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SY101 Final: SY101 Final Exam Notes

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Lucy Luccisano
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SY101 Final Exam Review
Chapter 8 - inequalities of race and ethnicity
Race: a group with inherited physical characteristics that distinguish it from
another group
“Races” are social classifications, not biological categories
Modern geneticists conclude that there is only one racial category of humans:
Homo sapiens
The idea of racial superiority haunts humanity, people are inclined to think
their own race is superior to others
What people believe affects social life, for people act on beliefs, not facts. As a
result, the ideas of race that are embedded in our culture influence attitudes
and behavior
Ethnic groups
Ethnicity and ethnic apply to cultural characteristics, these terms refer to
people who identify with one another on the basis of common ancestry and
cultural heritage
oFor example, Jews are considered a ethnic group
Ethnic work refers to the way people construct their ethnicity. Refers to how
they enhance and maintain their group’s distinctions
oE.g. clothing, food, language, etc.
Minority groups and dominant groups
Minority group as people who are singled out for unequal treatment and who
regard themselves as objects of collective discrimination
Minority group does not necessarily refer to a numerical minority
oFor example, India before its independence
Sociologists refer to those who do the discriminating not the majority, but
rather as the dominant group, since they have greater power, privileges and
social status
A group becomes a minority in one of two ways
oThrough expansion of political boundaries
E.g. British seized control of New France on the Plains of
Abraham, French had previously been the dominant group
now became the minority group
oThrough migration
E.g. native Canadians (minority group)
There are 5 characteristics shared by minorities worldwide
1. Membership in a minority group is an ascribed status; that is, it is not
voluntary, but comes through birth
2. The physical or cultural traits that distinguish minorities are held in
low esteem by dominant group
3. Minorities are unequally treated by the dominant group
4. Minorities tend to marry within their own group
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5. Minorities tend to feel strong group solidarity
Prejudice and Discrimination
Discrimination is an action – unfair treatment directed against someone.
When basis of discrimination is race, it is known as racism
Discrimination is often a result of an attitude called prejudice – prejudgment,
usually in a negative sense
Individual and institutional discrimination
Learning from association – we are not born with prejudice, we learn it from
people around us
Individual discrimination is the negative treatment of one person by another
Institutional discrimination is how discrimination is woven into the fabric of
society to such an extent that it becomes routine
Theories of prejudice
Why are people prejudiced?
oFirst, people who are prejudice against one racial or ethnic group tend
to also be prejudiced against others
oPrejudice does not depend on negative experiences with others.
People can be prejudice against people they have never met
Psychological perspectives
Prejudice is the result of frustration
They use a scapegoat – generally, racial, ethnic or religious minority they
unfairly blame for their troubles
Prejudice people have several things in common
oThey are insecure, are highly conformist, have a deep respect for
authority and are highly submissive to superiors
oThey have an authoritarian personality – they believe that things are
either right or wrong
Sociological theories
Sociologists stress that the key to understanding prejudice is not the internal
state of individuals, but the factors outside the individual
Genocide is defined as violent acts committed with the intent to destroy, in
whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group
Boy’s at summer camp study – assigned friends to different cabins and made
the cabins basis units of competition. In only a few days, former lifelong
friends were calling one another names
This study shows:
oThe social environment can be deliberately arranged to generate
either positive or negative feelings about people
oPrejudice can be a product of pitting group against group in an “I win,
you lose” situation
oPrejudice is functional in that it creates in-group solidarity
oPrejudice is dysfunctional in that is destroys wider community social
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Conflict theory
Conflict theorists stress that the capitalist class systematically pits group
against group
Dual labour market: workers divided along racial, ethnic and gender lines
Reserve labour force: the unemployed,; unemployed workers are thought of
being “in reserve” – capitalists take them “out of reserve” during times of
high production and they lay them off when they are no longer needed
Their frustration, anger and hostility are deflected away from capitalists and
directed toward others whom they see as standing in their way
Symbolic interactionism
Symbolic interactionists stress that no one is born prejudiced
We learn (from others e.g. family) to like – or dislike – members of other
groups and to perceive them positively or negatively
The labels we learn color the way we see the world
Labels cause selective perception; that is, they lead people to see certain
things and blind them to others
Stereotypes and discrimination
For example, Group X has a negative stereotype of being lazy it seems to
justify withholding opportunities and place its members in inferior economic
The result is a self-fulfilling prophecy
Group X members are then confined to “dirty work” seen as more fitting for
“that kind” of people
They also liable to be readily visible – standing around on streets corners
The sight of their idleness then reinforces the original stereotype of laziness,
while the discrimination that created the “laziness” in the first place passes
They argue that white men and women oppress lower-class women and men
of disadvantaged races and ethnicities
The important point made by multiracial feminists is that a member of a
disadvantaged ethnic or racial group is not oppressed because of her or his
gender, race, ethnicity, or social class position alone; it is a multiple system
of domination that requires a multifaceted remedy
Only those who directly experience racism and discrimination can
understand what is means to “black”, “brown” and so on
Post-colonialism, ethnicity and cultural identity
Post-colonialism refers to regions of the world that have regained political
independence from European domination and are therefore technically no
longer colonial (e.g. India)
Critical race theory
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