LECTURE 5: RACE, ETHNICITY, AND SOCIAL INEQUALITY
Race and Ethnicity
1. What is Race?
a. Sociological definitions of race:
i. Phenotypically differences – skin colour,
ii. “Visible minority”
iii. a continuum of differences
b. race as a biology: there is no biological basis for race
c. race is a social construction: which puts people in a “box”/ “categories”, based on their physical
differences (such as skin colour, hair, eyes, etc.)
i. social construction= very hard to dislodge
ii. ideas, practices, structure that make racial categories meaningful in everyday life
iii. A concept which symbolize and signifies social conflict – racial formation (p71)
d. Quandaries of race:
i. The problem of reification: Should we abandon race
1. Biological ideas become the basis to the social construct of race, where it is
ii. Racialization the process of constructing racial categories, so that we can analyze the process of
turning a group into a marginalize (see. Notes from the prof.)
1. E.g : racialization of Muslims ▯a Muslim who believes x,y,z who oppress women, and
there’s a need for these women to be “rescued” by white people.
2. Canadians ▯60 % visible minority (phenotypically different from white), 4% aboriginal
pop, all these estimates are rising
2. What is Ethnicity?
a. Race subcategories of ethnicity
b. Sociological knowledge production: the three theorist we’ll talk about is American ▯ race= Slavery,
c. Canadian’s diversity= immigrants (ion)
d. Weber: ethnicity (p 68)
i. Social constructed based on: language, customs, beliefs, etc.
ii. Ultimately leads to inclusion and exclusion in a group based on such differences
1. Common/shared customs, beliefs
2. Myth of common descent
3. Phenotypically differences and economical difference, occupation = becomes a marker of
3. Explaining Racial Inequality:
evidence of racial inequality: employment, unemployment and participation rates
o Participation rates: similar
o Employment: similar
o Unemployment: racialized people have a higher rate of unemployment, than those
o Income: nonracialized earn an ave. of income f/t earn : 66,401 (M), for racialized man – 50,612
a. Racial Formation (Michael Omi, Howard Winant) (p.71)
i. Definition: the socialhistorical processes by which social categories are created, inhabited,
transformed and destroyed.
1. Created: Irish: race, inhabited “Irish life”, transformed became “white”, and
2. How do this process occur?
ii. Core arguments: concepts of “hegemony” and racial projects 1. Hegemony ▯“taken for granted practices and assumptions that make domination seem
natural and inevitable to both the dominant and subordinate” (Glenn 1999, 13. See