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Lecture #10 – Race and Ethnicity

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Ryerson University
SOC 103
Kelly Train

Lecture #10 – Race and Ethnicity July 30, 2012 1. What is Race? Ethnicity? Racialization? Ethnicization? Internalized racism? - Race: Physiology characteristics like skin colour, nose, eyes, lips, hair texture - Ethnicity: Cultural characteristics like religion, food, costume, nationality, language - The process of racialization is a social process by which they are imbued by social meanings of superiority or inferiority - Race is real and imagined - White is a race too, but we don’t see it as a race because it is a norm within our society. White is a privilege and privilege is expected - Robert Miles argued that these physiological characteristics were both real and imagined o Check course outline for his book - Things like colour, nose, eyes, lips, and hair texture are racial signifiers – they tell people how they should treat you, speak to you etc. - We give all these things a social meaning which then has real, material consequences in peoples’ lives - Humani Banerjee challenged Miles when he came to Toronto to teach at UofT. She agreed with the social process of racialization, but disagreed that it was based solely on physiological characteristics. She said his argument was too narrow – and that he missed the nuances connected with ethnic signifiers - That’s where ethnicity comes in - Even though race and ethnicity are two different things, sometimes it is difficult to distinguish the two because there is overlap - Internalized racism: the product of what happens when we experience systemic and institutional discrimination o Self hatred o A small part of us cannot help but believe and convince ourselves that we indeed are second class o “Brightening” facial creams, hair straighteners etc. are all symbols of internalized racism 2. Historical roots of racism? a. Religion - The concept of race up until the 1600s was solely based on your religion - Starting in the Spanish inquisition – Jews and Muslims were converted into Catholicism – not until the 1480s when they didn’t trust you even if you had convert. - 1781 – Blumenbach (and Voltaire) - He had 5 different categories, but got cut down into 4 and then into 3 - He had a very specific idea – convinced that race made people separate species - He argued that since these groups were all different species, he was going to prove it by digging up skulls and skeletons from over centuries ago – he wasn’t looking at skin colour – he was looking at bone structure, skull size, symmetry of the face etc. - He sees what he wants to see/expects to see – that’s why it was so easy for Spencer Welsh to disapprove of them - Terms that are still used today: o Caucasian  Caucases (mountains) Russia  Semites  Jews  Arabs  Europe  South Asians o Mongoloid  Mongolia  Asia o Negroid  He believed they came from Niger  African, Australian aboriginals b. Scientific racism 3. History of racism in Canada a. Aboriginal peoples - 1600s – 1880 – period of accommodation o The Europeans were very dependent on the aboriginals for surviving scurvy, how to trap fur, skin fur, to buy fur off of them o Aboriginals were doing well especially in the west in a period called Mercantilism – period right before the Industrial Revolution o Aboriginals become unimportant to Europeans and they become the same/lesser status than other immigrants who are working class - 1880s – The Reserve System o Land that was completely set aside for Aboriginal dwelling – according to treaties in the past o You had to be a status Indian to live on these reserves o Reserves usually had no fertile land, no industry, no resources o Food went in once a month and alcohol went in once a week (still true today) o Status Indian meant that you meant you had an aboriginal father, and an aboriginal/European mother o Non-status was the other way around o This imposed patriarchy and because there were more non-status Indians than status Indians - 1880 – Residential Schooling o Project of Eggerton Ryerson o Hated working class kids and Aboriginal peoples o “Beating the Indian out of the child” o Aboriginals HAD TO send their kids to these schools and were miles away from the home o They were beaten if they practiced their own religion or spoke in their own language o Meant to destroy their culture o The last residential school just closed in 1996 - 1960s – Sixties
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