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SOCY 105 Notes- Race and Racism, Sexism and Heterosexism.docx

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University of Maryland
SOCY 105
Beverly Pratt

RACE & RACISM 10/1/12 Sociological imagination- Personal biography intersecting with history HISTORY Roots of economic exploitation (1607) First indentured servants brought from South Africa to America MA: Puritans/ pilgrims showed intolerance of indigenous people - Brought diseases which acted as basic genocide of indigenous people VA: English settlers - Brought aristocratic ideas/ norms PA & DE: Quaker settlers - Brought more democratic ideas and ideals, equitability WV (Appalachian Mountains) - Most of people who came here were relatively poor Labor Aristocracy & Land - Americans began as colonialism with at least 3 class structures: o Elite, Working Class, Africans & Indigenous people (used as servants) - Land was essential for small farmers b/c could get twice as much land for the money - 1710- racist ideology is legitimated o Slavery becomes economic center; rationalized extensively Wealth of nation based on enslavement of human beings - Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations (1776) & Karl Marx’ Capital (1867) o Wealth of nations based on labor of its people o The labor of enslaved Africans and African Americans was essential Constitutional Convention- 60% of attendees were slave holders - Included Thomas Jefferson and James Madison - George Mason later demonized slavery, didn’t free his slaves b/c believed he could tax it out (tax slaveholders enough then they would abandon the system) - George Washington free slaves after his wife died Money from slave trade CAPITAL reinvested in Industrial Revolution - James Watt’s steam engine - All investors were slaveholders - Count slaves as 3/5 of a man (impact taxation and electoral college- population size) Thomas Jefferson - Leading racist intellectual racist of the day - Notes on the State of Virginia (1780)- 1 indigenous book to the US o Widely influential up to the Civil War Abolitionists Robert Carter III (1728- 1804) - Leading VA slaveholder and “founding father” - Converted to Christianity and realized the immorality of slavery o Freed enslaved people he owned (452 people) o Became an abolitionist Benjamin Franklin- “slavery is such an atrocious debasement of human nature” Thomas Paine- Common Sense Angelina Grimke Frederick Douglass Sojourner Truth US economy was a slavery economy - The entire US both North and South gained wealth b/c of the enslavement of humans - Enrichment impoverishment Democracy for all people or for the elite?- Bourgeoisie democracy vs proletarian (wage workers) - Basis for American imperialism is a predatory ethic (use other people to build wealth, take wealth away from others to get ahead) - Mexico had abolished slavery in 1810 - Britain 1833 - Spain 1853 - Denmark 1848 - 1863 US Emancipation Proclamation Abraham Lincoln (1860s)- Not slave holder or slave sympathizer Homestead Act of 1862 - Federal government opened western land/ territories to certain European immigrants (German, Irish, Romanian, etc.) - 1.5 million homesteads built between 1860s- 1930s on federal land - One of the largest federal welfare programs o 46+ million (white) people benefit from it today  Example of intergenerational transmission of wealth  Federal giveaways given to whites WEB Dubois (1868- 1963) - American sociologists - Double consciousness- as a black person would say know all about his own identity but also estrything about white people and how they perceive him - 1 Black American to graduate from Harvard (1890) - “The Souls of White Folk” in Darkwater (1920) o Psychological wage of whiteness Racial Oppression- systematic oppression centered on economic exploitation that takes discrimination beyond the economy - Establishes a hierarchy of power and privilege with white folks on top Black Americans have staged 2 HUGE changes 1. The Abolitionist Movement- the largest revolution in American History of oppressed peoples 2. The Civil Rights Movement- 1968 Civil Rights Act - The US was a totalitarian political system until the 1960s Consequences of Racist history - Alienation of people from one another and social relations - Prejudices and stereotypes - Different shades of brown experience different realities (all are shades of brown) - Economic exploitation - Generation (& intergenerational transmission) of wealth - Intergenerational transmission of ideology including racism - Rationalization - Destroys capabilities of human empathy Can create empathy by building relationships and understanding Traces of the Trade - One of the largest slave trading families at the time - The whole town was a part of the slave trade (farming, manufacture goods, shipping, etc) - Recruited townspeople to purchase shares in slave trade and started a bank - Triangle trade (3 locations that traded sugar, rum and slaves) 10/8/12 Ideological Racism th th - Developed extensively in US and overseas since the 18 and 19 centuries - Views physical characteristics as linked to social/ cultural characteristics - Emphasizes superior and inferior racial groups - Lack of scientific support for such racist ideologies hasn’t prevent them from having power Race is a social category - Persons outside the set apart groups have decided it is important to single out o Basis for racial groups are subjectively selected physical traits o Ex. Italian