SOC101Y1 Lecture Notes - Samuel George Morton
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Lecture 04 – Race and Ethnicity
October 7, 2008
Samuel George Morton
➣ studied human skulls that came from many different places
➣ different races
➣ believed that the bigger the brain, the smarter the person
➣ believed that brain size was linked to race
➣ packed small pellets into brains until they were full and then poured into measuring cylinder and
measured volume of pellets
➣ thought this would help him draw conclusions about the size of brains
➣ those ranked in high social hierarchy had large brains
➣ largest to smallest: white, asian, native Americans.. etc.
➣ used this evidence to justify slavery
➣ archeologists cannot determine race by skull size
➣ Morton’s research was only based on 72 skulls (statistically impossible)
➣ 71% that he identified black skulls belonged to African-women (comparing apples and oranges)
Science is a social undertaking. When you look at scientific data, do not trust it. It is up to you to determine
whether it has holes or not.
White skulls (men) are smaller than blacks.
IQ scores change every year by race.
Example: Jews IQ scores improved over the years but their genetic make up did not change. Possible
explanation: as their social standings improved, their children had better education.
1990’s. ➣ idea that African Americans have lower IQ scores was used to slash funding for inter-city schools.
When enough resources are available in a school with Latino and black students, their scores go up
Investing more in education of underprivileged improves scores.
67% of NBA players are black.
Consider 2 points:
➣ There has never been any gene that is linked to athletic ability.
➣ African Americans do not do as well in other sports.
*The idea that African-Americans are better athletes is not true*
…there is a more credible explanation
People who do well in sports do well because of social structure and geography.
Social Structure and Sports
➣ sociologists have found that social structures affect sports
➣ Not just men .
➣ Look to sports and crime to find acceptance.
➣ blocked opportunities and so they look for other channels
Prejudice is an attitude that people employ to judge others on their group’s real or imagined characteristics
Discrimination is unfair treatment of people due to their perceived group membership.
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