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Sociology (2,000)
SOCA01H3 (600)
Lecture 10

Course Code
Malcolm Mac Kinnon

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Social Construction of Race
Perceptions of racial difference are socially constructed and often arbirtrary
Some people think race and ethnicity is ascribed, sociology shows that r&e is socially
Greater importance for sociology and social forces than biology
Jewish people are ethnic groups and not a race
Race is often misused when people try to refer to nationality
Race is a group of people that are determined to be inferior or superior by physical
Racism is then often misused, racism- discrimination against a socially defined
group or individual
Genetic inferiority
Racism implies prejudice and discrimination against a socially defined group that
has a genetic inferiority
Race: A Social construct used to distinguish people in terms of one or more physical
markers, usually with profound effects on their lives
Example: Using race to make person or group a scapegoat, which is a disadvantaged
person or category of people that others blame for their own problems
Scapegoating is fairly widespread
The classification of white and non-white started in Europe in the age of colonialism
The fiction of pure race
oHumanity has experienced so much intermixing that race as a biological
category has lost nearly all meaning
oSociologists use the term race because perceptions of race continue to affect
lives of most people profoundly
Japan has a lot of biological similarity because it has been isolated from the larger
The Japanese are not a race, biologically speaking
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Migration leads to intermixing
Impossible to draw biological lines around the human race
When you compare two groups the genetic variation is smaller than it is for within a
particular group
Society arbitrarily selects different traits
oIe eye colour, length of nose.
The entire range of genetic characteristics is wide therefore race is social rather
than biological
Race can create a group membership- consciousness of kind
^Segregates populations, create an insider-can lead to social conflict
Prejudice- an attitude that judges a person according to his or her groups real or
imagined characteristics
Discrimination- unfair treatment of people because of their group membership
Types of Racism
oInstitutional racism government discriminates society
oSystematic Racism
Establish policies against certain groups (e.g. based on size)
Cycle of Racism
oPhysical markers are used to distinguish groups and create social inequality
absed on race by means colonialism
oDifferent social conditions between superordinates and subordinates create
behavioural differences between them
oPerceptions of behavioural differences create racial stereotypes
Ethnicity , Culture, and Social Structure
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