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ETHNICITY AND RELIGION. CHAPTER 5. Ethnic Diversity. The United States is ethnically diverse Germans are the largest ancestral group 1/6 th of Americans said they had at least some German ancestry

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ethnic diversity
Ethnic Diversity
  • The United States is ethnically diverse
  • Germans are the largest ancestral group
    • 1/6th of Americans said they had at least some German ancestry
  • Germany is one of twenty-one European nations from which at least 1 million people claim to have ancestry
why don t we study whiteness
Why Don’t We Study Whiteness?
  • Two aspects of White as race are to be considered:
    • The historical creation of whiteness
    • How contemporary White people reflect on their racial identity
  • Established English immigrants, as the political founders of the US, came to define what it meant to be White
Other groups regarded as White today were not always considered White in the eyes of the English
    • Irish, Germans, Norwegians, and Swedes
  • Irish viewed by English as socially and culturally inferior
  • As European immigrants and their descendants assimilated and distanced themselves from other oppressed groups such as American Indians and African Americans, they came to be viewed as White
Whites don’t think of themselves as a race or have a conscious racial identity
  • Transparent racial divide of the South during slavery allowed ignorance of how Whiteness was constructed
  • Contemporary White Americans give little thought to “being White”
    • Little interest in studying “Whiteness” or considering “being White” except that it is “not being Black”
white privilege
White Privilege
  • The social identity of Whiteness exists if one enjoys the privilege of being White
  • Peggy McIntosh – study on the privilege of being white
    • Considered financially reliable
    • Taking a job and your race is not questioned (anonymity)
    • Never having to speak for all or represent all of one’s race
    • Seeing one’s race represented widely in the media
    • Race does not work against you in court or medical care etc.
the rediscovery of ethnicity
The Rediscovery of Ethnicity
  • Marcus Hansen (1952)
    • Principle of third generation interest
      • What the son wishes to forget the grandson wishes to remember
  • The civil rights movement played a role in reinvigorating Whites about their ethnic heritage
    • White ethnics, only a half step above Blacks in social status, viewed this emerging consciousness as working for them also
symbolic ethnicity
Symbolic Ethnicity
  • Expressions of ethnicity involving symbols of one’s cultural heritage
  • Much of ethnicity today is expressed symbolically
    • Food
    • Clothing
    • Festivals and holidays
    • Ethnic organizations
    • Supporting specific political issues or issues confronting the old country
Ethnicity that does exist may more a result of living in the US than importing practices from the past or old country
  • Ethnicity Paradox
    • Maintaining ethnicity can be a critical step toward successful assimilation
      • Facilitates full entry into the dominant culture through economic and psychological strength and positive self-esteem
  • Ethnicity gives continuity with the past in the form of an affective or emotional tie
prejudice toward white ethnic groups
Prejudice Toward White Ethnic Groups
  • Respectable Bigotry
    • Hostility towards White ethnics
      • Socially proper to condemn White working class as racist but improper to question negative attitude of middle-class people toward White ethnics
      • Ridicule in the media
      • Perceived victimization of Roman Catholics
      • Ethnophualisms or ethnic jokes and slurs
the prejudice of ethnics
The Prejudice of Ethnics
  • White ethnics have often been portrayed as bigoted hard hats (The bastion of blue color racism)
    • Ethnic neighborhoods and racial conflicts
  • White Ethnics have distinguished themselves from both Blacks and White Anglo-Saxon Protestants
  • White ethnics has been antagonistic to African Americans
the irish americans
The Irish Americans
  • Diversity based on
    • Time of entry
    • Settlement area
    • Religion
  • Fled not for a better life but from certain death
    • Potato crop failure and famine
  • Reawakened old religious hatreds in the dominant New English aristocracy
According to dominant Whites, Irish worse than Blacks, because unlike slaves or freed Blacks, who “knew their place,” the Irish did not suffer their maltreatment in silence
  • Employers mixed immigrant groups to prevent unified action by the laborers
  • Began to experience slow advancement as “white” identity overcame “immigrant” status
  • Past issues with immigration led to Irish support of protests for procedures to allow to allow illegal immigrants to apply for citizenship
the italian americans
The Italian Americans
  • Concentrated not only in time but in geography
  • Received their jobs through ethnic labor contractors – Padrone
  • Catholic church very important to their lives
  • With assimilation began constructing a social identity as a national group and successfully became indistinguishable from other Whites
