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Race and Ethnicity Essay He was not joining some far-flung military effort of his country of birth: The 25-yearold from Brooklyn was joining the U. S. Marine Corps. A legal permanent resident, Alexandr can join the U. S. military even though he is not a citizen. His decision is not that unusual. Thousands of immigrants join each year; indeed, recently in cities such as New York, Miami, and Los Angeles immigrant enlistees have been joining in higher proportions than their peers in the general population. Some do it for the training or employment possibilities, but others are motivated by allegiance to their new country. As Alexandr said, Ã¢â¬Å"It doesnÃ¢â¬â¢t matter that America is not my country; New York is my city, and what happened shook my life. I feel patriotic, and I have this itch now to go soonerÃ¢â¬ (Chen and Sengupta 2001:A1). So the United States, with its diverse racial and ethnic heritage and new immigrants, is a country that respects its multiculturalism. Or does it? In July 2004, Jefferson County in Texas tried to bring to a close a century of debate. Over the objections of many residents, the County Board decided to rename a stretch of road known as Ã¢â¬Å"Jap Road. Ã¢â¬ Named for the Japanese rice farmers who had settled there in the 19TH century, the name had stuck despite generations of objections by Asian Americans and others. Finally change came (T. Marshall 2004). Lewiston, Maine, is also adjusting. In this old New England town, hundreds of Somalis have arrived seeking work and affordable housing thousands of miles from their African hometowns, which were torn apart by civil strife and famine. Residents expressed alarm over this influx, prompting the mayor to send a letter to all the Somalis already in Lewiston to discourage friends and relatives from relocating there. The pace of Somalis resettling to the Lewistown, many of them American citizens, slowed significantly amidst the furor (C. Jones 2003). Relations between racial and ethnic groups are not like relations between family members. The history of the United States is one of racial oppression. It goes well beyond a mayor in Maine or people living on a road in Texas not liking people of a certain color or national origin. Episodes of a new social identity developing, as in the case of Alexandr Manin, are not unusual, but that does not mean that the society is not structured to keep some groups of people down and extend privileges automatically to other groups based on race, ethnicity, or gender. People in the United States and elsewhere are beginning to consider that the same principles that guarantee equality based on race or gender can apply to other groups who are discriminated against. There have been growing efforts to ensure that the same rights and privileges are available to all people, regardless of age, disability, or sexual orientation. These concerns are emerging even as the old divisions over race, ethnicity, and religion continue to fester and occasionally explode into violence that envelops entire nations. The United States is a very diverse nation, as shown in Table 1. 1. According to the 2000 census, about 17 percent of the population are members of racial minorities, and about another 13 percent are Hispanic. These percentages represent almost one of three people in the United States, without counting White ethnic groups. As shown in Figure 1. 1, between 2000 and 2100 the population in the United States is expected to rise from 30 percent Black, Hispanic, Asian, and Native American to 60 percent. ISBN: 0-536-12071-4 4 Racial and Ethnic Groups, Tenth Edition, by Richard T. Schaefer. Published by Prentice-Hall. Copyright Ã © 2006 by Pearson Education, Inc. Chapter 1 Understanding Race and Ethnicity 5 TABLE 1. 1 Racial and Ethnic Groups in the United States, 2000 Classification RACIAL GROUPS Whites (includes 16.9 million White Hispanic). Blacks/African Americans Native Americans, Alaskan Native Asian Americans Chinese Filipinos Asian Indians Vietnamese Koreans Japanese Other ETHNIC GROUPS White ancestry (single or mixed) Germans Irish English Italians Poles French Jews Hispanics (or Latinos) Mexican Americans Central and South Americans Puerto Ricans Cubans Other TOTAL (ALL GROUPS) Number in Thousands 211,461 34,658 2,476 10,243 2,433 1,850 1,679 1,123 1,077 797 1,285 Percentage of Total Population 75. 1 12. 3 0. 9 3. 6 0. 9 0. 7 0. 6 0. 4 0. 4 0. 2 0. 5 42,842 30,525 24,509 15,638 8,977 8,310 5,200 35,306 23,337 5,119 3,178 1,412 2,260 281,422. 15. 2 10. 8 8. 7 5. 6 3. 2 3. 0 1. 8 12. 5 8. 3 1. 8 1. 1 0. 5 0. 