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Chapter 8. Race and Ethnic Relations.doc

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Western University
Sociology 1020
Kim Luton

Chapter 8: Race and Ethnic relations → Ethnic mosaic → Image of the mosaic symbolizes the reality of the ethnic and racial diversity that is characteristics of Canada → Vertical mosaic: the hierarchal ranking of ethnic populations in a society → Porter: ethnicity is a major source of social, economic and political inequality, cleavage and conflict Local Ethnic Communities: Formation and Development → Studies of immigration experience suggest that migration is frequently a social act, with primary social relationships a strong influence on the decision to migrate and the subsequent process of settlement → Chain migration: sequential movement of persons from a common place of origin to a common destination with the assistance of relatives or acquaintances already settling in the new location → Most ethnic communities develop institutions-organized, patterned ways of behaving and carrying on social interaction to accomplish specific goals and meet the collective needs of the group → Rosenberg and Jedwab suggested that ethnic groups develop such organizations as a means of coping with community needs that are not otherwise met by mainstream institutions of Canadian society → Institutional completeness: the development of a full set of institutions in an ethnic community that parallels those in the larger society → Occupational specialization is often rooted in the desires of immigrants who come to Canada seeking opportunities to farm, own a business, or practice a trade or profession- goals that may be difficult to achieve in their homelands → Highly trained immigrants are often unable to find employment commensurate with their qualifications, and are forced to accept jobs in which their knowledge and skills are wasted → Waste of talent often a result of discrimination, limited opportunities, or a combination of these factors Ethnic Group, Race, and Minority Groups: Some Definitions The Ethnic Group → Ethnic group: a people; a collectivity of persons who share an ascribed status based upon culture, religion, national origin or shared historical experience founded upon a common ethnicity or race → These ethnic groups living within a single social, economic, and political system → Individual ethnic group members: inherit ethnic group membership, are involved in interaction and a share institutional frame work, tend to share some fundamental values, and feel a sense of belonging with other members → The ethnic group as a whole: is self-perpetuating, has boundaries, transmits a culture rooted in historical experience, is recognized as a collectivity by others in the society Ethnicity as an ascribed status → Ethnicity is rather enduring → Becomes deeply embedded within individual identity → Ethnic group, includes ancestors long dead, as well as those who are present day carriers of the group’s culture and probably at least some of their children as well Ethnicity as a form of social organization → Ethnic group may be viewed as a set of social relationships originating within a family and radiating outward to include primary ties with kin, friends, neighbours and fellow worshippers → Informal interaction and communication patterns tend to be particularly intense among persons of the shame ethnicity, these relationships are said to form an ethnic network → Pluralistic society: social system of co-existing and usually hieratically ranked racial and ethnic groups, each of which to some degree maintains its own distinctive culture, social net works and institutions, while participating with other racial and ethnic groups in common cultural, economic and political institutions → It is ethnic endogamy- marriage within an ethnic group- that is perhaps the critical factor in the maintenance of ethnic group boundaries → Endogamy remained important for Jews, died for other ethnic groups with each generation The ethnic group as a subculture → An ethnic group as a social organization, with boundaries maintained by social norms governing interaction, has an existence of its own, independent of its individual members → The maintenance of language has been considered a fundamental aspect of collective existence for some groups Ethnicity as a focus of identity → If both parents are members of the same ethnic group, or if the family participates actively in the real life of a community, children may form a strong identification with that group → As children grow up, they typically confront many influences that go beyond the home and primary social network to include educational, communications, governmental and other institutions of the larger society, as well as popular culture and a variety of informal social contacts → In such encounters, children may also learn that social mobility or acceptance by the larger society may involve pressures to compromise their ethnic identity → Because of oppressive experiences and because it may be painful to be singled out for being ``different`` children and youth may experience considerable conflict between their two worlds ; the ethnic community where they make their home and the larger society with its dominant social, cultural and economic and political systems Racialization → Physical traits often become socially defined → Social category: a collection of individuals who share a particular trait that is defined as a group consciousness, common identity, and a tendency to act as a social unit → Social meaning attached to a racial or ethnic category often includes the assignment of a rank within the hierarchy of society → Members of a social category may not have anything in common beyond their shared identifying features → If a consequence of their treatment and position in society they