Key Concepts in the Creation of Minorities
Intro: The Social Creation of Minority status
1. Definition of minority and
2. Labelling and Stereotypes
3. Invalidation myths and ideologies
4. Discrimination and Human Rights violations: forms of discrimination:
5. The interaction of prejudice, discrimination, and stereotypes
6. Othering and self-fulfilling prophecy
7. Outcome: Social constructed minority status/group disadvantage, economic
marginality or created dependency.
- 6 questions choose five. Two questions from each lecture
The Social Creation of Minority Status
- What is social construction?
o Race, class and gender don’t really mean anything – they only have
meaning because society gives them a meaning. They are constructed
by someone, for how to think about/respond to
people/situations/experiences. Problem is, when we’re uncertain
about something, social construction can give us direction for our
actions but can be based on a negative hurtful idea.
o Social construction is how society groups people and how it privileges
certain groups over others.
o Social constructions may be based on fallacious assumptions, or
value-judgments that are really just ideas of the day.
We need to be aware of how we make assumptions with a lack
o Become problematic when we ACT on them…
o Focus on social construction of minority groups – none are naturally
Often based on beliefs that have little to no truth.
As human beings, we’re all capable of social construction and
we can see how we attach certain ideas.
o Watch for process of inferiorization
o Study power relations – social, political, economic
- How is power exercised in our society?
The social, political, economic, etc powers
Government are not the primary source of power
(media, etc.) - Rights are one way of dealing with inequalities in power.
- Not numerical (for our purposes)
- The extent to which a group or category is subject to the denial of HRs
- Relevant only in context of corresponding majority - power differences
- Mostly look at minority at the societal level
- Defined with reference to any given human attribute
- Social category with greatest power in society
- Characteristics presumed (by them) to be “normal” and “right”
- Those who differ are deemed “abnormal” or “inferior”
- People usually assume there is a stigma with the term minority. What we do
often is distance ourselves from the impact it may have.
- Minority refers to a denial of rights. There is nothing wrong with the group
Labeling and Stereotypes
- Used to deny people rights and justify human right violations.
o Led to follow they’re not entitled to human rights
- Result: some populations become inferiorized.
- Not innately inferior – come to occupy lower status
- Majority imposed labels are based on negative assumptions about a
population or group – stereotypes – not scientifically based
- Ignore scientific evidence:
o Range of difference within a population
o Similarities between populations
Invalidation myths and ideologies
- Myth: A complex set of unsubstantiated beliefs about a given population
- May derive from religious beliefs (i.e. Adam and Eve), or from pseudo-
scientific theories (i.e. Social Darwinism)
- Myths can develop into theories (ideologies=how the world ought to work)
- Assert that a given population should be treated in a specific manner
- Myths and ideologies serve as a “platform for discrimination”
- Differential and unequal treatment which serves to advantage or
disadvantage a person because of assumed membership in a particular social
category or group
- Can be either positive or negative – can take the form of numerous HR
Individual: - Acts by an individual that deny another individual or category/group their
- Generally stem from personal prejudice
- When an individual carries out the prejudice of an institution – the persons
may themselves be prejudiced, or not.
- Built into the social system – part of the social fabric
- Not necessarily linked to prevailing prejudice, invariably liked to past
- Takes the form of allowing institutional/social structures to remain
unchanged when it is clear the system itself is discriminatory
- When the system discriminates, groups/categorical inequality deepen
- RESULT: Collective, adverse impact of long-term discrimination
- In law, discrimination does not have to be intended.
o It can occur whether you intend it or not, so you do not need to show
whether intent occurred or not.
Prejudice, Discrimination and Stereotypes
How do prejudice, discrimination and stereotypes work together?
o Biased attitudes or beliefs about a particular p