a203-11f-16-NaturalizingInequality

So naturally when we categorize people using these

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so naturally, when we categorize people using these terms, we will tend to think of the “white” category of people as ranking higher than the “black” category - that lead us to not see that the hierarchy exists at all - For example, in European and US society, we have inequality based on social race - that is, a hierarchy of social races - recall that social race categories are just arbitrary social constructs - but we do classify people this way, nonetheless - Even if you think overt racism is fading (which is not at all clear), racism is still important in US society - just recently (March 20, 2010), African-American US Representatives James Clyburn (D- S.C.) and Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) were called the “n-word” as they walked by Tea Party protesters - in the next days, Clyburn got emails and faxes of similar racist abuse, including pictures of nooses and gallows - this was just a particularly public example - how is the idea that African-Americans are inferior constructed in people’s minds? - How is it naturalized so that some people believe it, or tolerate it? - Peggy McIntosh addresses part of an answer in her famous 1988 article, White Privilege - But FIRST: notice that she uses racial categories as givens, without examining whether they are objectively valid - she is referring to social race as constructed in our particular culture (white, black, etc.) - for her argument, it does not matter if it is “real” biologically - people really classify each other this way, whether that is realistic or not - so she focuses instead on how the categories of races work in our society - McIntosh argues that racism is constructed similarly to sexism - US men know that women are underprivileged - but not that men are over-privileged - women earn less than average for any given work - that means that men earn MORE than average for that work - men are privileged; they are overpaid simply because of their sex - but we don’t think about it that way - our culture constructs the gender hierarchy primarily in terms of disadvantages to women, not advantages to men
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Intro to Cultural Anthro F 2011 / Owen: Naturalizing inequality… p. 3 - this leads (or conveniently allows) both men and women to not even see the hierarchy, or gender ranking - we think in terms of solving cases of unfairness to women - not of questioning the dominance of men - or the whole idea of inequality by gender - ignoring male over-privilege allows men to avoid recognizing the unfairness and ignore it - so no one does anything to change it - and the gender hierarchy continues - McIntosh argues that racism is similar - whites tend to acknowledge that African-Americans are disadvantaged relative to others - but not that whites themselves are over-advantaged in the same ways - white privilege : unearned assets due to being white - that benefit whites every day - but are hidden - doors open more easily every day by no virtue of one’s own - [analogy to my experience as a gringo in Peru] - white privilege remains hidden because acknowledging it would contradict other cultural ideals -
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