Published on March 20, 2014
SECOND EDITION You May AskYourself Dalton Conley An Introduction to Thinking Like a Sociologist Chapter 9 Race
The Myth of Race •Race - a group of people who share a set of characteristics — usually physical ones — and are said to share a common bloodline. – Usually thought of in US as black or white. – Social construct that changes over time and across different contexts. •Racism - the belief that members of separate races possess different and unequal human traits. 2
The Concept of Race • The Early Modern World – Developed parallel to: •Protestant Reformation •Age of Exploration (and colonization) •Rise of capitalism – The Curse of Ham (Genesis 9)
The Concept of Race •The Early Modern World – Scientific racism – nineteenth century theories of race that characterize a period of feverish investigation into the origins, explanations, and classifications of race. – Phrenology (Blumenbach) – Physiognomy (Lavater) – “Universal freckle” (Smith) 4
The Concept of Race •The Early Modern World – Social Darwinism - the notion that some groups or races evolved more than others and were better fit to survive and even rule other races. – Monogenists – humans are all one species – Polygenists – different races are actually different species 5
The Concept of Race •The Early Modern World – Eugenics – literally, “well born,” the theory of controlling the fertility of populations to influence inheritable traits passed on from one generation to the next. • Positive traits could be bred into populations or negative traits could be bred out of them. – Nativism – movement to protect and preserve indigenous land or culture from the so-called dangerous and polluting effects of new immigrants. 6
The Concept of Race •Twentieth-Century Concepts of Race – Nazi Germany • Unable to devise a test • Forced Jews to wear yellow Star of David – One Drop Rule – the belief that “one drop” of black blood makes a person black. – Miscegenation – the technical term for multiracial marriage; literally meaning “a mixing of the kinds” • Preferred term is exogamy or outmarriage. 7
The Concept of Race • Later Twentieth Century – Boas – dismissed biological bases of discrete races – Park – Culture and human behavior – WWII exposed the dangers of eugenics and racism; became socially inappropriate to discuss race in biological terms.
The Concept of Race •Today DNA testing is used to determine people’s racial makeup, and while this process may be more accurate on some level than nineteenth-century racial measures, it still supports the notion of fixed, biological racial differences. 9
Racial Realities •Racialization - the formation of a new racial identity, in which new ideological boundaries of difference are drawn around a formerly unnoticed group of people. – Burakumin of Japan – Muslims/Arabs in the U.S. 10
Interview, Jen’nan Read 11 Jen’nan Read discusses her research on the experience of Muslims in the United States. Racial Realities
Race versus Ethnicity •Ethnicity – one's ethnic quality or affiliation; voluntary, self-defined, non hierarchal, fluid, and multiple, and based on cultural differences, not physical ones. •Symbolic ethnicity – a nationality, not in the sense of carrying the rights and duties of citizenship but identifying with a past or future nationality. – For most white people, no risks of stigma, but pleasure of feeling like an individual. 12
Minority––Majority Group Relations •Pluralism, in the context of race and ethnicity, refers to the presence and engaged coexistence of numerous distinct groups in one society, with no one group being in the majority. • • 13
Minority–Majority Group Relations •Segregation is the legal or social practice of separating people on the basis of their race or ethnicity. –Segregation was official policy in the United States, particularly in the South, until the 1960s. –Despite being illegal for over 40 years, there is still ample evidence of segregation in American society today, particularly in schools, housing, and prisons. 14
Group Responses to Domination •Four ways that groups respond to oppression are withdrawal, passing, acceptance, and resistance. • 15
Prejudice, Discrimination, and the New Racism •Prejudice refers to negative thoughts and feelings about an ethnic or racial group. • •Discrimination refers to harmful or negative acts against people deemed inferior on the basis of their racial category. • 16
Prejudice, Discrimination, and the New Racism
Prejudice, Discrimination, and the New Racism •While overt racism is, for the most part, considered unacceptable in America today, there is a new kind of racism on the rise in America and elsewhere that focuses on cultural and national differences, rather than racial ones. 18
How Race Matters: The Case of Wealth •A wealth gap exists between whites and minority groups in America that has historical roots and that cannot be overcome simply through income equality. Public policies formulated to address white-nonwhite disparities have not paid close enough attention to this particular legacy of racism. 19
The Future of Race •The 2000 Census created separate categories for race and ethnicity and for the first time allowed people to check off more than one box for racial identity. These changes have given us a better idea of the diversity of the American population. 20
Interview, Jennifer Lee Jennifer Lee explains how sociologists think about race and describes the differences between race and ethnicity. 21 Studying Race
Interview, Jennifer Lee Jennifer Lee describes her research on the shifting color line in the United States. 22 Studying Race
Figure 9.4 Merton’s Chart of Prejudice and Discrimination You May Ask Yourself, 2nd Edition Copyright © 2011 W.W. Norton & Company
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