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What is race? . Race as a social construction . (read page 162) The thought among academics is that race is best thought of as a social construction A social construction is an idea or concept that doesn’t exist in nature but it is created and given meaning by people

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What is race?

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What is race?

Race as a social construction

  • (read page 162)

  • The thought among academics is that race is best thought of as a social construction

  • A social construction is an idea or concept that doesn’t exist in nature but it is created and given meaning by people

  • How have we created race?

Racism – intolerance of people perceived to be inherently or genetically inferior

  • Racism as an ideology

    • Nazism

    • Slavery – story of sugar

      • Human trafficking


  • What is discrimination?

  • What is institutional discrimination: a situation in which the policies, practices, or laws of an organization or government disadvantage people because of their cultural differences

  • Examples? (apartheid, ghettos in Nazi Germany)


  • Ethnicity – a subjective identification

    • Personal – who we think and feel we are. We assign qualities to ourselves and others assign qualities to us.

    • Behavioral – the components of the behavioral aspect of ethnicity inclue

      • language,

      • religious beliefs

      • Food,

      • Styles of dress, dance, music or art.

Indigenous Peoples – first peoples


  • Ancestral ties to pre-colonial or pre-settler societies

  • Self identification and acceptance by others as a member of and indigenous group

  • Status in society as non-dominant

    Indigenous peoples are ethnic groups but may prefer to identify themselves by different names.

Race and Ethnicity in the Global Context

  • Why do governments identify and enumerate different racial or ethnic groups?

  • (Enumerate means to count)

What is language?

Why do we need language?


  • A system of communication based on symbols that have agreed upon meanings.

  • How and why is language a key component of culture.

  • What are examples of language as part of culture?

Dialect is also part of language

  • Dialect is a particular variety of a language characterized by distinct vocabulary, grammar and or pronunciation.

  • For example:

  • http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/collections/linguistics/

  • These people are all from the same country, why do they sound different?

Types of language

  • Sign languages – no spoken languages used to communicate with people whose hearing or speech is impaired.

  • Body language – gestures, facial expressions and other body movements

  • Touch/tactile language – Braille,

  • Specialized languages

  • Natural languages – languages have have emerged and evolved within living and historic communities

  • Artificial languages – Elvish, Vulcan, Klingon

How many languages in the world?

  • 6900 different languages in the world

  • See chart on page 101 for the estimated numbers of speakers in different languages.

Language families

  • Languages have been around for about 30,000 years but many people cannot agree on the origins of language because early languages weren’t written down.

  • The world’s languages have been classified into language families – a collection of languages that share a common but distant ancestor.

  • There about 90 different language families but 6 are considered major language families.

Major language families

  • A hearth is a region or place where an innovation, idea, belief or cultural practice begins i.e. language and/or religion

  • The spread of language families is associated with migrations of different groups.

Language diffusion

  • Three forces that help diffuse language

  • Politics

  • Religion

  • Economics

  • Map of the Roman World

  • Linguistic dominance is a situation when one language becomes comparatively more powerful than another language

Language Dynamics

  • How do languages change from one place to another

  • What new words have been added to the English language?

  • How do these words reflect a change in culture?

  • A loan word is a word that originates in one language and is incorporated into the vocabulary of another language. What loan words can you list?

Pidgin and Creole languages

  • A pidgin language is one that combines vocabulary and/or grammar from two or more languages.

  • A creole language is a language that develops from a pidgin language and is taught as a first language: Ex: Hawaiian Creole English.

Lingua Franca

  • A language that is used to help trade or business between people who speak different languages.

  • Some say English is a lingua Franca both others say that English will not become a global language. Please read why on page 111

Language Diversity Index

  • The LDI is the assortment of languages in an area. It is measured with 0.00 to .99.

  • If a country has a linguistic diversity of .00 then it is likely that two people chosen at random will speak the same language.

  • Countries close to a 1.0 will have considerable linquistic diversity.

  • U.S officially has 176 languages with a LDI of …. .27

  • Look at the chart and map on 115

Languages at risk

Endangered language – a language that is no longer taught to children by their parents and is not used by conversation every

Extinct language – a language that has no living speakers

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