Race and Ethnicity

Explanations of Racial and Ethnic Inequality

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A brief history of Donald Trump addressing questions about racism and anti-Semitism
By Philip Bump
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February 17 at 4:32 PM

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From the beginning of his campaign, President Trump has been asked repeatedly to offer his thoughts on vocal support for his candidacy from white supremacists or on incidents of racial or religious harassment that have occurred. This week, for example, he was twice asked to respond to questions about anti-Semitic acts.

In each case, many observers felt his responses left something to be desired.

Below, a catalogue of each time Trump was asked to weigh in on a question of racial or religious sensitivity and his response.

Aug. 26, 2015
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. Endorsement by former Klansman David Duke.

“I don’t need his endorsement; I certainly wouldn’t want his endorsement. I don’t need anyone’s endorsement.”

Asked if he would repudiate Duke:

“Sure, I would do that, if it made you feel better. I don’t know anything about him. Somebody told me yesterday, whoever he is, he did endorse me. Actually I don’t think it was an endorsement. He said I was absolutely the best of all of the candidates.”

Fifteen years earlier, Trump rejected the Reform Party’s nomination for president specifically because Duke was a member
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. “This is not company I wish to keep,” he said at the time.

Nov. 22
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. An assault on a Black Lives Matter protester at a Trump rally.

Trump was asked to comment on the incident on “Fox and Friends.”

“I will tell you that the man that was — was I don’t know you say roughed up, he was so obnoxious and so loud, he was screaming. I had 10,000 people in the room yesterday, 10,000 people, and this guy started screaming by himself and they — I don’t know, rough up, he should have been — maybe he should have been roughed up because it was absolutely disgusting what he was doing.”

Nov. 23
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. An assault on a Black Lives Matter protester at a Trump rally.

The afternoon after that “Fox and Friends” interview, Trump re-tweeted a false and racially charged image about black crime.

Fox’s Bill O’Reilly asked him about it.

“I’m probably the least racist person on Earth. … I didn’t tweet. I re-tweeted somebody who was supposedly an expert and was also a radio show. … Am I going to check every statistic? I get millions and millions at @realDonaldTrump, by the way. I have millions of people. You know what? Fine. … All it was was a re-tweet.”

Feb. 26, 2016
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. Duke endorsement.

After being endorsed by Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.), Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said on Friday, Feb. 26, that he disavowed former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke’s support. (Reuters)

“I didn’t even know he endorsed me. David Duke endorsed me? Okay, all right. I disavow, okay?”

Feb. 28
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. Duke endorsement.

Trump was being interviewed by CNN’s Jake Tapper.

“Well, just so you understand, I don’t know anything about David Duke. Okay? I don’t know anything about what you’re even talking about with white supremacy or white supremacists. So, I don’t know. I don’t know, did he endorse me or what’s going on, because, you know, I know nothing about David Duke. I know nothing about white supremacists. And so you’re asking me a question that I’m supposed to be talking about people that I know nothing about.”

Tapper asks if Trump won’t unequivocally condemn support from racist groups and individuals.

“Well, I have to look at the group. I mean, I don’t know what group you’re talking about. You wouldn’t want me to condemn a group that I know nothing about. I would have to look. If you would send me a list of the groups, I will do research on them. And, certainly, I would disavow if I thought there was something wrong.”

Tapper presses him on it. The Klan? David Duke?

I don’t know any — honestly, I don’t know David Duke. I don’t believe I have ever met him. I’m pretty sure I didn’t meet him. And I just don’t know anything about him.

Feb. 29
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. The Duke endorsement and the Tapper interview.

“What I heard was ‘various groups.’ And I don’t mind disavowing anybody and I disavowed David Duke. And I disavowed him the day before at a major news conference. … I have no problem disavowing groups, but I’d at least like to know who they are. It would be very unfair to disavow a group if the group shouldn’t be disavowed. I have to know who the groups are. But I disavowed David Duke.”

Mar. 1
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. Duke.

