PPAS 2200 Lecture 2.doc

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York University
Public Policy and Administration Studies
PPAS 2200
Khashayar Hooshiyar

PPAS 2200 Theories of law & racism and their relevance to law January 20, 2014 - Theory is a proven hypothesis - The purpose of a theory is to simplify to make it easier for us to understand (that everything out there is so complex) if the theory itself is so complex, then the theory is not very good - Difference between subjective (trusting by word of mouth) and objective (needs facts, proof, evidence) - Theory relies on objective and reality but if there are values and morals (subjectivity) makes it problematic (eg if there is a God) - Positivism (positive framework of thought – means that you won’t believe anything unless you can touch it and feel it and see it, be tangible, purely scientific) and the other, historical materialism (means we look at the changing nature of the world, looks for patterns in order to speculate) Fighting racism requires knowing what it is – not an easy task - Two theories, other than positivism and historical materialism - ^ one is called problem solving (tries to find solutions to social science in an established framework) (applied in social science or politics, etc) vs. Critical thinking (tries to go beyond, what it “ought” to be (eg: capital society is based on exploitation, therefore creates inequality, but for problem solving eg is gov’t intervention to classism equality – we try to fix it from within) - Critical theory tries to find solutions to the problems within established frameworks, and if it does not find solutions it finds solutions as a whole - We can study for the sake of studying or we study to find problems (like racism, classism) – in order to overcome discrimination, you need to know and understand it with either problem solving or critical thinking - ^ defects within the foundation (find the root of the issue) - Liberals for example do not question the system as a whole - The solution to a theory, varies from theory to theory * - For racism, we need to intersect colour, class and gender in order to come up with a better understanding “Visible minority” - People who are not white (cock-Asian) or aboriginal - What makes you visible: your features, appearances, ethnic origin - You cannot cover racism with a different term - Very complex issue Theory - Theory – a system, doctrine, dogma (depending on how the theories are made, if they are material they are dogmatic (found in their principles, less objective more subjective – based on system of values), a doctrine (more solution oriented) a systemic (do not focus on groups or nations, but look at systems or nation estate) - Inequality of various races – domination of so-called “inferior” races - Theories of racism share 2 major characteristics (regardless of the theory): 1. Is the belief in equality of values of races – because you believe there is a problem 2. This inequality historically has legitimize the domination of the races by those deemed superior races (used to dominate the race by the superior race – use to legitimize what you do (like the white people trying to colonize the aboriginals and sayings its “good for them”) Definition - The word racism first appeared in Larousse Dictionary for the first time in 1932 - System of white people are superior to non-white people - The biological differences between various of races to the superior race (it is genetic, cannot change it) - Definitions of the term overlaps - UNESCO’s 1978 “Declaration on Race” – defines racism as “ any theory claiming the intrinsic superiority or inferiority of racial or ethnic groups which would give to some the right to dominate or even eliminate others, presumed inferior, or basing value judgments on racial differences ** Understanding Race and Racism - Describes a complex set of beliefs, attitudes and actions, which discriminate against people on the basis of their skin color, country of origin, language, religion, or nationality - ^ racism is a social construction, concept determined by complex social historical, economic, and political factors, it is a tool used by some to achieve their objectives – there is a hidden agenda - Doesn’t matter what you do, is historically determined, which is why racism is socially constructed - Racism can be conscious or un-conscious - Roots of racism – biological theories of race and practice of imperialism, goes back to 19 century - Racism developed as an ideology – Social Darwinism (survival of the fittest) - Process of which we become a human being – human nature - ^ determinism – blame the problems on you, not on themselves, basically used to dominate Biological theories - Biological nature and inherent superiority or ability - Ethnic racial groups, are assigned certain features to that particular group - ^ an understanding, claims of their biological nature, their genes - White races believe they are better than any other groups because of their intellectual, genetics, and superiority of other races - 1970s came up with a hierarchy of races, white people are at the top followed
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