8 Note: Percentages do not total 100 percent, and subheads do not add up to figures in major heads because of overlap between groups (e. g. , Polish American Jews or people of mixed ancestry, such as Irish and Italian). Source: Brittingham and de la Cruz 2004; Bureau of the Census 2003a; Grieco and Cassidy 2001; Therrien and Ramirez 2001; United Jewish Communities 2001. Although the composition of the population is changing, the problems of prejudice, discrimination, and mistrust remain. What Is a Subordinate Group? Identifying a subordinate group or a minority in a society seems to be a simple enough task. In the United States, the groups readily identified as minoritiesÃ¢â¬â Blacks and Native Americans, for exampleÃ¢â¬âare outnumbered by non-Blacks and non-Native Americans. However, minority status is not necessarily the result of being outnumbered. A social minority need not be a mathematical one. A minority group is a subordinate group whose members have significantly less control or power over their own lives than do the members of a dominant or majority group. In sociology, minority means the same as subordinate, and dominant is used interchangeably with majority. minority group A subordinate group whose members have significantly less control or power over their own lives than do the members of a dominant or majority group. ISBN: 0-536-12071-4 Racial and Ethnic Groups, Tenth Edition, by Richard T. Schaefer. Published by Prentice-Hall. Copyright Ã © 2006 by Pearson Education, Inc. 6 Chapter 1 Understanding Race and Ethnicity 2000 African Americans 12% Hispanic 13% White non-Hispanic 70% American Indian 1% 2100 (projected) Asian and other 4% White non-Hispanic 40%. Hispanic 33% African Asian Americans and other 13% 14% FIGURE 1. 1 Population of the United States by Race and Ethnicity, 2000 and 2100 (Projected) According to projections by the Census Bureau, the proportion of residents of the United States who are White and non-Hispanic will decrease significantly by the year 2050. By contrast, there will be a striking rise in the proportion of both Hispanic Americans and Asian Americans. Source: Bureau of the Census 2004b. Confronted with evidence that a particular minority in the United States is subordinate to the majority, some people respond, Ã¢â¬Å"Why not? After all, this is a democracy, so the majority rules. Ã¢â¬ However, the subordination of a minority involves more than its inability to rule over society. A member of a subordinate or minority group experiences a narrowing of lifeÃ¢â¬â¢s opportunitiesÃ¢â¬âfor success, education, wealth, the pursuit of happinessÃ¢â¬âthat goes beyond any personal shortcoming he or she may have. A minority group does not share in proportion to its numbers what a given society, such as the United States, defines as valuable. Being superior in numbers does not guarantee a group control over its destiny and ensure majority status. In 1920, the majority of people in Mississippi and South Carolina were African Americans. Yet African Americans did not have as much control over their lives as Whites, let alone control of the states of Mississippi and South Carolina. Throughout the United States today are counties or neighborhoods in which the majority of people are African American, Native American, or Hispanic, but White Americans are the dominant force. Nationally, 50. 8 percent of the population is female, but males still dominate positions of authority and wealth well beyond their numbers. A minority or subordinate group has five characteristics: unequal treatment, distinguishing physical or cultural traits, involuntary membership, awareness of subordination, and in-group marriage (Wagley and Harris 1958): 1. Members of a minority experience unequal treatment and have less power over their lives than members of a dominant group have over theirs. Prejudice, discrimination, segregation, and even extermination create this social inequality. 2. Members of a minority group share physical or cultural characteristics that distinguish them from the dominant group, such as skin color or language. Each society has its own arbitrary standard for determining which characteristics are most important in defining dominant and minority groups. 3. Membership in a dominant or minority group is not voluntary: People are born into the group. A person does not choose to be African American or White. 4. Minority-group members have a strong sense of group solidarity. William Graham Sumner, writing in 1906, noted that people make distinctions between members ISBN: 0-536-12071-4 Racial and Ethnic Groups, Tenth Edition, by Richard T. Schaefer. Published by Prentice-Hall. Copyright Ã © 2006 by Pearson Education, Inc. Chapter 1. Understanding Race and Ethnicity 7 of their own group (the in-group) and everyone else (the out-group). When a group is the object of long-term prejudice and discrimination, the feeling of Ã¢â¬Å"us versus themÃ¢â¬ often becomes intense. 