“I mean, there’s nobody that’s done so much for equality as I have. You take a look at Palm Beach, Florida, I built the Mar-a-Lago Club, totally open to everybody; a club that frankly set a new standard in clubs and a new standard in Palm Beach and I’ve gotten great credit for it. That is totally open to everybody. So, of course, I am.”

July 5
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. Trump’s tweet of an anti-Semitic image.

“Dishonest media is trying their absolute best to depict a star in a tweet as the Star of David rather than a Sheriff’s Star, or plain star!”

Nov. 13
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. Incidents of racial violence and vandalism since the election.

Trump was speaking with CBS’s Lesley Stahl, who asked him about a number of incidents that had received national media attention.

“I am very surprised to hear that — I hate to hear that, I mean I hate to hear that. I saw, I saw one or two instances, but I think it’s a very small amount.”

Trump was asked what he’d say to those committing the violence.

I would say don’t do it, that’s terrible, ‘cause I’m gonna bring this country together. … I am so saddened to hear that. And I say, “Stop it.” If it — if it helps. I will say this, and I will say right to the cameras: Stop it.

Feb. 15, 2017
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. Increase in anti-Semitic incidents.

“Well, I just want to say that we are, you know, very honored by the victory that we had — 306 electoral college votes. We were not supposed to crack 220. You know that, right? There was no way to 221, but then they said there’s no way to 270. And there’s tremendous enthusiasm out there.”

We are going to stop crime in this country. We are going to do everything within our power to stop long-simmering racism and every other thing that’s going on, because a lot of bad things have been taking place over a long period of time. I think one of the reasons I won the election is because we have a very, very divided nation. Very divided, and hopefully, I’ll be able to do something about that. And I — you know, it’s something that was very important to me. As far as people, Jewish people — so many friends, a daughter who happens to be here right now. A son-in-law, and three beautiful grandchildren. I think that you’re going to see a lot of different United States of America over the next three, four or eight years. I think a lot of good things are happening, and you’re going to see a lot of love. You’re going to see a lot of love.”

Racism Theories

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Are the everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, which communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely upon their marginalized group membership.

Bias Theories

Bias theories blame the members of the majority. In particular, bias theories blame individuals who are prejudiced or racist (Eitzen, 2000:223).

Structural-Discrimination Theories

The alternative view is that racial inequality is not fundamentally a matter of what is in people’s heads, not a matter of their private individual intentions, but rather a matter of public institutions and practices that create or perpetuate discrimination (Eitzen, 2000:225).

1. Individual Discrimination

Individual discrimination consists of overt acts by individuals that harm other individuals or their property. This type of action is usually publicly decried.


A homeowner refusing to see to Jews
A taxi driver refusing to pick up Black fares
An employers who pays lower wages to Mexicans

Institutional racism is more injurious than individual racism to more minority-group members, but it is not recognized by the dominant-group members as racism.

Color of Fear – What it Means to be American
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How do you even begin to talk about an incendiary issue like racism? This problem is resolved within the first minutes of the documentary The Color of Fear when all the film’s participants, by way of introduction, are required to describe their own ethnicity and David Christensen, a Caucasian man, announces, “I’m an American.” This assertion plunges the film headfirst into a discussion on whether or not “American” is an inclusive term.


2. Institutional Discrimination

Institutional discrimination refers to those “processes which, intentionally, or not, result in the continued exclusion of a subordinate group [and… activities and practices which are intended to protect the advantages of the dominant group and/or maintain or widen the unequal position of a subordinate group.” Some times individuals and groups discriminate whether they are bigots or not. These individuals and groups operate within a social milieu that ensures racial dominance.The social milieu includes laws, customs, religious beliefs, and the stable arrangements and practices through which things get done in society. The major sectors of society — the system of law and the administration of justice, the economic system, the formal educational structure, and health care are all possible discriminators. Thus, the term institutional discrimination is a useful one.

Research says there are ways to reduce racial bias. Calling people racist isn’t one of them.
The challenge for anti-racists looking for solutions in Trump’s America.
Updated by German Lopez
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Nov 15, 2016, 8:00am EST
In 2016, researchers stumbled on a radical tactic for reducing another person’s bigotry: a frank, brief conversation.

