3 Race - 2/12/3Power,Status,andInequality:Race...

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2/1-2/3 Power, Status, and Inequality: Race  Sociological perspectives on race Race is not biological. Racial categories are socially constructed. Race “A race” is a category of people who have been socially singled out as inferior  or superior on the basis of real or alleged physical characteristics. o Many other characteristics (intellectual, cultural, etc.) are extrapolated  based on these socially constructed differences. Social meaning is given to such characteristics and varies over time. o We create social meanings for these characteristics of race from social  context. The meaning is not fixed- it is changing over the course of history  and context. o Has meaning because we have given it meaning; changing Ethnicity Ethnicity is also not biological but socially constructed understanding. An “ethic group” is a collection of people distinguished by themselves or  others on the basis of culture (language, religion) or nationality. Professor Jennifer Lee o Civility in the City: Blacks, Jews, and Koreans in Urban America o The Diversity Paradox Social constructions of race/ethnicity Racial categories and their meanings vary across time and place, and  therefore are socially constructed.
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o Socio-legal constructions Who “counts” as “white” has changed dramatically across time. Such laws have always been arbitrary and varied During slavery and Jim Crow Missouri 1/9 th  “Negroid” blood or more = not white Louisiana - 1/32 nd   1790 first naturalization law, now racial definitions determined  citizenship (Almaguer 1994) African Americans not white, but “Negroid” Native Americans not white, but “Indian” Mexican Americans varied with class and status; “white” or  “Indian” or “Negroid” Chinese immigrants between 1850-1882 were categorized by  the court as “Indian”, because it was “clear” they were not white  or black—the only other options at the time 1893 Japanese immigrants added a 4 th  category, they were  “Mongolian” Irish, Italians, and Jews were sometimes debated before being  determined to be “white” Asian Indians were “white” in 1913 but then “Asiatic” in 1920 o Census constructions Contemporary census Race White – 79.6% Black -12.8% Asian - 44.3% AIAN -0.9%
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NHPI - 0.1% 2 or more - 2.1% Ethnicity Hispanic/Latino 15% Non-Hispanic/Latino 85% If its constantly changing, it can’t be based on something that is  biological. Census is based on how people self-identify.
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This note was uploaded on 02/13/2011 for the course SOC 102 taught by Professor Mcginn during the Spring '08 term at University of Michigan.

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3 Race - 2/12/3Power,Status,andInequality:Race...

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