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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 sociologists view racial categories at best as crude and misleading and at worst as a harmful way to divide humanity Ethnicity: Shared cultural heritage Multiracial People 7 million in US describe themselves as multiracial As time goes on, fewer people see one another in rigid racial categories 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 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 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 The Current Immigration Controversy • in 2006, the total U.S. population reached 300 million including about 35 million who are foreign born • it is estimated that 1 million illegal immigrants enter the country each year from Mexico Minorities Minority: any category of people, identified 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 Genocide – the systematic killing of one category of people by another Segregation – the physical and social separation of categories of people Patterns of Minority – Majority Interaction Assimilation – the process by which minorities gradually adopt the cultural patterns of the majority population Pluralism – a state in which people of all racial and ethnic categories have roughly equal social standing The Social Standing of U.S. Minorities •Native Americans •African Americans •Asian Americans •Hispanic/Latino Americans •Arab 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 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 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 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 In the Dred Scott case of 1857, the U.S.Supreme Court declared that people of color were not citizens 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 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 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 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 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 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 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/Latino 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/Latino 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 Arab Americans Arab cultures are diverse but share the Arabic alphabet and language and Islam as the dominant religion. Immigration to the U.S. from many nations has created a culturally diverse population of Arab Americans Arab Americans are diverse in terms of social class Prejudice 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 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 But institutional racism, or racism at work in the operation of social institutions, still exists subtle forms of racism are still very much part of our national life Measuring Prejudice: The Social Distance Scale In the 1920s Emory Bogardus developed this scale to measure prejudice among U.S. college students High social distance meant high negative prejudice Today’s students: Are more accepting of minorities See less difference between the various minorities Express the most prejudice toward Arabs and Muslims Prejudice Two key factors in the cause of prejudice: personality factors societal factors Multiculturalism: educational programs designed to recognize cultural diversity in the U.S. and to promote respect for all cultural traditions Discrimination 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 Discrimination 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 Affirmative Action: Reverse Discrimination or Cure for Prejudice? Policies intended to improve the social standing of minorities Targeted to those who are subject to historic prejudice and discrimination University of California Regents V. Bakke (1978) Structural-Functional Analysis: The Importance of Culture The Culture of Poverty Critics contend that this approach defines people as responsible for their own disadvantage Symbolic-Interaction Analysis: The Personal Meaning 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 Inequality The Importance of Class Multicultural Theory 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 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 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: Fundamental Changes Are Needed Radicals suggest two ways to solve the problem of racial and ethnic inequality: Attack the source of all inequalitycapitalism itself Eliminate the concept of race because it provides an ideological basis for dividing people