RACISM AND SOCIAL PROBLEMS 10/24/2012
What is race? What is ethnicity?
Race physical characteristics
Ethnicity cultural/national origin
Idea that there are essential/natural characteristics and explain human differences.
What are dangers of biological determinism
Eugenics social movement in 20’s40’s that only the people with the best genetics should be able to
continue to populate.
Roots of Racial Classification
“the great chain of being”
Colonization & Slavery
Racial Difference as Spectacle
The meaning of things does not come from some “natural” state, but rather is developed by social and
Not fixed categories.
The social construction of race
Racial meanings have varied over time and place
Ex: past believed that people living in Europe were Asian, not now.
Process by which social, economic, and political forces determine the content and importance of racial
categories, and by which they are in turn shaped by racial meanings.
Ex: chinese protested race in south Africa bc although they faced discrimination but were not targets of
programs that benefitted the “discrimination”
Labels can change. Racialization
Extension of racial meaning to a previously racially unclassified relationship, social practice, or group.
Ex: people living in Africa did not see themselves as ‘black’ but instead of people of different tribes, etc.
until they were labeled black.
“one drop rule” of hypodescent
ANY black ancestor in your family will make you black.
Ex: 1 black and everyone else white. Different states had different definitions of race.
A system of advantage involving cultural messages and institutional practices that is based on race. In the
US this leads to the systematic advantage of whites over nonwhites
Active VS Passive Racism
A preconceived judgment or opinion, usually based on limited information.
Living in a society where we are bombarded with stereotypical images makes prejudice inescapable.
When a member of a stereotyped group takes in and adopts the stereotypical categories about their own
group to some degree.
Behavior that has differential and/or harmful effects on members in another group
Occurs on multiple levels (individual, institutional, etc.)
WHAT IS WHITE PRIVILEGE?
A set of unearned advantages whites receive based on their race.
“I have come to see white privilege as an invisible package of unearned assets which I can count on
cashing in each day, but about which I was ‘meant’ to remain oblivious” (p. 123)
Privilege isn’t something youtake and therefore have the option ofnot taking.
Paradox of being privileged withoutfeeling privileged.
TAKE AWAY POINTS
Race is a socially constructed and therefore is nobiologically real, but that does not mean it is not
Racism is not simple prejudice; it issystem of power. White privilege is the flip side of racism.
We need to move away from thinking about racism as an internal problem of people’s attitudes to
systematic practices that intentionally or not protect the advantages.