The study
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, authored by David Broockman at Stanford University and Joshua Kalla at the University of California Berkeley, looked at how simple conversations can help combat anti-transgender attitudes. In the research, people canvassed the homes of more than 500 voters in South Florida. The canvassers, who could be trans or not, asked the voters to simply put themselves in the shoes of trans people — to understand their problems — through a 10-minute, non confrontational conversation. The hope was that the brief discussion could lead people to reevaluate their biases.

It worked. The trial found not only that voters’ anti-trans attitudes declined but that they remained lower three months later, showing an enduring result. And those voters’ support for laws that protect trans people from discrimination
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increased, even when they were presented with counterarguments for such laws.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this research since Election Day. After Donald Trump’s victory last week, it is clear that the prejudiced views of a lot of Americans helped elect to the White House a man who’s repeatedly made racist, offensive statements
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. Not only did Trump build his campaign largely on fears of immigrants and Muslims, but based on a lot of polls and surveys
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, he also attracted the voters who reported, by far, the highest levels of racial resentment and other prejudiced views.


One telling study
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, conducted by researchers at UC Santa Barbara and Stanford shortly before the election, found that if people who strongly identified as white were told that nonwhite groups will outnumber white people in 2042, they became more likely to support Trump. That suggests there’s a significant racial element to support for Trump.

But just noting these racial attitudes and biases did not seem to have a huge impact on the election. Despite bigoted policy proposals that at one point even called for banning an entire religious group from the US
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, and the media’s constant reminders
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that Trump is racist, Trump won. Clearly, a lot of US voters either shared Trump’s prejudiced views or, at the very least, didn’t find such ideas to be fundamental deal breakers. That suggests there’s a lot of racism — or at least the enabling of it — in America, perhaps even more than one would think in 2016.

So how can we reduce this type of prejudice? The canvassing study provides a model for anti-trans attitudes, but can it be applied to other kinds of bigotry, such as racism, that might be more entrenched in the US? And even if we do embrace the canvassing model or something similar, how can we ensure that the conversations don’t lead to a backlash — the kind of defensive posturing and denial of racism that might lead even more people to support candidates like Trump?

In talking with researchers and looking at the studies on this, I found that it is possible to reduce people’s racial anxiety and prejudices. And the canvassing idea was regarded as very promising. But, researchers cautioned, the process of reducing people’s racism will take time and, crucially, empathy.

This is the direct opposite of the kind of culture the internet has fostered — typically focused on calling out racists and shaming them in public. This doesn’t work. And as much as it might seem like a lost cause to understand the perspectives of people who may qualify as racist, understanding where they come from is a needed step to being able to speak to them in a way that will help reduce the racial biases they hold.

The coded language that many white Americans hear

So how do we have a better conversation around these issues, one that can actually reduce people’s racial prejudices and anxieties?

The first thing to understand is how white Americans, especially in rural areas, hear accusations of racism. While terms like “racist,” “white privilege,” and “implicit bias” intend to point out systemic biases in America, for white Americans they’re often seen as coded slurs. These terms don’t signal to them that they’re doing something wrong, but that their supposedly racist attitudes (which they would deny having at all) are a justification for lawmakers and other elites to ignore their problems.

Imagine, for example, a white man who lost a factory job due to globalization and saw his sister die from a drug overdose due to the opioid painkiller and heroin epidemic
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— situations that aren’t uncommon today. He tries to complain about his circumstances. But his concerns are downplayed by a politician or racial justice activist, who instead points out that at least he’s doing better than black and brown folks if you look at broad socioeconomic measures.

Maybe he does have some level of white privilege. But that doesn’t take away from the serious problems he sees in his world today.

This is how many white Americans, particularly in working-class and rural areas, view the world today. So when they hear politicians and journalists call them racist or remind them about their privilege, they feel like elites are trying to distract from the serious problems in their lives and grant advantages to other groups of people. When Hillary Clinton called
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half of Trump voters “deplorable,” she made this message explicit.


