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Race • Prior to the 18th century, race was an uncommon idea in Western society but it became enormously popular in scientific circles in the 19th century and underwent many changes. • At present, the idea of race has been discarded by most of the scientific community because as a scientific concept it did not work very well, particularly as a device for classifying people. But it worked too well as a justification for persecuting and exterminating millions of people in this century.
Definition: • Race is not a valid scientific concept, but that it is a folk taxonomy-popular way of naming or classifying things in terms of our perceived differences. • These are an important part of our understanding of the world, and form the basis of our judgments. • A near "universal" is that every society refers to itself as "the humans" or "the people" or some variant, and outsiders are known as "others".
History of the Race Concept • Anthro has elaborated as well as condemned racial thinking, they used it at one time to look at human variation (Physical), but others denounced it. • Great Chain of Being (taken from Early Greek Philosophers- 5th and 6th centuries) • Age of Exploration-15th and 16th centuries. • Classification systems • Linnaeus-binomial nomenclature that we know today. • Johann Blumenbach (early 19th c)- German physician who proposed racial classifications based on geography and skin color: black, brown, red, white, yellow. • Gloddon and Nott (mid 19th c)-concept of Polygenism-that races were the result of different creation events. • Darwin (mid 19th c)-Evolutionary theory showed the changing and antiquity of the earth-mechanism of change was natural selection. Should have been the end of racism. • Summary-The history of the race concept is pre-Darwinian, should have ended but had taken hold in churches and people like to feel justified in their actions so it stuck.
What is race? • the distinction that an ethnic group has a supposed biological basis. • breeding populations that differ from other people in their frequency of one or more gene traits.
Problems with these definitions • members of a breeding population sometimes breed outside the group. • which physical or genetic traits do you look at? Not all traits vary the same. • Physical traits used in racial classifications are continuous • i.e. vary on a curve with no clear delineations • Hair color, eye color, skin color, body shape
So if not race, what? • Alternate to race-the cline, a biological term for variation in people. • Cline-regular variation in a trait over geographic space and is maintained by natural selection. • Skin color is not so much a racial trait as a clinal trait, varies according to amount of solar radiation. • Solar radiation-dark skin to avoid too much radiation (equatorial populations), light skin to get as much solar radiation as possible (northern populations). • This has no relationship to how smart people are, or how fast or slow or anything. • If we think in differences in people as clinal (ever-changing) rather than racial (unchanging) then we might have a chance at promoting understanding between people.
Clinal Distribution of Blood Type Clinal distribution of the B blood allele in Europe
Ethnicity • Ethnic groups are formed around virtually the same features as cultures: common beliefs, values, customs, history, and the like. • Ethnicity entails identification with a given ethnic group, but it also involves the maintenance of a distinction from other groups.
Ethnic Groups, Nations, and Nationalities • Nation-States Defined. • Nation and nation-state now refer to an autonomous, centrally organized political entity. • Ethnic groups are not necessarily so formally politically organized. • The majority of all nation-states have more than one ethnic group in their constituent populations, and the multi-ethnicity of all countries is increasing.
Nationalities and Imagined Communities • Nationalities are ethnic groups that aspire to autonomous statehood (regardless of their political history). • The term “imagined communities,” coined by Benedict Anderson, has been used to describe nationalities, since most of their member population feel a bond with each other in the absence of any “real” acquaintance. • Colonialism refers to the political, social, economic, and cultural domination of a territory and its people by a foreign power for an extended period of time.
Peaceful Coexistence • Assimilation. • Assimilation occurs when a minority group adopts the patterns and norms of a more powerful culture, as when a migrant ethnic group conforms itself to its host culture. • Assimilation is not uniform: it may be forced or relatively benign depending on historical particularities. • Brazil (as opposed to the United States and Canada) is cited as a highly assimilative society wherein ethnic neighborhoods are virtually unknown. • The Plural Society. • Plural society refers to a multiethnic nation-state wherein the subgroups do not assimilate but remain essentially distinct in (relatively) stable coexistence. • Barth defines plural society as a society combining ethnic contrasts and the economic interdependence of the ethnic groups.
