Wk 7B The Cultural Construction of Race

Wk 7B The Cultural Construction of Race - Race as a...

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Race as a Cultural Construction Wk 7B February 26, 2008
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Today’s concepts/people Key Terms: Race Scientific Racism Racial Typologies Evolutionary Racism Biological Determinism Social Construction Samuel J. Morton Franz Boas WEB DuBois
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Social life in many societies Hierarchal social relations “social stratification” Basis for stratification differs across societies How does social stratification work in the US? Class Gender Race and ethnicity
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Fig 5-1 Kottak Types of status Ascribed – status that is attributed to a person. Inherent in social persona. Achieved – status that a person must do something to acquire. Some control over.
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Concept of Race What is a race? A group whose evident characteristics (phenotypical and cultural) are popularly believed to be the result of underlying biological factors or genotypes.
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Race as a cultural system .
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How can you tell what someone’s race is? What factors go into a definition of a person’s race? What is bottom line?
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Hypodescent in America: a “folk taxonomy” Hypodescent is the “one drop rule.” Any minority ancestry makes one a member of minority group (not intermediate group). “Blood” is a folk concept Hypodescent has also been used as a legal principle. Hypodescent divides Americans into groups that have differential access to power, resources, etc.
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Other models… Dominican Republic…one drop rule in reverse Mexico… “mestizaje” myth merges races into one “cosmic race”
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Brazilian racial theory Brazilians use a range of terms — 134 on one census — to describe “colors” of people. Members of same family can be of different races . One’s race can change from day to day Why?
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Phenotype Phenotype = Genotype + what?? Environment! P = G+E
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Race What does all this tell us about the naturalness of racial identities? They are all culturally defined! Race is a cultural construction that has meaning in our lives because we invest it with meaning. It is not biological!
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The myth of race Most people think of “race” as a biological category — as a way to divide and label different groups according to a set of common inborn biological traits (e.g., skin color, or shape of eyes, nose, and face). Despite this popular view, there are no biological criteria for dividing races into distinct categories (Lewontin, 1972; Owens & King, 1999). No consistent racial groupings emerge when people are sorted by physical and biological characteristics. For example, the epicanthic eye fold that produces the so-called “Asian” eye shape is shared by the !Kung San Bushmen, members of an African nomadic tribe. The visible physical traits associated with race, such as hair and
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This note was uploaded on 05/15/2010 for the course ANT 302 taught by Professor Seriff during the Spring '07 term at University of Texas.

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Wk 7B The Cultural Construction of Race - Race as a...

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