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Race & Ethnicity.docx

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Dwayne Pare

Week 8: Race & Ethnicity Review:  How to challenge the seeming “natural” quality of many social identities (gender, race, ethnicity, nationality, etc.)  the performative aspects of social identities; how language is used to help achieve them; What are Race and Ethnicity? “Core” Qualities:  Descent, bodily appearance: physiognomy (facial characteristics), skin colour, skeletal structure Other Qualities:  language (structure), interactional behavior (language use), consumption (including food), religion, dress codes, type of work, gender roles, climate, character Race & Ethnicity  Race and later ethnicity originated historically as classifications given to explain visible human variation (NB: human genome mapping has found that 99.9% of DNA b/w any 2 individuals is identical). th  Historical conditions: knowledge production connected to European imperial expansion, intense in 19 c., connected to early global relations.  Race and ethnicity are not given by nature, but are complex social facts. Supposedly natural characteristics are taken as indexes (signs) of a racial or ethnic essence. Language & Race/Ethnicity Key & Peele: Dialing it up…  Key & Peele: “white-talking black guys”  NastiSavage: “That’s not a “white” sound…It’s called speaking proper English!” Out-Group Contexts:  Threatening, Lying, How “they” see “us”, I.e., racialized, associated with negative stereotypes In-Group Contexts:  Anxiety about association with out-group, Speaking in black styles index in-group, How “we” see “us”, Complexity of Indexicals: Rough Diagram Out-Group Contexts In-Group Contexts Talking Standard (“White”)  ‘Non-threat’ Talking Standard (“White”)  ‘Outsider’ Dialing it up  ‘Threatening black guy’ Dialing it up  ‘One of the guys’  The use of “white” (more public, still associated with dominant speakers) vs “black” (less public, still associated with underprivileged speakers) varieties are relational, and have distinct but connected meanings in different types of contexts. Patrolling Boundaries  “White” varieties (spectrum) are associated with important public contexts, and are still associated with dominant speakers.  “Black” varieties (spectrum) are associated with less public contexts, and many registers are still associated with underprivileged speakers.  However, these relations of boundaries and associations are not stable, but rather historically given and change over time. Markedness  In every context, there is a style or variety of speech that is considered appropriate for the context.  Any other style or variety is considered marked, that is, to communicate something extra.  There are connections between contexts because of the power of certain social g
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