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Race vs Ethnicity. Described by both?

Race usually defined above all by ‘biological’ features, e.g. similarity of skin colour, which can be inherited.�
Ethnicity: is broader, more cultural.
-People may be described by both racial & ethnic categorisations: one may be ethnically German and racially ‘Caucasian.’


Scientific Racism

Term describes series of theories from mid-19th century till 1945 that claimed to provide a ‘scientific’ basis in biology that ‘proved’ superiority of a particular racial group.


How does Comte Arthur de Gobineau’s Essay on the Inequality of Human Races �try to explain human history?

in terms of supposed innate characteristics of different groups.
Before 19th century, concept of biological race unknown.


The Bell Curve

Book published in 1994 by Herrnstein and Murray; argued that lower scores on standardised IQ tests by African-Americans than Caucasians in the US indicates genetic and racial basis for intelligence.


Why Bell Curve rejected?

Systematic study by American Psychological Association: no evidence supporting link between intelligence and race.
No differences in intelligence between races measured at early age: differences only appear later, suggesting social influence.
Study only compares within US, not in global perspective: may be explained by socioeconomic position, not race.


85% of human genetic diversity can be found within ‘races’ �E.G.?

there may be more genetic difference between two random Cambodians than between a Cambodian and a Norwegian.


Social construction of race

Description of the way societies develop ideas of biological ‘race.’
Points to shifting definitions of races, and impossibility of drawing exact boundaries.


Under slavery in the US, ‘one-drop rule’ defined people as ‘black’ if ...

...they had even one non-white ancestor. Today, Obama is the ‘first black President’ – with a white mother.


Visible Minority

Minority group in society whose differences from mainstream are immediately obvious, and often stigmatised – e.g. different skin colour is visible; homosexuality is not.



changing names to obscure racial origins, if no other visible differences (see Lecture 3).



Unnecessary use of ‘racial’ characteristics to distinguish people.
Attempt to impose ‘racial’ interpretations on an issue with no basis in it.


Why Racism: St Fu

Ethnic identity provides sense of community and boosts solidarity.
Exclusion and prejudice may help stratify society in way that ensures all jobs get filled.


Why Racism: Crit

Dominant ‘races ‘try to exclude others from share of social wealth
Marxists suggest racism may be result of strategies by bourgeoisie to split proletariat.


Why Racism: Symbolic Interactionists

Racial differences become self-fulfilling prophecy as people act on prejudices they are exposed to.
People may be ‘socialised’ into what it means to be in group.


Why Racism: Structural Theory

Structures can be identified at all levels of society that automatically stream people into specific paths, e.g. schools pushing women & visible minorities to lower jobs.


Institutional Racism

Systems, rules, practices with disproportionate effect on specific ethnic groups.
May or may not be deliberately targeted at these groups; may be insensitive to differences.


Modern Examples of Racialised Practices

Racial profiling: police will stop and search non-white citizens far more than whites; seen in airport security, for example.
Rules on speaking English or on accepted dress may affect minorities disproportionately (e.g. banning headscarves).


Prejudice vs Discrimination

Prejudice: Negative beliefs
Discrimination: The actual act


Are Emily & Greg more employable than Lakisha & Jamal?� Outcomes?

Bertrand & Mullainathan� (2003) sent identical CVs to a number of randomly-selected job adverts, different only in names at the top.
CVs with ‘white’ names received 50% more callbacks than with ‘black’ names: prejudice & discrimination linked.


Social Distance.

Way of measuring how far people are willing to mix with members of other groups, and how far particular groups are excluded from majority of society.


Who developed a Social Distance scale? How work? Who is most excluded? What kind of communities like to exclude outsiders?

Emory S. Bogardus developed seven-step scale of distance, and asked people if they would be willing to have member of another group in this position. Scale from (1) Close relative by marriage to (7) total exclusion from your country.
If accepted at level 1, usually accepted at all levels below.
E.g. “Would you be willing to have an Englishman marry your daughter? Live in the same street? Work in same trade?”
Higher scores = greater social distance = greater exclusion.
-Small, isolated communities particularly likely to want to exclude outsiders and increase social distance; large urban areas show greater tolerance and smallest distance score.
�-Romany/Gypsies subject to particular levels of intolerance; they are excluded almost everywhere, with universal prejudice.


What recommendations came out of Karl Gunnar Myrdal's report, American Dilemma: The Negro Problem & Modern Democracy (1938) ?

Myrdal highlights how white majority applied double standards:
Despite doctrine of equality in US constitution, African-Americans treated as less-than-equal even after end of slavery Continued assumption of African-American inferiority; some defenders of slavery argued slaves “not ready for freedom.”
Myrdal suggests only serious government intervention could overcome racist attitudes: need to improve minority access to education, housing, job security, with federal government backing.
Even today, African-Americans first to suffer in crisis.
Myrdal insisted on activist sociology: impossibility of impartiality, so we should recognise bias and work towards valuable goals.


What makes people unaware of the problem of race?

absence of obstacles.
White people rarely made conscious of race because they never run up prejudice from others.
‘White’ is thus treated as ‘normal’ – because it’s never subject of questioning, its privilege is hidden to those who enjoy it.
�-think of wheelchair analogy


Double Consciousness

Visible minorities have two identities: member of nation (“Canadian”, “American”) but also ethnic group (“African-American”).
Thus view selves through eyes of others�
- whilst white Americans were just ‘Americans,’ black Americans were ‘African-American’ – both black and American.


Black Skin, White Masks by Frantz Fanon. How still seen today in Africa?

-extreme pressure to conform to values of dominant groups�
-Fanon was black citizen of French colony of Martinique, and experienced European racism firsthand.
Describes the way fellow Martiniquaises tried to adopt French culture, French pronunciation, French style etc – and yet still faced prejudice from French people.
Leads to existential failure to develop own sense of self�
-Practical evidence of this seen in beauty products: high sales of skin-whitening creams or hair-straightening products. in Africa, India, African-American areas. Pressure to ‘look white.’


Stereotype Threat. How affects academics?

Effect of widespread social stereotypes about one’s group on behaviour and performance.
Stereotypes may result in increased anxiety due to fear of being judged by ethnic/gender group.
�-When black students were reminded of broad myths about African-American academic performance, they were often extra-anxious, and performed significantly worse on tests than if they were not cued up.
Similar responses seen in gendered groups too.


How does Adam Smith recommend countries with needs for labour do in regards to immigrants?

Adam Smith (founder of economics) advocates free movement of labour in the name of economic efficiency.
Ensures labour supply can be kept up where it’s most needed; controls on migration stifle economic growth.


What were reasons Polish Peasants migrated according to William Thomas and Florian Znaniecki?

Macrosocial changes of industrialisation and political turmoil as restored state of Poland replaced Russian & German rule led to difficult situations.
Breakdown of traditional ways of life based on agriculture, small villages, traditions.
-Difficult situation at home prompted need to move.


What kinds of challenges do new immigrants have to face? What does this help explain?

Adaptation to new customs, mores, ways of life.
Immigrants usually introduced to low-status jobs, due to non-recognition of foreign credentials or lack of social capital
Caught between two world as “marginal men” (Robert Park), belonging neither to old world nor to new.
Explains significant problems of delinquency, poverty, isolation, and illness often faced by members of immigrant communities.


What did Head Taxes do for white working classes and unions?

defence of their limited economic position: closure.