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Chapter 3 Racial and Ethnic Inequality Race and Ethnicity Race: a socially constructed category of people who share biologically transmitted traits that a society defines as important

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race and ethnicity
Race and Ethnicity
  • Race:
    • a socially constructed category of people who share biologically transmitted traits that a society defines as important
    • Sociologists view racial categories at best as crude and misleading and at worst as a harmful way to divide humanity
  • Ethnicity refers to a shared cultural heritage
race and ethnicity3
Race and Ethnicity
  • While race and ethnicity are different, the two may go together when groups share not only certain physical traits but ethnic traits as well
    • examples: Korean Americans and Native Americans
race and ethnicity4
Race and Ethnicity
  • The racial and ethnic diversity in the United States is a product of immigration
    • The “Great Immigration” extended from the end of the Civil War (1865) until the outbreak of World War I (1914)
      • “Nativists” opposed immigration as they feared that immigrants might overwhelm neighborhoods and schools and threaten the country’s mostly English culture
recent immigration
Recent Immigration
  • The next great immigration began in 1965 when Congress ended the quota system.
    • Immigrants came mainly from Mexico and other Latin American nations, as well as the Philippines, South Korea, and other Asian nations
  • Minority: any category of people, distinguished by physical or cultural traits, that a society subjects to disadvantages
  • Characteristics:
    • They share a distinctive identity
    • They tend to be disadvantaged
    • About one-fourth of the people in the U.S. fall into a minority racial or ethnic category
patterns of minority majority interaction
Patterns of Minority – Majority Interaction
  • Pluralism – a state in which people of all racial and ethnic categories have roughly equal social standing
  • Assimilation – the process by which minorities gradually adopt the cultural patterns of the majority population
patterns of minority majority interaction8
Patterns of Minority – Majority Interaction
  • Segregation – is the physical and social separation of categories of people
  • Genocide – the systematic killing of one category of people by another
native americans
Native Americans
  • Conflict has marked the relationship between Native Americans and explorers/colonizers since the late fifteenth century
    • At first the U.S. government saw Native peoples as independent nations and tried to gain land from them through treaties
    • It soon used military power against those unwilling to bargain
native americans10
Native Americans
  • In 1871, the U.S. declared Native Americans wards of the federal government, granting them various forms of “assistance”
    • These attempts to encourage assimilation resulted in many Native Americans becoming dependent on the government’s Bureau of Indian Affairs
native americans11
Native Americans
  • Native Americans gained full citizenship in 1924.
  • During the 1990s, Native American organizations reported gains in new membership applications
  • One-fifth of all legal gambling in the country takes place in casinos on reservations
  • Most Native Americans continue to struggle and share a profound sense of injustice endured at the hands of whites
people of african descent
People of African Descent
  • People of African ancestry arrived in the Americas along with the early European explorers
  • While slave traders brought 500,000 Africans to the U.S. as slaves, not all people of African descent were slaves
  • The Civil War brought slavery to an end
  • “Jim Crow” laws barred black people from voting, sitting on juries, and institutionalized segregation policies
people of african descent13
People of African Descent
  • By the early 1950s, opposition to segregation was building
    • the landmark Supreme Court decision in the 1954 case, Brown v. the Board of Education, eliminated “separate but equal” schooling
    • Rosa Parks sparked the bus boycott that desegregated public transportation in Montgomery, Alabama
people of african descent14
People of African Descent
  • In the 1960s the federal government
    • passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964
    • passed the Voting Rights Act of 1965
    • passed the Civil Rights Act of 1968.
  • Together, these laws brought an end to most legal discrimination in public life
people of african descent15
People of African Descent
  • Today, the struggle isn’t over
    • below-average incomes
    • rate of poverty is twice the national average
    • college completion rate is well below the national average
people of asian descent
People of Asian Descent
  • Asian Americans include people with historical ties to dozens of Asian nations.
