- Slides: 18
Race and Racial Inequality
Outline Race and Racial Inequality Outline I. What is Race and Racism? 1. Problems with Defining Race. A. Realities, Myths, and a Racist Society. B. Race is a Social Construct C. Difference Between Race and Ethnicity: Why Hold On To Ethnic/Racial Group? D. Population Breakdown by “Race” and Future Trends. II. Racism= Prejudice and Discrimination 1. What is the Difference between Prejudice and Discrimination? A. Prejudice and Stereotypes. B. Discrimination: Individual and Institutional Discrimination. III. The Sociological Significance of Dominant and Minority Groups. 1. What are Dominant and Minority Groups? 2. Do Dominant Groups and Minority Groups Understand Racism Differently? 2. How Does a Group Become a Minority? 3. Some Characteristics of a Minority Group. 4. Inter-group Relations between Dominant and Minority Groups. IV. Theoretical Explanation for Racism. 1. Psychological: Bias Theory and Scapegoats. 2. Sociological Theories: Racism is Structurally Based. A. Structural Functionalism: What is the Purpose of Racism? B. Conflict Theory: Whose Interest Does Racism Serve? C. Symbolic Interactionism: Labeling, Selective Perception, and The Self-Fulfilling Prophecy.
General Ideas Racial oppression has structural foundations. The focus for sociologists is looking at what race means and how it’s meaning changes (symbolic interactionism), that is the function of racial classifications and inequality (structural functionalism), and how does race and it manifestations lead to inequality (differential allocation of resources-wealth, status, and power) and which groups) are likely to benefit from particular racial arrangements (conflict theory). We classify people based on race/ethnicity and it is a powerful force in our lives (refer to textbook on discussion of impact of race on life expectancy, infant mortality, income and wealth inequality, etc). 1. Race is a subjective category: Races are socially created. Do pure races exist? (Race, the power of an Illusion). No and no superior races exist. Whites have 1/20 th African Ancestry. Article: How Jews Became White show racial categories and perceptions change over time. People act based on belief rather than fact. SUBJECTIVE INFORMATION NOT OBJECTIVE. Behaviors and consequences we often connect to race and biology (objective) are cultural constructs (subjective). A Racist Society The question for most societies is not is a particular society racist or not but rather sociologist state that merely dividing a society according to physical characteristics inevitably results in a racist society because 1) the distribution of resources (wealth, status, and power) leads to inequality and 2) no racial category stands on its own. In other words, one racial GROUP exist in relation to another racial group. This leads to perceived group differences and positions. What sort of racism exists is a better question to ask. ? Weber: Race is not simply a matter of two opposite categories of people but a range of power relations among dominant and subordinate/minority groups. Although sociologists (symbolic interactionists in particular) often discuss prejudice in your head (mostly psychology focus). After all, prejudice is learned through social interaction in groups through the process of socialization. Most sociologist focus on prejudice and discrimination in the world. This is prejudice and discrimination influenced by group interaction, networks, and racism within institutions. Most racism today (due to our values and laws) discourage overt racism. This does not mean that hate groups are not important here but rather that racism in intentionally or unintentionally embedded within our social structures. Instead of looking for racist people, we tend to look at how interactions between people and groups in society perpetuate or alleviate racism. All one need do is continue to work within institutions that intentionally or unintentionally encourages racism. Myth and Realities P. 222 in your text.
Racial and ethnic groups and population Breakdown- Text p. 236.
Dominant and Minority Groups Dominant Group: the group with the most power, greatest privileges and highest social position. Minority Group: any category of people, distinguished by physical or cultural differences, that a society sets apart and subordinates. A minority group is not characterized by the amount of population (a minority group is one with small portion of the population) but rather they lack power, wealth, and status in relations to the dominant group. Women are the majority of the population but are a minority group due to their relative lack of wealth, status, and power. The dominant group, whites are seen as race-less because seen and define as normal and natural. It is harder and more unlikely to identify to specific racial and sub-racial groups. When we think of the word race, we are often more likely to think of minority groups (African Americans, Asian Americans, Latinos, etc). The dominant group (same for gender, sexual orientation) is more likely to be neutralized. Minority dominated by more powerful group. Minority groups emerge in two ways: 1) Expansion of political boundaries: US-Mexican War (1846 -1848). Lost Southwest from Texas to California. “We did not move across the border, the border moved to us”. 2) Migration: could be voluntary (recent immigrants) or involuntary (African Slaves). Minority group characteristics as compared to dominant group: 1) A minority group often lacks power and privilege within a society and thus have less control of their lives and less power to influence others (particularly members of the dominant group). 2) Experience unequal treatment that goes beyond individual character and meritocracy. 3) Minority group members often have some physical characteristic (skin color, etc) or culture (language, customs, religion, etc) that is used to separate and distinguish them from the dominant group and other minority groups. 4) Minority group members often attain their status as a minority due to their ascribed rather than achieved status. This means they are likely to be born into a minority group. 5) Minority group members are more likely to marry within their group (endogamy). 6) Minority group members are usually aware of their relative position in comparison to the dominant group and are aware of their subordination. 7) Due to previous prejudice and discrimination and other in-group and out-group dynamics, minority group members tend to have a strong sense of group solidarity. Many times this is seen as a comforting strategy and survival mechanism.
