Reading for Week 4. Book: Social Problems, Chapter: 3
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SP3: Race and Ethnic relations
Ethnic groups; see them as created by social interactions, formed through process of in/exclusion around
symbol of real/imagined descent; s.a language, rituals, folklore (all these can be learned, thus ethnic
boundaries can be remarked, unmade).
Culture; values and practices that frame ppl’s lives (which may adapt to socio-historical contexts)
(language, norms of behaviour, foods, beliefs, etc). Ethnicity is constantly changing.
Multiculturalism in Canada
Inmigration has been important throughout Canadian history (thus important political issue).
Canada’s Multiculturalism Act (1971), Royal commission on biculturalism and bilingualism, official
languages act. Minority group leaders argued that cultural assimilation (ex-policy) was unjust. They also
deserved Canadian citizenship (charter groups) and institutions were asked to recognize and reflect the
multiculturalism in their policies/programs. Canada’s cultural mosaic.
Traditional Multiculturalism(TM); concerned with preserving the rights of minority people.
Modern Multiculturalism(MM); concerned with the survival of multicultural groups.
TM focuses particularly on fighting biasing against when job-searching; whereas MM focuses on
promoting and giving preference in the hiring process to minorities, some then wonder who are the
disadvantaged/minorities (whites, males) due to MM’s promotion.
View: promoting multiculturalism could be the source of ethnic conflict and racism in Canada.
Coined by Porter (1965), describes the stratification of social class, with English/French Canadians at the
top and minorities across through the bottom. Due to specific workforce selective immigration by the
Canadian government. The pattern in which ethnic groups arrived determined the kinds of jobs they
would get and status. Eg.railroad workers from Asia, Caribbean, etc.
The entrance status (occupational status) would stick with the ethnicity, as lack of educational institutions.
Different story today w/ inmigrants.
VM due in part to:
(1)Chain migration into the mosaic-. The successful migration of 1 family member creates a chain
for relatives/community networks. Migration is about information netwoks, places they know
about, ppl they know.
(2)Institutional completeness-. Immigrant communities are strengthened/larger with new arrivals.
They develop IC, able to deliver services to members of their own ethnic groups (newspapers,
churches, shops, etc). Sometimes becoming part of such can result in unacceptance by the host
community, feel left out.
(3)Diaspora-. Global spread of migrants of any ethnic group/nationality and their culture (also
historically victimized minority, refugees, deportees, former slaves)
Theoretical Perspectives on Race and Ethnicity
(1)Structural functionalism-. Racial inequality as a social purpose. Both, keeping a distinct
racial/ethnic identity and socially racial conflict helps individuals to identify/integrate into their
own community, cohesion.
(2)Conflict theory-. 1 group benefits from the other. Majority groups seek to dominate minorities to
reinforce their superiority (when threatened).
(3)Symbolic interactionism -. Ethnic differentiation is constructed by a labelling process. Racial slurs
further undermine the inferior status of minority groups. Racial labels and slurs can shape the
way groups view themselves. Constant awareness of race (race socialization) in daily social
interaction increases the likelihood of racial conflict.
(4)Structural theory -. Minorities that are more visible are streamed into 2ndary labour market and
rarely into the primary market. Jobs markets sometimes exclude people on the grounds of
race/ethnicity. A general bias against hiring non-whites has made many visible minority
immigrants respond by starting their own businesses.
Racism and Prejudice: social problems.
Defining and Measuring Racial prejudice
Prejudice: hostile and aversive attitude to smn of a diff group
Racial discrimination: any distinction, exclusion, restriction, prejudice based on colour, race whose
purpose is to impair recognition, exercise of human rights and public life freedoms.
In society present as institutional (structural) racism at institutions, workplaces, rental housing markets
(keep some races away). Also individual racism, though most destructive is internalized racism (members