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Starting Points CH7

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Racial and Ethnic Groups (Starting Points Ch7) Key terms  Race: a set of people commonly defined as belonging to the same group by virtue of common visible features, such as skin colour or facial characteristics  Ethnic Group: a set of people commonly defined as belonging to the same group by virtue of common birthplace, ancestry, or culture  Racialization: the tendency to unnecessarily introduce racial distinctions into situations that can be solved without them  Functionalism  Inequality provides incentives (status, material rewards) that prompt people to take on important social roles  Exclusion, prejudice, discrimination provides societal benefits both as a whole and for particular groups  Ethnic solidarity increases social cohesion  Dissolution of ethnic boundaries may reduce inter-group conflict but will end ethnic group identity and cohesion  Ethnoracial diversity more varied opinion and perspectives than in homogenous society  Conflict intensifies sense of identity and belonging  more cohesion and sense of purpose Critical Theory  Explore how economic competition may create racial stereotypes  Majority groups seek domination over minorities to gain economic advantage o Ex. Chinese in Canada to build transcontinental railway; once finished, they became a threat to Euro-Canadians' economic well-being  head tax was put in place o This form of exclusionary regulation is a form of racism  Racialization: the tendency to unnecessarily introduce racial distinctions into situations that can be solved without them o Ex. Black athlete  natural athletic ability; white athlete  "extra effort" o Praise of natural ability plays to stereotype that blacks are physically strong but mentally weak o Reveals deep and persistent racial prejudices o Ex. Racial profiling in law enforcement Symbolic Interactionism  Construction of ethnic differences and racial labels to subordinate minorities o Ex. Slang terms that can be used casually or with cruel intent o Imply condescension and humiliation  People can come to believe in the slurs against their ethnic or national group o Instills feelings of self-loathing and disadvantage, wanting to reject their group, give into impulses to live to others' worst expectations  Racial/Ethnic Socialization: process by which we learn to perceive and evaluate people according to presumed racial or ethnic differences o Learning 'what it means' socially and culturally what it means to be of a race/ethnicity o Not necessarily accurate; learned from family, friends, sometimes media  When people are exposed to other groups and cultures only through stereotyped images, they are likely to act on distorted perceptions Structural Theory  Helps us understand economic experiences of racial and ethnic minorities  Those that are most similar (culturally, educationally) to the host society will enjoy easiest, most rapid assimilation into labour market  Immigrants complaining of problems arising from non-acceptance of foreign credentials o Forced to requalify for lengthy, costly training  Regardless of immigrant's race, ethnicity, credentials, training, etc, many hold similar positions in labour market o Immigrants with advanced degrees driving taxis, serving burgers, selling computers, etc  Wages of recent immigrants earn less than native-born Canadians w/ equal education and experience  Structural barriers overcome by becoming middlemen: entrepreneurs, agents, brokers, etc Middleman Minorities Pattern: Immigrate and Suffer Discrimination  Immigrants see themselves as strangers due to discrimination  Settle in towns and cities among others with same birthplace  Set up shop as wholesalers, small merchants, even professionals  Come into competition with dominant ethnic group  Work harder than anyone else to survive in their marginal role  Depend on thrift, co-operation, time-management, use of family and community ties Classic Study: Social Distance  Devised by Emory S. Bogardus  Measures the extent of intergroup segregation and willingness of group members to mix with other groups  Bogardus's scale measures extent to which participants would accept members of a certain racial/ethnic group into closer or more distant social relationships 1. Close relative by marriage 2. Close personal friend 3. Neighbour 4. Co-worker 5. Citizen in own country 6. Temporary visitor in own country 7. Someone excluded in own country  Social distance is like a ladder: acceptance at one level = acceptance at all levels below it  This method remains innovative in measuring intergroup sentiments 3 key findings  Some groups are commonly less tolerated than others  research needed on reason for widespread prejudice  Some groups are less tolerant than others  ex. Small communities particularly intolerant  Tolerance tends to increase over time  Another simple way to measure social distance is to look at intergroup marriage  Tendency to form mixed-race couples most common in descendants of immigrants, not immigrants themselves The history of racial and ethnic relations  Logic of moral and cultural superiority has a long, complex history in religion and politics  Members of powerful nations claim moral and cultural superiority over members of other nations 1. Christianity as the true faith a. More common historically, but many Americans hold this view today about the war in Afghanistan 2. Cultural Parochialism (narrow-mindedness) and Commitment to Nation Building a. European advantages in tech, weapons, etc allowed them to conquer less powerful/'advanced' civilizations in European national interests 3. Misunderstood Darwinism a. Thought that European imperial successes proved the natural superiority of Western European societies and cultures over "primitive" societies b. Even colonized people began to believe in these "natural" distinctions i. Lighter-skinned people enjoyed more status and power in former colonies ii. Today, skin-lightening creams are used in India, Korea  Canada's immigration laws had more-or-less obvious ethnic and racial preferences The history of immigration policy  Groups from northern Europe favoured by Canadian immigration policy o Allegedly, they could thrive better in cold climates  Discrimination favoured white British and nor
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