    • The largest number have roots in China, the Philippines, India, South Korea, and Japan
    • The first Asians to migrate to North America in the modern era came from China and Japan because of the Gold Rush of 1849
    • Once the demand for cheap labor lessened, whites pressured legislatures and courts to bar Asians from certain work
people of asian descent17
People of Asian Descent
  • World War II brought important change to Japanese and Chinese Americans
    • President Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066 forcibly relocated all Japanese Americans to internment camps where they stayed until 1944
  • Chinese Americans fared better
    • In 1943, the federal government ended the 1882 ban on Chinese immigration and extended citizenship to Chinese Americans born abroad
people of asian descent18
People of Asian Descent
  • Many Asian Americans prospered as the postwar economy grew
  • By the 1980s, Asian Americans were called the “model minority” based on their cultural commitment to study and hard work and their outstanding record of achievement
  • Many Asian Americans have assimilated into the larger cultural mix
hispanic people
Hispanic People
  • Hispanics came to the United States from Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Spain
  • Since few think of themselves as “Hispanics” or “Latinos”, there is no single Latino culture
  • A high birth rate and heavy immigration have resulted in Hispanics surpassing African Americans as the nation’s largest racial or ethnic minority
hispanic people20
Hispanic People
  • While the social standing of Hispanics is below the U.S. average, various categories of Latinos have very different rankings
    • The most well off are Cuban Americans, who have greater education and enjoy higher incomes
    • Puerto Ricans have the lowest relative ranking - median family income is barely half the national average
  • Prejudice is any rigid and irrational generalization about an entire category of people
  • Stereotypes -exaggerated descriptions that are applied to everyone in the same category - greatly contribute to the perpetuation of prejudice
  • The most serious kind of prejudice is racism -the assertion that people of one race are innately superior or inferior to others
    • In today’s society, racism is less blatant than it once was
    • subtle forms of racism are still very much part of our national life
  • Three causes of prejudice
    • personality factors
    • societal factors
    • multiculturalism
  • While prejudice is an attitude, discrimination is a matter of actions
    • Discrimination can be positive or negative
    • Institutional discrimination is built into the operation of social institutions, including the economy, schools, and the legal system
  • Because prejudice and discrimination reinforce each other, societies can subject minorities to a vicious cycle of subordination
  • One strategy designed to break the vicious cycle of prejudice and discrimination is affirmative action
    • creates policies intended to improve the social standings of minorities subject to historical prejudice and discrimination
structural functional analysis the importance of culture
Structural-Functional Analysis: The Importance of Culture
  • The Culture of Poverty
  • Values and Disadvantage
  • Critics contend that this perspective focuses on the result, not the cause, of low social standing
symbolic interaction analysis the personal significance of race
Symbolic-Interaction Analysis: The Personal Significance of Race
  • When race becomes a master status, it becomes a personal trait that overwhelms all others and defines any person of color
  • Critics contend that race involves more than individual behavior
social conflict analysis the structure of society
Social-Conflict Analysis: The Structure of Society
  • The Importance of Class
  • Multiculturalism
  • Critics contend that social-conflict theory:
    • understates what people in the U.S. have in common
    • takes away people’s responsibility for their own lives
    • tends to minimize the significant strides that have been made in dealing with social diversity
conservatives culture and effort matter
Conservatives: Culture and Effort Matter
  • Conservatives claim that differences in culture set some parts of the population apart from others
    • People in various racial and ethnic categories have different values and priorities
    • A free society must be an unequal society
liberals society and government matter
Liberals: Society and Government Matter
  • Liberals contend that cultural differences are not the main reason for inequality
    • they view racial and ethnic inequality as resulting mostly from prejudice and discrimination built into society’s institutions
    • they urge people to avoid thinking that minorities are themselves the “social problem”
radicals basic changes are needed
Radicals: Basic Changes Are Needed
  • Radicals suggest two ways to solve the problem of racial and ethnic inequality:
    • overhaul the whole capitalist economic system
    • eliminate the concept of race because it provides an ideological basis for dividing people