Test 3 -- race and ethnicity -- ONLINE --Spring 2008

Test 3 -- race and ethnicity -- ONLINE --Spring 2008 - 1...

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Test 3 Study Guide -- Race and Ethnicity (chapter 11) Introduction to Sociology ONLINE What is the definition of a race ? On what characteristics are people racially classified? What are the causes of racial diversity? Where is the racial mix “especially pronounced”? Which island nation was mentioned as a nation with less racial diversity than most nations? Today, most scientists consider race to be a meaningless biological concept. (There are no pure, distinct races left today, if there ever were any; there are no physical traits that can be used to describe one group and not others.) However, most lay people still believe in the concept of biological race and they often treat people very differently depending on their perceived race. This differential treatment of people based on their perceived race results in different life chances (opportunities to have a good life, have access to a nice home, good schooling, adequate health care, good-paying jobs, etc.); therefore, the concept of race is of great interest to sociologists. Race is socially constructed—racial categories vary from one society to another and they change from one historical period to another. As an example of racial categories varying from one society to another, many black Americans would not have been considered black in South Africa under apartheid (a system of strict segregation and exploitation); they would have been considered colored . As an example of how racial categories change from one historical period to another, in the U.S., at one point in our past, Italians and the Irish were not considered to be white. What is Macionis’ answer to the question, “Why, then, do people make so much of race”? 1
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Every 10 years, when the government is required to do a census of the population, people are asked their race (along with at least 5 other questions). Many people perceive themselves as biracial or multiracial and have difficulty filling out the Census and other forms which ask for their race. Several groups attempted to get a category called biracial or multiracial added to the newest (2000) Census forms; the Census Bureau decided instead to allow people to check more than one racial category. Less than 3% of all respondents chose to check more than one racial category. Some people of Middle Eastern ancestry have lobbied to have Middle Eastern added as a racial category. The Census Bureau declined to do this for the 2000 Census, but is still considering it for future inclusion. The official major racial categories in the United States (those used by the federal government in the Census) have changed numerous times over the last 200 years. The newest major categories (those used in the 2000 census) are: white, black, Asian, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, American Indian/Alaska Native, and Other. Read the article titled Census Bureau Data on Race and Ethnicity , which lists the numbers of Americans in the last census who chose each of the specific racial classifications. (I have attached this article as the last page of this study guide. You may leave it attached
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Test 3 -- race and ethnicity -- ONLINE --Spring 2008 - 1...

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