become involved in social interaction with one another, and come to share values and a sense of identity, common interests, they may actually become a social group → This process, called Ethnogenesis occurred among first nations of north America who lived as separate and frequently warring peoples, until Europeans forced a common label and identity as Indians and Natives on them → Race: an arbitrary social category in which membership is based upon inherited physical characteristics such as skin colour and facial features, characteristics defined as socially meaningful → Racialization: assigning people to socially constructed racial categories and behaving toward them as though these categories were real → Racial ideology: an ideology that rationalizes the exploitation of certain categories of human beings on the basis of inherited characteristics → Races can thus be understood as social constructs defined by dominant groups in a society Minority groups and patterns of subordination → Minority group: a social category, usually ethnically or racially labelled, that occupies a subordinate rank in the hierarchy of a society → The term minority refers not to the size of the group, a minority may outnumber a dominant group, but its position in a context of power relationships → In the modern world, extreme forms of social control have been used to subordinate minorities identified on the basis of race or ethnicity → Such measures include expulsion, the forcible removal of a minority from its homeland → Also instances of annihilation or genocide- intentional massacre of peoples → Discrimination: the denial of opportunities, generally available to all members of society, to some people because of their membership in a social category → Example of inequality in the job market suggests that discrimination is not simply a matter of individuals acting on their racist attitudes → Racism and discrimination become institutionalized or embedded in the structures of society → By participating in the social, political and economic institutions of our society, we enact racism and engage in discrimination in our daily lives → Systemic or institutionalized discrimination: discrimination against members of a group that occurs a by-product of the ordinary functioning of bureaucratic institutions, rather than as a consequence of a deliberate policy to discriminate. Systemic discrimination perpetuates a social, political and economic structure in which some groups are privileged while others are disadvantaged → Systemic discrimination in the workplace may also take the form of exclusion of minority women and men from informal communication and social networks, or biased decisions making about promotions, job assignments, pay → Women who are members of minority groups are doubly disadvantaged in employment because of gender and minority-group discrimination → Segregation: maintenance of physical distance between ethnic or racial groups. Sometimes this term is used to describe the exclusion of minorities from the facilities, institutions or residential space used by dominant groups. At other times, refers to the residential separation among ethnic or racial populations that may occur for a variety of reasons → South Africa, under the elaborate system of segregation known as apartheid or ‘apartness’, every individual was classified by race → Some Canadian sociologists are inclined to see residential separation as a choice that can benefit immigrants and their children by providing opportunities for employment, social support, and cultural maintenance within the neighbourhood setting → When poverty and ethnic or racial residential concentration are found together; it is important to examine whether the concentration is a result or a cause of the poverty Explaining discrimination → Prejudice: prejudging people based upon characteristics they are assume to share as members of a social category → Stereotypes: mental images that exaggerate traits believed to be typical of members of a social group → Prejudices are products of negative emotions as well as mental images → Teachings of parents, teachers, stories, television shows and media that children and adults are exposed to all contain assumptions and evaluations concerning social groups and their attributes and social ranks → Relationship between attitudes and behaviour is extremely complex → A prejudiced person does not always act in a discriminatory way, and there is little evidence that discriminatory behaviour in individuals is caused by prejudiced attitudes “Get lost you Jap. We beat you!” [side box] → In 1942, the Canadian government invoked the War Measures Act and in effect declared that race along was a sufficient threat to Canadian security to justify revoking rights of citizenship for Canadians of Japanese descent → Under the war measures act, bank accounts were frozen, personal property was confiscated, possessions were looted and within the first few months all Japanese Canadians were removed and sent to hastily constructed internment camps located in the interior of BC Do the Media view racial minorities through a “prism of whiteness?” → A media dominated society such as ours elevates the electronic and print media into an important source of information on how to shape an operational image of the world → Those in control of media information define the beliefs, values, and myths by which we live and organize our lives → Impose a cultural context for framing our experiences of social reality, in the process sending out a clear message of who is normal and what is desirable and important in society → Minorities are invisible: under-represented in TV programming, staffing and decision making. Deemed unworthy of coverage unless caught up in situations of conflict or crisis. → Minorities as stereotypes: race-role
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