SOC 2390 Lecture Notes - Census Tract, White Ethnic, Hutu
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The Consequences of Subordinate-Group Status
• There are several consequences for a group of subordinate status. These differ in their degree of
harshness, ranging from physical annihilation to absorption into the dominant group:
• The most extreme way of dealing with a subordinate group is to eliminate it. One historical example is
the British destruction of the people of Tasmania, an island off the coast of Australia. There were 5,000
Tasmanians in 1800, but because they were attacked by settlers and forced to live on less inhabitable
lands, the last full-blooded Tasmanian died in 1876.
• The term genocide is used to describe the deliberate, systematic killing of an entire people or nation.
This term is often used in reference to the Holocaust, Nazi Germany’s extermination of 12 million
European Jews and other ethnic minorities during World War II. The term “ethnic cleansing” was
introduced as ethnic Serbs instituted a policy to eliminate Muslims from parts of Bosnia. More recently,
a genocidal war between the Hutu and Tutsi people in Rwanda left 300,000 school-age children
• Expulsion refers to the process where a dominant group forces a specific subordinate group to leave
certain areas or even vacate a country. European colonial powers in North America and eventually the
U.S. government itself drove almost all Native Americans out of their tribal lands and into unfamiliar
• In 1979, Vietnam expelled nearly 1 million ethnic Chinese from the country, partly as a result of
centuries of hostility between the two Asian neighbors. The expulsion of the Chinese meant that they
were uprooted and became a new minority group in many nations, including Australia, France, the
United States, and Canada.
• A group ceases to be a subordinate group when it secedes to form a new nation or moves to an
already established nation, where it becomes dominant.
• For example, after Great Britain withdrew from Palestine, Jewish people achieved a dominant position
in 1948, attracting Jews throughout the world to the new state of Israel.
• Similarly, the Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian, and Armenian peoples all seceded to form independent
states after the demise of the Soviet Union in 1991.