SOC101Y1 Study Guide - Final Guide: Orthodox Marxism, Institutional Racism, Ipperwash Crisis

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24 Apr 2012
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CH. 8 Race and Ethnic Relations
- 5th of September 1995, Dudley George is shot and killed by an O.P.P officer
during chaotic altercations the day after the occupation of Ipperwash started.
The officer was convicted and trialed for criminal negligence causing death.
Investigations showed racism in the OPP and conservatory government at the
time.
Race and ethnicity
Both are ascribed characters, but sociologists believe it is more useful to see race and
ethnicity as certain Kinds of achieved statuses.
Ethnicity:
- Objective definitions of ethnicity assume that ethnic groups exist because of
people’s social attachments. From this point of view, ethnicity is something
that people possess because of differences in; language, culture, customs,
national origin, ancestry.
- Subjective approaches to ethnicity focus on the process of ethnic
identification. Sociologists who emphasize the socially constructed nature of
perceived reality insist that ethnicity is a ``transactional`` process. Ethnic
groups are made up of people who identify themselves, or who are identified
by others as belonging to the same ancestral or cultural group.
Canadian is now numerically the largest ethnic group in Canada. Why? People
lose interest or are simply unaware of their so-called roots, or they do this as a
political act to express their dissatisfaction with the Gvt’s policy of
Multiculturalism. But mostly it’s because that this is the group that we identify
and with whom we share a sense of belonging.
Race:
- Most scientists believed that races were real and objective subdivisions of
Homo sapiens. Divisions supposedly based on a combination of unalterable
physical and genetic characteristics ( skin colour, hair texture, body and facial
shape, genetic diseases, blood groups)
- During the 1930s, scientists began to raise doubts about the scientific validity
of the concept of race.
- Since 1950s, the scientific consensus is that racial classifications of humanity
are arbitrary, that genetic differences between groups are small, and that
genetic differences are behaviourally insignificant. Racial classifications based
on characteristics such as skin colour, are as illogical as racial classifications
based on the length of the index finger!
Racism:
- Sociologists define racism as a certain kind of idea and a certain kind of
institutional practice.
- Traditionally, sociologists defined racism: the belief that humans are
subdivided into distinct hereditary groups that are innately different in their
social behaviour and mental capacities and that can therefore be ranked as
superior and inferior.
- New racism: developed by Martin Barker, he argued that the new racism
involves the belief that, although race s of people cannot ranked biologically,
they are different from each other and social problems develop when
different groups try to live together. These beliefs should be considered racist
because of their underlying intent: to socially exclude, marginalise, and
denigrate certain groups of people. But to do so without reference to
unalterable biology.
- Institutional racism: refers to : Discriminatory racial practices built into such
prominent structures as the political, economic and education systems.
Three different forms:
o Some institutional practices are based on explicitly racist ideas. i.e., in
Canada,Chinese people were excluded from certain jobs until 1947.
o Some institutional practices arose from, but are no longer sustained
by, racist ideas. i.e., abmitting a small groupe of black workers to
work on farms, for the soul reason that they are ‘’racially’’ suited for
the job. (Federal GVT, 1966)
o Institutions sometimes unintentionally restrict the life-chances of
certain groups through a variety of seemingly neutral rules,
regulations, and procedures. Sometimes referred to as a systematic
discrimination.
THEORIES OF RACE AND ETHNIC RELATIONS
Social Psychology:
- Social-psychological approaches to the interpretation or face and ethnic
relations focus on how prejudice: an unfavourable, generalized, and rigid
belief applied to all members of a group, and racism satisfy the psychic needs
of some people.
- Frustration-aggression is a popular variant of social-psychological theory. It
explains prejudice and racism as a form of hostility that arise from
frustration. People take out their anger on minorities (scapegoating).
- Primordialism: Primordialist thesis suggests that ethnic and racial
attachments reflect an innate tendency for people to seek out, and associate
with, others who are similar in terms of language, culture, beliefs, ancestry,
and appearance. They are ways of maintaining social boundaries.
- Ethnic and racial groups are seen to be nothing more than large extended
families.
- Normative Theories: They concentrate on the way in which prejudices are
transmitted through socialization and the social circumstances that compel
discriminatory behaviour. For example: the socialization approach focuses on
how we are taught ethnic and racial stereotypes, prejudices, and attitudes by
our families, peer groups, and the Mass Media.
- Socialization theories: are superior to social-psychological and primordialist
approaches because they emphasize the way in which ethnic and racial
prejudices and attitudes are learned through social interaction. The limitation
of socialization theories is that they are unable to explain how prejudicial
ideas, attitudes, and practices arise in the first place.
- Power-Conflict Theories: Karl Marx wrote that ‘’ the turning of Africa into a
warren for the commercial hunting of black skins signalled the rosy dawn of
the era of capitalist production.’’
- Orthodox Marxists argue that racism is an ideology: a set of statements
shaped be economic interests about the way the social world ‘’really works’’.
Used by capitalists to mystify social reality and justify the exploitation and
unequal treatment of groups of people.
- In the case of advanced capitalism, racism is viewed by Marxists as an
ideology that justifies the intense exploitation r racial minority and immigrant
workers.