Chapter 3 - Race and Ethnic Relations A summary of Chapter 3 of the Social Problems book

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Published on 16 Oct 2011
School
UTSG
Department
Sociology
Course
SOC102H1
Chapter 3 Race and Ethnic Relations
Introduction
Most people view racial prejudice as unfair; and Canadians tend to look for remedies to injustice
Prejudice creates conflicts in our society minorities vs majority; people prejudiced vs those who are not
Prejudice and its outcomes (discrimination, conflict, exclusion, hatred, distrust) are politically and economically wasteful
because they neglect certain human resources and thus hinder our society’s potential for prosperity
Race
People who have the most difficulty accepting other races believe that race is biological
Believe that race is an essential and permanent feature of any human being; that certain cultural or personality dispositions
are genetically based as well
Believe in at least 3 categories:
1. Negroid blacks
2. Caucasoid white
3. Mongoloid yellow
Scientists reject this view because there is more variability within a “race” than between “races”
The physical features associated with race are not genetically associated skin colour, hair texture, eye colour
Race may be a social construction but as long as large numbers of people continue to think race does make a difference, the
idea of race will continue to influence the social order and social inequality significant in a sociological perspective
Ethnicity
Cultural differences certainly exist between groups of people and when they are sharpened by clear differences in skin
colour, height, and other physical features, cultural differences seem more prominent and somehow significant
Physical features are supposed results of collective evolutionary adaptation to specific environmental conditions
Race and ethnicity are not necessarily connected: people who differ in appearance may share the same cultural values
The cultural features people share, as members of an ethnic group, are usually a result of collective experiences that are
interpreted in a certain way given a particular historical and regional background
We form ethnic groups relationally, through processes of exclusion and inclusion around symbols of real or imagined
common descent common language, rituals and folklore
Ethnic boundaries may made and unmade over time
Culture: the way of life of a society that includes dress, language, norms of behaviours, foods, tools beliefs and folklore; this
framework of values and practices adapts to the changing socio-historical context
Multiculturalism in Canada
Immigrants are a large fraction of the population of Canada’s cities
The multicultural policy was first set up in 1971; the factors that influences its introduction include:
o Stormy relations between English and French speakers in the 1960s
o The Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism did original research and held hearings in 1963
o In 1969, the Official Languages Act was voted into law
Spokespersons for ethnic minorities argued that the old policy of cultural assimilation was unjust
o they had made great sacrifices just as other Canadians had done
o they deserve the same respect and the same benefits of Canadian citizenship
o favoured a ‘cultural mosaic’ with distinct parts fitting together in a single society; not melting pot (US)
Royal commission agreed, recommending that the government recognize the value of cultural pluralism and encourage
Canadian institutions to reflect the value of pluralism in their policies and programs supported by PM, Pierre Elliot
Trudeau
The policy proposed that multiculturalism operate within a bilingual framework English and French
Also declared ethnic pluralism a goal worth preserving and nurturing in Canadian society
Provinces followed the federal lead, introducing their own multiculturalism policies
1971 Multiculturalism Act
1982 the desire to preserve and enhance the multicultural heritage of Canadians’ was entrenches in the Constitution
1988 a new Canadian Multiculturalism Act became law
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Traditional multiculturalism concerned with protecting the rights of individuals
o Protects the rights of minorities through provincial human right codes
o Protects individual job-seekers against bias
Modern multiculturalism concerned with the survival of diverse cultural groups
o Individual is treated as the member of an ethnic or racial group
o The group is protected by the law
o Supports blanket preferences to promote the hiring of disadvantaged group members (employment equity)
Employment equity give preference to members of the specifically protected groups (females, visible minorities)
People begin to argue about whom to include under the label ‘visible minority’ or disabled person
Some criticize the federal policy of multiculturalism for highlighting group differences, encouraging different value systems,
and building isolated communities rather than promoting common interests and objectives
o As long as Canada preserves diverse cultures never build a national identity
For some, treating minority groups in a special way violated the former Canadian norm of equal treatment
The Vertical Mosaic
Repeatedly, the majority group has excluded and devalued immigrant groups, with minority newcomers experiencing less-
than-average access to better occupations and higher income
John Porter vertical mosaic: a socio-economic hierarchy in which French and English Canadians live at the top and other
ethnic minorities are positioned below
As Canada industrialized, a close relationship between ethnicity and social class developed
Ethnic groups took and held onto the best available roles in society, leaving the less desirable roles for other ethnic groups
especially, for more recent immigrants
New immigrants would arrive to find Canada’s best jobs taken and they had to settle for those typically lower in the social
hierarchy
With few exceptions, their children and grandchildren were unable to move up the hierarchy because mechanisms for
upward mobility were largely inaccessible (higher education)
From generation to generation, particular ethnic groups remained stuck in their entrance status: the status attained when
their group first arrived in Canada
However, immigrants today do not permanently retain their entrance status thanks to educational opportunities
Discrimination and a lack of education opportunities have continued to make it difficult for the Canadian-born children of
some minority immigrants to climb the economic ladder left a stable base of labourers on which the dominant
English/French group could perch
Chain Migration
Process of migration to Canada has been gradual; push factors and pull factors
Chain migration: the successful migration of one family member creates a chain for the kin and community
network. Migration is not random but is increasingly about networks, rational choices, and kinship relations
Many immigrants spend their first years in large old houses packed with family members who had just arrived and
were looking for a foothold
Institutional Completeness
With each arrival, the immigrant community becomes larger and more differentiated, containing a wider variety of
communal institutions
Institutional completeness: a measure of the degree to which an immigrant ethnic group gives its own members
the services they need through its own local institutions
By increasing the numbers of those who carry out most of their activities within the ethnic group and preserve
ethnic culture and ethnic social ties, community solidarity and cohesion is strengthened
New immigrants are sometimes forced to use their ethnic membership and assert their ethnic pride as a matter of
economic and cultural survival; try to assimilate will not belong anywhere
Grandchildren will feel fully accepted; parents will feel partly accepted; grandparents are least accepted
Therefore, members of the same extended family can have very different experiences of the same society
Diasporas
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Document Summary

Most people view racial prejudice as unfair; and canadians tend to look for remedies to injustice. Prejudice creates conflicts in our society minorities vs majority; people prejudiced vs those who are not. Prejudice and its outcomes (discrimination, conflict, exclusion, hatred, distrust) are politically and economically wasteful because they neglect certain human resources and thus hinder our society"s potential for prosperity. People who have the most difficulty accepting other races believe that race is biological. Believe that race is an essential and permanent feature of any human being; that certain cultural or personality dispositions are genetically based as well. Believe in at least 3 categories: negroid blacks, caucasoid white, mongoloid yellow. Scientists reject this view because there is more variability within a race than between races . The physical features associated with race are not genetically associated skin colour, hair texture, eye colour.

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