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ASB 202 week 14

by: Jordan R

ASB 202 week 14 ASB 202

Jordan R
GPA 3.6

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Imm & Ethnic Relations in US
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This 17 page Class Notes was uploaded by Jordan R on Sunday May 22, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to ASB 202 at Arizona State University taught by Estrada in Fall 2015. Since its upload, it has received 6 views.


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Date Created: 05/22/16
White Americans Why Study White Americans? They are the dominant majority ethnic group are therefore important to race/ethnicity in America ● Whites are of immigrant origin As the dominant majority ethnic group, they are basis for our understanding of the ethnic minority experience ● White Americans are at the top of the U.S. ethnic hierarchy (ethnic minorities positioned in relation to them) ● Ethnic minorities construct their ethnic experiences in relation to whites (as a reference group) ● White is an uninterrogated ethnic category (taken for granted, especially by whites) Terminology and Definitions White Americans usually referred to as “whites” (e.g., “I’m white”) Caucasian ● Best example of white race were seen as peoples living in the Caucasus region (misnomer) Germany Poland Russia Caucasus region Italy Georgia Azerbaijan Turkey Greece Iraq Terminology and Definitions Whites/Caucasians in the U.S.=people of European immigrant descent ● White Americans/Caucasians are a panethnic group ● They are also very diverse in terms of religions and cultural beliefs, personality types, and socioeconomic status ● Hard to make easy generalizations about them and we have the fewer stereotypes about them compared to ethnic minority groups 
 Terminology and Definitions In addition to the diversity of White Americans, the racial category of white itself has been constantly expanding throughout American immigration history ● First included only British, then Germans, then Southern/Eastern Europeans, then Jews ● Continues to expand even today to include those who are not completely of European descent 
 White Hispanics Arab Americans Bill Richardson Cameron Diaz Ralph Nader ½ Mexican ½ Ecuadorian ½ Cuban 100% Lebanese descent descent descent (Arab) descent Who Is Considered White/Caucasian Today? U.S. Census Bureau defines White Americans as U.S. citizens “having origins in any of the original people of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa” ● So officially includes White Hispanics and Arabs/Arab Americans Racial category of white now seems to include anyone who “looks white,” in terms of skin color/facial features White American Demographics Whites are the dominant majority group in U.S. ● Most numerous ethnic group in society (“majority”) ● Have most socioeconomic/political power Whites are 72.4% of the U.S. population ● Includes White Hispanics (8.7% of US population) and Arabs/Arab Americans (0.6% of US population) Largest White American groups: ● German Americans (16.5%) ● White Hispanics (12%) ● Irish Americans (11.9%) ● English Americans (9.2%) ● Italian Americans (5.5%) ● French Americans (4%) ● Polish Americans (3%) White American Socioeconomic Status Wealth ● 87% of households with incomes in the top 25% in the nation are white ● Average household income of whites is $63,500 ● Whites have 20% more total wealth than Asian households and 5-10 times the wealth of black households Education ● Whites are the second most educated group (30% have bachelors degrees) ● Whites are overrepresented among business and political leaders, administrators/ managers of American institutions, and most desirable professional careers Considerable variation in socioeconomic status among whites ● 11% live below poverty level and 10% are high school drop-outs Benefits of Being White Associated with socioeconomic privilege/power ● Most whites are born into wealthier families in suburban neighborhoods with better educational, occupational, and socioeconomic opportunities and resources compared to ethnic minorities Whites don’t suffer from prejudice and discrimination like ethnic minorities—is this always true? ● In the past, white European immigrants suffered from serious discrimination (Irish, Southern/Eastern Europeans, Jews, etc.) ● They may not suffer from ethnic discrimination, but they can be subject to other types of discrimination (gender, age, socioeconomic) ● Do whites suffer from “reverse discrimination”? (angry white male stereotype) White Americans and Ethnic Discrimination Are whites responsible for most of the discrimination against ethnic minorities in American society today? ● Majority discrimination against minorities has dramatically improved in recent decades ● Most whites today probably feel they have nothing to do with and are not responsible for past discrimination against ethnic minorities ▪ Many may make efforts not to ethnically discriminate against minorities (political correctness, Affirmative Action and anti-discrimination laws) ● Most ethnic discrimination today is less overt (more informal, behind the scenes, or disguised) ● Whites aren’t the only people who engage in ethnic discrimination (ethnic minorities discriminate against each other too) . White Americans and