  • Controversial aspect involved organized crime as typified by Al Capone (1899-1947)
Characterization as criminal, even in the mass media, is another example of respectable bigotry
  • Immigration was slowed by the National Origins System
    • Even becoming educated did not ward off prejudice
  • Politically, Italian Americans have been more successful, at least at the local level, where family and community could translate to votes
  • Geraldine Ferraro, 1st Italian to get a cabinet position
polish americans
Polish Americans
  • Experience similar to Irish and Italians
  • Primary reason for their exodus was changing political status of Poland
  • Had to adjust to a new culture and urban way of life
  • Predominant in coal-mining occupations, which paid little and were dangerous
  • Polonia-meaning Polish American
    • More common in Midwest cities
Religion played an important role among immigrants and their descendants
  • Jewish-Catholic distinction was most distinguishing factor among Polish Americans
    • Other divisions are Kashubes and Mazurians
  • Made use of a rich structure of self-help voluntary associations
  • Stigmatized as outsiders and stereotyped as simple and uncultured
  • Many have retained little of their cultural tradition
the language divide
The Language Divide
  • Learning English is not easy but immigrants are trying
  • Language is both a barrier and means to accomplishing being a part of American society
  • Language is a key to functioning in a society and critical in relation to how they see themselves
  • 23% of Mexican Americans are English dominant, 26% are bilingual, and 51% are Spanish dominant
Myth of Anglo superiority has rested in part on language differences
  • Criteria for economic and social achievement includes proficiency in English
  • Anglos believe that Spanish is not an asset occupationally
  • Only recently has Spanish become useful and necessary for certain tasks
  • Many in US are concerned and suspicious about the public use of any language other than English
bilingual education
Bilingual Education
  • Cisneros v. Corpus Christi Independent School District
    • De jure segregation of Mexican Americans was unconstitutional
  • Even in integrated schools, Latino children were given separate, unequal treatment
  • Bilingualism
    • The use of two or more languages in places of work or educational facilities, according each language equal legitimacy
Bilingual Education
    • Instructing children in their native language while gradually introducing them to the language of the dominant society
  • English Immersion
    • Students are taught primarily in English, using their native languages only when they do not understand their lessons
    • In practice, instruction usually becomes an English only “crash program”
  • Though valuable, funding is sparse and students encouraged to enter “regular” classrooms
official language movement
Official Language Movement
  • Attacks have taken several forms
    • Appropriateness of using any language other than English has been questioned
    • Federal policy has become more restrictive
    • Repeated efforts to introduce constitutional amendment declaring English the nation’s official language
  • Passions remain strong as policy makers debate how much support should be given to people who speak other languages
religious pluralism
Religious Pluralism
  • Pluralism used in US to refer explicitly to religion
  • The United States reflects a society based on religious pluralism
  • Over 1,500 religious groupings
    • Denominations
    • Sects
    • Cults
In 1900:
    • Ninety six percent of the nation was Christian
    • One percent was non-religious
    • Three percent was of other faiths
  • In 2001
    • Seventy-six percent of nation was Christian
    • Fourteen percent was non-religious
    • Four to six percent was of other religions
  • Diversity of beliefs, rituals, and experiences reflects nation’s immigrant heritage and 1st Amendment prohibition against a state religion
The vast majority of religious belong to a denomination
  • Denomination defined - large formally organized church or churches not officially linked to the State
  • Four non-Christian religious groups in US whose numbers are comparable to any large denomination
    • Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, and Hindus all number more than 1 million
One notable characteristic of religious practice in the US is its segregated nature at the local level
  • Legacy of racism in religious expression leads to segregation in worship that allows churches to be identified as Black or White
  • Even with broad representation, tendency is homogenous
  • Religion in US is an ever-changing phenomenon
ethnicity religion and social class
Ethnicity, Religion, and Social Class
  • Life Chances
    • People’s opportunities to provide themselves with material goods, positive living conditions, and favorable life experiences
    • Affected by religion, ethnicity, or both
  • Andrew Greeley and his study of the relationship between religion and ethnicity on behavior
  • Religion seems to influence behavior on religious doctrinal issues
  • Ethnicity is generally a better predictor of behavior
    • interactive effect of ethnicity and social class.
