RACE & ETHNICITY
Eugenics movement: founded on a social philosophy dedicated to improving human heredity through
selective breeding for ‘desirable characteristics’ (Canadian example: Alberta Sexual Sterilization Act
Race: term used by many people to specify groups of people distinguished by physical characteristics; is
a socially constructed reality, not a biological one (DNA evidence shows that humans are all one race).
Ethnic group: collection of people distinguished by others or by themselves based on
cultural/nationality characteristics. Shares unique cultural traits (language, clothing, holidays, etc.),
sense of community, ascribed membership, and territoriality (+ identity & belonging but not everyone
identifies with one specific ethnic group).
Race & ethnicity has great social significance: opportunities they have, how they’re treated, how long
they live and provides privilege and power for some. It is a basis of hierarchical ranking in society.
Census: political tool (can be a useful tool) when it generates data that help to shape public policy for
the benefit of the country’s citizen; can also serve more subversive- in some cases unabashedly racist.
Majority (dominant) group: one that is advantaged and has superior resources and rights.
Minority (subordinate) group: one that is due to physical/cultural traits are disadvantaged and
subjected to unequal treatment and who regard themselves as objects of collective discrimination.
Visible minority: official government category of non-white, non-Caucasian individuals (except
Aboriginals). 96% Canada’s visible minority living in big cities (43% of Toronto and 42% of Vancouver).
Prejudice: being biased before having contact with someone; negative attitude about other racial
groups; rooted from stereotypes and ethnocentrism; according to Symbolic Interactionists, it results
from social learning.
Measuring prejudice: social distance studies (refers to the extent to which people are willing to
interact and establish relationships with other racial and ethnic groups)
Stereotypes: overgeneralization about appearance, behaviour or other traits of a particular group
member; majorly developed by media.
Scapegoat: person/group that is incapable of offering resistance to hostility; used as substitutes for
source of frustration.
Authoritarian personality: characterized by excessive conformity, submissiveness to authority,
intolerance, insecurity, high level of superstition and stereotypic thinking; most likely to develop in a
family where parents are anxious about status and use physical discipline but show very little love for
Discrimination: actions of dominant group members that have harmful impact on subordinate groups
because of their race/ethnicity (ex: refusing to hire Jewish people).
- De jure: legal discrimination encoded in laws, like Chinese Exclusionary Act.
- De facto: informal discrimination entrenched in social customs and institutions. Unprejudiced nondiscriminators: believes in equality for all
Unprejudiced discriminators: no personal prejudices but still engage in discrimination because
of peer pressure or economic, political or social interests
Prejudiced nondiscriminators: hold personal prejudices but doesn’t discriminate due to peer
pressure or desire for profits; “timid bigots” because they’re reluctant to show their attitudes.
Racism: set of ideas that implies the superiority of one social group over another based on
biological/cultural characteristics; involves prejudice, ethnocentrism, discrimination and stereotyping.
Overt racism (redneck/hate racism): deliberate and highly personal attacks like name-calling.
Polite racism: attempt to disguise a dislike of others through behaviour that is outwardly nonprejudicial
operating when visible minority groups are ignored for jobs on regular basis; consist of subtle remarks or
Sublimal racism: unconscious racism that occurs when there is conflict of values; demonstrates
ambiguity concerning racism.
Institutionalized racism: established rules and practices in an organization produce differential
treatment based on race.
Employment Equity Legislation (1986): Though members of visible minorities have higher levels of
education on average and very high labor-force participation rates, they continue to be concentrated in
low-status, low-paying occupations
1. Modified admissions tests and requirements
2. Enhanced recruitment of certain target groups
3. Establishment of hiring quotas for particular minority groups
4. Specialized training or employment programs for specific target groups
Had most effect on women and Aboriginals, but not people with disabilities.
Symbolic interactionist: examines how microlevel contacts between people produce greater racial
tolerance or increased levels of hostility. Suggests development of racial and ethnic labels as well as
identities is typically a process of negotiation (ex: outsiders may impose new label on them but group
members may reject, accept or modify label).
- Contact hypothesis: when members of divergent groups have equal status, shared goals,
cooperation, and positive feedback, favourable attitudes and behaviour between groups result.
Functionalist: examined immigration and patterns of majority and minority group interaction.
Intergroup processes include cultural, biological, structural, and psychological.
- Assimilation: subordinate racial/ethnic members become absorbed into dominant culture;
functional because it contributes to stability of society by minimizing group differences.
Acculturation (cultural): occurs when members adopt dominant group’s language, dress, etc. Integration (structural): occurs when members gain acceptance in everyday interaction with
dominant group members.
Amalgamation (biological): occurs when members marry those of other social groups.
Psychological: involves a change in racial self-identification.
- Ethnic pluralism: coexistence of