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SOCA01H3 Lecture Notes - Endogamy, Visible Minority, Institutional Racism

Course Code
Malcolm Mac Kinnon

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Race and Ethnicity
The Field Defined
- sociologists recognize that ethnicity & race are socially defined and do change
they are “acquired” rather than “ascribedcharacteristics
-race – category of ppl who have been singled out as inferior/superior
(genetically) on the basis of physical characteristics such as skin color, hair
color, texture & eye shape
-racism – to judge somebody as being genetically inferior/superior
- migration, immigration = intermarriage
- you find more genetic variation within a race than you do btwn races
An ethnic group may be defined:
-objectively – by group language, culture, customs, national origin & ancestry, or
-subjectively – by the self-identification of group members
- over 20 million Canadians report themselves as having a multiethnic origin
- classifying humans into races is now regarded as arbitrary b/c differences are
-however, racial groups are real in a sociological sense as ppl w/ diff skin color,
etc are treated differently
-racism – disadvantageous treatment of certain groups whose members are
distinguished by socially significant
-ethnic traits include language, clothing, holidays, sense of community,
membership at birth, geography/territoriality
-in Canada, we see residential segregation – certain groups in certain areas
- residential segregation is mostly voluntary
-institutional completeness – when an ethnic community becomes self-
sufficient (has its own restaurants, schools, fears, entertainment,
clothing/grocery stores)
Racism: Institutional & Systemic
-Institutional racism refers to practices that discriminate against racial
minorities and that are built into the structure of politics, economic life,
education, etc
- Systemic discrimination
- Against certain groups because they’re not big enough, etc
Social Significance of Race & Ethnicity
- the terms race & ethnicity tend to carry negative baggage b/c they suggest
some conflict w/ an individualistic achievement and upward mobility
- discrimination is actual behaviour while prejudice is to pre-judge
-cumulative advantage – once you get your foot in the door to power, wealth,
etc then you can get your foot in the door to other things
Minority (subordinate) group – one whose members because of physical or cultural
characteristics are disadvantaged and are subjected to unequal treatment by the
dominant group
-traits: subordinate, segments, underclass of ppl in a complex society,
physical/cultural traits (low esteem)
- can be an ethnic group
- membership is inherited
- will practice endogamy
- can have invisible or visible minorities
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