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Lecture 8

GGRB13 - Lecture 8 - Race

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Minelle Mahtani

GGRB13 – Lecture 8 – March 12, 2012 SOCIAL GEOGRAPHIES OF RACE AND RACIALIZATION Key Concepts to Remember! - Race - Racialization - Caucasian - Orientalism Race 101 - What is race? - We talk about it all the time, but what is it? - How is race a social construction? - Why is this idea so important? How is race racialized? - Think of race as a process, no longer a word - Why do we use the term Caucasian (and why we should banish it)? What is “race”? - Geography helps understand the processes - Race and geography have one important trait in common - They are both arbitrary systems of (dis)organization - Where are you from? - Race has been the history of an untruth - We have these racial categories to make sense of things, but how do you define yourself if you’re “mixed”? - Why do we need race? What does it mean to be “white”, “black”, etc. - These are racially political categories - Race is a regulatory fiction - This is an oxymoron, two opposites that come together - It regulates society/world and yet it is a fiction, how it is embedded in society in which some people have power while others do not - Social intervention - It changes across place and time Race 101 - What is race? Why do we put it in quotes? “Race” - Epistemological perspective - Race has political salience in society, and by putting it in quotes...? - How do you think about race? - How do you negotiate your race? How do you think about your identity? - What is your race? Are you White, Black, Caucasian? - What do these categories mean? Shattering race myths - These categories are not static - What it means to be attached to a particular racial group changes over time and space - Do categories fit you? Race seems obvious, right? - As obvious as these thing seem, they are also deceptive - The ways that races are classified are a matter of personal preferences among scientists - What it means to be “black” changes over time and space - Racial classification is idiosyncratic (peculiarity that serves to distinguish or identify) - Fingerprints: Would group Europeans, black Africans and East Asians - No one has been able to show there is any coherent way to define similarities within groups and differences between groups on the basis of physical or genetic variation - There’s no biological basis for race - No such biological thing such as race - Dividing humans into groups on the basis of some combination of physical and genetic traits simply does not make sense - Remember Semple’s ideas about mountain people AAA Statement on Race, 1998 - There is a wide range of how people’s phenol type will look like - Phenol type and geo-types are so different - Most physical variation, about 94%, lies within so-called racial groups - There is greater variation within “racial” groups than between them The Social Construction of Race - “Race is fabricated”, it is socially constructed - New England Journal of Medicine: “Race is biologically meaningless” - Not one characteristic, trait, or gene distinguishes all members of one so-called race from all members of another so-called race The “Science” of race 19 Century - Social death looks at particular people who suffer from how racism structures people’s lives significantly - Race is tied to science, when things are tied to science it holds more “weight”, there are ideologies of power - The ways in which people thought race was based on genetics - Played a role in which Nazi’s conceptualized race - It is a form of racial hygiene, a form of racial purity during WWII Eugenics 20 Century - Mulattos is a mixed person - The term is used socially as people who are of mixed race - In Spanish, it is a mix between a horse and a donkey - Davenport clings onto myths of physical and psychological superiority of certain races over others Mixed race people - Dover? Climate and “Race Character” - Nasty-Tropical Africa – people can’t think as well, the sun boils their brain - Temperate Europe – more civilized - Some places were seen as uncivilized because of their geography Environmental Determinism - The idea that a higher level of race exists - Higher type of humanity because of better-ordered communities, more comfort, with more industry The Materiality of Race - CRT (critical race theory) is about the relationship between race, racism, and power. - The elimination of a scientific basis for race/racism does not eliminate the functioning of race/racism in society - Race continues to be a factor in socially constructed difference which has material consequences How the Irish Became White - “White” was not a physical description - It was a term of a social relation which could not exist without its opposite (“blacks”) - “White man’s work” was work from which Afro-Americans were excluded The Term Caucasian - Why do we use it? - Because we don’t want to use the word “white”? - We use it as a politically correct term for white - Where and what is Caucasia? Where does the term derive from? - Border between Europe and Asia - Not surprisingly, the peoples and languages are extremely diverse - This is where Noah’s ark supposedly landed (in the Caucasus Mountains) - Some human skulls were found there Linneaus - Came up with the idea of classifying people by race based on skulls - He’s the father of taxonomy (classification) - He’s also the father of scientific racism, determined who had power and who didn’t - Came up with systems of nature 1735 Systems of Nature - He came up with categories - Americanus, Africanus, Asiaticus, Europeanus, and Monstrosus - Americanus = red-skinned - Africanus = black-skinned - Asiaticus = yellow-skinned - Europeanus = white-skinned - Monstrosus = mythologic human sub-races Linnaeus - Homo feralis – four-footed, mute hairy - Hessian Wolf Boy – animal reared - Puella Campanica – wild girl of Champagne - Pantogonian Giant – Dwarf of the Alps Caucasian People - The belief that certain skulls produce the most beautiful race of men (the Georgian) Blumenbach - 5 Categories of race that belong to a single species - Caucasian, Mongolian, Ethipoian, American and Malay - Caucasians ranked first because they are the “most beautiful race of men” Mapping history of race in geography - Race IN geography (where are the people of colour) - Racialization of places - It is all about seeing how people are racialized - Race is a problematic term; it is a verb and a process, not simply a noun - We are all “raced” everyday Terra Nullius - Terra nullius, you diminish other races - Declared land to be “empty” for the taking if the inhabitants were not civilized enough to develop it - Leaves the door wide open for the British to declare that the lands that would comprise Canada were theirs simply because Aboriginal peoples were uncivilized nomads Terra Nullius today: Gitskan Wetsuwetin - Land claim case: BC Supreme Court - Judge declared Gitskin did not have horses and did not develop land in a way that would confirm their claim to it - If you are not supposedly using the land to its fullest potential then you cannot lay claim to it Early work on Race and Geography - Remember, geography is a “survey” course - Why is the textbook so obsessed with segregation? How racial population are closely segregated in certain places - Emry Jones “A Social Geography of Belfast” (1960) - Racial segregation - Spatial sociology - What are the spatial patterns and movements of minority group concentration? Influenced by the Chicago School th - Beginning of 20 century - How nature and geography comes together, how “natural communities” emerge within “cities” - Founded by Robert Park, Ernest Burgess, and Roderick McKenzie Chicago school - Think about how people move out of the city into the rural - Urban Ecology - Cities were environments like those found in nature - Struggle for scarce urban resources led to competition and division of urban space and distinctive ecological niches or “natural areas” in which people shared similar social characteristics - Concentric zone theory: Cities taking the form of five concentric rings Why’d people like this idea? - “Natural community” appealed to people because it fit with a general belief in importance of unregulated economic competition - Urban neighbourhoods weren’t planned but emerged out of ecological processes -
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