Ch 8 Racial and Ethnic Inequalities

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Ch 8 Racial and Ethnic Inequalities

The first part of this chapter tries to get you to think about a central concept in sociology; that race is not biological but rather social. We sometimes say race is a “social construction”. Although people have different skin colors, biologically we are all the same – we can all breed, so must be the same race, for example. But if we are all really the same “race” other than minor differences like skin color and facial characteristics, why do we all think we are different “races”? That’s the key question, and this chapter tries to answer it. 

For each question below, write a substantial paragraph or two, and make sure you include information from the book to illustrate your points.

Question 1: Read through the section titles racial and Ethnic Minorities (217-228). Use information from that section to explain how race and ethnicity are socially created (or socially defined, however you want to put it). How do the black-white divide in our society, and the whole issue of “Hispanic”, illustrate what we mean by saying race is socially defined?

Question 2: Read over the Explanations of Racial and Ethnic Inequality ( 228-232)

What is the main difference between deficiency/bias theories and structural theories? 

Question 3: Read over the Discrimination section ( 232-239) How do education, work, and income shape the life chances of whites and non-whites in America?

Segregation today is still the norm. Look at figure 8.3 and the text on page 232. What do these show about segregation today? How are you influenced by these trends?

Question 4: Read over the Contemporary Trends section (239-243). How do large scale patterns like the changing economy and immigration cause changes in behaviors and attitudes about race and ethnicity?

Application: what “race” do you define yourself as? Why? What things in society have led you to believe that you (a) need to define yourself that way , and (b) force you to think of yourself in that way?

Answer all questions please and number them, as well as the application question.