and Polish Americans (typically White immigrant groups) were singled out as th inferior racial groups in early 20 century o Ex. Rwanda- socially separated people by nose structure (those w/ longer nose were inferior) Race is a SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION (not biological) - We are socialized into systems of belief - Deep divisions (biological/ genetic) that are unchanging and clear-cut distinction btwn people - No genetic markers that define race - Already assume that have most genetic similarities w/ those of same race o But race does not account for genetic variations - 85% of your genetics is similar to someone of different gender - Race is not about difference that exist between us, but the meaning to how we assign races Eugenics- considered scientists where believed that people are biologically different by race - Ex. Upbringing of nutrients, genetics, bone structure is false Prejudice - Each born w/o prejudice into world that has taught us to accept an oppressive system - Learned from authoritarians and is reinforced in schools, media and institutions Discrimination - Refers to actions or practices carried out by members of a dominate group, or their representatives, that have a differential and harmful impact on members of a subordinate group o Involves actions, actors (discriminators) and targets o Can be obvious or subtle, vary in degree in which involve large scale organizations - Power (amount of control, influence, resources), oppression, privilege Racism - A system of advantage based on race - Supported by institutional structures, policies, and practices o Create and sustain benefits for the dominate white group o Structure discrimination, oppression and disadvantage for people form targeted racial groups - Social expression of power and privilege o The consequence of discriminatory policies in the past that endure - Always adapting to new circumstances - Ultimately prevailing through practices of inequality that continue and sometimes manifest in new but persistent ways Reverse Racism (not real) - Label for modest government affirmative action and equal opportunity efforts that still exist - Is inaccurate and oxymoronic o RR would be several hundred years of massive institutionalized racism and segregation directed by most black Americans against most white Americans o Isn’t happening and is unlikely to ever happen 10/10/12 TYPES OF RACISM 1. Isolate Racism- harmful action taken intentionally by a dominate group individual against members of a subordinate racial group a. Ex. White police officer abuses colored prisoners whenever he cans, even though it’s prohibited 2. Small Group Racism- harmful actions taken intentionally by a small group of dominate racial group individuals, no rules from larger organizational context a. Ex. White supremacist group burning black churches 3. Direct Institutionalized Racism- organizationally prescribed actions of white Americans that by intention have a negative impact on members of subordinated racial groups a. Ex. Discriminatory actions of real estate agents who steer families of color away from white housing areas b. white flight- when white people move out when (2%) black start moving in 4. Indirect Institutionalized Racism- current actions and practices of white Americans that have a negative impact, even though these organizational norms were established & are carried out w/ no intent to harm a. White employers hiring certain educational criteria that prohibit certain people of color Equitable- knowing people not starting from same place and compensating for that Race Relations NOW - Black Americans are still a racially subordinated group in the US - Blacks have suffered routine and extensive discrimination o Workplace, housing, education, health care, politics, etc - Black Americans have gained occupation advancement in recent decades; BUT offset by: o Continual white gains in occupational advancement o High black unemployment rate relative to that of whites o Persisting differential in family wealth favoring whites over blacks o Discriminatory practices in employment, housing, etc Other Races/ Ethnicities - Latina/o, Asian, Native Americans, Middle Eastern Americans have also faced exploitation and racism o Endured poverty, low wage jobs, high unemployment rates, low incomes, discrimination in housing - By 2050 if not sooner, people of color will be the majority of the US population - Census comes out every 10 years (decennial census) Future? - Race relations are NOT stable o Continuing racial inequalities, white denial - Americans of color are angry and their anger is justified o Place anger toward protesting and working against their oppression - Greater and organized protests against racial and ethnic oppression likely in US in the future Sexism and Heterosexism 10/15/12 Biological Birth/ Birth sex (female, male, intersex)- The physical, hormonal, and genetic characteristics w/ which we are born - Sexual reproductive organs are basis for categories of female or male - Intersex- babies born w/ some combo of male and female biological sex characteristics (1/400 born a year are intersex) Gender Identity- how we identify ourselves (man, woman, transgender) - Based on our biological or birth sex - Incongruent w/ the sex they are assigned at birth - Ex. Transgender, Genderqueer (gender expression/ identity that challenges what’s considered “normal” Ge
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