“Telling people they’re racist, sexist, and xenophobic is going to get you exactly nowhere,” said Alana Conner, executive director of Stanford University’s Social Psychological Answers to Real-World Questions Center. “It’s such a threatening message. One of the things we know from social psychology is when people feel threatened, they can’t change, they can’t listen.”

Arlie Hochschild, a sociologist and author of Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right
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, provided an apt analogy for white rural Americans’ feeling of neglect: As they see it, they are all in this line toward a hill with prosperity at the top. But over the past few years, globalization and income stagnation have caused the line to stop moving. And from their perspective, people — black and brown Americans, women — are now cutting in the line, because they’re getting new (and more equal) opportunities through new anti-discrimination laws and policies like affirmative action.

As a result, Hochschild told me that rural white Americans “feel like a minority group. They feel like a disappearing group. Both minority and invisible.”

One can pick the facts here — particularly since black and Latino Americans still trail white Americans in terms of wealth
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, income
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, and educational attainment
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. But this is how many white Americans feel, regardless of the facts.

So when they hear accusations of racism, they feel like what they see as the “real” issues — those that afflict them — are getting neglected. This, obviously, makes it difficult to raise issues of race at all with big segments of the population, because they’re often suspicious of the motives.

What’s more, accusations of racism can cause white Americans to become incredibly defensive — to the point that they might reinforce white supremacy. Robin DiAngelo, who studies race at Westfield State University, described this phenomenon as “white fragility” in a groundbreaking 2011 paper
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White people in North America live in a social environment that protects and insulates them from race-based stress. This insulated environment of racial protection builds white expectations for racial comfort while at the same time lowering the ability to tolerate racial stress, leading to what I refer to as White Fragility. White Fragility is a state in which even a minimum amount of racial stress becomes intolerable, triggering a range of defensive moves. These moves include the outward display of emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt, and behaviors such as argumentation, silence, and leaving the stress-inducing situation. These behaviors, in turn, function to reinstate white racial equilibrium.

Most Americans, white people included, want to think that they’re not capable of racism — particularly after the civil rights movement, overt racism is widely viewed as unacceptable in American society. Yet racism, obviously, still exists. And when some white people are confronted with that reality, whether it’s accusations of racism against them personally or more broadly, they immediately become very defensive — even hostile.

“Most of us live in racial segregation,” DiAngelo told me. “Our teachers are white. Our role models are white. Our heroes and heroines are white. That insulation is very rarely challenged.” She added, “So when that reality is questioned, we don’t tend to handle it very well.”

DiAngelo’s paper explained that white Americans have a range of “triggers” that make them defensive about race, from suggestions that a person’s viewpoint is racialized to the rise of people of color into prominent leadership positions. All the triggers that she listed were present in 2016 — through President Barack Obama’s elections and Black Lives Matter protests against the dominance of white privilege.

Consider how often throughout the 2016 election people would respond to even the slightest suggestion of racism, whether in media or everyday life, with immediate vitriol, disdain, or dismissal. This, DiAngelo argued, is a defense mechanism to confronting questions about privilege. And it makes it difficult to have a reasonable conversation about race.

DiAngelo offered a telling example, from an anti-racism training session she facilitated:

One of the white participants left the session and went back to her desk, upset at receiving (what appeared to the training team as) sensitive and diplomatic feedback on how some of her statements had impacted several people of color in the room. At break, several other white participants approached us (the trainers) and reported that they had talked to the woman at her desk, and she was very upset that her statements had been challenged. They wanted to alert us to the fact that she literally “might be having a heart-attack.” Upon questioning from us, they clarified that they meant this literally. These co-workers were sincere in their fear that the young woman might actually physically die as a result of the feedback. Of course, when news of the woman’s potentially fatal condition reached the rest of the participant group, all attention was immediately focused back onto her and away from the impact she had had on the people of color.

This illustrates just how defensive people can get in the face of accusations of racism: Not only did the woman who faced the criticisms genuinely feel like she was having a heart attack, but the white people around her believed it was totally possible she was. This is the reality of trying to have a conversation about race in America.

We need to develop a way to have this conversation that doesn’t make some people feel condemned

The innate resistance and defensiveness to conversations about bigotry don’t mean that you should never talk about racism, sexism, homophobia, or other kinds of hate. But those conversations may have to be held more tactfully — positioning people into a more receptive position to hear what these problems are all about.

