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SOCA01H3 Lecture Notes - Ethnic Enclave, Endogamy, Meritocracy

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Sheldon Ungar

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Race and Ethnicity
(no marginality and creativity on the final)
- Marginalized individuals are socialized (primary) by one culture and then later by another culture (secondary)
- these people tend to be more creative
- their socialization is inconsistent
How does Race and Ethnicity shape the distribution of Power and Resources in society?
-race and ethnicity often focus on inequality resources are divided along the lines of race and ethnicity
-some people think that race and ethnicity are ascribed you’re born with it and can’t change it
-traits that you’re born with
-sociology says race and ethnicity are socially constructed
-consider greater importance for sociology than in biology
-racial distinctions aren’t biologically given
-some scientists believe we all belong to one race and this is in Africa
-some people think we all come from one mother named Lucy who is from Africa
-is misused
-some people think of race in connection with skin colour terrible misue
-the Caucassion race white people or people of European background
-some people label Jewish people as a race but they are an ethnic group
-another misuse is nationality
-the English racewrong
-the human racewrong
-not the way sociologists or biologists use the term race
-Race a category of people who have been singled out as superior or inferior on the basis of physical
characteristics (a social construct)
-racism to be prejudiced against a socially defined group of people and to discriminate against them based on the
so-called genetic inferiority of that group of individuals
- the term racism is also misued
- discrimination and prejudice isn’t always based on racial reasons
-you can discriminate against people not just on race but also on religion, colour of hair, etc.
-should be aware of the fact that racism is the discrimination against people who show a “genetic inferiority”
Race biology of society:
-race is a social construct
-race matters historically because it has been associated with inequality
-the group defined as genetically inferior experiences prejudice
-scapegoating - when people falsely blame a disadvantaged group for problems of their own becoming
Problems with Biological Race:
- when you look at white people, there’s an enormous range of skin colours; same with black people
- this system of classifying people originated in Europe during colonialism
- many people don’t fit this system people from Asia, Thailand, etc.
-another problem is the fiction of pure race
-sociologists use race because the perception of race affects the lives of people profoundly
-it remains a social category
-but it lacks a biological foundation
-racial purity is thought to exist but this is fiction
-most of us are genetically mixed, one way or another

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-some places have more biological similarity than other ie. Japan: has been isolated from the rest of the
world for a long period of time and today it still doesn’t have immigration
-there is a small Chinese and Korean population, but for the most part Japan is isolated from the larger
-even so, the Japanese are not a race, biologically speaking
-why are people mixed?
-can also have immigration moving into a county
-emigration moving out of the country
-this is increasing with the modern world
-intermarriage is also increasing so these make it impossible to draw biological lines between people
-another problem of race: genetic variation (height, size, etc.) within groups is greater than genetic variation
between groups
-so when you compare 2 groups, the genetic variation is smaller in a between group comparison than
within a particular group
- this puts a big hole in the notion of race being biological
How do we get race?
-society arbitrarily selects certain traits
-race is based on arbitrary traits ie. you could form race on the basis of eye colour
-but when we look at the entire range of genetic characteristics, the genetic biological sectioning of race falls to
-this means that the concept of race is social rather than biological
-thus people are pinned with a racial tag by society and it is unjustified
-Tiger Woods:
-has an interesting racial background
Aboriginal White Black Chinese Thai
Father Mother
-Woods actually invented the term
-Consciousness of kind can lead to social conflict
-people are conscious of belonging to a particular group that has been socially defined
-this segregates populations and can create an insider (I belong to thins group and the rest of society belongs to
another group)
-this can lead to social conflict
Types of Racism:
-classifying yourself as a part of a race is incorrect
-prejudice is an attitude, discrimination is a behaviour
-Institutional racism:
-this is genuine racism
-you can find this in apartheid societies like South Africa and the southern part of the United States
-this is when the government and the state develops laws which discriminate against people based on
their socially defined race
-the most prominent laws are the laws of segregation which segregate people based on race
-make intermarriage illegal
-Systematic racism:
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