Inter-group relations (P. 233).
A Sense of Ethnicity: Page 227.
Race and Ethnicity Race and ethnicity are two central organization variables of social life. Members of different racial and ethnic groups do not have the same experiences and opportunities. Race is commonly understood as a fundamental basis of difference between people. Race: a socially constructed category of a group of people with inherited physical characteristics that distinguish it from another group. No real biological bases for classifying different races apart from appearance. No real biological basis for explaining social and behavioral differences. Race is socially constructed and race is a social construct used to give meaning to the variations they see in humans. However we also know that race is not solely a biologically based term, history, political, interactions. The meanings that society gives to racial categories they create reinforce a hierarchy of power and privileges in society. “If we define some things as real, they are real in their consequences”. Racial criteria are inconsistently applied. What is white? History, social, and politically based. See How Jews Became White today versus early immigrants from many parts of Europe. Italians and Irish were seen as a different race. Black in the US might be considered white in Brazil and might be considered “colored” in South Africa. Ghana: in Ghana there are to main racial categories (Black and White). In South African they have differing groups. The term Asian in the United States differs from what Asian means in Ghana. See film: Race the Power of an Illusion. Ethnicity: refers to groups who identify with one another on the basis of common ancestry and cultural heritage. applies to the sense of “people hood” or belonging that arises from the distinctive cultural characteristics of groups. Examples: based on country of origin, customs, language, religion, and music. Examples: Germans, Jews, Arabs, African, Indian. Irish, Germans, poles, Italians allowed to assimilate. US census uses a confusing classification. In 2000 they said Hispanics is not a racial group but an ethnic group. A PERSON WHO IS HISPANIC (SPANISH SPEAKING) COULD BE OF ANY RACE. Hispanics who are have light skin and dark skin. 1. Hispanics are radicalized in the US Hispanics are treated as a racial group. 2. Hispanics encompasses a wide variety of ethnic groups.
Racial Formation and race as a social construct Racial Formation: the continuous creation and transformation of racial categories. People who once called themselves Mexican Americans are now called Latinos. Japanese Americans are now called Asian Americans. 2000 census: two or more races. 2. 4% OR 7 million people classified themselves as two or more races. If we can’t objectively and scientifically separate “races” into groups with biologically distinct elements, shouldn’t have 100% checked two or more races? Races is a social construct because we have connected subjective meaning to groups based mostly on what we can see. Myth: Races are distinct racial categories. Reality: Humans are all one race. Reality: Just as much difference between two people of two races as there is between two people of the same race.
Next you will find the two questions associated with the categories of face and ethnicity in the 2000 census. People are expected to answer both questions. How did the census define race and ethnicity differently? Is this a social construct?
Theories, race, and Racism Theories and Explanations of Racial Inequality Psychology Focus. Bias Theory: PSYCHOLOGY. THE FOCUS ON PREJUDICE. Blames members of the dominant group. They blame INDIVIDUALS who hold PREJUDICE ATTITUDES towards minority groups. Prejudice here is directed towards an entire group. THIS REDUCES RACISM TO A SET OF IDEAS OR BELIEFS THAT CAUSE INDIVIDUALS TO DISCRIMINATE. Prejudice is a result of frustration. People who are unable to identify or strike out at the real causes of their problems find someone to blame. SCAPEGOATING RESULTS. Most likely to ask: Are you racist? The less educated are more prejudice. Sociological Analysis: Most sociologists claim that prejudice attitudes are not the essence of racism. Many whites are not directly prejudiced but do help maintain the traditional institutional arrangements that perpetuate racism (anti affirmative action, housing and school segregation). To focus on prejudice is to take a narrow view of the problem because it concentrates on the bigots (KKK) and ignores the structural foundations of racism. The determining feature of dominant/minority relationships is not prejudice but privilege and advantage. Is racism functional? What is its purpose?
The focus of the sociological analysis then is on individual and institutional racism and discrimination that generates privilege and advantages for whites. Are people fighting to preserve their own advantages? Structural Discrimination Theories critique deficiency and bias theories focus on the individual (flaw of Ind. in minority and flaws of Ind. in dominant group). “Focusing on the poor and ignoring the system of power, privilege, and profit which makes them poor, is like blaming the corpse for the murder. ” It is about institutions, practices, and policies that keep racism alive. A MOVE AWAY FROM RACISM IN THE HEAD TO RACISM IN THE WORLD. Individual racism: is related to prejudice and overt acts that harm others. Institutional Racism: is structural and focuses on the processes that intentionally and unintentionally protect the advantages of the dominant group while maintaining the subordinate positions of minority groups. INEQUALITY IS PART OF SOCIETY’S STRUCTURE. THEREFORE, INDIVIDUALS AND GROUPS DISCRIMINATE WHETHER THEY ARE BIGOTS OR NOT. Racism in the rental market- Page 245. Racism, mortgages, car loans, and healthcare- page 229.