One key issue is that people want to feel heard before they can open their minds to other people’s points of view. “Democrats in particular need to go out of their way to reassure these groups that they are being respected, that they are being listened to,” Conner said.

That was crucial in Broockman and Kalla’s transgender canvassing study. In a traditional canvassing session, the canvasser does most of the talking — throwing out all sorts of statistics and reasons the person on the other side of the door should take a specific side on a certain issue. But in the transgender canvassing study, the person getting canvassed often did as much or even more of the talking.

As one example, consider an actual conversation from the study, as reported by Brian Resnick for Vox
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In the beginning of their conversation, Virginia asks Gustavo how likely he’d be to support transgender rights legislation. Gustavo says he wouldn’t support it because he’s worried about predatory men using the law as an opportunity to enter women’s bathrooms.

Virginia asks why he feels that way.

“I’m from South America, and in South America we don’t like fags,” he tells her.

This next moment is crucial: Virginia doesn’t jump on Gustavo for the slur, and instead says, “I’m gay,” in a friendly manner. Gustavo doesn’t recoil. Actually, he becomes more interested.

Gustavo and Virginia go on to discuss how much they love their partners, and how that love helps them overcome adversity. Gustavo tells Virginia that his wife is a disabled person. “God gave me the ability to love a disabled person,” he says, and that taking care of one another is why love matters.

“That resonate a lots with me,” Virginia responds. “For me, these laws, and including transgender people are about that. They’re about how we treat one another.”

Now that Gustavo is in a place where he’s more open, Virginia asks him to imagine what the worst thing could happen if he used a bathroom with a transgender person. He admits he wouldn’t be scared. Then comes the breakthrough.

“Listen, probably I was mistaken,” he says of his original position on trans rights.

Virginia asks him again if he’d vote in favor of banning transgender discrimination. “In favor,” he says.

Hochschild shared similar stories in her book. In one example, a woman tells Hochschild about her love for conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh because he stood up to people — feminists, environmentalists, and other liberals — that she felt belittled her and her lifestyle. As the woman explained, “Oh, liberals think that Bible-believing Southerners are ignorant, backward, rednecks, losers. They think we’re racist, sexist, homophobic, and maybe fat.” She felt that these accusations overlooked many of the problems that rural white Americans faced — growing up poor, struggling to get a better education, and so on.

Because Hochschild, who’s liberal, didn’t immediately dismiss the woman’s comments and insult her, the two managed to have a frank conversation to reach a better understanding of each other. And the two continued talking as Hochschild wrote her book. From one simple exchange of empathy, it was possible to have more frank conversations.

“You can turn your political alarm system off without jeopardizing who you are and what you believe,” Hochschild told me. “And you can learn something about the person at the other end of the conversation that’s going to be of profound importance.”

These stories, from the canvassing study and Hochschild’s research, demonstrate a key point: People don’t want to be immediately dismissed because they might have a view that you consider wrong or even vile; they want to feel heard. And once that happens, it’s a lot easier for them to make mental space to understand other people’s problems.

Actually having these conversations will be incredibly difficult and time-consuming

Of course, there is a balance to strike here. Insofar as absolutely any mention of racism triggers a backlash among some people, that may just be an unavoidable consequence of a long-neglected but necessary conversation. After all, we can’t just ignore the real racial disparities in policing
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, the criminal justice system
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, health
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, wealth
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, housing
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, and nearly every other aspect of American life until everyone is ready to talk about these issues openly. We could be waiting forever if we did that.

Thankfully, researchers have come up with several ideas that strike the right balance.

One approach is to pursue certain policies in a race-neutral manner. For example, equipping police with body cameras has become a prominent idea in response to the police shootings of black men over the past few years. But the inherent idea behind body cameras doesn’t have to be racial — it can just be about generally holding police accountable, no matter whom they’re interacting with. And indeed, polls
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have found that support for body cameras on police officers in general hovers above 90 percent.

