SOCIAL STRATIFICATION: CLASS AND RACIAL INEQUALITY. Natalie Conte, Oneika Jenkins, Mandeep Chohan. Overview. Theoretical approaches Dimensions of institutional racism Analysis of Racism and Capitalist Relations of Production Population and Labour Force Participation
SOCIAL STRATIFICATION: CLASS AND RACIAL INEQUALITY Natalie Conte, Oneika Jenkins, Mandeep Chohan
Overview • Theoretical approaches • Dimensions of institutional racism • Analysis of Racism and Capitalist Relations of Production • Population and Labour Force Participation • Racial and Ethnic Inequality
“Sex and race, because they are easy and visible differences, have been the primary ways of organizing human beings into superior and inferior groups and into the cheap labour in which this system still depends. We are talking about a society in which there will be no roles other than those chosen or those earned. We are really talking about humanism.” - GLORIA STEINEM
Racism as an Anomaly/Secondary Feature of Social/Economic/Political Relations • A priori explains away idea that racism is a “problem” • Racism an irrational attribute of an otherwise fair, equal, achievement-oriented society • Racism is either an anomaly that will eventually disappear due to universalizing and levelling tendencies of “post-industrialism” or • A secondary feature of social/economic/political relations Underlying Implications/Criticisms • Racism and the development of ideas that involve evaluations of superiority/inferiority based on group differences is a dysfunctional, irrational feature of social relations • Social practices based on racially defined criteria are unnecessary for capitalist social and economic development
Racial Inequality as a Result of Individual Characteristics • Problem of inequality is not located in structural operation of society, but rather in the particular cultural or psychological characteristics of groups of people • Emphasizes the anomalous nature of inequality within a mostly fair and equal-opportunity society • Rosen: groups differ in their levels of achievement motivation, their “psychological need to excel” • Herrnstein & Murray: “success and failure in the…economy…are increasingly a matter of the genes that people inherit” Underlying Implication/Criticism • There is equality of opportunity within a framework of inequality of condition
Racial Inequality as a Result of Cultural Factors • Root of problem lies in the apparent failure of groups to assimilate into mainstream social relations, which has prevented their full participation in society or • There exists a culture of poverty precluding the possibility of social/economic mobility for certain groups of people • Oscar Lewis: living in a state of poverty creates a certain culture, which sets into motion a self-fulfilling prophecy and creates internal, cultural barriers to social mobility and economic advancement
Underlying Implications/Criticisms: • Concept of assimilation implies that there are certain objective, widely accepted standards of behaviour indicative of social/structural integration • Blaming the victim by focusing on “social maladjustment” or “social defects” • Values, attitudes, and orientations are assumed to be key causal variables in stratification process • Values exist in isolation of material circumstances in which poor people live • Racism and discrimination have no impact on social inequality
Racial Inequality as a Consequence of Institutional Racism • Structural theory explains phenomena by considering underpinning structures of society, such as history, culture, public policies, institutional practices, etc. • Institutional racism (a structural aspect of racist ideology) refers to sets of social practices that are: • Institutionally based • Make reference to individious distinctions based on physical/genetic criteria • Have the effect of structuring what certain groups of people can/can’t do
Immigration Control • Has been used to exclude or deter people of certain nationality/ethnic origin from entry into Canada - E.g. Chinese head tax, South Asians and the “continuous journey” rule • Has been used to relegate certain immigrants to cheap labour by limiting choices in employment • To use immigrants as leverage in labour disputes http://archives.cbc.ca/IDC-1-69-1433-9242/life_society/chinese_immigration/clip1
Allocative Mechanism • Institutional racism used as a means to allocate groups of people to certain sites in production relations, as some sectors require large pools of readily available cheap and docile labour - E.g. The allocation of Caribbean women to positions as domestic servants • Migrant labour seen as a way to increase labour-market flexibility, but also to prevent “undesirable” immigrants from forming families in Canada
Civil and Political Marginalization • Non-Europeans regarded as “racially” incapable of participation in bourgeois democratic political traditions • Non-Europeans regarded as incapable of taking on responsibilities/duties of citizenship i.e. voting, obtaining an education, participating in community life • The denial of franchise and participation in mainstream union activities further marginalized part of political basis upon which these groups could resist their exploitation
Denial of the Family • State policies have been structured by a desire to preclude the emergence of Canadian-born generations of non-Europeans • Some argue that Canadian government’s efforts to continually narrow definition of a family member under family class immigration regulations is a current covert attempt to use neo-racist criteria to curtail family reunification among Asian immigrants in Canada • Migrant labour from Caribbean also a means to curtail family formation and creation of Canadian-born black population
Part of the Immigration Policy of Canada Section 38, 1910: (http://www.collectionscanada.ca/immigrants/021017-2511.01-e.html) Continuous Journey Regulation of 1908
Immigrants had to come by "continuous journey“ and enter with at least $200 cash on their persons. • The Canadian government forced Canadian Pacific to stop this service • The Canadian government was also pressuring steamship companies to stop selling tickets to Indians • a bill was passed denying all Indians the right to vote • prohibited to run for public office, serve on juries, and were not permitted to become accountants, lawyers or pharmacists • restrictions on Asian immigration were being enacted at a time when Canada was accepting massive numbers of European immigrants (over 400,000 in 1913 alone - a figure that remains unsurpassed to this day.)