5. Members of a minority generally marry others from the same group. A member of a dominant group often is unwilling to join a supposedly inferior minority by marrying one of its members. In addition, the minority groupÃ¢â¬â¢s sense of solidarity encourages marriage within the group and discourages marriage to outsiders. racial group A group that is socially set apart because of obvious physical differences. ethnic group A group set apart from others because of its national origin or distinctive cultural patterns. Types of Subordinate Groups There are four types of minority or subordinate groups. All four, except where noted, have the five properties previously outlined. The four criteria for classifying minority groups are race, ethnicity, religion, and gender. Racial Groups The term racial group is reserved for minorities and the corresponding majorities that are socially set apart because of obvious physical differences. Notice the two crucial words in the definition: obvious and physical. What is obvious? Hair color? Shape of an earlobe? Presence of body hair? To whom are these differences obvious, and why? Each society defines what it finds obvious. In the United States, skin color is one obvious difference. On a cold winter day when one has clothing covering all but oneÃ¢â¬â¢s head, however, skin color may be less obvious than hair color. Yet people in the United States have learned informally that skin color is important, and hair color is unimportant. We need to say more than that. In the United States, people have traditionally classified and classify themselves as either Black or White. There is no in-between state except for people readily identified as Native Americans or Asian Americans. Later in this chapter we will explore this issue more deeply and see how such assumptions have very complex implications. Other societies use skin color as a standard but may have a more elaborate system of classification. In Brazil, where hostility between races is less than in the United States, numerous categories identify people on the basis of skin color. In the United States, a person is Black or White. In Brazil, a variety of terms, such as cafuso, mazombo, preto, and escuro, are applied to describe various combinations of skin color, facial features, and hair texture. What makes differences obvious is subject to a societyÃ¢â¬â¢s definition. The designation of a racial group emphasizes physical differences as opposed to cultural distinctions. In the United States, minority races include Blacks, Native Americans (or American Indians), Japanese Americans, Chinese Americans, Arab Americans, Filipinos, Hawaiians, and other Asian peoples. The issue of race and racial differences has been an important one, not only in the United States but throughout the entire sphere of European influence. Later in this chapter we will examine race and its significance more closely. We should not forget that Whites are a race, too. As we will consider in Chapter 5, who is White has been subject to change over time as certain European groups were felt historically not to deserve being considered White, but over time, partly to compete against a growing Black population, the whiting of some European Americans has occurred. Ethnic Groups ISBN: 0-536-12071-4 Ethnic minority groups are differentiated from the dominant group on the basis of cultural differences, such as language, attitudes toward marriage and parenting, and food habits. Ethnic groups are groups set apart from others because of their national origin or distinctive cultural patterns. Racial and Ethnic Groups, Tenth Edition, by Richard T. Schaefer. Published by Prentice-Hall. Copyright Ã © 2006 by Pearson Education, Inc. 8 Chapter 1 Understanding Race and Ethnicity Ethnic groups in the United States include a grouping that we call Hispanics or Latinos, which includes Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans, Cubans, and other Latin Americans in the United States. Hispanics can be either Black or White, as in the case of a dark-skinned Puerto Rican who may be taken as Black in central Texas but be viewed as a Puerto Rican in New York City. The ethnic group category also includes White ethnics, such as Irish Americans, Polish Americans, and Norwegian Americans. The cultural traits that make groups distinctive usually originate from their homeland or, for Jews, from a long history of being segregated and prohibited from becoming a part of the host society. Once