Reading Lec 11 - Race & Ethnicity

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University of Toronto St. George
Sheldon Ungar

Sociology January 19 , 2011. Race & Ethnic Relations New Society Ch. 8 Objective definition of ethnicity ethnic groups exist because of peoples social attachments. Ethnicity is something that people possess because of differences in language, culture, customs, national origin, and ancestry Subjective definition of ethnicity focuses on process of ethnic identification. Sociologists who emphasize the socially constructed nature of perceived reality insist that ethnicity is a transactional process th 20 century scientists believes races were subdivisions of Homo sapiens Most common typology was division of humanity into Caucasoid, mongoloid, and negroid races Martin Barker: new racism involved beliefs that, although races of people cannot be ranked biologically, they are different from each other and social problems are created when different groups try to live together Beliefs should be considered racist because of underlying intent to socially exclude, marginalize, and denigrate certain groups of people, but to do so wout reference to unalterable biology Institutional racism discriminatory practices built into such prominent structures as the political, economic, and education systems 3 Form of Institutional Racism 1. Some institutional practices based on explicitly racist ideas: e.g. Chinese were excluded from certain jobs and denied right to vote 2. Some institutional practices arose from, but are not longer sustained by, racist ideas 3. Institutions sometimes unintentionally restrict life-chances of certain groups through variety of seemingly neutral rules, regulations, and procedures: sometimes referred to as systematic discrimination, e.g. heightweight requirements for jobs w police forces and fire departments did not necessarily originate in racist ideas, but these requirements meant that for many years certain Asian groups could not get jobs as police officers or firefighters. Frustration-aggression explains prejudice and racism as forms of hostility that arise from frustration. Theory suggests people who are frustrated in their efforts to achieve a desirable goal (higher pay) respond w aggression Because real source of frustration usually too powerful to confront directly, people take out frustration on less powerful Minority ethnicracial groups are convenient and safe targets of displaced aggression scapegoating Scapegoating sometimes used to explain anti-Semitism Anti-Semitism negative attitudes and everyday discrimination directed against Jews
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