But this approach has its limits. Some issues have an explicit racial element to them, so the conversation about these problems has to bring in racism at some point. In the face of resistance, then, actually reducing people’s racial anxieties — rather than glossing over them — is necessary.

This will require conversations. Maybe it will be through canvassing by activists, much like the transgender study. Maybe churches and schools can take on public education campaigns. Maybe these and other civic institutions can facilitate public forums in which people can openly discuss these problems.


But how, exactly, should those conversations and campaigns take form — in a way that can meaningfully reduce or eliminate racial prejudice?

“We can’t pretend we’re post-racial, because that’s absurd,” said Rachel Godsil, director and co-founder of the Research at Perception Institute. “But we need to work past the idea that our divisions will prevent us from coming together, from solving problems collectively.”

In The Science of Equality
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, Godsil and her co-authors proposed several tactics that seem, based on the research, promising: presenting people with examples that break stereotypes, asking them to think about people of color as individuals rather than as a group, tasking them with taking on first-person perspectives of people of color, and increasing contact between people of different races. All of these interventions appear to reduce subconscious racial biases, while interracial contact appears most promising for reducing racial anxiety more broadly.

Of course, interracial contact can be hard to achieve in communities that are racially homogeneous — in other words, a lot of rural white communities. But the researchers note that even indirect contact — for example, knowing that one of your white neighbors is friends with a person of color — can reduce prejudice, suggesting there are ways to reduce racial anxiety without direct contact.

Godsil and her team also put forward tactics that can help people limit actions based on racial biases, such as getting people to slow down in their decision-making and teaching them about how subconscious processes can influence their impulses — even on issues unrelated to race — in order to push them to question their own objectivity. The research suggests these ideas have potential, but they generally seem to require that people are genuinely willing to reduce their biased behavior and actions.


More broadly, people need to be shown that people of different races can live and thrive in diverse communities. Trump supporters are clearly worried, as the study I noted earlier found, that white Americans are losing status in the country. But there are plenty of examples — in big, diverse cities like New York City, for example — that show they don’t have to look at race relations in a zero-sum manner in which white people lose and everyone else wins. The empirical research
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, after all, shows that more immigration can ultimately lift up the entire country’s economy, benefiting everyone.

“There’s an unfortunate lack of understanding that interactions across groups can be positive and enrich rather than divide,” Godsil said. “That’s what people who do live in pretty homogeneous parts of the country just don’t know. They’ve never experienced it.”

So how do you get people to see that diversity isn’t a threat to them? Godsil pointed to the transgender canvassing study as one example. Perhaps nonconfrontational conversations with people of color in which both parties share their lived experiences could go a long way to demonstrating that different racial groups don’t have to be at odds. And white Americans could engage in these types of dialogues with other white people to help open their minds to another perspective.

But there’s other ways too, from creating local spaces in which people can talk about race issues and air out their fears to more formal public education campaigns.

The key to these conversations, though, is empathy. And it will take a lot of empathy — not just for one conversation but many, many conversations in several settings over possibly many years. It won’t be easy, but if we want to address some people’s deeply entrenched racial attitudes, it may be the only way.

The institutions of society:

have great power to reward and penalize. They reward by providing career opportunities for some people and foreclosing them for others. They reward as well by the way social goods and services are distributed by deciding who receives training and skills, medical care, formal education, political influence, moral support and self-respect, productive employment, fair treatment by the law, decent housing, self-confidence, and the promise of a secure future for self and children (see Eitzen, 2000:226).

C. Four Basic Themes of Institutional Discrimination
1. The Importance of History

Historically, institutions defined and enforced norms and roles that were racially distinct. The United States was founded and its institutions established when Blacks were slaves, uneducated, and differed culturally from the dominant Whites.

From the beginning, Blacks were considered inferior (the original Constitution, for example, counted a slave as three-fifths of a person). Religious beliefs buttressed this notion of the inferiority of Blacks and justified the differential allocation of privileges and sanctions in society.

Laws, customs, and traditions usually continue to reinforce current thinking. Institutions have an inertial quality: Once set in motion, they tend to continue on the same course. Thus, institutional discrimination is extremely difficult to change without a complete overhaul of society’s institutions (Eitzen, 2000:226).

