Chapter 13.docx

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10 Apr 2012
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Chapter 13
Ethnicity, Race and Racism
- Ethnic groups are groups that have been incorporated into a state through conquest or
migration, that maintain distinctive cultural and linguistic traditions, and that have a sense of a
separate, shared and age-old identity
- Those ethnic groups with a strong literate tradition and a history of individualized competition
for upward mobility are pre adapted for competing in the rapidly changing world of an urban
industrial society
- Ethnicity turns out to mean an especially aggressive and virulent form of ethnocentrism that
sense that ones own ethnic group is superior to others in terms of ethnic politics
- The origins of ethnocentrism are linked to the concept of descent, the principle whereby
individuals and groups establish their identities and consider themselves distinctive
- Theories of descent vary from culture to culture, but the basic idea is that individuals
acknowledge a special relatedness to parents and to children that endure after death, it implies
the preservation of some aspect of the substance or spirit of people in the past and future
generations and thus is a symbolic form of immortality
- Ethnic terrorism is on the rise: with most conflicts taking place within ethnic groups within the
boundaries of single countries: protestants and catholics in Ireland, Jews and Palestinians in
Isreal, Hutus and Tutsis in Burundi and ethnic Albanians and Serbs in Kosovo to name a few
- Each ethnic group is the product of shared historical experiences that serve to unite and
distinguish the group from others and give it a distinct identity
Biological Races vs Social Races vs Ethnic Groups
- Biological races are etic populations in which several genes occur together with distinctive
frequencies over many generations
- Human populations exchange genes through mating, creating ever-changing patterns of genetic
variations
- Humans are much more alike that they are different
- Social races are groups that are assumed to be biologically different from each other but are in
fact classified according to culturally defined categories, like skin tone and facial features
- They are assumed to have a biological basis but are in fact culturally constructed
- They claim common ancestry based on the practice of endogamy and rules of descent
- Social race is an emic construct that can be used politically to justify prejudice and stratification
- According to the one drop rule, a black person was anyone who had the slightest amount of
Black blood, as attested to by having even one ancestor who was Black (even if that person was
mixed)
- Etically, a biological race is a population, an interbreeding group of people defined by a set of
distinctive gene frequencies, a culture is a way of life
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