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7: Race and Ethnicity

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    • Anonymous
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    This chapter discusses the changing nature of racial and ethnic prejudice and inequality in the United States but also documents their continuing importance for American society, as the hate crime story that began this chapter signifies. We begin our discussion of the present with a brief look back to the past.

    • 7.1: Prelude to Race and Ethnicity
    • 7.2: Racial and Ethnic Relations - An American Dilemma
      Race and ethnicity have torn at the fabric of American society ever since the time of Christopher Columbus, when about 1 million Native Americans were thought to have populated the eventual United States. By 1900, their numbers had dwindled to about 240,000, as tens of thousands were killed by white settlers and U.S. troops and countless others died from disease contracted from people with European backgrounds. Scholars have said that this mass killing of Native Americans amounted to genocide.
    • 7.3: The Meaning of Race and Ethnicity
      We need to take a critical look at the very meaning of race and ethnicity in today’s society. Race refers to a category of people who share certain inherited physical characteristics, such as skin color, facial features, and stature.  Ethnicity refers to the shared social, cultural, and historical experiences, stemming from common national or regional backgrounds, that make subgroups of a population different from one another.
    • 7.4: Prejudice
      Prejudice and discrimination are often confused - prejudice is the attitude, while discrimination is the behavior. More specifically, racial and ethnic prejudice refers to a set of negative attitudes, beliefs, and judgments about whole categories of people, and about individual members of those categories, because of their perceived race and/or ethnicity. A closely related concept is racism, or the belief that certain racial or ethnic groups are inferior to one’s own.
    • 7.5: Discrimination
      Often racial and ethnic prejudice lead to discrimination against the subordinate racial and ethnic groups in a given society. Discrimination in this context refers to the arbitrary denial of rights, privileges, and opportunities to members of these groups. The use of the word arbitrary emphasizes that these groups are being treated unequally not because of their lack of merit but because of their race and ethnicity.
    • 7.6: Racial and Ethnic Inequality in the United States
    • 7.7: Race and Ethnicity in the 21st Century
    • 7.S: Race and Ethnicity (Summary)

    Thumbnail: Members of the San Francisco 49ers kneeling during the National Anthem before a game against the Washington Redskins in week 6. (CC BY-SA 2.0; Keith Allison).

    7: Race and Ethnicity is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Anonymous via source content that was edited to conform to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.