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Racial and Ethnic Inequality

Racial and Ethnic Groups
Racial group group set apart from others because of physical dierences that have taken on social significance
Ex: Whites, African Americans, Asian American
Ethnic group group set apart from others primarily because of its national origin or distinctive cultural patterns
Ex: Irish Americans, Jewish Americans, Japanese Americans
Minority Groups
A numerical minority is a group that makes up less than half of some larger
Minority subordinate group whose members have significantly less control or power over their own lives than
members of the dominant or majority group have over theirs
A group that assigns a racial or ethnic group to subordinate status in society is called the dominant group
Minority Group
Sociologists have identified five basic properties of a minority group:
Unequal treatment
Distinguishing cultural characteristics
Involuntary membership
In-group marriage
The Social Construction of Race
Social construction of race the process by which people come to define a group as a race based on physical
characteristics, as well as historical, cultural, and economic factors
How groups are defined racially is a social process
The Social Construction of Race
Racialization process whereby some social category, such as a social class or nationality, takes on what society
perceives to be racial characteristics
Racial Formation sociohistorical process in which racial categories are created, inhabited, transformed, and
Ex: the creation of a reservation system for Native Americans in the late 1800s
The Significance of Defining Race
The biological dierences that are presumed to define dierent racial groups are somewhat arbitrary
For example, why do we dierentiate people based on skin color and some other characteristics such as height or
hair color?
Out-group homogeneity eect




Out-group homogeneity eect

This is where all members of any out-group are perceived to be similar or even identical to each other, and
dierences among them are perceived to be minor or nonexistent
Ethnic group a social category of people who share a common culture, for example, a common language or
dialect, a common nationality, a common religion, and common norms, practices, customs, and history
Prejudice and Discrimination
Stereotype oversimplified set of beliefs about members of a social group.
Racial-ethnic stereotypes stereotypes based on race or ethnicity
Prejudice a negative attitude toward an entire category of people
Discrimination overt negative and unequal treatment of members of some social group solely because of their
membership in that group
Racism a form of widespread prejudice that fosters a belief that one race is supreme over all others
Aversive Racism racism that is subtle, covert, and non obvious
Color-Blind Racism the use of the principle of race neutrality to defend a racially unequal status quo
Institutional Discrimination
Institutional Discrimination refers to the denial of opportunities and equal rights for individuals and groups which
results from the normal operations of society
Racial Profiling institutional racism in the criminal justice system