February 26, 2013
Race and Ethnicity Part 1
- Race: “A social construct used to distinguish people in terms of one or
more physical markers, usually with profound effects on their lives.”
(Brym and Lie 2012: 145)
Generally talking about physical features
Sociological definition of race (social construct)
Reflection of what we know from geneticists of race and
sociologists who study race.
Race = social construct
Social construct: an idea or concept that has emerged
- Race is an idea, a construct (symbolic interactionist perspective)
Race is a physical marker
An idea that there is a profound effect on individual‟s lives.
An idea of looking at individual and making meaning (people
derive meaning from physical markers)
Race Does Not Equal Genetic Difference
- All evidence suggests there is no biological component to what we
think of race.
- Race Video
Perceptions that race is genetic
There is a belief that skills and performance skills are different
with each race.
There are no genetic markers to define race
Race is not linked to biology but an idea prescribed to biology.
Because we live in a racialized society, we have a history of
searching for racial differences and attributing performance
differences to them.
- We have ideas about genetic makeup, but there are many differences
- Jim Brown: the definition of race has changed over time
- “Black”: Term applied in opposition to dominant “White”
Applied to „White‟ races (Irish, European Jew, etc.)
A Social Construct With Real Implications
- Video February 26, 2013
Race is about what we first notice about each other (physical
- The significance of race lies in public policy and privat