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Chapter 10

SOCA01H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 10: Samuel George Morton, Irish Canadian, Indigenous Peoples Of The Americas

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Andrew Mc Kinnon

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The Great Britain Robbery
Dr. Samuel George Morton > collected and measured human skulls
- claimed that ppl with the biggest brains were whites of European origin >
then Asians, Native North Americans and at the bottom blacks
- showed that system of social inequality had biological roots
- his ideas were used to justify 2 of the most oppressive forms of domination
and injustice: colonization and slavery
- 3 problems with his findings:
o cannot determine race by skull shape
o morton’s collection of skull > unrepresentative sample
o he didn’t ensure that the sex’s composition of the white and black
skulls were identical
Race, Biology and Society
Canadian professor, Peter Sandiford > wanted Canada to institute selective
immigration to ensure that only the best and the brightest arrived > IQ tests to
support his selective immigration policy
Results: “profoundly disturbing” evidence > Japanese and Chinese ppl – highest
intelligence scores (he didn’t predict this)
Ppl who face widespread prejudice and discrimination often enter sports,
entertainment and crime in disproportionately large numbers for lack of other ways
to improve their social and economic positions …other avenues of upward mobility
tend to be blocked
Prejudice = an attitude that judges a person on his or her group’s real or imagined
Discrimination = unfair treatment of ppl bc of their group membership
Tiger Woods > Cablinasian (ethnicity)
Race = social construct used to distinguish ppl in terms of one or more physical
- sociological concept is an invaluable analytical tool > refers to social
significance that is widely attached to physical differences rather than to
biological differences that shape behavior patterns
Scapegoat = is a disadvantaged person or category of ppl that others blame for their
own problems
Ethnicity, Culture, and Social Structure

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- Race is to biology as ethnicity is to culture
- Ethnic group = comprises ppl whose perceived cultural markers are deemed
- Cultural distinctions are often not the major source of differences in the behavior
of various ethnic groups > ethnic values and other elements of ethnic culture have
less of an effect on the way ppl behave than we commonly believe
- Canadian research shows that culture in unimportant in determining the economic
success of racial or ethnic groups
Ethnic and Racial Stratification in Canada
WASPs (white Anglo-Saxon Protestants) > ppl with the most power and privilege in
the mid 20C …immigrants who joined later had less power and privilege
John Porter called this time (^) an ethically and racially stratified “vertical mosaic” >
thought the retention of ethnic and racial culture was a big problem in Canada bc it
hampered the upward mobility of immigrants
- but after WWII, ethnic and racial culture mattered less than the structure of
mobility opportunities in determining economic success
- in addition to the resources a person possesses, the structure of
opportunities for economic advancement determines annual income and
occupational and educational attainment
Canadian-American Differences
Multiculturalism = policy which emphasizes tolerance of ethnic and racial
Melting pot = ideology of the U.S …values the disappearance of ethnic and racial
- surveys show that Canadian are less likely than Americans to favor the
retention of distinct immigrant cultures but are somewhat more likely to
accept ppl of different ethnicity as neighbors or co-workers
basically racial and ethnic inequality is more deeply rooted in social structure than
biology and culture ..biological and cultural aspects of the two are secondary to their
sociological character when explaining inequality
Labels, Identity and Symbolic Interaction
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