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Chapter 7

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Chapter 7 Racial and Ethnic Groups Chapter Summary Race and ethnicity have emerged as important sources of difference in Canada; however, as emphasized in this chapter, race and ethnicity are historically specific and socially constructed. Sociologists differ widely in their approach to race and ethnic relations. Functionalists point out that prejudice and discrimination provide benefits for society as a whole, as these feelings maintain social solidarity. Ethnic solidarity is beneficial to ethnic groups as it provides individuals with a sense of connectedness. Critical theorists argue that the dominant group benefits economically from racism: recent immigrants are often streamed into the secondary labour market. Symbolic interactionists note that members of various racial and ethnic groups are often referred to in derogatory ways and that racial socialization and the racialization of reality contribute to racial conflicts. Although Canada has long been an immigration country, for much of that time, our immigration policies have been exclusionary. More recently, Canada has adopted a policy of multiculturalism. While this policy is still contentious, the social distance between racial and ethnic group is decreasing. Learning Objectives In this chapter, you will • learn that racial and ethnic classifications are historically specific and socially constructed; • consider the influence of past and present immigration trends on Canadian society, as well as on social policies, including multiculturalism; and, • discover that the ‘social distance’ between different racial and ethnic groups has shrunk over the last century, pointing to a brighter future in human interaction. Key Terms assimilation: The process by which an outsider or immigrant group becomes indistinguishably integrated into the dominant host society; similar to acculturation. 2 diaspora: A dispersion of people through migration, resulting in the establishment and spread of same-ethnicity communities throughout the world. diasporic group: Any ethnic group that has established multiple centres of immigrant life throughout the world. ethnic enclave: A neighbourhood that is mainly or exclusively populated by people who belong to the same ethnic group. ethnic group: A set of people commonly defined as belonging to the same group by virtue of a common birthplace, ancestry, or culture. imagined communities: Social groupings, like races or ethnic groups, that are treated as real because they are widely believed (or imagined) to be real. institutional completeness: The degree to which a community or enclave has established services aimed at a particular ethnic community, often in their traditional language. multiculturalism: A Canadian political and social policy aimed at promoting ethnic tolerance and ethnic community survival. 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. racial (or ethnic) socialization: The process by which we learn to perceive and evaluate people (including ourselves) according to presumed racial or ethnic differences. racial variations: Differences in behaviour which some people attribute to differences in race. Recommended Readings Anderson, B. (1983). Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. London: Verso. This classic work discusses the spread of nationalism by means of European colonialism in Latin America and Asia. It examines the social factors that make people nationalistic, willing to risk everything in the name of their nations. Gracia, J. J. E. (ed.) (2007). Race or Ethnicity? On Black and Latino Identity. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. This collection of essays explores the relation between race and ethnicity and their connection to social identity. 3 Henry, F., & Tator, C. (2005). The Colour of Democracy: Racism in Canadian Society, 3rd ed. Toronto: Thomson Nelson. This critique of racism in Canadian policies and institutions examines the contradictions of multiculturalism and democratic racism in contemporary Canadian society. Porter, J. (1965). The Vertical Mosaic: An Analysis of Social Class and Power in Canada. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. This is the first truly Canadian study on race and ethnicity in Canada, and remains influential to this day. It asks how and why ethnicity is related to a group’s position in the economic structure, and examines the role of education in fostering social mobility. Satzewich, V., & Liodakis, N. (2007). ‘Race’ and Ethnicity in Canada: A Critical Introduction. Toronto: Oxford University Press. This book is an excellent and thorough introduction to concepts such as immigration, aboriginal–non-aboriginal relations, French–English relations, notions of racial and ethnic identity, sociological explanations for racism, and other race- and/or ethnicity-related issues in Canada. It encourages critical thinking when examining these topics. Wade, P. (ed.) (2007). Race, Ethnicity, and Nation: Perspectives from Kinship and Genetics. New York: Berghahn Books. This book links the ideas of race and ethnicity with those of family and genetics, in the context of an ever-diversifying society. Recommended Websites Multicultural Canada www.multiculturalcanada.ca Citizenship and Immigration Canada www.cic.gc.ca Canadian Heritage www.pch.gc.ca First People’s Heritage Language and Cultural Council 4 www.fphlcc.ca Multicultural History Society of Ontario (MHSO) www.mhso.ca Global Gathering Place www.mhso.ca/ggp Toronto’s Mosaic: A Reality Check www.cbc.ca/toronto/features/diversity/index.html Race: The Power of an Illusion www.pbs.org/race/000_General/000_00-Home.htm Multiple Choice Questions 1. The textbook defines race as a) a set of people commonly defined as belonging to the same group by virtue of a common birthplace, ancestry, or culture. b) 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. c) a set of people living in a particular territory, who, as a result of long isolation from others, share exactly the same genetic linkages. d) all of the above 2. An __________ is a set of people commonly defined as belonging to the same group by virtue of a common birthplace, ancestry, or culture. a) race b) diaspora c) ethnic enclave d) ethnic group 3. Which term refers to differences in behaviour, which some people attribute to differences in race? a) racial variations b) racism c) racialization d) racial profiling 5 4. Which of the following statements about Chinese immigration is not true? a) Chinese railway labourers in the nineteenth century were stereotyped as lazy and undisciplined. b) An exclusionary discrimination policy against Chinese immigrants was imposed from 1885 to 1947. c) Large-scale immigration from China occurred in the late 1980s. d) none of the above 5. The tendency to introduce racial distinctions into situations that can be managed without such distinctions is known as a) racism. b) racial profiling. c) racialization. d) racial socialization. 6. According to the textbook, __________ theory helps us understand the economic experiences of racial and ethnic minorities. a) structural b) secondary labour market c) critical d) critical race theory 7. In Canada, the sorting of people into jobs usually begins a) during the interview process. b) in schools. c) both a and b d) none of the above 8. If a researcher were to ask a white person questions should as, ‘Would you be willing to have a Pakistani person as a close relative?’ or ‘Would you be willing to have a Pakistani person as a neighbour on your street?’ this researcher is likely studying a) immigration settlement patterns. b) racism. c) ethnocentrism. d) social distance. 6 9. Which the following statements about the findings of research on social distance in Canada is not true? a) Gypsies are widely disliked and excluded. b) Groups living in small, isolated communities tend to be more intolerant. c) Tolerance has tended to decrease over time. d) both a both b 10. According to the 2006 census, of the Canadians who belong to visible minorities and are in a couple relationship, approximately __________ are in a mixed-race union. a) 2 per cent b) 15 per cent c) 18 per cent d) 20 percent 11. Every year, Canada accepts about __________ immigrants. a) 120,000 b) 225,000 c) 260,000 d) 375,000 12. The two main source co
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