Chapter_11

Chapter_11 - CHAPTER 11 What are race and ethnicity, and...

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CHAPTER 11
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What are race and ethnicity, and how are they created by society? Why does the United States have so much racial and ethnic diversity? How are race and ethnicity important dimensions of social inequality today?
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People often confuse race and ethnicity. There are now millions of people in the United States who do not think of themselves in terms of a single category but as having a mix of ancestry.
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Race A socially constructed category of people who share biologically transmitted traits that members of a society consider important Appeared among human ancestors as a result of living in different regions of the world Variety of racial traits found today is the product of migration We think of race in biological terms but it is a socially constructed concept
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Race is a matter of social definitions and is a highly variable concept The meaning and importance of race not only differ from place to place but also change over time Today, the Census Bureau allows people to describe themselves using more than one racial category Our society officially recognizes a wide range of multiracial people
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RACIAL TYPES Scientists invented the concept of race to organize the world’s physical diversity Caucasoid Negroid Mongoloid Sociologists consider such terms misleading and harmful There is more genetic variation within each category than between categories From a biological point of view, knowing people’s racial category allows us to predict nothing about them
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Categories allow societies to rank people in a hierarchy Gives some more money, power, and prestige Allow some people to feel they are naturally “better” than others Because race matters so much, societies construct racial categories in extreme ways A TREND TOWARD MIXTURE Genetic traits from around the world have become mixed Today, people are willing to define themselves as multiracial
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Ethnicity A shared cultural heritage People define themselves as members of an ethnic category that give a distinctive identity Common ancestors Language Religion Like race, ethnicity is socially constructed Race is constructed from biological traits and ethnicity is constructed from cultural traits People play up or down ethnicity depending on whether they want to fit in or stand apart
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Minorities Any category of people distinguished by physical or cultural difference that a society sets apart and subordinates Based on race, ethnicity, or both Two important characteristics Share a distinct identity Experience subordination Not all members of a minority category are disadvantaged Usually make up a small proportion of a society’s population Exceptions are South Africa and Women in the US
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Prejudice may target people of: A particular social class Sex Sexual orientation Age Political affiliation Race ethnicity
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Prejudice
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This note was uploaded on 01/06/2012 for the course SOC 1301 taught by Professor Emekaohagi during the Fall '11 term at Collins.

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Chapter_11 - CHAPTER 11 What are race and ethnicity, and...

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