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11.8: End of Chapter Discussion

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    1. García describes the reasons that race is considered a “discredited concept in human biology.” Despite this scientific fact, most people continue to believe that race is “real.” Why do you think race has continued to be an important social reality even after it has been discredited scientifically?
    2. The process of racial formation is different in every society. In the United States, the “one-drop rule” and hypodescent have historically affected the way people with multiracial backgrounds have been racialized. How have ideas about multiracial identity been changing in the past few decades? As the number of people who identify as “multiracial” increases, do you think there will be changes in the way we think about other racial categories?
    3. Members of some ethnic groups are able to practice symbolic ethnicity, limited or occasional displays of ethnic pride and identity. Why can ethnicity be displayed in an optional way while race cannot?
    4. There is no scientific evidence supporting the idea that racial or ethnic background provides a biological advantage in sports. Instead, a variety of social dynamics, including cultural affinities and preferences as well as access and opportunities influence who will become involved in particular sports. Think about a sport in which you have participated or have followed closely. What social dynamics do you think are most responsible for affecting the racial, ethnic, gender, or social class composition of the athletes who participate?


    Amalgamation: interactions between members of distinct ethnic and cultural groups that reduce barriers between the groups over time.

    Assimilation: pressure placed on minority groups to adopt the customs and traditions of the dominant culture.

    Cline: differences in the traits that occur in populations across a geographical area. In a cline, a trait may be more common in one geographical area than another, but the variation is gradual and continuous, with no sharp breaks.

    Ethnic group: people in a society who claim a distinct identity for themselves based on shared cultural characteristics and ancestry.

    Ethnicity: the degree to which a person identifies with and feels an attachment to a particular ethnic group.

    Ethnogenesis: gradual emergence of new ethnicities in response to changing social circumstances.

    Hypodescent: a racial classification system that assigns a person with mixed racial heritage to the racial category that is considered least privileged.

    Jim Crow laws: a term used to describe laws passed by state and local governments in the United States during the early twentieth century to enforce racial segregation of public and private places.

    Multiculturalism: maintenance of multiple cultural traditions in a single society.

    Nonconcordant: genetic traits that are inherited independently rather than as a package.

    One-drop rule: the practice of excluding a person with any non-white ancestry from the white racial category.

    Pigmentocracy: a society characterized by strong correlation between a person’s skin color and his or her social class.

    Race: an attempt to categorize humans based on observed physical differences.

    Racial formation: the process of defining and redefining racial categories in a society.

    Reified: the process by which an inaccurate concept or idea is accepted as “truth”.

    Socially constructed: a concept developed by society that is maintained over time through social interactions that make the idea seem “real.”

    Symbolic ethnicity: limited or occasional displays of ethnic pride and identity that are primarily for public display.

    Adapted From

    "Race and Ethnicity" by Justin D. García, Millersville University of Pennsylvania. In Perspectives: An Open Invitation to Cultural Anthropology, 2nd Edition, Society for Anthropology in Community Colleges, 2020, under CC BY-NC 4.0.

    11.8: End of Chapter Discussion is shared under a CC BY-NC license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.