Ethnic Discrimination If there is less discrimination today, why are a lot of ethnic minority individuals still in subordinate positions in American society? A good amount of discrimination today is structural discrimination ● Structural (socioeconomic) discrimination=Unintended discrimination that is not actively imposed by the dominant group, but perpetuated by engrained, impersonal structures of inequality that continue to disadvantage certain ethnic minority groups (have fewer socioeconomic opportunities) ▪ Product of past discrimination, not current, intentional ethnic discrimination ▪ Certain ethnic minorities are placed in structural position of socioeconomic/social class disadvantage that is hard to overcome ▪ Hardest type of discrimination to eradicate/reduce because it’s engrained in structures of social inequality As a result, there is a gap between how whites perceive discrimination and how ethnic minorities perceive it ● Whites think discrimination is no longer a serious problem, but minorities disagree and say they don’t have enough socioeconomic opportunities White American Ethnicity and Identity Whites are seen as not having ethnicity because they aren’t ethnic minorities and apparently don’t have a distinctive ethnic culture ● Whites probably don’t think much about what being white actually means (may just take it for granted) Do White Americans have no ethnicity? ● Ethnic groups are peoples who share a common culture and racial descent/ ancestry that makes them different from other groups ▪ Whites share a European racial descent/ancestry ▪ Whites have “American culture,” although it is not distinctive to White Americans White American Ethnicity and Identity There are White Americans who are descendants of more recent European immigrants and are seen as somewhat culturally distinctive and ethnic (e.g., Irish, Italian, Jewish Americans, etc.) ● “White ethnics” (usually refer to whites who are not WASP=White Anglo-Saxon Protestant) ● Past “Ethnic revival” among white ethnics of European descent=a sudden need to rediscover immigrant/ethnic roots Reasons: ▪ White ethnics are well-established in America, so they could afford to assert ethnic differences without having their social position or identity as Americans threatened ▪ Shift in national ideology from assimilation to ethnic pluralism led to a desire among some whites to recover their ethnic heritage that they lost through generations of assimilation Symbolic ethnicity=because of absence of substantial ethnic cultural differences, ethnic identity is asserted symbolically through ethnic food, clothes, music, or festivities White Ethnics Most white ethnics are a mixture of various European descent groups There are whites who don’t know their ethnic ancestry because they are so mixed or have forgotten what their ethnic ancestry is over time ● 6% of whites list ancestry on census as just “American” For whites who are a mixture of two or more European ethnic heritages, which one do they assert/identify with? ● White ethnics identify with ethnic group that makes up larger proportion of their ancestry/descent ● White ethnics identify with the European ancestry they are the closest to in terms of generation ● If their last name is closely associated with a European ancestry, white ethnics tend to identify with it ● White ethnics identify with group that has more positive image White Ethnics For whites, ethnicity is optional ● Can choose to be ethnic (“Italian,” “Irish,” etc.) or not to be ethnic (just “white” or “American”) ● If decide to be ethnic and you’re mixed European descent, can choose which ethnicity to identify with Ethnicity is situational (people can negotiate, manipulate, change ethnic affiliation) and not primordial (innate, determined by birth, unchangeable) ● However, ethnicity is more situational for whites than for racialized ethnic minorities ● Ethnicity is more primordial for ethnic minorities (because their ethnicity is more based on race) Future of White Americans in the U.S. Whites are still clearly the dominant majority group, but they are shrinking as a percentage of the total U.S. population ● In 1960, U.S. was 89% white ● Now, only 72.4% white (includes 8.7% of Hispanics who identify as “white”) ● European immigration to U.S. has declined significantly since 1960s so white population won’t expand much In several decades, whites will no longer be the numerical majority group in U.S. ● By 2050, whites will only be 53% of American population ● If count only non-Hispanic whites, whites will drop below 50% of population by 2042 As whites become a numerical/demographic “minority,” will they also become an ethnic minority as well (lose their power as the dominant ethnic group in the U.S.)? Future of White Americans in the U.S. White Americans have become the most diverse ethnic group in U.S. and will become more diverse in future ● Expanding to include white Hispanics and Arab Americans ● Intermarriage between whites and ethnic minorities is rapidly increasing ▪ Only 9% of whites have intermarried but intermarriage rate is increasing dramatically (up 400% from 1970 to 2012) ▪ Increasing number of bi-racial people (half white/half something else) Ethnic category of white will not disappear or even get significantly weaker


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