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Week 14 – 1/19/11
Race and Ethnicity
-Dr. Morton: races that rank higher in “social hierarchy” have bigger brains -> European
-Criticisms of Morton’sSkull Study
1) identifying the race of a skull imprecise even today.
2) small, unrepresentative sample
-used African skulls that have been robbed from graves
3) controlling for sex reduces or eliminates race differences
eg. Average black female skulls actually turned out larger than female ones
-skull size does NOT equal intelligence
-stereotype: black ppl = more genetic superiority in sports
-however: most of the top runners are West African descent. But theyre not excelling at
swimming, hockey, etc.
-DNA is a chemical that contains the genetic instructions for all living organisms. When
ppl have a child, the DNA of the mates combines child inherits that parent’s DNA
-DNA consists of 3 billion pairs of 4 types of molecules. Diff sequences of molecules
result in characteristics (eg. Skin colour). 99.5% of the DNA of all ppl is identicial
-remaining ……… [see powerpoint]
-snips influence readily apparent physical differences such as skin pigmentation + less
apparent physical differences such as the capacity to absorb and utilize various
chemicals. Idenfitying snips of the latter type enables the production of “designer” drugs
that are best suited to groups w unique genetic characteristics.
-significantly, comparative genomics research focuses on diff btwn SOCIALLY distinct
groups, such as blacks + whites. Yet genetic diversity is greatest among ppl of African
origin, + genetic varation within other racial groups may be pharmacologically
Race, Biology, and Society
-theres no biological evidence that races differ in ways that explain behavioural
differences (eg. Brain studies)
-behaviourial diff btwn racial groups are not constant (eg. Group IQ scores and athletic
-behaviourial differences btwn racial groups vary by social circumstance (eg. Upward
mobility and academic enrichment boost IQ scores; lack of opportunity for upward
mobility increases participation in professional sports.)
Race and Ethnicity defined
-a race is composed of ppl whose perceived physical markers are socially significant
(esp in creating and maintaining systems of social inequality)
-eg. Slavery + colonialism, stereotypes
-ethnic group: composed of ppl whose percieved cultural markers are socially
significant (esp in creating + maintaining systems of social inequality
-race = “biology” while ethnicity = “culture”
-eg. Diff in work ethnics => Jamaican/West Indies vs. Africa
Social Roots of Racism
Physical markers are used to distinguish groups and create inequality based on
Different social conditions among superordinates and subordinates create
behavioral differences between them.
Perceptions of behavioral differences get embedded in culture as racial
Racial stereotypes reinforce the use of physical markers to distinguish groups.
Six Degrees of Separation
Genocide: group extermination (Germans ◊Jews)
Expulsion: forcible removal of group from a territory (W. Europeans ◊ Native
Slavery: legal ownership of a group (W. Europeans ◊ Africans)
Segregation: spatial and institutional separation of groups (White Americans ◊
Pluralism: retention of identity and equal access to basic social resources
Assimilation: cultural blending of majority and minority groups (Canada today)
Factors Influencing Assimilation
Length of time in country varies proportionately with assimilation.
Socioeconomic status varies proportionately with assimilation.
Occupational segregation varies inversely with assimilation.
Current and historical discrimination (genocide, expulsion, slavery, segregation)
varies inversely with assimilation.
Canadian Research on Ethnicity, Race, and SES: a summary