Race from a Sociological Perspective
Nov. 29 2011
Defining race & racialization:
Race:Agroup of people who were physically and genetically distinguished from other groups (Ravelli & Webber)
– after the french revolution new ideas of race and social class emerged
– ideas about race were very strong & important for white western europeans (ideas of racial superiority)
– Ideas of race as a biological fact have not been consistent
Racialization: The process of attributing complex characteristics to racial categories (ie. Athletic abilities)
– sociologists are not interested in pinning down differences in people, but how they turn into socially significant sets
• is consistent
• produces groups of people
• not accidental
• leads to double-bind situations
• both hyper visible & invisible
Racial oppression leads to situations of hyper-visibility and invisibility.
Hyper visible- people understood as the racial other are asked to speak for their entire race. If you are not white people may
use what you say as their whole understanding of a group of people. Situations of tokenism- hiring one white person who is
to speak to an environment of inclusion.
If they do something that is understood to be deviant they are proving racist points. If they do something non-deviant they
are understood to be exemplary.
“White privilege is like an invisible backpack.. its full of passports , tickets to the best shows ect..”- By being white doors
are open for you. You go through life assuming doors are open for everyone.
Systems of racial privilege and oppression work together with systems of gender and understandings of clas and our