Racial and Ethnic Inequality

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16 Feb 2011
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February 1, 2011
Racial and Ethnic Inequalities
People still care about ethnicity
-R&E conflicts
-Theories about the continuous importance about conflict over R&E genocide
oSome reasons are economic
The economic system produces class inequalities, like Marx and Weber arguer
People of different racial and ethnic groups are stemmed into these classes; and
ideological systems legitimates the resulting racial inequalities
oThe intensity of the conflict
The also care about race
-How can we explain the persistence of R&E inequalities
-Premise: racial groups are visibly identifiable, ethnic groups on the other hand are not
oEthnic groups themselves feel distinguished from other people of society, ethnic people
believe they share common characteristics and experiences
-Marx: ethnic identities no meaning, it exists because differences benefit the dominant class
oAs people became more aware of their class status, they would get rid of their ideas of
ethnicity ethnicity: importance of the tribe
-Durkheim: believed people do place importance in ethnicity, but as society urbanized, it would
disappear
oIndustrialism new form of social organization, will not have any room for ethnic
differences, people will organize about other principles which can be shares: occupations,
neighborhoods, etc.
Not divisive, but integrative differences
New ethnic groups are forming
-An ethnic group: cultural, religious, occupational, language or political similarities
-Ethnic groups are far from home and are minorities in their new home
oImmigration: by definition, you’ll have more minorities
oNew ethnic groups forms as people move around
oThere is a clash when one group comes from one place to another place
If they are numerous enough they form communities at new places
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Form boundaries and prevent defections
Problems of accommodation and acceptance
Demography of ethnic groups
-Ethnic groups are influenced by movement in and out of the group
oBirth, death, migration, out-marriage
oUnder what conditions people leave and stay?
-Some ethnic groups disappear
-Some groups maintain their ethnic distinctness, for example, proudly distinctive ethnic identities and
customs
Chain migration
-(1) Determines some international patters of who goes where, ones there is a flow of people from
point of A to point B, it will increase and is more likely than migration of people from point A to
point C
-(2) Ethnic communities being continuously replenished; reproduces the old community at the new
place
-Survival of ethnic communities undermines assimilation
-Policy of multiculturalism undermines assimilation and promotes formation of ethnic communities
Defining ethnic communities
-Put boundaries around itself
oIncrease communication and interaction of people of the same ethnic background
oDecreases likelihood of assimilation
The study of ethnicity
-Herodotus: father of the study of ethnic relations
oHow different ethnic groups get along with each other
Was living in Greece, where there was constant conflict between the Greeks, Persians
and the Egyptians
Why do different people believe in different things and how that helps them
Totems and collective consciousness
-Ethnic differences are consequential
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