Race and Ethnic Relations
Sociology Chapter 10
10.1 Race, Ethnicity and Social Structure
Questions to think about:
 How do sociologists determine the terms
race, ethnicity, and minority group?
 What characteristics distinguish minority
groups from one another?
Race as Myth and Reality
Race as a Myth
– Many people think that humankind can be sorted into
biologically distinct groups called races. This idea suggests
that there are “pure” examples of different races and that
any person can belong to only one race.
– Biologists, geneticists, and social scientists reject this
view of race.
– All people belong to the human species.
– There are greater differences within racial groups than
between racial groups.
 Historically scholars have placed people into
three groups:
Caucasoids-fair skin and straight or wavy
hair (whites)
2. Mongoloids-yellowish or brownish skin with
distinctive folds on the eyelids (Asians)
3. Negroids-dark skin and tightly curled hair
However, this well known classification system
has difficulty describing the complexity of
 It is difficult to classify people into clear-cut
categories because people often possess the
traits of more than one race.
 Southern India-Caucasoid facial features and
dark skin, and straight hair.
 Australia-Aborigines-dark skin and blond
tightly curled hair.
Race defined:
 There are no biologically “pure” races.
 RACE-a category of people who share
inherited physical characteristics and
whom others see as being a distinctive
 Sociologists are concerned with how people
react to these characteristics and how these
reactions affect individuals in society.
 Ethnicity-set of cultural characteristics
that distinguishes one group from
 Ethnic Group-people who share a
common cultural background and a
common sense of identity.
 Ethnicity is generally based on cultural
characteristics such as national origin,
religion, language, custom, and values.
Ethnic Group Survival
 If an ethnic group is to survive over time, its
cultural beliefs and practices must be passed
down from generation to generation.
 Asian and Hispanic Americans tend to have
strong ethnic roots.
 Unlike German Americans who are raised in
the US who no longer feel deep ties to their
What’s the difference between race
and ethnicity?
 Ethnicity is based on cultural considerations
 Race is based on physical considerations
Some ethnic groups are racially distinct:
African Americans, Japanese
Americans, Korean Americans can be
classified ethnically and racially.
Minority Groups
 No particular skin color, physical feature, or
ethnic background is superior or inferior by
 Those who hold power in society may place
an arbitrary value on specific characteristics.
 By establishing values and norms of society,
dominant-group members consciously and
unconsciously create a social structure that
acts in their favor.
Minority Groups – Conflict Theory
 Speaking the language most common in a
society is one position of power held by the
dominant group.
 Using the conflict theory, many sociologists
have concluded that a dominant group’s
position of power allows them to enjoy
privileges, such as better housing, better
schools, and higher incomes.
 The privileged position of the dominant group
is often gained at the expense of the minority
groups within society.
Minority Group defined:
 Minority group is identified as a group of
people who –because of their physical
characteristics or cultural practices-are
singled out and unequally treated.
 Does not have to do with group SIZE.
Characteristics that distinguish minority
groups from other groups in society:
 Identifiable physical or cultural characteristics
that differ from the dominant group.
 Group members are victims of unequal
treatment at the hands of the dominant group.
 Membership in the group is ascribed.
 Members share strong sense of group loyalty.
 Members practice endogamy-marriage within
the group.
Case Study: A Class Divided
In 1968 third-grade teacher Jane Elliot divided her students
into groups of brown-eyed and blue-eyed children. She told
the class that the brown-eyed children were superior to the
blue-eyed children, and that they would receive special
treatment. The two groups of children internalized these
rules, and the blue-eyed children appeared to be miserable
and defeated. This experiment was one way to help
children understand the effects of discrimination.
Jane Elliot’s Experiment
“A Class Divided”
CLIP on Jane Elliot’s class:
Clip 1
Clip 2 Wednesday
Clip 3
Patterns of Intergroup
Relations (Ch 10.2)
1. How do prejudice and discrimination
2. What are patterns of minority group
Discrimination and Prejudice
 Words are commonly used mistakenly
 Discrimination-the denial of equal treatment
to individuals based on group membership
based on group membership.
 Prejudice-an unsupported generalization
about a group of people.
What does inequality
feel like?go
Found at the individual or
societal level
Range from name-calling and
rudeness to acts of violence.
Most extreme form can lead to
physical harm or even death.
Societal Discrimination:
Legal and Institutionalized
 Legal discrimination-upheld by the law.
 Apartheid system in South Africa-system of
elaborate laws that defined the rights of
whites and non-whites.
