Textbook Notes (363,232)
Canada (158,276)
Sociology (229)
Chapter 5

Chapter 5

7 Pages
Unlock Document

McMaster University
Lina Samuel

Chapter 5 - Racial and Ethnic Inequality • Many of the various and diverse individuals who make up the group we think of as white Americans have little in common in terms of heritage • "Whiteness" not a biological category but a category of privilege • The term white was first used in the colonial US to distinguish between persons of European ancestry and those of African ancestry in early marriage laws • Largest group of immigrants were the Irish race who were said to be inferior: intellectually slow, given to drunkenness and irrational emotion, easily manipulated by unscrupulous priests and politicians • Over time, the Irish "became white" holding onto certain markers of ethnicity such as religion, they began the long struggle to reach working-class and middle-class status even though many stereotypes persisted • Sicilians, Southern Italians, Greeks, Russian Jews - included into "white" category despite persistence of stereotypes and prejudice - said to have diluted the "pure" white race • Chinese immigrants in Mississippi - as long as the Chinese didn't push so far as to intermarry with southern whites, they could be white and live in white rather than black neighbourhoods - if they married outside it would have to be into black families conferring "black" status upon them • Whiteness not so much about origins as it is about privilege • Race is a social construction not a biological fact • Societies have created racial divisions in attempts to categorize the range of human physical diversity - continuous gradation • Colour, as a racial marker, does not correlate with much else • "One drop of African blood," Blood types do not correspond to our colour divisions • South America - precise distinctions of colour white, black, cream coloured, darker brown • In Brazil, racial identities are tied as much to social class, education, and cultural identity as to color. • Some racial categories bring together enormously diverse groups, "Asian Americans" - North Indians, South Indians, East Asians • Complexity of race division is seen in the growing numbers of multiracial individuals • Mixed categories pose a problem for clear black/white segregation systems resulting in the US adopting "the one drop rule": Any amount of African heritage made one "black" • Perception of shared race can unite divergent groups for common political action • Issues of race and ethnic divisions can also be used to divide keeping workers and citizens' groups from coming together on a common agenda • Americans have often treated race as an attribute of certain individuals rather than as a boundary or category of privilege o Race is of concern to "minorities" who are not part of the white club o People of colour have thought hard about the American racial system and their place in it while White people think little about race believing it to be a "black issue" or a "minority issue" o "One thing about white people, we tend to either be proud or ashamed of being white. Proud in a supremacist way or guilty in a liberal way. Very seldom do you find the balance." A Debt Unpaid: Internal Colonialism • In 1903, black sociologist W.E.B. Du Bois described racial exploitation as the "debt unpaid" and predicted that the "color line" would continue to haunt the twentieth century o US was built by many groups from many shores but some of the builders are still waiting to be truly welcomed often termed as racial minorities composing half of the US population by the middle of the twenty-first century • White immigrant groups, Third World peoples, having roots in parts of the world that comprise the so-called Third World, and that these groups seem to form a "Third World" of poverty within the First World o These groups are also victims of colonial oppression in their home countries not by foreign powers o US has held only few external colonies but has often relied on the low- wage labor of many groups within its borders • Internal colonialism: 1. Control over a group's governance: The colonial group is allowed neither full autonomy nor full participation in the national government 2. Restriction of freedom of movement: Colonial peoples are not willing immigrants but are involuntarily incorporated into the national society. Often their ability to choose where they live and work is severely restricted. 3. Colonial-style labor exploitation: A "cultural division of labor" exists in which the colonial peoples are assigned to the most menial or dangerous work and given the least compensation for that work. 4. Belief in a group's inferiority: In this model, prejudice follows from, rather than causes, discrimination. The exploitation of the colonial group must be justified, and this is done through the ideology that asserts the group's moral, intellectual, and cultural inferiority. Thus the domination of the group's members by others is "for their own good." Native Americans • European and European American views of Native Americans have wavered between "the noble savage" and "the savage killer" • When Columbus first encountered the Arawak peoples of the Caribbean, he saw in them children off nature: Mostly naked yet innocent and even childlike, perfect candidates for subjugation as subjects of the Spanish king • When Spanish encountered the more aggressive Caribs, whose name gives us both Caribbean and cannibal, they came to a different conclusion: These were savage killers to be exterminated. • Some thought they could assimilate the Native peoples if only they could educate them properly • Along with attempts to assimilate were attempts to annihilate • Many Native peoples did attempt to assimilate - facing either removal or assimilation • Native Americans' hopes for a partial autonomy returned with Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal o 1934 Indian Reorganization Act ended allotment, extended credit, promoted the revival of Native cultures and crafts, and encouraged tribal self-government. o As a result of the Great Depression and WWII progress was slow o Termination returned in 1953, Termination Act, designed to eliminate reservation status, Native-controlled land lost and poverty persisted o 1973 Restoration Act restored lost reservatio
More Less

Related notes for SOCIOL 2R03

Log In


Don't have an account?

Join OneClass

Access over 10 million pages of study
documents for 1.3 million courses.

Sign up

Join to view


By registering, I agree to the Terms and Privacy Policies
Already have an account?
Just a few more details

So we can recommend you notes for your school.

Reset Password

Please enter below the email address you registered with and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Add your courses

Get notes from the top students in your class.