HDF110 Week 2 Notes: Understanding Race
● person’s economic well-being often correlates with his or her skin color
● no evidence that race is a biological reality
○ race is an idea that has been socially constructed.
○ Question to think about: what explains the differences in well-being between
different racial groups?
● Caucasians controlled power structure since they arrived in North America hundreds of
○ Understand how dominant group (Caucasians) gained and maintained their
● different types of power used to control the subordinate group:
○ Pharr: ways the dominant group maintains power
■ Institutional power: political, ideological
■ Economic power: dominant group holds a majority of USA total net worth
■ Violence: backs up the institutional/economic power; ex- criminal justice
○ Webber: three domains of society, ways dominant groups exploit subordinate
■ Ideology (ideas and knowledge): media, religion, and education;
producing and distributing ideas about society, why its organized the
way it is, what needs to be known to function in society
■ Political (direct control over others): government, law, justice, police,
military; creating and enforcing laws and government structures that
define rights, responsibilities, and privileges
■ Economic (material goods and resources): major industries & work
producing and distributing valued goods and services.
● Race & Racism Ch 1-2:
○ cruel treatment of Blacks and Native Americans by Caucasians:
■ Used main forms of power (institutional and political-- mainly) to control
these groups in several ways
■ From segregation by the Jim Crow laws to ghettoization and
suburbanization in modern culture, forces are at work to continuously
separate and discriminate.