Why Study Racialization - “… documenting racism—an exercise tha
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