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Chapter 232

SOC101Y1 Chapter Notes - Chapter 232: Asian Canadians, Ethnic Group, Ethnocentrism

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Sheldon Ungar

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Ethnic Relations and Race 232-262
Popular usage of race has been based on genetic variations in physical appearance,
particularly skin color.
Race is a socially constructed reality, not a biological one. Understanding what we mean
when we say that race is a social construct is important to our understanding of how race
affects all aspects of social life and society.
Race as a social construct means that race as such do not actually exist, but some groups
ae still aiall defied eause the idea pesists i a people’s ids that aes ae
distinct biological categories with physically distinguishable characteristic and a shared
common cultural heritage.
Research is unable to identify any racially based genetic difference in human beings and
fossil and DNA evidence.
Race continues to be an important concern in 21st century, not because it is a biological
reality because it takes on a life of its own when it is socially defined and shapes how we see
others and ourselves.
Race also has significant social consequences such as which when individuals experience
prejudice and discrimination which have the best life chances and opportunities. When
looking at it this way the social significance people accord to race is more important than
ant biological differences that might exist among people who are place in arbitrary racial
Race: a category of people who have been singled out as inferior or superior often on the
basis of real or alleged physical characteristics, such as skin color, hair texture, eye shape, or
other subjectively selected attributes. Categories of people frequently though of as racial
groups include Asian Canadians, African Canadians and native or aboriginal peoples.
Whereas race refers to only physical characteristic the concept of ethnicity refers to cultural
features. An ethnic group is a collection of people distinguished by other or by themselves,
primarily on the basis of cultural or nationality characteristics.
Ethnic groups share five main characteristics:
1) Unique cultural traits, such as language, clothing, holidays, or religious practices.
2) A sense of community
3) A feeling of ethnocentrism
4) Ascribed membership from birth
5) Territoriality, or the tendency to occupy a distinct geographic area.
Although some people do not identify with any ethnic groups other participate in social
interaction with the individuals in their group and feel a sense of common identity based on
cultural characteristic such ad language, religion, or politics. Ethnicity provides individuals
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with a sense of identity and belonging based not only on their perception of being different
ut also o othe’s eogitio of thei uiueess.
Race and ethnicity take on great social significance because how people act in regard to
these te dastiall affets othe people’s lies, iludig hat oppotuities the hae,
how they are treated and even how they live. It matters because it provides privilege and
power for some. White privilege- significance of being white
Ethnicity like race is a basis of hierarchical ranking in society. John Porter 1965 described
Caada as a etial osai ade up of diffeet ethi goups ieldig aig degee of
social and economic power status and prestige.
Pote’s aalsis of ethi goups i Caada eealed a sigifiat degee of ethi
stratification with some ethnic groups heavily represented in the upper strata, or elite and
other groups heavily represented in the lower strata. The dominant group hold power over
the subordinate ethnic group.
2009 study: Philip Oreeopoulis found that despite the fact that immigrants to Canada I
selected on the basis of their optimal skills, education, and professional qualifications,
immigrants and ethnic minority Canadians still have significantly lower incomes and higher
rate of unemployment. Oreeopoulis created mock resumes representative of recent
immigrants from the 3 largest countries of origin ( China, India, Pakistan) and Britain as well
as non-immigrants with and without ethnic sounding names. 6000 resumes were send out
to apply to online job postings in the Toronto area. The findings indicated that applicants
with English sounding names Canadian education and experience received allak’s 40%
than Chinese, Indian or Pakistani immigrants that had similar Canadian education and
experience. This study provides evidence of continued ethnic stratification based on what
Oeeopoulis desied as sustatial disiiatio  eploes. Ethi statifiatio is
one dimension of a larger system structured social inequality.
Majority or a dominant group: is one that is advantaged and has superior resources and
the rights in the society. In Canada, Whites Northern European ancestry ( euro Canadians,
or white Anglo Saxon Potestats o WA“P’“) ae osideed the ajoit goup.
Minority or a subordinate group: is one whose members because of physical or cultural
characteristics are disadvantaged and subjected to unequal treatment by the dominant
group and who regard themselves as objects of collective discrimination. All visible
minorities and white women are considered a minority group members in Canada.
Visible minority refers to an official government category of non-white, non-Caucasian
individuals. Included in this category are Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, Filipinos, Asians, South
Asians, Arabs, South East Asians, blacks, Latin Americans, and Pacific islanders. Aboriginal
people form a separate category of individuals with minority group status
South Asians and Chinese will still compromise the largest visible minority group
The terms majority group and minority group are widely used the actual meanings are not
clear. In the sociological sense Group is misleading because people who merely share and
prescribed racial or ethnic characteristics do not constitute a group. Further majority and
minority have meanings associated with both the numbers and domination. Numerically
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speaking minority means that a group is smaller in number than the dominant. Button
countries like south Africa and India this has not historically been true.
Prejudice: is a negative attitude based on pre conceived notions about members of selected
groups. The term prejudice comes from the Latin word prae (before) and judicium
(judgement). Which means that people may be biased either for or against members of
other groups before they have any contact with them. Although prejudice can either be
positive ( bias in favor of groups- often our own) or negative ( biased against a group- one
we deem less worthy than our own), it most often first to the negative attitudes people may
have about members of other racial or ethnic groups.
Racial prejudice: involves believe that certain racial groups are innately inferior to others or
have a disproportionate number of negative traits.
Prejudice is rooted in stereotypes and and ethnocentrism. When used in the context of
racial ad ethic relatios ethocetris creates the tedecy to fid oe’s ow culture
and group as the standard and the superior whereas all other groups are seen as inferior.
Ethnocentrism it Is maintained and perpetuated by stereotypes: overgeneralization about
the appearance, behavior or other characteristics of members of particular groups. The
term stereotype comes from the Greek word stereos (solid) and refers to a fixed mental
impression. Although all stereotypes or hurtful negative stereotypes are particularly
harmful to members of minority groups.
Theories of prejudice: frustration aggression hypothesis states that people who are
frustrated in their efforts to achieve a highly desired goal will respond with a pattern of
aggression towards others. The Object of their aggression becomes the scapegoat: a person
or group that is in capable of offering resistance to the hostility or aggression of others.
Scapegoats are often used as substitutes for the actual source of the frustration. For
example members of subordinate racial and ethnic groups are often blamed for societal
problems such as unemployment or an economic recession over which they have no
According to some symbolic interactionists prejudice results from social learning in other
words it is learned from observing and imitating significant others such as parents and
peers. Initially children do not have a frame of reference from which to question the
pejudies of thei elaties ad fieds. Whe the’e eaded ith siles ad laughs fo
telling derogatory jokes are making a negative comment about out-group members
hilde’s pejudie attitudes ae eifoed.
Psychologist Theodore W Adorno and his colleagues concluded the highly prejudiced
individuals tend to have authoritarian personality which is characterized by excessive
conformity, submissiveness to authority, intolerance, insecurity, a high level of superstition,
and rigid to stereotypic thinking. It is most likely to develop in a family environment in
which dominating parents were anxious about status use physical discipline special very
little love and raising their children. Other scholars have linked to prejudice attitudes to
teat suh a suissieess to authoit, Etee age toads out goups, I’
conservative religious And political beliefs.
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