2. Discrimination Without Conscious Bigotry

With or without malicious intent, racial discrimination is the “normal” outcome of the system. Even if “racism-in-the-head” disappeared, then “racism-in-the-world” would not, because it is the system that disadvantages.

Minorities suffer if the law continues to favor the owners of property over renters and debtors.
Job opportunities remain unequal if employers hire people with the most conventional training and experience.
Poor children get an inferior education if
we continue tracking,
using class-biased tests,
making education irrelevant in their work,
rewarding children who conform to the teachers’ middle-class concepts of the good student,
paying disproportionately less for their education (buildings, supplies, teachers, counselors).
In other words, all that is needed to perpetuate discrimination in the United States is to pursue a policy of business as usual.
3. Institutional Discrimination Is More Invisible

Institutional discrimination is more subtle and less intentional than individual acts of discrimination. As a result, establishing blame for this kind of discrimination is extremely difficult (Eitzen, 2000:227).

4. Institutional Discrimination Is Reinforced Because Institutions Are Interrelated

The exclusion of minorities from the upper levels of education, for example, is likely to affect their opportunities in other institutions (type of job, level of remuneration). Similarly, poor children will probably receive an inferior education, be propertyless, suffer from bad health, and be treated unjustly by the criminal justice system. These inequities are cumulative (Eitzen, 2000:227).

How to Think about Racial and Ethnic Inequality
A. Minority and Majority Groups

Different racial and ethnic groups are unequal in power, resources, prestige, and presumed worth. The basic reason is power — power derived from superior numbers, technology, weapons, property, or economic resources.

1. Majority Groups

Those holding superior power in a society — the majority group — establish a system of inequality by dominating less-powerful groups. This system of inequality is then maintained and perpetuated through social forces.

2. Minority Groups

Various social characteristics denote minority status. They include race, ethnicity, religious preferences, and age.

Ultimately, however, the terms majority and minority describe power differences. The critical feature of the minority group’s status is its inferior social position, in which its interests are not effectively represented in the political, economic, and social institutions of the society (Eitzen et al., 2011:209).

B. Racial stratification

Racial privilege reaches far back into America’s past. The racial hierarchy, with White groups of European origin at the top and people of color at the bottom, serves important functions for society and for certain categories of people. It ensures, for example, that some people are available to do society’s dirty work at low wages. The racial hierarchy has positive consequences for the status quo: It enables the powerful to retain their control and their advantages. Racial stratification also offers better occupational opportunities, income, and education to White people. These advantages constitute racial privilege (Eitzen et al., 2011:209).

C. Racial and Ethnic Minorities

Because majority-minority relations operate basically as a power relationship, conflict (or at least the potential for conflict) is always present. Overt conflict is most likely when subordinate groups attempt to alter the distribution of power. Size is not crucial in determining whether a group is the most powerful. A numerical minority may in fact have more political representation than the majority, as was the case in South Africa (Eitzen et al., 2011:210).

Determining who is a minority is largely a matter of history, politics, and judgment — both social and political. Population characteristics other than race and ethnicity such as age, gender, or religious preference are sometimes used to designate minority status. However, race and ethnicity are the characteristics used most often to define the minority and majority populations in contemporary U.S. society (Eitzen et al., 2011:210).

The different experiences of racial groups are structurally embedded in society even though races, per se, do not exist. What does exist is the idea that races are distinct biological categories. Most scientists reject race as a valid way to divide human groups. Although there is no such thing as biological race, races are real insofar as they are socially defined(Eitzen et al., 2011:210).

D. Racial Categories
1. Racial Formation

Racial formation refers to how society continually creates and transforms its definitions of racial categories.

Groups that were previously self-defined in terms of specific ethnic background (such as Mexican Americans and Japanese Americans) have become racialized as “Hispanics” and “Asian Americans.”

2. The Census and Multi-race Identification

Even the U.S. Census Bureau, which measures race on the basis of self-identification, has revised the way racial and ethnic statistics will be collected in the 2000 census. For the first time, people will now be able to identify themselves as members of more than one racial group on census and other federal forms (Eitzen, 2000:215).

