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SOC341H5 (5)


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University of Toronto Mississauga
Baljit Nagra

LECTURE 1 • Critical Race Perspective o Aims to uncover/critique racially oppressive structures, meanings, etc o Race: produced not by biology but by social relationships, cultural meanings, institutions (law, politics, religion, the state) o Construct of “race”  central aspect of modern social organization/forms of knowledge (human biology, medicine, law) o Institutional racism: theorizes racism: embedded in individual minds/social relationships, practices, institutions o Social structures/relationships allocate economic, political and social resources (decent housing, voting rights, workplace opportunities) in racially unequal ways o Workplace is shaped by race/class relations • Race o Originally thought as a genetically distinct subpopulation of a species o Categorizing individuals based on phenotypical differences (facial features, skin color, hair) o These differences do not correlate to geneotypical differences (genetic makeup) o Biologically: race does not exist  humans are genetically identical (99% similar) o Definition: Groups of people who may have differences/similarities in certain characteristics (often physical) deemed by society to be socially significant • Sociological Understanding of Race o Scientific research has genetic differences among human groups that we view as races  inconsistent/insignificant o Society assumes racial categories  takes them seriously  for social reasons, not biological o Race: product of human perception/classification  social construction LECTURE 2 Important components to race RMRT • Race is a product of colonization • Mergence of race is directly connected to power relations • Racial designation typically implies inferiority • The unworthiness attached to race is inherent Extension • Racism typically differentiates between people on the basis of outward physical characteristics such as skin color, hair texture and facial features • Evaluates their intellectual/cultural characteristics as inferior/superior through superficial characteristics • Process of racialization is historically specific  meaning of bodily features vary over time • Characteristics becomes most apparent depends on range of political, economic, social and other factors Racism • Includes a # of related elements o Ideologies (theories and common sense) o Attitudes (prejudices and stereotypes) o Behaviors of practices (individual/institutional) • Cultural Racism o Racism of new millennium: shifts attention away from crude ideas of biological inferiority/superiority o Uses a language of race that excludes by using seemingly non racist liberal criteria such as culture, religion, civic engagement, national culture and identity o Defines the mainstream as culturally appropriate/normal o Defines racialist groups as too culturally incompatible to integrate Canadian Identity • Canada was founded as a racial state  notion: Canada was a white man’s country • Canada’s national identity was historically defined as white o Despite presence of first nation communities and early immigrants (Asians) • Certain races were not suited for citizenship, justifying their mistreatment/subordination Immigration based on racialized hierarchy • Some groups seen as desirable for immigration/ as good workers  encouraged to come • Some regarded as racially unsuitable for life in Canada  prevented from coming o Often non-European non-white groups  defined as unable to assimilate/unsuitable for permanent settlement Film Clip • They came due to Frasier gold rush • Imposed head tax to keep the Chinese from immigrating • Chinese worked on railway (which was vital to the confederation of Canada) o Dangerous working conditions, bad wages, but needed to fill the needs of Canadian economy (which was short on labor) Important Issues • Racism provides a justification for cheap labor: a need of capitalism • Defining a racial group as non-assimilable/inferior  necessary to rationalize exploitation Whiteness • Being white is a racial category that emerged during colonial era • Whiteness is more about how you are likely to be treated in a racialized society than it is about who you are • To study whiteness is to assign everyone a place in race relations • Race does shape white people’s lives/identities • Components of White Privilege o Being White  less likely to be questioned about legitimacy of a person from a racialized community o White privilege: structural advantage that is historically, socially, politically, culturally produced  Better job opportunities, housing availability, treatment in criminal justice system, schooling  Involves inheritance of certain privileges in the past o Being white is to be free of daily burden of having to fight stereotypes that have
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