Education Canadian Social Trends, Visible Minorities in the Labour Force, Kelly Tran
Socio-Economic Characteristics of Canadian-Born, Foreign-Born, Select Visible Minority Groups, for Females and Males
Employment Equity • 1984: Royal Commission on Equality in Employment report coined the term “Employment Equity” to describe the Canadian approach to dealing with employment disadvantage. • Requires that employers identify and remove discriminatory policies and practices, and seek to achieve equality in the workplace (Status of Women Canada, p. 4). • Commission maintained that employment barriers which were created by systemic discrimination could only be dismantled through specific legislation
“It is not that individuals in the designated groups are inherently unable to achieve equality on their own, it is that the obstacles in their way are so formidable and self-perpetuating that they cannot be overcome without intervention…Equality in employment will not happen unless we make it happen.” -Royal Commission on Equality in Employment
Purpose of the Employment Equity Act: • To achieve equality in the workplace so that no person shall be denied employment opportunities or benefits for reasons unrelated to ability • To correct the conditions of disadvantage in employment experienced by women, Aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities, and visible minority people • To acknowledge that employment equity means more than treating persons in the same way but also requires special measures and the accommodation of differences (Government of Canada, 2003).
Systematic discrimination: The institutionalized systems and practices [that] result in arbitrary and extensive exclusions for persons who, by reason of their group affiliation, are systematically denied a full opportunity to demonstrate their individual abilities. (Abello 1984) • Vertical Mosaic: Initiated by John Porter (1965) in The Vertical mosaic (used census data to argue that there was a reciprocal relationship between ethnicity and social class in Canada. Defined as: where a persons ethnic background would have a significant impact on where he/she ends up in the larger system of class relations and social inequality within Canada.
People of British and Northern European origins control many of the economic and political resources in Canada, they give subordinate positions in the labour market to those they consider themselves superior too (Eastern Europeans, Asians, Africans). • Many studies since the Vertical Mosaic still support that there is systematic discrimination within the Canadian labour market.1986 Employment Equity Act introduced to challenge systematic discrimination in the labour market against women, visible minorities, aboriginal people and physically challenged.
Statistics • Pendakur and Pendakur (1995)
Results • Pendakur and Pendakur ultimately introduced regression techniques, which looked at other factors (Occupation, industry of employment, household type, census metropolitan areas of residence, number of weeks worked, full time or part time status, knowledge of French/English and level of education) • They concluded that there should be some concern that visible minorities do face systematic discrimination. • It was also noted that, visible minority immigrant men face some form of systematic discrimination that cannot be explained by any apparent difference in qualification. • Although it may seem that there is blatant discrimination it has not been necessarily proven that groups of people with the same qualifications, gender, experience and occupation face discrimination in the labour market.
How does this discrimination take place? • Submerged split labour market • Non-acknowledgement of foreign credentials Two reports that reported on Non-acknowledgement of foreign credentials : • Equality Now! By a special committee on Visible Minorities 1984 • Equality in Employment 1984, a royal commission report
Racism and racial inequality have been central to the formation and reproduction of capitalist relations or production in Canada. • Attempts to fix the problem of racism through education are thought to only “give the appearance of change without changing the status quo” (Bolaria and Li 1985, 29)
Class Activity: Employment Equity Debate • Formulate thoughtful arguments supporting your side of the debate. • Should employment equity initiatives be used in human resource practices? • Suppose there exists a consensus that employment equity is a positive initiative. Should employment equity be a mandatory requirement of the private sector?