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 Since ancient times, people have
attempted to group humans in racial
categories based on physical
Historically scholars have placed people
into 3 racial groups: Caucasoids,
Mongoloids, and Negroids
 Caucasoids are
 They are
characterized by
fair skin
 Straight or wavy
 Mongoloids are Asian (or
people whose ancestors are
thought to have come from
Asia, such as American
 Characterized by yellowish
or brownish skin
 Distinctive folds on the
 Negroids are black
 They are
characterized by
dark skin
 Tightly curled hair
Racial Categories
 The reality is that people in each category exhibit a
wide range of skin colors and hair textures
 It is often hard
to categorize
 There are no
“pure” races
Definition of Race
Race: a category
of people who
share inherited
and who others
see as being a
distinct group
 American society consists of people from many
different cultural backgrounds.
 Ethnicity is a set of
characteristics that
distinguish one
group from another
Ethnic Groups
 People who share a common cultural background
and common sense of identity are known as an
ethnic group
 Ethnic groups are
usually based on
national origin,
religion, language,
customs, and values
Minority Groups
A minority group is a group of people who- because of
their physical characteristics (race) or cultural practices
(ethnicity) are singled out or treated unequally
Characteristics of Minorities
 Minorities view themselves as objects of discrimination
 Membership in the group is an ascribed status
 Group members share a strong bond & sense of group
 Members tend to practice endogamy- marriage within the
 The term has nothing to do with group size, but more so
with power
 Example: in South Africa while whites made up 15% of the
population, they dominated the loves of other racial groups in
the nation.
 Discrimination is a common feature of the minority
group experience.
 Discrimination is the denial of equal treatment to
individuals based on their group membership.
 Discrimination involves behaviors of an individual or
society and can range from name calling and rudeness to
acts of violence
 Example: In America prior to 1970, 1,170 African
Americans were lynched by white mobs. Many were
lynched for attempting to vote or for desiring equal
Societal Discrimination
 There are two types of societal discrimination:
 Legal discrimination can change when laws are changed
1. Legal discrimination- discrimination upheld by the law
2. Institutionalized discrimination- discrimination that is an
outgrowth of the structure of a society
discrimination if far more
resistant to change
 Prejudice is another common feature
of the minority group experience.
 Prejudice is an unsupported
generalization about a category of
 Prejudice refers to attitudes and
involve stereotypes
 Stereotypes are oversimplified,
exaggerated, or unfavorable
generalizations about a group of
White performers would
paint their faces black
and entertain crowds in
minstrel shows from the
 When stereotyping, an
individual forms an image of
a particular group and applies
it to all members of the group
 When stereotyping happens
long enough, people begin to
believe it
 When people believe
stereotypes, it makes it easier
to accept discrimination
 Prejudice beliefs can
justify discrimination
and racism can occur
 Racism is the belief
that one’s own race
or ethnic group is
naturally superior to
other races or ethnic
Cultural Pluralism
Cultural pluralism is a policy that allows each group within a
society to keep its unique cultural identity
 Assimilation is the blending together of culturally distinct
groups into a single group with a common culture and
 Often assimilation occurs voluntarily, but sometimes it is
force on an ethnic group
Segregation is a policy to physically separate a minority
group from the dominate group
1. De jure segregation:
segregation based on the law
Example: White-only and
Colored-only bathrooms in
the 1950s
2. De facto segregation:
segregation based on informal
Example: All Black churches