in the United States, an immigrant group may maintain distinctive cultural practices through associations, clubs, and worship. Ethnic enclaves such as a Little Haiti or a Greektown in urban areas also perpetuate cultural distinctiveness. Some racial groups may also have unique cultural traditions, as we can readily see in the many Chinatowns throughout the United States. For racial groups, however, the physical distinctiveness and not the cultural differences generally prove to be the barrier to acceptance by the host society. For example, Chinese Americans who are faithful Protestants and know the names of all the members of the Baseball Hall of Fame may be bearers of American culture. Yet these Chinese Americans are still part of a minority because they are seen as physically different. Ethnicity continues to be important, as recent events in Bosnia and other parts of Eastern Europe have demonstrated. Almost a century ago, African American sociologist W. E. B. Du Bois, addressing an audience in London, called attention to the overwhelming importance of the color line throughout the world. In Ã¢â¬Å"Listen to Our Voices,Ã¢â¬ we read the remarks of Du Bois, the first Black person to receive a doctorate from Harvard, who later helped to organize the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Du BoisÃ¢â¬â¢s observances give us a historic perspective on the struggle for equality. We can look ahead, knowing how far we have come and speculating on how much further we have to go. Religious Groups Association with a religion other than the dominant faith is the third basis for minoritygroup status. In the United States, Protestants, as a group, outnumber members of all other religions. Roman Catholics form the largest minority religion. Chapter 5 focuses on the increasing Judeo-Christian-Islamic diversity of the United States. For people who are not a part of the Christian tradition, such as followers of Islam, allegiance to the faith often is misunderstood and stigmatizes people. This stigmatization became especially widespread and legitimated by government action in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. Religious minorities include such groups as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons), JehovahÃ¢â¬â¢s Witnesses, Amish, Muslims, and Buddhists. Cults or sects associated with such practices as animal sacrifice, doomsday prophecy, demon worship, or the use of snakes in a ritualistic fashion would also constitute minorities. Jews are excluded from this category and placed among ethnic groups. Culture is a more important defining trait for Jewish people worldwide than is religious dogma. Jewish Americans share a cultural tradition that goes beyond theology. In this sense, it is appropriate to view them as an ethnic group rather than as members of a religious faith. Gender Groups Gender is another attribute that creates dominant and subordinate groups. Males are the social majority; females, although more numerous, are relegated to the position of the social minorityÃ¢â¬âa subordinate status to be explored in detail in Chapter 15. Women are considered a minority even though they do not exhibit all the characteristics outlined earlier (e. g. , there is little in-group marriage). Women encounter prejuISBN: 0-536-12071-4 Racial and Ethnic Groups, Tenth Edition, by Richard T. Schaefer. Published by Prentice-Hall. Copyright Ã © 2006 by Pearson Education, Inc. Chapter 1 Understanding Race and Ethnicity 9 ur oices Voices Listen to Our Voices Listen to. PROBLEM OF THE COLOR LINE sively refused to let the spirit of n the metropolis of the class, of caste, of privilege, or of modern world, in this the birth, debar from life, liberty closing year of the nineand the pursuit of happiness a teenth century, there has been striving human soul. assembled a congress of men Let not color or race be a and women of African blood, to feature of distinction between deliberate solemnly upon the white and black men, regardless present situation and outlook of of worth or ability. . . . the darker races of mankind. Thus we appeal with boldness The problem of the twentieth W. E. B. Du Bois and confidence to the Great century is the problem of the Powers of the civilized world, trusting in the color line, the question as to how far differwide spirit of humanity, and the deep sense ences of raceÃ¢â¬âwhich show themselves chiefly of justice of our age, for a generous recogniin the color of the skin and the texture of the tion of the righteousness of our cause. Ã ¦ hairÃ¢â¬âwill hereafter be made the basis of denying to over half the world the right of sharing to their utmost ability the opportunities and privileges