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Race & Ethnicity

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Robert Brym

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SOC101 Jan. 19 , 2011 Race & Ethnicity Prejudice & Discrimination Prejudice: is an attitude that people employ to judge others on their group’s real or imagined characteristics Discrimination: unfair treatment of people due to their perceived group membership Morton’s Skull Study Morton: measured human skulls from various times & places, believed that the larger a person’s brain was – the smarter the person was, created a hierarchy of races according to brain sizes Races that ranked higher in social hierarchies had the largest brains – whites of European origin, Asians, American Indians, & then black people Natural & biological hierarchies of races – justification of colonization & slavery Criticisms of Morton’s Skull Study Biologist from Harvard, Gould, found that: 1) Identifying the race of a skull imprecise even today. 2) Small, unrepresentative sample. 3) Controlling for sex reduces or eliminates race difference. Brain size doesn’t matter in determining intelligence, or that races have certain brain sizes Many people believe that biological differences result in certain types of behaviour in particular races Investing more in high quality education does produce results for the underprivileged Racial differences in IQ, athleticism, tendency for crime Notion that Blacks make superior athletes are untrue because: 1) No gene found linked to genetic superiority; 2) Have to do with geography & culture People who face discrimination & prejudice drift towards professional sports because avenues of social mobility are blocked, no other means of upward mobility Higher the level of discrimination, greater tendency towards sports Black youth idolizing athletes causes them to place a greater bet on becoming an athlete, rather than focusing on education DNA Snips Chemical that contains the genetic instructions for all living organisms. DNA consists of 3 billion pairs of four types of molecules; different sequences of molecules result in different characteristics (e.g., skin colour). 99.5% of the DNA of all people is identical The remaining 0.5% of DNA may differ between any two people; these differences (known as Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms, SNPs or “snips”) are the focus of research in the field of comparative genomics Comparative Genomics Snips influence readily apparent physical differences such as skin pigmentation and less apparent physical differences such as the capacity to absorb and utilize various chemicals. Identifying snips of the latter type enables the production of “designer” drugs that are best suited to groups with unique genetic characteristics. Significantly, comparative genomics research focuses on differences between socially distinct groups, such as blacks and whites. Yet genetic diversity is greatest among people of African origin, and genetic variation within other racial groups may be pharmacologically sig
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