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Sociology 2140 Lecture Notes - Racism, White Privilege, Exploitation Of Labour

Course Code
SOC 2140

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Racism and Ethnic Inequality
Race and Ethnicity
a socially constructed category of people who share biologically
transmitted traits that a society defines as important
Shared cultural heritage
Racism and Ethnic Inequality as a Social Problem
Ethnic group: a category of people who are distinguished by others or
themselves on the basis of cultural or nationality characteristics
Racialized group: a category of people who have been singled out, by
others or themselves, as inferior or superior, on the basis of subjectively
selected physical characteristics like skin colour or eye shape
Majority and Minority Groups
Majority (or dominant) group is one that is advantaged and has superior
resources and rights in society
Minority (or subordinate group) is one that is disadvantaged, subjected to
discrimination, and regards itself as an object of discrimination
Patterns of Minority – Majority Interaction
Genocide – the systematic killing of one category of people by
Segregation – the physical and social separation of categories of
Assimilation – the process by which minorities gradually adopt the
cultural patterns of the majority population
Pluralism – a state in which people of all racial and ethnic categories
have roughly equal social standing
South Africa & Apartheid

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Roots of “Race”
Classification schemes since 1700s
Traits arbitrary: Why skin colour and not eye colour?
Politics of “race”:
people perceive others to be different, and
use perceptions to justify differential treatment
White Privilege and Internalized Dominance
White privilege: privilege that accrues to people who have “white” skin,
trace their ancestry to Europe, and think of themselves as European
Internalized dominance: all the ways that White people learn they are
“normal,” feel included, and do not think of themselves as “other” or
Racism, Prejudice, and Discrimination
Prejudice is a negative attitude about people based on such characteristics
as racialization, gender, age, religion or sexual orientation
Stereotypes are overgeneralizations about the appearance, behaviour, or
other characteristics of all members of a group
Individual discrimination consists of one-on-one acts by members of the
dominant group that harm members of the subordinate group or their
Institutional discrimination consists of the day-to-day practices of
organizations and institutions that have a harmful impact on members of
subordinate groups
Measuring Prejudice:
The Social Distance Scale
In the 1920s Emory Bogardus developed this scale to measure
prejudice among U.S. college students
High social distance meant high negative prejudice
Today’s students:
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