of modern civilization. . . . Let the world take no backward step in Source: Du Bois [1969a]. From pp. 20Ã¢â¬â21, 23, in An ABC of Color, that slow but sure progress which has succesby W. E. B. Du Bois. Copyright 1969 by International Publishers. I dice and discrimination and are physically distinguishable. Group membership is involuntary, and many women have developed a sense of sisterhood. Women who are members of racial and ethnic minorities face a special challenge to achieving equality. They suffer from double jeopardy because they belong to two separate minority groups: a racial or ethnic group plus a subordinate gender group. Other Subordinate Groups This book focuses on groups that meet a set of criteria for subordinate status. People encounter prejudice or are excluded from full participation in society for many reasons. Racial, ethnic, religious, and gender barriers are the main ones, but there are others. Age, disabilities, and sexual orientation are among the factors that are used to subordinate groups of people. As a result, in Chapter 17 we will go beyond the title of the book and consider other groups of people who have been excluded from all that society offers and witness their fight against prejudice and discrimination. Does Race Matter? ISBN: 0-536-12071-4 We see people around usÃ¢â¬âsome of whom may look quite different from us. Do these differences matter? The simple answer is no, but because so many people have for so long acted as if difference in physical characteristics as well geographic origin and shared culture do matter, distinct groups have been created in peopleÃ¢â¬â¢s minds. Race Racial and Ethnic Groups, Tenth Edition, by Richard T. Schaefer. Published by Prentice-Hall. Copyright Ã © 2006 by Pearson Education, Inc. 10 Chapter 1. Understanding Race and Ethnicity NOT AVAILABLE FOR ELECTRONIC VIEWING has many meanings for many people. Often these meanings are inaccurate and based on theories discarded by scientists generations ago. As we will see, race is a socially constructed concept (J. Young 2003). Biological Meaning The way the term race has been used by some people to apply to human beings lacks any scientific meaning. We cannot identify distinctive physical characteristics for groups of human beings the way scientists do to distinguish one animal species from another. The idea of biological race is based on the mistaken notion of a genetically isolated human group. Even among past proponents that sharp, scientific divisions exist among humans, there were endless debates over what the races of the world were. Given peopleÃ¢â¬â¢s frequent migration, exploration, and invasions, pure genetic types have not existed for some time, if they ever did. There are no mutually exclusive races. Skin color among African Americans varies tremendously, as it does among White Americans. There is even an overlapping of dark-skinned Whites and light-skinned African Americans. If we grouped people by genetic resistance to malaria and by fingerprint patterns, Norwegians and many African groups would be of the same race. If we grouped people by some digestive capacities, some Africans, Asians, and southern Europeans would be of one group and West Africans and northern Europeans of another (Leehotz 1995; Shanklin 1994). Biologically there are no pure, distinct races. For example, blood type cannot distinguish racial groups with any accuracy. Furthermore, applying pure racial types to humans is problematic because of interbreeding. Despite continuing prejudice about Black-White marriages, a large number of Whites have African American ancestry. Scientists, using various techniques, maintain that the proportion of African Americans with White ancestry is between 20 and 75 percent. Despite the wide range of these estimates, the mixed ancestry of todayÃ¢â¬â¢s Blacks and Whites is part of the biological reality of race (Herskovits 1930:15; Roberts 1955). biological race The mistaken notion of a genetically isolated human group. ISBN: 0-536-12071-4 Racial and Ethnic Groups, Tenth Edition, by Richard T. Schaefer. Published by Prentice-Hall. Copyright Ã © 2006 by Pearson Education, Inc. Chapter 1 Understanding Race and Ethnicity 11 Even the latest research as a part of the Human Genome Project mapping human DNA has only served to confirm genetic diversity with differences within traditionally regarded racial groups (e. g. , Black Africans) much greater than that between groups (e. g. , between Black Africans and Europeans). Research has also been conducted to determine whether personality characteristics such as temperament and nervous habits are inherited among minority groups. Not surprisingly, the