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1: Introduction to Race and Ethnic Relations
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- 1.1: Sociological Perspective and Sociological Imagination
- The social structure plays an integral role in the social location (i.e., place or position) people occupy in society. Your social location is a result of cultural values and norms from the time-period and place in which you live. Culture effects personal and social development including the way people will think or behave. Cultural characteristics pertaining to age, gender, race, education, income and other social factors influence the location people occupy at any given time.
- 1.2: Defining Race
- While many people conflate the terms “race” and ” ethnicity,” these terms have distinct meanings for sociologists. The idea of race refers to superficial physical differences that a particular society considers significant, while ethnicity is a term that describes shared culture. Sociologists distinguish between the "biological" definitions of race vs. the social construction of race.
- 1.3: Ethnicity and Religion
- While sociologists sometimes use the umbrella phrase "race-ethnic groups," making a distinction between race and ethnicity is important for sociologists. Ethnicity refers to common cultural practices tied to a particular nationality of origin, such as language, religion, foodways, history, traditions, and values. Religious denomination varies across race-ethnic groups.
- 1.4: Multiracial Americans
- While sociologists do not favor a biological definition of race, a discussion of people with "more than one race" reflects a reference to the "biological" aspect of race. In reality, we have a complex history of identifying and categorizing individuals who are multiracial, more than one race - which reflects the role of the social construction of race.
- 1.5: Social Stratification and Intersectionality
- Identity shapes our perceptions and the way we categorize people. Our individual and collective views influence our thinking. Regardless of personal, cultural, or universal identity people naturally focus on traits, values, behaviors, and practices or behaviors they identify with and have a tendency to dismiss those they do not.
- 1.6: Social Change and Resistance
- Social movements are purposeful, organized groups that strive to work toward a common social goal. Sociologists student levels and types of social movements as well as provide theoretical analysis of the why and how of social movements. With regards to the study of race-ethnic relations, resistance is an important, contemporary concept that has both sociological and societal meanings and potential impacts.