ANT100Y1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Connotation, Academy Awards, Ferdinand De Saussure
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Anthropologists do not aim to tell you what terms to use. Social science
describes before it can (if it ever can) prescribe
Race in the US today
oSubtle and systemic discrimination
Systemic, not just personal
o`not thought about or addressed consciously
Not simple the question "are you a racist?"
The Oscars issue
oMore jobs and nominations for those who are "white"
Race is real, even though invented
Race is given by society, although it is presented as "natural"
Social construction works with natural materials, but is not itself part of nature
It is part of society, history
Social constructions are invented, but naturalized
Other examples: national identities, gender roles
Wrongs caused by social construction may entail historical rights
Should African-Americans have the right to financial compensation for slavery?
Should First Nations people have group rights to lands?
Should French speaking people in Ontario have language rights?
Should Catholics in Toronto have the right to pay for Catholic rather than secular
schools? (Why not Protestants, Jews, Muslims?)
The Role of Anthropology
Unravel the social and historical constructedness of invented (but real)
categories like race, national identity, or gender.
This work must precede any advice anthropologists can give on what is right or