question of whether races have different innate levels of intelligence has led to the most explosive controversy (Bamshad and Olson 2003). Typically, intelligence is measured as an intelligence quotient (IQ), the ratio of a personÃ¢â¬â¢s mental age to his or her chronological age, multiplied by 100, where 100 represents average intelligence and higher scores represent greater intelligence. It should be noted that there is little consensus over just what intelligence is, other than as defined by such IQ tests. Intelligence tests are adjusted for a personÃ¢â¬â¢s age, so that 10-year-olds take a very different test from someone aged 20. Although research shows that certain learning strategies can improve a personÃ¢â¬â¢s IQ, generally IQ remains stable as one ages. A great deal of debate continues over the accuracy of these tests. Are they biased toward people who come to the tests with knowledge similar to that of the test writers? Consider the following two questions used on standard tests. 1. Runner: marathon (A) envoy: embassy, (B) oarsman: regatta, (C) martyr: massacre, (D) referee: tournament. 2. Your mother sends you to a store to get a loaf of bread. The store is closed. What should you do? (A) return home, (B) go to the next store, (C) wait until it opens, (D) ask a stranger for advice. Both correct answers are B. But is a lower-class youth likely to know, in the first question, what a regatta is? Skeptics argue that such test questions do not truly measure intellectual potential. Inner-city youths often have been shown to respond with A to the second question because that may be the only store with which the family has credit. Youths in rural areas, where the next store may be miles away, are also unlikely to respond with the designated correct answer. The issue of culture bias in tests remains an unresolved concern. The most recent research shows that differences in intelligence scores between Blacks and Whites are almost eliminated when adjustments are made for social and economic characteristics (Brooks-Gunn et al. 1996; Herrnstein and Murray 1994:30; Kagan 1971; J. Young 2003). The second issue, trying to associate these results with certain subpopulations such as races, also has a long history. In the past, a few have contended that Whites have more intelligence on average than Blacks. All researchers agree that within-group differences are greater than any speculated differences between groups. The range of intelligence among, for example, Korean Americans is much greater than any average difference between them as a group and Japanese Americans. The third issue relates to the subpopulations themselves. If Blacks or Whites are not mutually exclusive biologically, how can there be measurable differences? Many Whites and most Blacks have mixed ancestry that complicates any supposed inheritance of intelligence issue. Both groups reflect a rich heritage of very dissimilar populations, from Swedes to Slovaks and Zulus to Tutus. In 1994, an 845-page book unleashed a new national debate on the issue of IQ. The latest research effort of psychologist Richard J. Herrnstein and social scientist Charles Murray (1994), published in The Bell Curve, concluded that 60 percent of IQ is inheritable and that racial groups offer a convenient means to generalize about any differences in intelligence. Unlike most other proponents of the race-IQ link, the authors offered policy suggestions that include ending welfare to discourage births among low-IQ poor women and changing immigration laws so that the IQ pool in the United States is not diminished. Herrnstein and Murray even made generalizations intelligence quotient The ratio of a personÃ¢â¬â¢s mental age (as computed by an IQ test) to his or her chronological age, multiplied by 100. ISBN: 0-536-12071-4 Racial and Ethnic Groups, Tenth Edition, by Richard T. Schaefer. Published by Prentice-Hall. Copyright Ã © 2006 by Pearson Education, Inc. 12 Chapter 1 Understanding Race and Ethnicity about IQ levels among Asians and Hispanics in the United States, groups subject to even more intermarriage. It is not possible to generalize about absolute differences between groups, such as Latinos versus Whites, when almost half of Latinos in the United States marry non-Hispanics. Years later, the mere mention of Ã¢â¬Å"the bell curveÃ¢â¬ signals to many the belief in a racial hierarchy with Whites toward the top and Blacks near the bottom. The research present then and repeated today points to the difficulty in definitions: What is intelligence, and what constitutes a racial group, given generations, if not centuries, of intermarriage? How can we speak of definitive inherited racial differences