Compass ethnicity nts

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4 Dec 2010

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Chapter 10: Race & Ethnicity
Defining Race and Ethnicity
The Great Britain Robbery
x Most distinguished scientist Dr.Samuel George Merton believed that the bigger the brain, the smarter the
x Measured the volume of various skulls,(by pouring shot into the skull till full, and then pouring that into a
graduated cylinder) and then grouped the skulls by race
x Found that relative sizes of brains was related to social hierarchy
x Whites, Asians, Native Americans, Blacks in descending order
x Seemed to show that social inequality in the world actually had biological roots
Today, we know three main issues compromise his findings:
1. Claimed he could identify race by the shape of the skull. Even scientists of today cannot do this, and he is very
likely to have been identifying them wrongly
2. Only studied a small random sample of 72 skulls that he just happened to have access too. They could just be
unusual individuals, and the number studied was way too small to make a generalization from
3. Used sex as a way to bias his findings 71% of the skulls he identified as black were female and only 42% of the
white ones were female. Since females are naturally smaller than males he should have ensured that the sex
composition of the black and white skulls was equal.
- In reality when comparing black and white female skulls the white ones were bigger
- But when studying only males we find the black ones had bigger brains
Race, Biology and Society
x Noticed that the blood in their veins was visible and was blue, but the suntanned skin of peasants did not exhibit
any blue veins
x They figured they were an entirely different species from the peasants
x Conveniently ignored the fact that the colour of blood from an ar]}Á}µv]v[
Canadian Professor Peter Sandiford (1972)
x Conducted IQ tests which he claimed proved that northern Europeans are a more intelligent race than Eastern
or Southern ones
x Argued that Canadian immigration laws Z}µoµ]v}o}l^u](]_v^(]À_}µ
x ,o}(}µv}u^}(}µvoÇ]µ]vP_À]vWZ]vv:vv]vZZZ]PZ/Y
x He wrote that these few clever Asians had somehow entered Canada and were an exception to the rest of
Asians. He said this discovery should not distract from the need to keep Asians out of Canada too
The same Immigration idea was suggested in the in 1920s U.S.A when Jews scored lower than non Jews.
Also in America...
x When it was found that African American children had lower IQs than others, it was suggested that funding to
inner city schools where many Africans attended should be cut back
x IQ increases as these groups move up the social hierarchy
x The social setting in which a person is raised and educated has a big impact on IQ
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What about the generalization that Black people are superior athletes?
x No such genetic evidence has been found
x And they do not excel at all sports. Mainly running and basketball
Sociologists attribute social conditions as factors that lead to increased participation in sports regardless of race...
x People who face widespread prejudice and discrimination are more likely to enter sports, entertainment and
- Due to lack of other means of improving social and economic conditions
- Other means of moving up the hierarchy are blocked
Prejudice: v]µZP}v}vZ]}ZP}µ[o}]uP]vZ]]
Discrimination: Unfair treatment of people because of their group membership
x &}Æuo(}Zíõñì[ÁZviµ]P]v:ÁÁZ]PZUZÇ]v}Z]PZ
numbers, the starting line up for the Knicks on their first game was entirely Jewish
x Koreans in Japan are more prominent in entertainment and sports because of high discrimination
x Koreans in Canada excel in science and engineering because of the absence of that same discrimination
- Idea that black people are superior in sports only compliments the idea that they are intellectually inferior
- By only stressing the success of black entertainers to youth, and ignoring the many professionally successful black role
models we are encouraging black youth to pursue less likely means of success
It is impossible to neatly distinguish races based on genetic differences...
x Relatively consistent physical differences are only observed when people of distant locales are compared
x Migration and conquest bring genetic mixing
x Today[µ}]oZuo]lZ^}o}µ}_~red, yellow, brown white) derive from the early
encounters of European sea farers, and are no longer relevant
x Racial and ethnic intermarriages in Canada have been increasing since 1871
x Tiger Woods: Cablinasian
x Recent scholars believe we all belonged to one race which originated in Africa
In science, race has no biological meaning any more, and some say the term itself should be dropped
x Race is an analytical tool
x Refers to the existence of classification schemes that are widely understood and taken to be relevant
x ^Z_]}]ooÇ}vµv]Ç
x It is used to distinguish people in terms of physical markers
x It allows social inequalities to be created and perpetuated
Scapegoat: A disadvantaged person or category of people that others blame for their own problems
Ex. During WW2 Canadians had to learn how to distinguish the Chinese from the Japanese, because the Japanese were
kept in internment camps, and the Chinese were allies
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Ethnicity, Culture, and Social Structure
RACE groups according to physical markers and ethnicity groups according to CULTURAL markers
However because social structures underlie cultural differences, ethnicity has less of an effect on the way people behave
than we initially believed
Ex. Of Social Structures effecting cultural values
x People say that Jews and Koreans have cultures which value hard work, education and family
x They confront less discrimination than the blacks and aboriginal groups
x However we forget that unlike with the blacks, during the time they immigrated here, Canada had immigration
laws that purposely selected for these kinds of immigrants
x These social structural conditions facilitated Jewish and Korean success and gave members of these groups a
firm basis on which to build and maintain a culture emphasizing education, family and other middle classed
Research shows that culture is unimportant in determining the economic success of racial or ethnic groups
x Although patterns of income differences can be distinguished between groups this is not due to culture but
rather to social structure
x White Canadians, and non white Canadians who have been born and brought up in Canada with the same
opportunities and environment earn the same amount of money
x EXCEPT in some groups like black men, where persistent discrimination keeps even the second generation
Ethnic and Racial Stratification in Canada
x RESOURCES possessed by ethnic groups and OPPORTNITIES open to them are what determine economic success
Mid 20th Century Canada
x Canadian society was sharply stratified along racial and ethnic lines
x WASPs on top (white anglo-saxon protestants)
x John Porter(oÇ}]}o}P]oov^À]ou}]_
- Said retention of ethnic and racial culture hampered the upward mobility of immigrants
- This made Canada a low mobility society
- Said this was a big problem
By the 1960s in Canada
x Events upset Po[v}Z[o]µu]}v
x WW2 bettered the economy and allowed more upward mobility amongst all groups
x Children of visible minorities actually had better success in gaining an education
By the 1990s in Canada
x Immigrants and visible minorities become less economically successful given their resources such as education
x High rates of unemployment (close to 10%)
Early 21st century
x Sociologists begin focusing on how government policy could be restructured to make better use of the skills
brought by immigrants and visible minorities
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