This paper explores, at a descriptive level, the relationship between racial relationship between racial stratification and the maintenance of a. Race is one of the primary lines along which our society is stratified. That means that the difference we perceive among people in our society is a social. Biological traits to not become relevant in patterns of social superiority and Racial and ethnic stratification refers systems of inequality in which some fixed groups of difference and domination through distinctions between women and men.
White South Africans initially included the Dutch colonisers known as Boers or Afrikaners who arrived in the s, and the British settlers who arrived in 18th century. The Dutch imported slaves predominantly from Indonesiaand enslaved local Africans. Racial groups are influenced by this colonial history, the Anglo-Boer War, apartheid, and anti-apartheid movement.
Establishing strict immigration policies, there are four major race categories. First, White people are the numerical majority, and chiefly defined as those of Anglo-Celtic heritage, as well as many people of European descent. Another category is Asian people, but Indians separated out of this group whereas in the UK, Indians are considered Asian. These race categories are shaped by the White Australia Policy, postwar European migration, and multiculturalism policies since the s.
Racism Before we can define racism, we need to get our heads around related concepts or prejudice and discrimination. Racial prejudices include expressions of hostility towards particular racial groups. For example, refusing to consider the job application of a person of colour an act of discrimination based on racial markers, like their name prejudicereplicating the excessive rejection these candidates already experience because of widespread racism. Racism describes the system of racial inequality, based on the belief that some groups are innately superior to other groups.
Racism rests on the prejudices attitudessymbols including languageactions and policies discrimination that reproduce the false ideology that other groups are inferior to White people. Racism rests on power structures, such as historical and cultural relations established through colonialism, and social institutions like the law, education, media, and science.
People misunderstand that racism only means overt acts of oppression between individuals, such as calling someone a racial epithet. Instead, racism encompasses both covert prejudice and systemic forms of discrimination. People can be unaware of how they both benefit from, and reproduce, racism, and so their words and actions may have unintended consequences, even if they do not mean to consciously discriminate.
Regardless, racism does not require conscious intent. Racism is so deeply ingrained into our socialisation that it affects everyone, whether they are benefiting as White people, or oppressed as people of colour. Colonialism has entrenched health, educational and other inequalities, whilst scientific racism sustained these disparities by feeding racist social policies.
There are three levels of racism that are generally studied in sociology: Patterns of interpersonal racism shift over time, with newer migrants being targeted and some groups experiencing lower levels of racism. Individual racism can include from being made to feel unwelcome in social settings, but it also extends to missing out on jobs and other more overt forms of discrimination.
The cumulative effect of interpersonal racism is that people of colour feel apprehensive about their safety and futures. Individual measures are more familiar to lay understanding of racism, but they give us an incomplete picture, because these individual experiences need to be placed in broader societal context.
Institutional racism describes societal patterns of discrimination, such as educational and employment outcomes, lack of representation in the media and in politics, over-policing and social violence. It shows how individual experiences of discrimination are much more widespread and happening across multiple spheres of life, beyond interpersonal prejudices. Third, Professor Philomena Essed has identified everyday racism, a concept that is critical of the individual and institutional theories on racism and the distinctions between them, and instead, studies their complex interdependencies.
It connects ideological and structural forces of racism with routine situations in everyday life, such as the daily attitudes and interactions that minorities face, which in turn reproduce racism.
Racism is maintained in taken-for-granted ways, even when people are unaware of it, through the repetitive or familiar practices of everyday situations. Find out about Whiteness below, or check out the case study on reverse racism. Does reverse racism exist? White people today mostly understand that saying negative things about minorities is not acceptable. In interviews with the researchers, they will talk about their racist relatives, without thinking of themselves as racist. Yet their negative experiences with minorities take on a different meaning.
The negative example is an indictment of the entire minority group racial prejudice. So, White people will say things say things like: Reverse racism is an attempt to be ahistorical. Me, as [a] White person, I had nothing to do with slavery. You, as a Black person, you never experienced it. No, other than I have applied at jobs and been turned down because I was White. Now, I have nothing against the Black person [if he] was qualified better than I was.
Whiteness studies teaches us to think critically about how social life is organised around White experiences. How does Whiteness establish legitimacy? Whiteness is hegemonic; that is, it is an ideology that has been established over time, first through violent political dominance, and later through cultural institutions that created the fiction that White culture is the natural order. Social institutions funnel White culture so that it is pervasive: Whiteness is everywhere, and while it is the centre of colonial nations, Whiteness also goes unexamined in day-to-day life.