Ethnic Nationalism • The breakup of Yugoslavia along ethnic lines in the early 1 990s is outlined to provide an example of the interplay between history, ethnic identity, and nationalism. • Serbs, Croats, and Muslim Slavs are divided into various groups based on religion, culture, and political and military history (particularly, Serb retaliation for actions taken against them by Croats during the Second World War). • The (largely) Serbian practice of “ethnic cleansing,” the policy of killing or driving out non-Serbs, is described. • The highly blended nature of former Yugoslav society reduced the possibility for ecological specialization and the concomitant economic interdependence that supports peaceful pluralism.
The word "Balkan" comes from Turkish: it means mountain and has been applied to the area since the early 19th century. The Ottoman Turks invaded the region at the end of the 14th century and the Turkish rule lasted for some 500 years. The Austro-Hungarian empire grew stronger in the north and loosened the grip of the Turks at the end of the 17th century. A major redefinition of the Balkan political boundaries was enacted by the Treaty of Berlin in 1878. Serbia, Montenegro and Romania became independent, and the principality of Bulgaria was created. Slovenia, Croatia stayed under the rule of Austria-Hungary which also took control of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
After Austria-Hungary was defeated in World War I, the Versailles peace treaties defined a new pattern of state boundaries in the Balkans. The Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes was founded. In 1929 King Alexander I changed the name of the state to Yugoslavia - land of the southern Slavs. The Serbs still dominated the government, which combined with an authoritarian monarchy gave rise to an anti-Serb movement. Many Croats in particular would have preferred independence and resentment led to Alexander's violent death in 1934.
Socialist Yugoslavia was declared by Marshall Tito in 1945. The communists were able to deal with national aspirations by creating a federation of six nominally equal republics - Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia, Slovenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Macedonia. In Serbia the two provinces of Kosovo and Vojvodina were given autonomous status. Communist rule restored stability and good relations with the west ensured a steady stream of loans. Later, however, national and ethnic tensions increased due to unequal development and a growing burden of debt. When Tito died in 1980 many expected the federation to break up but Yugoslavia was to survive for another ten years.
BY 1992 the Yugoslav Federation was falling apart. Nationalism had once again replaced communism as the dominant force in the Balkans. Slovenia and then Croatia were the first to break away but only at the cost of renewed conflict with Serbia. The war in Croatia led to hundreds of thousands of refugees and re-awakened memories of the brutality of the 1940s. By 1992 a further conflict had broken out in Bosnia, which had also declared independence. The Serbs who lived there were determined to remain within Yugoslavia and to help build a greater Serbia. They received strong backing from extremist groups in Belgrade. Muslims were driven from their homes in carefully planned operations that become known as 'ethnic cleansing'.
In 1998, nine years after the abolition of Kosovo's autonomy, the Kosovo Liberation Army - supported by the majority ethnic Albanians - came out in open rebellion against Serbian rule. The international community, while supporting greater autonomy, opposed the Kosovar Albanians' demand for independence. But international pressure grew on Serbian strongman, Slobodan Milosevic, to bring an end to the escalating violence in the province. Threats of military action by the West over the crisis culminated in the launching of NATO air strikes against Yugoslavia in March 1999, the first attack on a sovereign European country in the alliance's history. The strikes focused primarily on military targets in Kosovo and Serbia, but extended to a wide range of other facilities, including bridges, oil refineries, power supplies and communications.
Roots of Ethnic Conflict • Prejudice and Discrimination. • Prejudice is the devaluation of a given group based upon the assumed characteristics of that group (see the description of the first Rodney King beating trial). • Discrimination is disproportionately harmful treatment of a group: it may be dejure or defacto. • Attitudinal discrimination is discrimination against a group based only upon its existence as a group. • Genocide, “the deliberate elimination of a group through mass murder,” is the most extreme form of discrimination. • Institutional discrimination is the formalized pursuance of discriminatory practices by a government or similar institution.
Multiculturalism • Multiculturalism is “the view of cultural diversity in a country as something good and desirable.” • This is opposed to assimilationism, which expects subordinate groups to take on the culture of the dominant group while abandoning their own. • Basic aspects of multiculturalism at the government level are the official espousal of some degree of cultural relativism along with the promotion of distinct ethnic practices. • A number of factors have caused the United States to move away from an assimilationist and toward a multicultural model. • Large-scale migration has brought in substantial minorities in a time span too short for assimilation to take place. • An ethnic consciousness may take root in reaction to consistent discrimination. • Studies have demonstrated that closely maintained ethnic ties have been a successful strategy for recent immigrants.