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Chapter 3

SOC102 Habits of Inequality Chapter 3

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Lorne Tepperman

Habits of Inequality Chapter 3 – Racialization A MILE IN ANOTHER’S MOCCASINS - You can change people’s behaviour and thinking by changing their social roles - Philip Zimbardo o One group of randomly chosen students was told to play the role of prisoners o Other group of randomly chosen students was told to play the role of jailers o Each set of students quickly developed loyalty for their own group and strongly resented the group playing the opposite role - Jane Elliot o Upset by the ignorance of white male commentators (e.g., lack of sympathy for the black community, bigotry) about the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. o Knew it was time to bring the lessons she had been teaching her students about racism to the next level  Though everyone can imagine being treated like an inferior, few know what it feels like or the kinds of psychological, emotional, and social effects this treatment might have o Inspired by the Aboriginal saying “oh, Great Spirit, keep me from ever judging a man until I have walked a mile in his moccasins” o Felt her third grade class had no clear understanding of discrimination from personal experience  Only seen black people on television  Only know of black people by what they hear adults say  Learned the typical stereotypes of black people (e.g., laziness, unemployment, violence) o What would happen if people were judged based on the colour of their eyes, instead of the skin?  To teach her children the arbitrary nature of the differences that divide humans  The brown-eyed children were not good enough to play with the blue-eyed children  She used pseudo-scientific explanations that stated the melanin responsible for making blue eyes was also linked to higher intelligence and better learning ability o She singled out some students as examples  She watched what had been marvelous, cooperative, wonderful, thoughtful children turn into nasty, vicious, discriminating little third graders within 15 minutes  She created a microcosm of society in her classroom  The brown-eyed children are now better than the blue-eyed children  Mocked the blue-eyed children, but not as severely as the blue-eyed children had the day before when they were superior  The brown-eyed children had first-hand experience with inferiority treatment o Brought about changes in the children’s learning ability, in addition to changes in behaviour and attitude  The children’s measured intelligence changed depending on whether they were being treated like superiors or inferiors  Children did better on the day that they were part of the superior group, even better than they had two weeks earlier  Children did better for the rest of the year  Knowing that you are superior improves your performance and well-being o Diversity training  The exercise has been tried everywhere, in classrooms, workplaces, and prisons  We do not know the feeling of inferiority until we go through such an experience  The more people who know this feeling, the better off we are  She would like to see the need for the exercise to disappear DRAWING THE COLOUR LINE - The social construction of differences based on race and ethnicity - A trivial physical difference is used to justify social differences, especially social inequalities - Race  Differences based on physical or genetic characteristics that produce differences in appearance - Ethnicity  Social and cultural characteristics people are believed to share - Both race and ethnicity are socially constructed o Ethnic group  People who consider themselves, or are considered by others, to share common characteristics that distinguish them from other groups in a society o Racial group  Most people see race as possessing unique physiological characteristics, based in genetic differences that are absent in other races  Racial differences are often linked to biological differences  Scientists reject this view of race, in light of growing genetic evidence showing that human races are significantly more alike than they are different  Human Genome Project  To determine the sequence of chemical base pairs that make up DNA, which has identified and mapped 20,000-25,000 genes o 85% of the genetic variability that exists within the entire human species can be found within a single local population o There could be more genetic difference between two randomly selected people than between members of two different races  There is a continuum of physical features o The physical attributes commonly associated with race are not genetically associated with each other, instead they are inherited separately o The chances of getting the entire racial package in one individual is not 100% o There is no correlation between physical features and intelligence, mortality, industry, or other social features  The physical features that distinguish members of one race are a result of genetic adaptation to specific environmental influences o E.g., Skin colour darkens as an adaptation to prolonged sunlight  The interest in racial differences is kept alive by cultural tropes (e.g., beauty/beast) - Race and ethnicity are not necessarily connected o People who look different may share the same cultural values o People who look the same may think in different ways o Classical sociological theory predicted the decline of racial and ethnic differences, but they still exist  It is difficult to change people’s perceptions, prejudices, and stereotypes about race and ethnicity  There is a tendency to link racial differences with imagined differences of a moral and sexual kind o Racial and ethnic groups are different, yet racial and ethnic inequalities are linked  Both racial and ethnic minorities suffer from prejudice and discrimination  Both racith and ethnic differences ignite bitter conflict o Throughout the 20 century  Karl Marx expected class identities to replace ethnic identities, especially in the minds of class-conscious workers  Viewed racial and ethnic distinctions as distractions from class warfare  However, racial and ethnic identities have proved more resistant to change o Ethnic sentiment has proved more binding than class sentiment o This would have surprised Marx, Durkheim, and Weber  Emile Durkheim and Max Weber imagined that occupational and professional identities would replace ethnic identities, through the development of what Durkheim called organic solidarity  However, people in modern societies developed compartmentalized ethnic and occupational identities (e.g., keeping them separate