 Voting rights women in US
 Jim Crow laws in the US
Plessy v. Ferguson
Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka
 Institutionalized discrimination-is an outgrowth
of society.
More resistant to change
Over time, unequal access to resources pushes
some minority groups into less powerful
Dominant group consciously discriminates in
order to maintain a system of inequality
Can occur even after legal steps have been
taken to end discrimination
Example-Institutionalized Discrimination
1. Minority group denied access to jobs and
2. Over time group members become
concentrated in one area.
3. Community schools are poorly funded,
members do not acquire the skills to
compete in the labor market.
4. Without being able to qualify for higher
paying jobs, their children will have few
opportunities for advancement, and the
cycle of inequality is maintained.
 Often includes stereotypes
Stereotypes-oversimplified, exaggerated, or
unfavorable generalization about a group of
EX-All Irish are hot tempered.
 If people are told often and long enough that
other people are socially, mentally or
physically inferior, they come to believe it.
Prejudice cont.
 Self-fulfilling prophecy (Merton) a prediction
that results in behavior that makes the
prediction come true.
If members of a minority group are considered
incapable of understanding technical
information, they will not be given technical
 Prejudice often serves as justification for
discriminatory actions.
 Individuals come to believe negative claims
against a minority group, which makes it
easier for them to discriminate.
 Racism-the belief that one’s race or ethnic
group is naturally superior to other races or
ethnic groups.
Prejudice and Discrimination: Are they always related?
 Active bigot-prejudiced
and openly
 Timid bigot-prejudiced,
but does not
discriminate because
of societal issues
 Fair-weather liberalnot prejudiced, but
discriminates because
of societal pressure
 All-weather liberal-not
prejudiced, and does
not discriminate
Discussion point:
 Can anyone explain (or give an
example) to the class of how
someone could be a fair-weather
 Or a timid bigot?
Sources of Discrimination and Prejudice
Sociological Explanations
 Focus on the social environment
 Socialization-process by which norms are
internalized (learned)
 Prejudices are imbedded in social norms
(norms describe ways in which members are
“expected” to behave towards certain outgroups)
 People become prejudice to maintain group
membership-through identification with a
reference group who support the behavior.
Sources of Discrimination and Prejudice
Psychological Explanations
 Focus the behavior of individuals
 People are prejudice because of personality
 Adorno found that prejudice people shared
authoritarian personality trait
Authoritarian=strong conformist, respect for
authority, likely to follow orders
 Prejudice is also a product of frustration and
External locus of control
Scapegoating-placing the blame for one’s
trouble on an innocent individual (or minority
Sources of Discrimination and Prejudice
Economic Explanations
 Discrimination and prejudice arise out of competition
for scarce resources.
EX-Chinese in the 1800 were welcomed for cheap
labor, but were later viewed as competition to whites
for jobs
Laws restricted immigration of Chinese (Exclusion Act)
 Conflict perspective-the dominant group, in order to
protect their position, puts minorities against one
another in competition for resources, which causes
minority groups to fear, distrust and hate one
Patterns of Minority Group Treatment
Cultural Pluralism
 Allows each group within society to keep its
unique identity.
 Practiced in Switzerland
Three official languages: French, German and
Italian (3 major ethnic groups)
None of the groups has taken a dominant role
in Swiss society.
Patterns of Minority Group Treatment
 The blending of culturally distinct features into
a single group with a common culture and
 Racial and ethnic minorities attempt to hold
onto their cultural features.
 Assimilation occurs naturally overtime
through daily interaction.
 Forcing assimilation often leads to conflict.
Bulgaria 1980s tried to assimilate large
Turkish population.
Patterns of Minority Group Treatment
Legal Protection
 Countries take legal steps (make laws) to
ensure that the rights of minority groups are
Civil Rights Act 1964 and Voting Rights Act
1965 in the US.
Affirmative action programs in the USdesigned to correct past imbalances in the
educational and employment opportunities
given to minority groups.
Patterns of Minority Group Treatment
 Policies that physically separate the minority
group from the dominant group.
 De jure segregation-laws that separate.
 De facto segregation-segregation based on
informal norms
Jews in Europe during the Middle Ages were
forced to live in walled-off communities called
Practiced in the US until the 1960s
Patterns of Minority Group Treatment
 Maintaining of control over a group by force.
 Slavery-the ownership of one person by
another (most extreme form)
EX=South Africa’s apartheid system:
Apartheid literally means “apartness”
 Called for segregation of all groups in
 Political and economic power rested solely
in the hands of the white few and rigidly
maintained by force.
