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SOC102H1
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NS Chapter 10 Race and Ethnic Relations Jan 1991 28 - Leo LaChance Native Indian - tried to sell his gun to a white supremacist (someone who believes white people are more superior) the person didnt buy it Leo got shot on the way out + died. o Carney Nerland distributed anti- Jewish + anti- Native literature claimed no knowledge about a bullet in his gun was just a joke sentenced to prison (4years) but released after 1 year Many similar racial problems exist : BC- 75% land under 19 different Aboriginal land claim dispute. Maritimes- Non-Aboriginals resort to violence to stop Aboriginals from catching lobsters out of season. Toronto- Black ppl: need to establish black- focused schools catering specific educational needs of their children. Alberta Royal Canadian Mountain Police claimed having thousand signature petition demanding policies to allow Sikh officers to wear turbans Less then 10 yrs ago half the voters in Quebec voted on separation Mid 1990s Neil Bissoondath set a storm of controversy argued govt policy of multiculturalism is undermining unity of country Sociology of ethnic and racial relations study of how power and resources are unequally distributed among ethnic and racial groups Ethnicity and Race: The Social Construction of Difference Assumption: the terms race ethnicity are ascribed (given to) characteristics o We assume we are born with a certain race or ethnicity o Sociologist believe: more useful to see race and ethnicity as achieved statuses acquired by social definition Ethnicity and Race Ethnicity Disagreement (Sociologists) on how to define and measure ethnicity Objective definitions of ethnicity- assume ethnic groups exist due to peoples social attachments o Something that people possess due to differences in language, culture, customs, national origin and ancestry. Subjective approaches to ethnicity- process of ethnic identification o Emphasize socially constructed nature of perceived reality ethnicity is a transactional process. o Made up of people who identify themselves or identified by others, as belonging in same ancestral or cultural group o Displaying any of cultural characteristics, or merely born into that group is irrelevant Subjective definitions ethnicity is self defined and reflects a shared we-feeling within collectivity - symbolic components can vary from time and place Ethnic identities + boundaries situational, variable + flexible Many ethnic categories are actually recent historical creations o E.g. English 800yrs ago unthinkable to person living in British Isles o 150 yrs- term Germans did not exist o People define themselves defined by others: Celts, Saxons, Normans o Common for ethnic categories and identities to recast + created anew Canada permanent feeling of commonality basis for common ethnic identification 1991 census- Statistics Canada tried to measure ethnicity of population o found strong tendency to report Canadian as ethnic origin + identity o 1996 census- political pressure added Canadian into response category which is not the largest group ppl identify themselves as defining oneself as Canadian: (1) uninterested and by default we call ourselves Canadians (2) a political act expressing dissatisfaction with govts multiculturalism policy (3) simply a group we identify + share sense of belonging with Rhoda Howard Hassmann- emergence of this sense of community : the ethnic English Canadian is a new social creation Race Little difference between understanding of race and the way it was analyzed in social and natural sciences o Scientists believe: race was real + objective subdivisions of Homo Sapiens Divisions based on combination of unalterable physical and genetic characteristics o E.g. skin color, hair texture, body and facial shape, genetic diseases, metabolic rates, and distribution of blood groups construct racial typologies o Most common typology: Caucasoid(Caucasian) mongoloid (Asian) and Negroid(Black) races 1930- scientist raise doubt about scientific validity of concept of race 1950s scientific consensus racial classification of humanity are subjective + genetic differences between groups are small + behaviorally insignificant only 0.24% of all human genes are shared by members of the same race, genetically defined o ethnic boundaries & ids are flexible, negotiated, and historically variable W.I. Thomass famous sociological dictum if people define situations as real, they are real in their consequences (thus race is not unimportant!!!) o Race = hollow biological concept + boundaries are not fixed many believe existence of ethnicity and race + organize relationships on basis of beliefs. o Race and ethnicity = important parts of social reality Racism Racist Ideas Traditionally sociologists define racism - the belief that humans are subdivided into distinct hereditary groups that are innately different in their social behavior and mental capacities and that can therefore be ranked as superior or inferior 1990 Decima Research Ltd showed 90% Canadians agreed with All races are created equal o 10% - disagreed or didnt know = racist? o Ideas about inherent superiority and inferiority of groups so often discredited racism took a new form Biological versions of racism are dead Martin Barker developed concept of new racism to analyze the racist ideas expressed in 1970s by British Members of Parliament (MPs) when they spoke against British immigration policy o Policy permitted ppl from former British colonies (Asia, Africa, Caribbean) unrestricted entry to country o MPs did not make reference to their own biological superiority or to the others inferiority instead regarded immigrants as culturally different from British o Said that ability of British people to advance the moral level of humanity was being undermined by immigration policy (??) o MPs statement cannot be considered racist by traditional definition of racism yet it stopped almost all nonwhite immigration suggested broader definition of racism New racism involves beliefs, (not ranked more or less superior) yet are naturally different from each other, and that social problems created when diff groups try to live together These beliefs considered racist due to underlying intent: to socially exclude, marginalize, and denigrate certain groups of people without reference to unalterable biology Frances Henry and colleague Democratic racism where 2 conflicting sets of values are made agreeing to each other o Canadians committed to equality, justice, and fairness at the same time holding negative values about and engaging in discriminatory behavior toward minority groups o Democratic racism made up of myths, explanations, rationalizations having effect of reinforcing racial inequality Angus Reid Group 1991- survey about Canadians limits to tolerance o 1998- 22% said too many visible minority immigrants ; 1999- 25% ; 2000- 27% Institutional Racism Institutional Racism discriminatory racial practices built into such prominent structure as the political, economic and education system 3 forms: 1. institutional (organized) practices based on explicitly racist ideas in Canada: e.g. Chinese people excluded from certain jobs and denied rights to vote until 1947 Japanese Canadians denied basic civil rights + expelled from west coast of BC + had property confiscated during WWII Status Indians denied the right to vote until 1960 Residential segregation for Black people Restrictive covenants in wills, deeds, leases to ensure property was not sold or leased to Blacks or Jews Blacks refused service in restaurants, theatres, recreational facilities Had the worst record of Allied countries in allowing Jewish immigration during WWII when they were being gassed in Europe 2. circumstances where institutional practices arose from but no longer sustained by racist ideas e.g. 1966- govt admitted Black workers from Caribbean to work on Canadian farms over 10,000 migrant workers harvest fruits, veggies and tobacco in southern Ontario o Canadian govt justified the practice by arguing black workers were racially suited to labor under hot sun + unsuited to cold Canadian winters o Present migrant labor policy- origins in racist thinking but racist ideas are no longer used to justify this migration stream 3. institutions unintentionally restrict life chances of certain groups through seemingly neutral rules, regulations and procedures - systemic discrimination e.g: height and weight requirements for jobs in police forces + fire departments not necessarily originate in racist ideas many years Asian groups couldnt get jobs in this area w
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