3. Ethnicity

Whereas race is used for socially marking groups based on physical differences, ethnicity allows for a broader range of affiliation. Ethnic groups are distinctive on the basis of national origin, language, religion, and culture. Ethnic groups experience a high degree of interaction among its members. They see themselves as a cultural unit.

The contemporary world is replete with examples of newly constructed ethnicities. In the United States, people started to affiliate along ethnic lines such as Italian American or German American much more frequently after the civil rights movement. In Europe, as the Western countries move toward economic and political integration, there is a proliferation of regional identification — people may no longer identify as Italian, but as Lombardians, Sicilians, or Romans, as these regions lose economic resources to a larger entity: the European community (Eitzen, 2000:217).

E. Racism
The Modern Racist Paradigm

Copy and paste this URL into your browser and watch this documentary:


This is a well researched documentary that exposes the White Media’s long-term agenda to standardize Caucasian people as the social norm for general society.

Through the globalization and centralization of the White media and its constant propagation of repetitive images depicting Caucasians in positive roles and as protagonists while usually depicting Non-Caucasians as background characters and antagonists – which are often connected to negative themes and stereotypes – the media elite have been able to effectively condition general society into subconsciously adhering to a racist social hierarchy in which Caucasian people are at the very apex.

The documentary addresses many modern-day internalized racist psychological dispositions (subconscious forms of internalized racism) which are unknowingly passed down from generation to generation due to the globalization and pervasiveness of Whiteness a cultural assimilation process of which, is directly derivative to historical European expansionism, colonialism, and imperialism.


Diversity is hot on college campuses, —not only race, ethnicity, and gender but also religion, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and age. But why is diversity important at SJCC, at all?

Diversity expands worldliness. College might be the first time students have had the opportunity to have real interaction with people from diverse groups. Whether we like it or not, many times we find ourselves segregated from other groups in schools, churches, and our own neighborhoods. A college campus is like opening the door to the entire world without traveling anywhere else.
Diversity enhances social development. Interacting with people from a variety of groups widens your social circle by expanding the pool of people with whom you can associate and develop relationships. Consider how boring your conversations would be if we only had friends who had everything in common with us.
Diversity prepares students for future career success. Successful performance in today’s diverse workforce requires sensitivity to human differences and the ability to relate to people from different cultural backgrounds. America’s workforce is more diverse than at any time in the nation’s history, and the percentage of America’s working-age population comprised of members of minority groups is expected to increase from 34 percent to 55 percent by 2050.
Diversity prepares students for work in a global society. No matter what profession students enter, they will find themselves working with employers, employees, coworkers, customers and clients from diverse backgrounds—worldwide. By experiencing diversity in college, students are laying the groundwork to be comfortable working and interacting with a variety of individuals of all nationalities.
Interactions with people different from ourselves increase our knowledge base. Research consistently shows that we learn more from people who are different from us than we do from people who are similar to us. Just as you “think harder” when you encounter new material in a college course, you will do the same when you interact with a diverse group of people.
Diversity promotes creative thinking. Diversity expands your capacity for viewing issues or problems from multiple perspectives, angles, and vantage points. These diverse vantage points work to your advantage when you encounter new problems in different contexts and situations. Rather than viewing the world through a single-focus lens, we are able to expand your views and consider multiple options when making decisions and weighing issues of, for example, morality and ethics.
Diversity enhances self-awareness. Learning from people whose backgrounds and experiences differ from our own sharpens your self-knowledge and self-insight by allowing you to compare and contrast your life experiences with others whose life experiences differ sharply from your own. By being more self-aware, you are more capable of making informed decisions about your academic and professional future.
Diversity enriches the multiple perspectives developed by a liberal arts education. Diversity magnifies the power of a general education by helping to liberate us from the tunnel vision of an ethnocentric and egocentric viewpoint. By moving beyond yourself, you gain a panoramic perspective of the world around you and a more complete view of your place in it.

C.9 SOC 10 (1).pdf


_Chapter 9 Race and Ethnicity (2).pdf

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