Racial and Ethnic Inequality Lecture/Discussion corresponding to assigned readings for week #6
I. The Significance of Race How do we define Race and Ethnicity?
Minority Groups • Racial group: refers to a category of people who are believed to share physical characteristics that are deemed socially significant. • Ethnic group: group set apart from others primarily because of its national origin or distinctive cultural patterns • Minority group: subordinate group whose members have significantly less control or power than members of dominant or majority group • Race? What other groups are minority groups? What characteristics create minority groups?
Dominant and Minority Groups Other characteristics that may make a group subject to unequal treatment: gender, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity, skin color. Are dominant groups always larger than minority groups?
Why talk about Race? Is Racial Inequality a Social Problem? • One Argument: Race no longer matters • There is equal opportunity due to civil rights movement • We live in a color-blind society • Do we? Have we reached the promise land that MLK spoke of in 1963? Opposition (Sociological): Race structures society and is highly significant. While trends may be encouraging, and there are no longer legally enforced forms of racial domination, racial inequality is widespread and racism is much less overt. -Notion of color blind racism
Color Blind Racism • Eduardo Bonilla Silva
Race is a Social Reality • Race and ethnicity organize societies and play a large role in fueling violence around the globe. • We can look at statistics, trends, and examples of contemporary race relations to see that race is still significant in the post-civil rights era. Examples? • Race based hate crimes and groups • Poverty rates • Natural disasters and their effects • The US Criminal Justice System
II. Race-A Social Construction • Each society socially constructs the meaning of symbols • Social Construction of Race • What does this mean?
Race as a social construct • We know race is socially constructed because the meaning of race has been inconsistent. • The meaning of race has changed • Over time • Across cultures
Example: Race changing over time • The idea of “white” has evolved over time. • Some scholars predict that Latinos and Asians will be the new “whites” in the next 50 years. • Thoughts?
Example: Race changing over time • Since 1790, the census has never measured race in the same way in the U.S. • “Mulatto” was in the 1800 census, but taken out a few decades later • “Mexican” was considered a race in 1930, but in the next census, they were counted as white • Asian Indians were considered white in 1970 • The term “negro” still appears on today’s census, in addition to “African American” • In the earliest census measurements, survey takers would assign your race to you.
Example: Race across cultures • How many races are in the United States? • Brazil? • http://www.zonalatina.com/Zldata55.htm
The Social Construction of Race • Racial Formation: Basically, racial categories have been created, shaped, re-shaped, and destroyed throughout history depending on the social and historical context. • Race is NOT biologically/genetically real, but it is very real in the social sense. • Who has had the power to define groups and the meanings attached to them? How does this happen?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4UZS8Wb4S5k&feature=related Start at two mins in. A Brief History of Race Race became the tool through which Europeans could justify the domination, enslavement, and exploitation of racially “othered” groups. Which groups? Since race became a social construct, it has been used by those in power (dominant groups)to deny “others” (minority groups) access to valued resources. What types of resources?
III. Prejudice and Discrimination • What’s the difference?
Prejudice • Prejudice: “pre-judge” • Attitudes that certain groups of people are either inferior or superior • Can be either positive or negative • i.e. Asians are good at math, African Americans are good at sports • Stereotypes
Learning Prejudice • Socialization and the media • How do kids become prejudiced? • Internalization of prejudices • Kenneth Clark’s (1954) doll experiment • CNN Study-http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p2zY3sB7yak • First 9:30 • What forms of media perpetuate prejudice?
Discrimination • The acts that arise from prejudices • Individual discrimination: Unfair on unequal treatment based on group membership, on an individual level • i.e. Not inviting a co-worker to lunch based on their race • i.e. hate crimes • Discrimination is: • Subtle: for example not sitting next to someone • Blatant: Racial slurs
Institutionalized discrimination • Institutionalized discrimination: how discrimination is woven into the fabric of society • Looks at a culture of racism • Does not look at individuals as racists • We see these things as normal and do not question them
Institutional Discrimination Examples • Home mortgage and car loans • Thomas (1992) and Passell (1996) found that controlling for income and credit scores, Latinos and African Americans were 60% more likely to be rejected for loans than whites The Criminal Justice System Minorities are disproportionately underrepresented among police, lawyers, judges, and juries. The Education system Minorities are disproportionately represented in low-income neighborhoods, where schools and teachers are underfunded.
Discriminatory Housing Practices • Redlining: mortgage companies deny loans for houses in minority neighborhoods. • Racial steering: realtors discourage minorities from moving into certain neighborhoods. • Restrictive home covenants: illegal pacts between residents that they will not sell or rent their homes to minorities.
Effects of Discrimination • Racial Stratification • Further injustice
IV. Racial Stratification • Poverty Rates • Child Poverty rates • Median Family income
The Importance of Wealth • Wealth and the black middle class • “Starting from Scratch” • Benefits of generational accumulation • Dalton Conley example in text
Conclusion • Race Matters • Combating racism and discrimination • Human Agency