SYG 2430- Families & MarriagesNotes- Social Construction of Race
Cycle of Socialization
Race & Ethnicity are Social Constructs
- We are born without racist attitudes, values or beliefs.
- Though we are born into social contexts, we have no information about ourselves or others.
- It is through the process of social interaction that we acquire sets of attitudes, values, and beliefs that may contribute to racism.
Social Construction of Race
- Race = a social construct that artificially divides people into distinct groups based on characteristics such as physical appearance (particularly skin color), ancestral heritage, cultural affiliation, cultural history, ethnic classification , and the social, economic and political needs of a society at a given period of time.
- Ethnicity = a social construct which divides people into smaller social groups based on a shared sense of group membership, values, behavioral patterns, language, political and economic interests, history, and geography. (Ex. Haitian, chinese, puerto-rican, cherokee, french, etc.)
Even if you yourself are not racist...
- How do we define race?
- 1960s: 3 Races
- 2000 Census: 30 races & 11 ethnic options
- It all comes down to “labeling”
- Who is assigning the label?
- Cultural Racism
- Aspects of society that overtly & covertly attribute value and normality to white people and whiteness and devalue, stereotype, and label people of color as “other,” different, less-than, or invisible.
- Institutional Racism
- The network of institutional structures, policies, and practices that create advantages and benefits for whites and discrimination, oppression, and disadvantages for persons of color.
- The advantages to whites are often invisible to them or are considered available to “everyone”
Activity based on reading: “Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack”
“But... I don’t feel privileged!”
What can YOU do?
- “White Privilege”
- Def = The concrete benefits of access to resources and social rewards AND the power to shape the norms and values of society which Whites receive, unconsciously or consciously, by virtue of their skin color in a racist society.
- The ability to be unaware of race
- The ability to live and work among people of the same racial group as their own
- The security of not being pulled over by the police for being a “suspicious” person
- The expectation that they speak for themselves and not for their entire race
- Def= Thinking and acting in ways which support the system of racism.
- Both White people and Persons of Color can collude with racism through their attitudes, beliefs, and actions.
- All people can collude by telling racist jokes, discriminating against a person of color, or remaining silent when observing a racist incident or remark.
- Avoid collusion
- Become an ally or an empowered person of color
Educate others! (Avoid reification)
- Ally- a white person who actively works to eliminate racism
- Empowered person of color- understanding racism and its impact, collectively working against victimization and for justice.