but intact) o Ethnic and racial inequalities, communities and identities, and conflict continue to persist o Ethnic communities and identities persist because they adapt and change with the times  New ethnic groups are always being formed as populations move between countries  Some ethnic communities in particular cities or countries can disappear  There is no Australian, Tibetan, Ghanaian, Monacan, Bolivian, or Moldovan ethnic community in Canada  These groups are too small or poorly organized to survive in the Canadian context  They blend into other similar language or racial groupings  Other ethnic communities survive for many generations  They maintain their ethic distinctiveness (e.g., identities and customs)  Helped along by Canada’s official policy of multiculturalism o This policy was originally intended to ensure that Canadian institutions would reflect the values of cultural tolerance, and to protect the rights of people against prejudice and discrimination o Modern multiculturalism is more concerned with protecting the survival of ethnic communities, which accentuates the differences between Canadians and segregates them from one another, rather than contributing to a unified nationhood  Supported by high rates of immigration o Chain migration  A process in which one family member successfully migrates to an area, and then other family members slowly immigrate to join them, which reproduces original communities in a new land o This slows down immigrant assimilation and explains why it takes several generations before an immigrant group is fully assimilated o The more committed a group remains to its home community, the harder it is to assimilate, and the more slowly it gains full acceptance by other Canadians  Rely on institutional completeness o Refer to sub-heading “Raymond Breton” o Ethnic groups and ethnic communities are related but different  This distinction is like what Marx described between a class in itself and a class for itself  Ethnic group  A set of people who supposedly share the same ethnic origins  Ethnic community  An ethnic group with boundaries, often living together in a defined geographic location  Like the class for itself, the ethnic community is self-aware and self-conscious about its differences from outsiders  The survival of an ethnic community depends on more than residential proximity; it depends on imagination IMAGINED COMMUNITIES - The sheer staying power of ethnicity in the face of wars, migrations, and out-marriages is remarkable - No wonder people have been studying ethnicity and race for a long time - Herodotus  The first to study ethnic groups o Witnessed continued conflict between major Mediterranean empires o Looked into the roots of cultural differences between the leading contenders for dominance in the Mediterranean region o Studied their languages, gods, and customs - Emile Durkheim (The Elementary Forms of Religious Life) o Recognized the importance of social cohesion o Wondered what made tribal societies so cohesive, compared to industrial societies o Collective consciousness  Shared group sentiments are the primary source of cohesion and personal identity in these societies  Mobilized by rituals and ritual objects called totems (e.g., objects of veneration for members of the group regardless of their concrete qualities)  Ability to share an imagined meaning for the totemic object gives them stability and strength  These activities and objects are boundary markers and sources of collective ritual  They mark the boundaries that separate insiders from outsiders - Benedict Anderson o Imagined communities  People who group together around a common history and culture  Forces them to ignore obvious differences (e.g., class or religious differences) and search for sometimes hidden or trivial similarities  The common origins need not be real, but must be believed to be real  The creation of ethnic communities means highlighting, or even inventing, cultural markers that unite subgroups and separate them from people deemed culturally different - W.I. Thomas and D.S. Thomas o “If men define situations as real, they will be real in their consequences” o In other words, what people believe to be real will have real outcomes - Max Weber o Paid attention to the ways ethnic communities control their members o Ethnic groups are status groups that practice closure (exclusion) and usurpation (capture) to maintain themselves (e.g., claim social privileges on behalf of group members)  Create and police their boundaries  Reward insiders and punish outsiders  Capture (or monopolize) valued resources for their member’s use o Similar to what the capitalist class do, according to Karl Marx and Erik Olin Wright o Ethnic groups are more effective status groups than social classes  Many of them (e.g., French Canadians) have managed to achieve the level of group awareness and consciousness that Marx hoped that classes would do  Like social classes, ethnic groups practice control and exercise power in the interest of their members - Raymond Breton o Ethnic communities rely on institutional completeness to survive o Institutional completeness  A set of institutions (e.g., stores, schools, churches, newspapers) that help people maintain their cultural and social connections  Community institutions preserve and promote ethnic sentiments  E.g., To promote the community’s merchants and businesses provide small-scale, short-term benefits, especially for newcomers who have trouble speaking English, and improves the fortune of the community o Downsides to ethnic institutional completeness  Ethnic segregation sometimes means a concentration of poverty, prejudice, and other social issues  The level of segregation in Canadian cities is lower than in the more unequal American cities, but visible minorities are excluded from the British or French majorities to a greater extent than immigrants from other European backgrounds  Many minority groups experience difficulties in buying a house (e.g., lower rates of home ownership than expected of their income, education, and careers)  In a neighbourhood context, it is difficult for community members to compete in the larger world, where there are more varied and bigger prizes to be won  In a multi-cultural society, minorities have to decide whether to stay within their community or cross boundaries and even assimilate economically, socially, and culturally o Individuals risk becoming marginal when they have one foot inside the group and one foot outside  The idea of global ethnic communities is increasingly possible since communication and travel are easier than in the past  Ethnic segregation also