  • Ethnicity, religion and social class play a role in life chances and identity
  • Difficult to separate the influences of religion and ethnicity on any one individual
  • Greeley’s research cautions against discounting the influence of ethnicity in favor of religion
  • Religion, ethnicity, and social class combine to form one’s social identity
religion in the united states
Religion in the United States
  • Civil Religion
    • The religious dimension in US life that merges the state with sacred beliefs
  • Robert Bellah (1967)
    • The emergence of civil religion - the interrelationship between the State (Secular) and sacred beliefs
  • Functionalists view religion as reinforcing central American values that may be more patriotic than sacred
diversity among roman catholics
Diversity Among Roman Catholics
  • Social scientists tended to ignore diversity within the Roman Catholic Church in US
  • Roman Catholic Church experienced growth through Latin America immigration
  • Despite its ethnic diversity, has been a powerful force in reducing ethnic ties of its members, making it a significant force in assimilation
diversity among protestants
Diversity Among Protestants
  • Often portrayed as a monolithic entity
  • Sharp differences in religious attitudes
  • Four “generic theological camps”
    • Liberals: United Church of Christ (Congregationalists) and Episcopalians
    • Moderates: Disciples of Christ, Methodists, and Presbyterians
    • Conservatives: American Lutherans and American Baptists
    • Fundamentalists: Missouri Synod Lutherans, Southern Baptists, and Assembly of God
women and religion
Women and Religion
  • Religious beliefs have often placed women in an exalted but protected position
  • Exception in the United States
    • Christian Science church
      • Majority of practitioners and readers are women
  • Largest denomination, Roman Catholicism, does not allow women to be priests
  • Largest Protestant denomination, Southern Baptist Convention, voted against ordaining women
Women play a significant role as volunteers
  • Notable rise in female clergy in last 20 years
  • Women continue to face sexism after ordination
religion and the u s supreme court
Religion and the U.S. Supreme Court
  • Religious pluralism owes its existence to 1st Amendment
    • 1. Issue over prayer in school
    • 2. Secessionist minorities
    • 3. Creationism and secular humanism
    • 4. Public display of religious symbols
Secessionist Minorities
    • In conflict with the rest of society in that they reject assimilation and coexistence in some form of cultural pluralism
    • Amish
    • Native Americans
  • Creationists
    • People who support the literal interpretation of the Bible and have formed various organizations to crusade for creationist treatment in schools and universities
Edwards v Aguillard (1987)
    • Ruled that states may not require the teaching of creationism alongside evolution in public schools if the primary purpose of such legislation is to promote a religious viewpoint
  • Intelligent Design
    • The idea that life is so complex it could only have been created by a higher intelligence
      • Supporters advocate a more accurate account than Darwinism
    • Kitzmiller v. Dove Area School District
      • Judge found intelligent design to be a religious belief
limits of religious freedom the amish
Limits of Religious Freedom: The Amish
  • Practice self-segregation
  • Yoder v. Wisconsin (1972)
    • Allowed Wisconsin Amish to escape prosecution from laws that required parents to send their children to school to age 18
  • Conflict theorists observe that as long as the Amish remained totally apart from dominant society in the US, they experienced little hostility
    • “Running Around”
      • Young Amish test their subculture’s boundaries during a period of discovery
      • Attend barn dances where taboos like drinking, smoking, and driving cars are commonly broken
  • Growing area of Amish-English clashes is over young Amish children working as laborers
  • Old Order Amish developed a pluralistic position that has become increasingly difficult to maintain as their numbers grow and they enter the economy in competition with the English or non-Amish
In what respect are the ethnic and the religious diversity of the United States related to each other?
In the future, do you believe the Amish will be able to maintain their lifestyle in an America that is growing in need of land and more reliant on technology?
Do ethnic minorities, such as Hispanics and Blacks, benefit from the ethnicity paradox? Why or why not?