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Chapter 10 - SOC.docx

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University of Toronto St. George

Week 1 – Ethnicity Prof. Ungar Chapter: 10 Race and Ethnicity Page 235 - 263 D EFININGRACE AND E THNICITY The Great Brain Robbery  Dr. Samuel George Morton collected & measured human skulls of different races and concluded that: o The races ranking the highest on the social hierarchy had the biggest brains (i.e. largest brain size & mental capacity) o Biggest brains are whites of European origin, next were Asians, then Native North Americans o People at the bottom of the social hierarchy & had the smallest brains were blacks  He claimed the system of social inequality in the world had natural, biological roots  His idea was used to justify 2 of the most oppressive forms of domination & injustice: 1. Colonization 2. Slavery  3 Main Issues that Compromise his Findings: 1. He claimed to be able to distinguish b/w the skulls of white & black ppl by the shapes of the skulls. Since this is not possible his sorting of the skulls were invalid. 2. He only measured 72 skulls, which formed a small, unrepresentative sample. 3. From his sample, females comprised 71% of the “Negroid” group & only 48% of the “Caucasian.” Given that women’s bodies are on average smaller than men’s these group comparisons are unfair. The findings are biased in favour of larger, white, male skulls. Race, Biology, and Society  In Medieval Europe, some aristocrats saw blue veins under their skin but not their peasants’ suntanned skin so they concluded that the 2 groups were racially distinct & they called themselves “blue bloods”  80 years ago some scholars expressed that belief that racial differences in IQ scores were genetically based o Peter Sandiford argued that Canada must institute a selective immigration policy to ensure that only the best & the brightest are allowed in  His data showed that mental superiority came from the Northern Europeans (i.e. British, Danish, German) compared w/ Eastern & Southern Europeans (i.e. Polish, Italians, Greeks)  He dismissed the fact that the Japanese & Chinese had the highest intelligence scores by saying a few clever Asians got in  Ppl who argued against Jewish immigration & better education for inner-city African Americans ignored 2 facts: 1 Week 1 – Ethnicity Prof. Ungar 1. Jewish IQ scores rose as Jews moved up the class hierarchy & could afford better education 2. Enriched educational facilities have routinely boosted the IQ scores of inner-city African-American children  Much evidence shows that the social setting in which a person is raised & educated has a big impact on IQ  Argument for the genetic basis of black athletic superiority begins to falter once we consider 2 additional points: 1. No gene linked to general athletic superiority has yet been identified 2. Athletes of African descent do not perform unusually well in many sports, such as swimming, hockey, cycling, tennis, gymnastics, and soccer  Sociologist have identified certain social conditions that lead to high levels of participation in sports which work on all sorts of ppl regardless of their race: o Ppl who experience widespread prejudice & discrimination often enter sports & entertainment & crime in disproportionately large #s for lack of other ways to improve their social & economic position  Ethnic & racial intermarriage has been increasing in Canada o Ex. Tiger Woods  Cablinasian = Caucasian, Black, Native American Indian, Asian o Sociologists don’t think we should drop the term race b/c perceptions of race continue to affect the lives of most ppl profoundly  social significance o Perceptions of racial differences are socially constructed & often arbitrary o Race matters to the degree that it helps create & maintain systems of social inequality o Vicious Circle of Racism 1. Physical markers are used to distinguish groups & create social inequality vased on race by means of colonialism, slavery, etc… 2. Different social conditions b/w superordinate & subordinates create behavioural differences b/w them (e.g., energetic vs. lazy workers) 3. Perceptions of behavioural differences create racial stereotypes that get embedded in culture Prejudice = is an attitude that judges a person on his or her group’s real or imagined characteristics Discrimination = is unfair treatment of ppl because of their group membership Race = is a social construct used to distinguish ppl in terms of one or more physical markers, usually with profound effects on their lives Scapegoat = is a disadvantage person or category of ppl who others blame for their own problems 2 Week 1 – Ethnicity Prof. Ungar Ethnicity, Culture, and Social Structure Ethnic Group = comprises ppl who perceived cultural markers are deemed socially significant. Ethnic groups differ from one another in terms of language, religion, customs, values, ancestors, and the like.  Race is to biology as ethnicity is to culture  Ethnic values & other elements of ethnic culture have less of an effect on the way ppl behave b/c social structural differences frequently underlie cultural differences Ethnic and Racial Stratification in Canada  What determines the economic success of an ethnic /racial group are the resources ppl possess (i.e. education, literacy, urbanity, and financial assets) o Also what economic opportunities are open to ppl th  John Porter (one of the founders of sociology) – called Canada in the mid- 20 century an ethnically & racially stratified “vertical mosaic” o Hampered immigrant’s upward mobility o After WWII ethnic & culture mattered less than the structure of mobility opportunities in determining economic success Canadian-American Differences Multiculturalism = Policy emphasizes tolerance of ethnic and racial differences Melting Pot = ideology of the United States values the disappearance of ethnic and racial differences  Differences b/w Canada & American Immigration Policies: o US – higher % of Latin American immigrants  American policies is more influenced by foreign policy considerations o Canada – higher % of Asian immigrants  Canadian policies focus on economic issues (prefer those w/ capital
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