Whiteness is both privilege and power; it means being on top of the social hierarchy but taking the hierarchy for granted. So much so that even White male politicians will take offence at being called White, in the middle of Senate debates when they were trying to get rid of protections from the Racial Discrimination Act. Put simply, most White Australians have a weak understanding of what Whiteness is, and yet when they talk about what it means to be Australian, they draw exclusively from Anglo-Australian mythology.
This was the case when they drew on racist rhetoric about who belongs in Australia. While these racial hierarchies shifted depending on the issue or groups being compared, one thing was immutable: White people were the universal norm. Their Australian identity was accepted as unproblematic and taken-for-granted. Power is quintessential to representations of Whiteness and of otherness, because whether difference is portrayed positively or negatively, the other is always constructed against a hegemonic ideal of Whiteness.
Sociology of Race
This allows White people to distance themselves from, and also negate, structural racism. Whiteness is maintained through various discourses.
White people can afford to tune in and out of race discussions.
And infamous example involved Black American actor Samuel L. This is known as White fragilitya concept coined by multicultural educator Robin DiAngelo. White fragility compels White people to expect special treatment and additional time, patience and emotional labour from people of colour. White people feel entitled to be kept comfortable during discussions of race, or they might demand that people of colour educate them on race issues.
Find out how Whiteness feeds into White privilege below. She came to this concept as she reflected on her feminist practices. Having tried to include women of colour in her feminist activities with little successful engagement, she came to see how she, as a White woman, had also been reticent to give up her own benefits to make feminism truly inclusive of racial minorities.
She had failed to notice how the benefits she enjoys are part of a system that disadvantages people of colour. Just as patriarchy positions men as the universal norm, requiring women to adjust their behaviour and expectations to the needs and interests of men, McIntosh recognises how Whiteness pushes her to view the world through a racial lens.
White feminism is the pursuit of gender equity in a way that systematically ignores—and benefits from—the impact of race, power and dominance of White women in society. While White women are disadvantaged in relation to White men, their White privilege gives them advantages over people of colour of all genders.
Sociology Professor Jessie Daniels explains that, while she came from a long line of White women who did not finish high schoolshe recognises that her White privilege enabled her to be upwardly mobile. Her career was supported by other White women. So, even with gender, class and other disadvantages, White women must recognise that they have greater resources at their disposal in the fight for equal rights.
In fact, White feminism positions equality in relation to White men, ignoring the needs, experiences and knowledge of people of colour. White privilege is the sum total of various invisible forms of power that White people have, regardless of their social standing.
White people are generally made to feel comfortable wherever they go, or at least oblivious of their race. People of colour are routinely made to feel alienated and so they are less confident that they will be treated fairly based on their skin colour. Examples of White privilege. Click to enlarge; or download high-res PDF McIntosh came up with a list of 26 examples of White privilege that range from expectations of social decorum everyday racism, such as people being rude based on your race while others are about institutional racism being judged harshly by the criminal justice system based on race.
She did not see herself benefiting from the established race hierarchy. We usually think of privilege as being a favoured state, whether earned or conferred by birth or luck. Yet some of the conditions I have described here work systematically to overpower certain groups. How will you give up some of that cultural power?
How can you tackle racial injustice? White privilege is a call to action to actively join anti-racism. This means not expecting minorities to become more like White people, but thinking about how to change the system, and elevate the power, potential, comfort, inclusion, leadership, safety and justice of people of colour.
We now need to think through White supremacy. Social stratification means that inequality has been institutionalized. In what ways are societies stratified? Social class "implies having or not having the following: Racial and ethnic stratification refers systems of inequality in which some fixed groups membership, such as race, religion, or national origin is a major criterion for ranking social positions and their differential rewards.
Race is socially defined on the basis of a presumed common genetic heritage resulting in distinguishing physical characteristics.
Ethnicity refers to the condition of being culturally rather than physically distinctive. Ethnic peoples are bound together by virtue of common ancestry and a common cultural background.
That in itself was no crime. Many societies and countries have been based on slavery.
The crime of the United States is that it is the first and only country which, having freed its slaves legally, by proclamation, by law and in the courts, then continued to enslave them and denied them equal rights on the basis of their color.
The legacy of decades of systematic deprivation could be overcome only by color conscious policies direct at the victims of that deprivation.
People ought to be accorded equal treatment without regard to race, gender, or other extraneous characteristics.Social Stratification: Crash Course Sociology #21