reduces cross-cultural contact, familiarity, and friendship THE VERTICAL MOSAIC - John Porter o Explored the reasons certain groups are not as integrated into the host society as others o Put to rest common misconceptions of Canada as a classless society o Like the United States, Canadian society is vertical (a social hierarchy of wealth and power) o Unlike the United States, Canada is a mosaic (unassimilated ethnic groups who hold different positions in the hierarchy of wealth and power) o Canada is socially stratified, with economic power in the hands of a small group of elites who act to promote and protect one another’s interests o Many historical and social factors forced Canada’s ethnic mosaic into a vertical position  Charter groups  The British and the French are on top  Descendants of the charter groups preserve and extend their historic advantage by monopolizing higher educational opportunities  Eastern and Southern Europeans, visible minorities and Aboriginals are on the bottom  Descendants of lower status, non-WASP groups are locked into inferior economic positions because of limited educational opportunities o To improve this situation, Porter called for a transformation of Canada’s educational system  To make it open to everyone, so the most able had the opportunity to advance occupationally and economically, regardless of ethnic background  The expansion of Canada’s post-secondary education was fueled in part by Porter’s arguments o Shortcomings to the Porter thesis th  This analysis is great for understanding the problems faced by 20 century European immigrants, especially men  It had nothing to say about women or racial minorities in the Canadian mosaic, which became the problems th st of the late 20 and early 21 centuries - Jason Lian and David Matthews o Examined the earnings of different ethnic groups at ten levels of education ranging  Europeans achieved income equality with the British  Visible minorities have significantly lower earnings than the British o Argued that while the vertical mosaic of ethnic differences may be disappearing, it has been replaced by a coloured mosaic of racial differences - Ethnic and racial inequalities continue to persist o Ethnic affiliation  Strong ethnic attachments may cause social bordering that often isolates people from information about mainstream job opportunities o Structural barriers  Racial prejudice and discrimination are systematically women into the fabric of Canada’s socio- economic structure, denying members of certain groups the full range of job opportunities and similar resources despite whatever human capital they possess o Racial inequality seems to be tied to income inequality in many countries, including developed countries  E.g., Compare black and white income inequalities  There is a greater racial income gap in the US, but black people are under-represented in the highest household income categories in both countries  Black Canadians are better off than Black Americans o Higher ratio of affluent blacks to affluent whites in Canada  Black Canadians are 82% as likely as white Canadians to be found in the top income category  Black Americans are 39% as likely as white Americans to be found in the top income category o Middle class with incomes over $120,00 is more racially balanced in Canada o Over-representation of black people in low income categories in the US  Once the relative sizes of each generation of immigrants in the country have been taken into account, the racial income gap is similar in both countries LADDER OF SEPARATION - Visible minority immigrants tend to earn less than native born Canadians - Emory Bogardus o Social Distance Scale  To measure the extent to which survey respondents say they would accept members of a certain racial or ethnic group into closer social relationships  To measure the social distance between pairs of ethnic and racial groups  To measure intergroup segregation and the willingness of group members to mix with other groups  Listed in from the closest to the most distant:  Close relative by marriage  Close personal friend  Neighbour on the same street  Co-worker in the same occupation  Citizen in own country  Temporary visitor in own country  Someone excluded from own country  For each question, the respondent would get a score ranging from 1 to 7  An average social distance for each respondent, each respondent group, and each target group  To determine what types of people are most open to minorities and which types of minorities are most accepted or rejected by a majority of respondents  Look at the rates of intergroup marriage as an indication of groups either getting closer over time or not, implying lesser social distance  Intergroup marriage is seen as the last barrier to social integration  Intermarriage is an indicator of the level of inequality between ethnic and racial groups in different societies  Societies with higher levels of inequality also have lower levels of intergroup marriage  People marry across group lines under three main conditions  There must be many opportunities to meet members of the other group  There must be a relative abundance of eligible mates in the other group and a shortage of them in one’s own group  They must be willing to marry outside their group  The amount of intermarriage is influenced by segregation, geographic isolation, culture, linguistic difference, religious affiliation, and a history of conflict between the two groups  We cannot infer than a failure to intermarry is due to a voluntary social distance or rejection of others  We must be careful when comparing social relationships across countries o E.g., Black-white relationships have different meanings in South Africa than in US - Tim Heaton and Cardell Jacobson o The prevalence and pattern of intermarriage is an indication of any remaining barriers to inter-group connections  Hawaii and New Zealand are the most tolerant  South Africa and Xinjiang are the least tolerant  Canada and the US are in the middle o Intermarriage has been increasing over time in Canada  According to the 2006 Census, there was an increasing number of mixed unions, with a growth rate 5 times larger than other couples o Despite rates of higher intermarriage  Native populations of these countries still have high endogamy (same-group marriage) ratios among groups that live in remote areas  White populations (the vast majority in the US, Canada, and New Zealand) have low rates of homogamy o When minority groups marry exogenously, they marry into the majority  Group size theory  Intergroup marriage is a function of group si
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