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Intro Sociology Race&Ethnicity Notes

by: RachelB

Intro Sociology Race&Ethnicity Notes Soc 1020

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Race & Ethnicity notes
Intro to Sociology 1020
Professor Lambert
Class Notes
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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by RachelB on Tuesday April 5, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Soc 1020 at University of Cincinnati taught by Professor Lambert in Winter 2016. Since its upload, it has received 10 views. For similar materials see Intro to Sociology 1020 in Sociology at University of Cincinnati.

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Date Created: 04/05/16
Intro Sociology Buckel Race & Ethnicity Myths and Realities of Race  Human Variety o Arbitrary racial lines o Size, skin tone, hair texture, eye color, lip size and shape  The Myth of Pure Races o No “pure” races o Race is not biological  The Myth of a Fixed Number of Races o (pgs. 18-19) o Race is a space-specific and time-specific meaning that looks different throughout time and does not look the same in other societies What is Race? th  Prior to the 16 century, there was no such thing as race or racial groups  European powers created race as they seized control over the Americas  Race- the use of inherited physical characteristics to distinguish one group from another  A social construction: the concept of race (and different racial groups) was created Creating Race  How did we create race in our society? o Structural level o Level of cultural representation  1. Structural/Institutional Level o Used laws and systems to determine which groups would have access to society’s resources (income/wealth, power, and prestige)  Slavery (and right to work/be paid for work post-slavery)  Right to citizenship  Right to vote  Right to own property/access quality housing  Right to education o Jim Crow Laws  Many believe that the abolishment of slavery resulted in the elimination of racial inequality  “Slavery happened 200 years ago!”  13 amendment was only passed 151 years ago slavery continued after it was abolished  People fail to consider the subsequent laws, customs, and practices that perpetuate racial inequality  Ex) “it shall be unlawful for a negro and white person to play together or in company with each other at any game of pool or billiards. Alabama  2. Level of Cultural Representation- use of symbols, images, and language to attach meanings to racial groups o Natural historians and “scientists” classified groups according to phenotype and argued that the nature of a person or group could be determined through the study of physical characteristics  Attributed negative traits to blacks and positive ones to whites  These ideas were endorsed by wealthy and powerful whites and popularized by the media o Blacks were portrayed as animalistic, primitive, strong but stupid, inherently violent wild, and/or hypersexual  Minstrel shows, human zoos, news media Racism in America Today  Prejudice- thoughts and feelings about an ethnic or racial group  Discrimination- a harmful act/action against people deemed inferior (not always based on conscious prejudices)  Racism- the totality of practices that contribute to the domination fo people of color by whites  Impersonal/Individual racism- face-to-face; negative treatment of one person by another based on race (restaurant, shopping, coworker)  Institutional racism- negative treatment of a racial minority group that is built into a society’s institutions (systemic discrimination) o Ex) home mortgaging, healthcare, housing, stop & frisk policies o Systemic domination of people of color embedded in corporations, universities, legal systems, political bodies, cultural life and social collectives o Symbolic power- power to classify one’s group as “normal” o Political power- power to withhold basic rights from POC, enforce segregation and inequality o Economic power- white privileges in terms of job placement, advancement, and wealth and property accumulation Whiteness  Whiteness- racial domination normalizedreproduces cultural, political, economic, and social advantages and privileges for whites, while withholding them from nonwhites  Whites are unlikely to think of themselves as raced, or having a strong racial identity o The result of whiteness being thought of and treated as the standard or “normal” 5 Fallacies About Racism  Individualistic fallacy o Racism only involves ideas and prejudices o Assumes there are 2 types of people: racists vs non-racists o Ignores structural racism  Legalistic fallacy o De jure (based on the law) vs de facto (based in fact) o Assumes that abolishing racist laws automatically gets rid of racism  Tokenistic fallacy o Assumes the presence of POC in influential positions is evidence that race is no longer an obstacle for POC (or an advantage fro whites)  First black congressman, Joseph Rainey, was elected in 1870  Ahistorical fallacy o Assumes that the history of the US is inconsequential today  Common example: “I didn’t own slaves! And you were never a slave!”  Fixed fallacy o Assumes that racism is fixed, that it’s the same over space and time  Ask, has racism increased or decreased over time? Typically measure racism as acts of violence, racial attitudes, or explicit racism Colorblind Ideology  The idea or belief that one’s race no longer significantly impacts one’s life  The belief that race should be ignored entirely o Works in theory, but very dangerous in practice  Contrary to popular belief, we are NOT in a colorblind society and race has real consequences on people’s lives Racists and Antiracists  Some whites purposefully work to uphold a system of racial domination that benefits whites  Other whites, who fail to recognize the privileges associated with their whiteness, unintentionally uphold a system of racial domination that benefits whites o Ex) colorblindness which fosters racial injustice by ignoring it  Regardless of whether it is purposeful, or unintentional, the effect is still the same Race vs Ethnicity  Race and ethnicity are NOT the same thing  Race- refers to the use of physical characteristics to distinguish one group from another  Ethnicity- refers to a shared lifestyle informed by cultural, historical, religious, and/or national affiliations


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