if there has been intermarriage between people of every color? Furthermore, as people on both sides of the debate have noted, regardless of the findings, we would still want to strive to maximize the talents of each individual. All research shows that the differences within a group are much greater than any alleged differences between group averages. All these issues and controversial research have led to the basic question of what difference it would make if there were significant differences. No researcher believes that race can be used to predict oneÃ¢â¬â¢s intelligence. Also, there is a general agreement that certain intervention strategies can improve scholastic achievement and even intelligence as defined by standard tests. Should we mount efforts to upgrade the abilities of those alleged to be below average? These debates tend to contribute to a sense of hopelessness among some policy makers who think that biology is destiny, rather than causing them to rethink the issue or expand positive intervention efforts. Why does such IQ research re-emerge if the data are subject to different interpretations? The argument that Ã¢â¬Å"weÃ¢â¬ are superior to Ã¢â¬Å"themÃ¢â¬ is very appealing to the dominant group. It justifies receiving opportunities that are denied to others. For example, the authors of The Bell Curve argue that intelligence significantly determines the poverty problem in the United States. We can anticipate that the debate over IQ and the allegations of significant group differences will continue. Policy makers need to acknowledge the difficulty in treating race as a biologically significant characteristic. Social Construction of Race If race does not distinguish humans from one another biologically, why does it seem to be so important? It is important because of the social meaning people have attached to it. The 1950 (UNESCO) Statement on Race maintains that Ã¢â¬Å"for all practical social purposes Ã¢â¬ËraceÃ¢â¬â¢ is not so much a biological phenomenon as a social mythÃ¢â¬ (Montagu 1972:118). Adolf Hitler expressed concern over the Ã¢â¬Å"Jewish raceÃ¢â¬ and translated this concern into Nazi death camps. Winston Churchill spoke proudly of the Ã¢â¬Å"British raceÃ¢â¬ and used that pride to spur a nation to fight. Evidently, race was a useful political tool for two very different leaders in the 1930s and 1940s. Race is a social construction, and this process benefits the oppressor, who defines who is privileged and who is not. The acceptance of race in a society as a legitimate category allows racial hierarchies to emerge to the benefit of the dominant Ã¢â¬Å"races. Ã¢â¬ For example, inner-city drive-by shootings have come to be seen as a race-specific problem worthy of local officials cleaning up troubled neighborhoods. Yet schoolyard shoot-outs are viewed as a societal concern and placed on the national agenda. People could speculate that if human groups have obvious physical differences, then they could have corresponding mental or personality differences. No one disagrees that people differ in temperament, potential to learn, and sense of humor. In its social sense, race implies that groups that differ physically also bear distinctive emotional and mental abilities or disabilities. These beliefs are based on the notion that humankind can be divided into distinct groups. We have already seen the difficulties associated with pigeonholing people into racial categories. Despite these difficulties, belief in the inheritance of behavior patterns and in an association between physical and cultural traits is widespread. It is called racism when this belief is coupled with the feeling that certain ISBN: 0-536-12071-4 racism A doctrine that one race is superior. Racial and Ethnic Groups, Tenth Edition, by Richard T. Schaefer. Published by Prentice-Hall. Copyright Ã © 2006 by Pearson Education, Inc. Chapter 1 Understanding Race and Ethnicity 13 groups or races are inherently superior to others. Racism is a doctrine of racial supremacy, stating that one race is superior to another (Bash 2001; Bonilla-Silva 1996). We questioned the biological significance of race in the previous section. In modern complex industrial societies, we find little adaptive utility in the presence or absence of prominent chins, epicanthic folds of the eyelids, or the comparative amount of melanin in the skin. What is important is not that people are genetically different but that they approach one another with dissimilar perspectives. It is in the social setting that race is decisive. Race is significant because people have given it significance. Race definitions are crystallized through what Michael Omi and Howard Winant (1994) cal.