forum (Gender and Racial/Ethnic Stratification)
Read chapter 11 and explore the PBS website – http://www.pbs.org/race Post your thoughts about an article or aspect of this site that especially intrigued you. There is quite a bit of information located on this site – take your time checking it out!! Racial and Ethnic Stratification Objectives What exactly is this thing called “race”?? What is the difference between “race” and “ethnicity”?? Explain the distinction between prejudice and discrimination Racism without racists — define, with examples, institutional racism Explain and give examples of white privilege Describe six basic intergroup relation patterns: assimilation, amalgamation, pluralism, segregation, expulsion, genocide Overview Race. What is it?? What isn’t it?? What difference does it make?? As it turns out, it matters quite a bit, even though, as we will see, race as a biological concept does not exist as a scientifically valid concept. Socially, however, race (and ethnicity) are quite real, and, as W.I. Thomas (Links to an external site.) proposed, are quite real in their consequences. This examination is really an extension of the one we started a couple of weeks ago (stratification) that dealt with the distribution of resources. In a truly merit based society, one’s social class is dependent upon one’s merits – – work or achievement — and not on ascribed characteristics (like race, gender, or age). When we examine the markers of resource distribution in the U.S. however, we quickly see patterns that appear tied to ethnicity/race as well as to gender, age, immigration status and other variables. This fuels tension in society via the realities of the consequences of relative deprivation and the existence of individual prejudice and discrimination and their macro counterparts — racism and institutionalized inequality. Because we live in one of the most diverse cities in one of the most diverse nations in the world, we are able to find examples of virtually every major pattern of dominant – subordinate relations examined in this week’s reading. This includes the options of assimilation and accommodation (think about bilingual education, guest worker proposals, or English as the official language movements); ethnic pluralism may be seen in the variety of ethnic communities (e.g. Chinatown, Japantown, Ukrainian neighborhood) located in Sacramento. In terms of negative options, i.e. split labor market, exclusion movements, and/or extermination, look no further than the forced relocation of Japanese Americans during World War II or the fate of the Native American Ohlone Tribe as a prime example. The good news?? The more diverse we become, the more difficult it is to maintain a system of classification of humans for which no science exists to justify. Given time, people will tend to intermarry (inter-ethnically and/or inter- racially). This means that people will eventually have all different ethnicities and races as part of their ancestry, much like what has occurred for many European-Americans. While each of the perspectives discussed in this chapter offer different perspectives on the significance and role of “race” and “ethnicity” in society, there is no uniform agreement in sociology as to what should happen or how exactly to deal with this situation. What is of benefit, however, is the degree of understanding and appreciation of the complexity of this issue. With this as a base, perhaps our dialogues about race relations and tensions will be more productive.