People interact in a social environment that reproduces and ensures racial dominance. This environment includes laws, customs, beliefs, and institutional arrangements through which things get done in society. Focuses on a system of disadvantages. The discussion of institutional discrimination focus on three main points: 1) History is important in determining present conditions. People not values (counted as 3/5 th human) and belief systems justify racism (inferiority of some races). 2) Discrimination can occur without conscious bigotry. Racial discrimination becomes the normal outcome of the system. 3) Institutional discrimination is reinforced because institutions are interrelated. Exclusion of minorities in upper levels of education impact their position in economy, politics, etc. Institutions are created and recreated by actions at the micro level by individuals. Sociological Theories Functionalism prejudice and discrimination takes place often because it is functional for some. CREATES A COMMON ENEMY and in-group solidarity, economic stress allows for blaming specific groups for problem. This prejudice and discrimination is embedded in many institutions such as courts, mass media, policy and politics. EX: Arabs in America today. Japanese after pearl harbor. Nazi Germany. Conflict Theory THE FOCUS HERE IS THE ARRANGEMENT OF SOCIAL ENVIRONMENT TO MANUFACTURE POSITIVE OR NEGATIVE FEELINGS ABOUT A GROUP OF PEOPLE. Groups are pitted against each other. Conflict Theory: groups are pitted against one another but the most powerful benefit from the arrangement. People want food, healthcare house and education. To attain these things workers need good jobs. If capitalists can divide the workers up according to race and pit them against one another, they can hold wage down. By keeping workers insecure and unemployed, you can create a reserve labor force. Use that force when needed. Marx’s False Consciousness and Class-Consciousness. Here we exploit racial and ethnic strife by pitting groups against each other. Races begin to perceive that they are able to make gains only at the expense of other groups. Whites fear Latinos will take their jobs. Blacks fear Latinos will monopolize the resources. In Miami Haitians and African Americans mistrust one another. All this deflects attention from the real causes of racism, those in power who benefit from the arrangements. Articles called How Jews Became White, the Myth of the Model Minority came from the conflict perspective. Conflict between groups and within groups.
Symbolic Interactionism: Labels affect perception create prejudice. What we learn affects how we “see people”. Labels cause selective perception, they lead us to believing certain things while they blind us to others. We ignore evidence that does not fit. Examples: Slow car driving, white people can’t dance. Blacks are great in sports but intellectually not smart. We act based on belief rather than looking at rationality and science. Names: Nigger, honky (whites, but in past used for white ethnics from hungry, Poland, etc. ), spic (Latino), kike (Jews) or jewed or jipped. Ahab. Change of Terms within one group: Black, Colored, Negroes, African American. -Black parents adopting white children and white parents adopting black children. -Black kids in a group, white kids in a group, Asian kids in a group, brown kids in a group. -Interracial relationships and couples. What do all these tell us about ideology and the “appropriate” way of looking at the institutions of family, marriage, peer groups? Self-fulfilling prophecy: stereotypes not only justify prejudice and discrimination, they produce the behavior depicted in the stereotype. Both self-fulfilling for those holding the stereotype and those stereotyped.
Prejudice and Discrimination What is the difference between Prejudice and Discrimination? Prejudice (attitude/cognitive): biased beliefs about individuals based on their membership in a particular racial or ethnic group. Stereotyping as an over simplified belief about a group. All____ are______. Blaming the victim is also strong here. Powerless (minority)=scapegoating. Discrimination (Behavior/action): refers to any actions, policies, or practices that deny and individual or group equal access to society’s resources, rewards and opportunities. Focuses on the outcomes of behaviors/actions. Example: institutional Discrimination where the elements of social structure (education, low, government) systematically disadvantage particular racial or ethnic groups. Interwoven into the fabrics of society.
Figure 14. 2 Prejudice and Discrimination: The Vicious Circle Prejudice and discrimination can form a vicious circle, perpetuating themselves.
Figure 14. 1 Bogardus Social Distance Research (Detail on next slide) The social distance scale is a good way to measure prejudice. Part (a) illustrates the complete social distance scale, from least social distance at the far left to greatest social distance at the far right. Part (b) shows the mean (average) social distance score received by each category of people in 2001. Part (c) presents the overall mean score (the average of the scores received by all racial and ethnic categories) in specific years. These scores have fallen from 2. 14 in 1925 to 1. 44 in 2001, showing that students express less social distance toward minorities today than they did in the past. Part (d) shows the range of averages, the difference between the highest and lowest scores in given years (in 2001, for instance, it was 0. 87, the difference between the high score of 1. 94 for Arabs and the low score of 1. 07 for Americans). This figure has also become smaller since 1925, indicating that today’s students tend to see fewer differences between various categories of people. Source: Parrillo & Donoghue (2005).