Patterns of Minority Group Treatment
Population transfer
 Dominant group separates itself from the
minority group by transferring the minority
population to a new territory.
Indirect transfer-the dominant group makes life
so miserable for the minority that they leave.
Direct transfer-involves the use of force.
Resettlement of Native Americans on
reservations during the 1800s
Patterns of Minority Group Treatment
 Genocide-the intentional destruction of an entire
targeted population
Attempted (and sometimes achieved) many times
throughout history
Jews in Russia in the 1800s
Jews in Europe during WW II-the Holocaust
British extermination of Tasmanians in South Africa
1.5 Armenians by Turks and the mutual slaughter of Muslims
and Hindus in the first half of the 1900s
Genocides also in Rwanda and Cambodia
Ethnic Cleansing
 Combined population transfer and
 Involves removing group from a protected
area through terror, expulsion, and mass
1998 the Serbian government began a
campaign that sought to drive out or kill about
1.7 ethnic Albanians.
In one year 1.5 million had been expelled from
their homes and 10,000 killed.
NATO stopped the Serbs of achieving their goal
using armed intervention.
Click on the image below to
play the Interactive.
African Americans
12 Percent of Population
• Experiences historically shaped
by slavery, discrimination, and
• Civil Rights Movement brought
significant gains towards
• Some negative trends in
education, employment, and
income that reveal continuing
• Since 1965 legislation, the
number of black representatives
in government has grown
• Organizations such as the
National Urban League work to
empower African Americans
• Group faces environmental
racism, or racial bias in
environmental policies and
Hispanic Americans
Largest minority group
• Trace their heritage to Spain or
Spanish-speaking Latin
American countries
• Population of Hispanics growing
faster than general population
• During 1960s Hispanics in the
United States were mostly from
Mexico, Cuba, and Puerto Rico
• Central and South American
immigrants now common
• Came to the United States to
seek political freedom and
economic opportunity
• Estimate in 2006 of more than
11 million illegal immigrants in
the United States; vast majority
are Hispanic
• Hispanics now hold more than
6,000 appointed and elected
• Poverty rate is double that of
white Americans
 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ru1F29vuV
ABC What would you do? Latino Hate Crime
Native Americans
2.9 Million Individuals
• Original inhabitants of the
United States
• Disease, warfare, and
destruction of traditional ways
of life reduced numbers
• U.S. government took
traditional lands and forced
Native Americans onto
• Policies encouraged
assimilation into white culture
• Today 55 percent on
• Statistics reveal dire challenges
for Native American populations
• Pan-Indianism: a social and
political movement that united
culturally distinct Native
American nations to work
together on issues that affect all
Native Americans
Asian Americans
5 Percent of Population
• Earliest to arrive were Chinese
and Japanese
• Immigrants from most Asian
countries now here, including
the Philippines, Vietnam,
Cambodia, Laos, Pakistan
• Projected to be 8 percent of
population by 2050
• Have used education to move
up economic ladder
• Median income is higher for
Asian Americans than for other
• Some call Asian Americans “the
model minority” because of their
quick assimilation; many resent
this label because it ignores the
struggles historically faced
• Asian Americans face higher
rates of stress, depression,
mental illness, and suicide
Other Minorities
White Ethnics
• White ethnics were immigrants from the mainly Catholic
countries of Ireland, Italy, France, Poland, and Greece
• Faced discrimination by the white Protestant majority
Jewish Americans
• Focus their ethnic identity on their religion
• Faced anti-Semitism, discrimination and prejudice against Jews
Arab Americans
• 3.5 million Arab Americans
• Arab Americans face new discrimination after the Arab-led
terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001
Current Research in Sociology
Being Arab American after the 9-11 Attacks
Within hours of the terrorist attacks on September 11, Arab American
communities and individuals were faced with violent attacks and other
discrimination. These acts revealed that non-Arab Americans knew
very little about Arab Americans.
• The Detroit Arab American
Study asked Arab Americans
how September 11 had
changed their lives.
• Researchers completed face-toface interviews with 1,016 Arab
Americans and Iraqi Christians
and 508 members of the
general population.
• Fifteen percent had
experienced discrimination,
verbal insults being most
• Three percent reported acts of
violence against them or their
 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d2bCIspDb
Clip 1:
 Intended vs unintended consequences
 Institutional racism????
 Ex. slavery

Race and Ethnic Relations - Appoquinimink High School