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Demographic structure of society - race and ethnicity

The video explores how race and ethnicity, both socially-defined categories, impact societal inequalities. It highlights the effects of discrimination, prejudice, and stereotypes on various aspects like health care, education, and job opportunities. The video also discusses how these factors contribute to disparities in the criminal justice system. Created by Sydney Brown.

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  • piceratops tree style avatar for user TheSqueegeeMeister
    @ In a previous video on society and culture it was said that according to sociology a "minority" was a group which was a distinct group that coexists with but is subordinate to a more dominant group. And it was their level of power and influence that made them a minority NOT the percent of the population that the group made up. Why have we now changed the definition?
    (26 votes)
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  • purple pi purple style avatar for user Sexy A.I.
    -humans are 99.8% genetically identical
    ...yes, race is nearly non-existent but used as a tool for control by insecure people
    ...why do we still use statistics for human constructs that discriminate i.e. race, gender identity, etc?
    (6 votes)
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  • piceratops ultimate style avatar for user Daniel Bristow
    At "Percentage wise, more minorities are being incarcerated than their white counterparts." We must not be quick to term causation, because this is simply a correlational assessment of a statistical observation. We cannot make the assumption that because there are more minorities in jail, that minorities are more deviant. We could make the genetic fallacy that "since minorities are minorities, that's just the way they are."

    There could be several confounding variables at work here, like:

    1. Do cops patrol lower socioeconomic status routes than higher socioeconomic routes?
    2. Do people in a minority feed into the self serving bias that they will not be able to make it in life or get a good education, and thus drop out of school?
    3. Do more minorities work lower wage jobs, and since they cannot make ends meet, have to turn to more deviant ways of providing for their families?

    Correlation does not equal causation my friends.
    (15 votes)
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    • blobby green style avatar for user Sam Bradbrook
      Very valid point, and those variables you mentioned very likely also have an effect.
      However I think this fact was quite clearly explained by the author of the video. She summarizes it well in saying that our society is structure in such a way that differences among racial and ethnic groups remain present. Factors such as lower employment rates among minorities, stratification of education based on differing teaching qualities, and discrimination (whether unconcious or concious) throughout life, can all cause higher rates of incarceration.
      Also as for your point 2, self-serving bias is an adaptive bias associated with attributing oneself as the cause of favourable events, and the environment/external factors as the cause of unfavourable events. Learned helplessness for example may be a more appropriate term for your point.
      (11 votes)
  • blobby green style avatar for user nope
    To play devil's advocate:

    Humans and chimps are 98% genetically similar yet most would consider us dramatically different from them in many ways. I'm not saying that I believe that genetics are what lead to the difference in outcomes between races, but that % of genetic similarity is a poor argument. And that if you want to convince people who think that way otherwise, you should try from a different standpoint.
    (13 votes)
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  • aqualine ultimate style avatar for user Parshuna Karki
    Aren't Asian Americans Minority too?
    (8 votes)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user Wyatt Rumrill
    Asians are a minority so why are they not discriminated against? Anything to do with cultural value of things like education and working hard?
    (3 votes)
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    • blobby green style avatar for user Pragmatist
      Asians are discriminated against on a daily basis. Many institutions refuse to allow Asians into higher ranks or levels because they have an unexplicable fear that the "asian" will take over or is not predictable. We are also considered ORM even though we are a statistical minority and are therefore now facing discrimination from certain institutions in an effort to reverse discrimination for URM. There should be no discrimination in general and people should not have to list their races to be able to gain opportunities. Using race to determine where someone should be placed (be it a school or workplace) is inherently racist. We should instead work towards equality across all spheres including helping those who are disadvantaged have the same opportunities as opposed to the same outcomes.
      (5 votes)
  • spunky sam orange style avatar for user Carlo Reidy
    At , how is stating "...for some people, starting a family is more important than continuing an education..." not an example of attributing a racial identity to members of a minority group that they do not identify for themselves. Unless you specify a specific race or ethnicity in this or cite statistical evidence, I feel like you are doing exactly that.
    (3 votes)
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  • male robot johnny style avatar for user farhy173
    When referring to Italian and Jewish immigrants (around ), how was their white skin color a factor in determining their ethnic identity? Isn't skin color a physical factor that determines race? I thought that ethnicity was determined by cultural factors?
    (2 votes)
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  • male robot johnny style avatar for user farhy173
    The 2000 Census listed 2 options under ethnicity: 1)Non-Hispanic or Latino OR 2)Hispanic or Latino. According to this video shouldn't this be a question of race as opposed to ethnicity?
    (2 votes)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user matthew.swinehart15
    If DNA does not contribute to race, then why do physicians sometimes prescribe medications based on race? I don't think it is because doctors are racist.
    (1 vote)
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Video transcript

Voiceover:There are many inequalities in a population, based on race and ethnicity. Just to get some terminology out of the way, let's figure out the difference between race and ethnicity. Race is a socially-defined category that is based on physical differences between groups of people. Racial formation theory looks at the social, economic and political forces that result in socially-constructed racial identity. Sometimes these differences are real, but sometimes they are only perceived or are defined by history. In the 1800s, if a person in the United States had a black ancestor, they could be considered black even if they appeared white. Honestly though, since all humans are 99.9% identical, genetically, there really isn't enough wiggle room in human DNA for there to be a genetic foundation for race. Yet, it is incredibly important on a social level. Every culture places a different importance on specific physical characteristics. For example, in the US, race is identified by broad categories of skin color, but hair color is considered unimportant. In South America, there are more specific categories of skin color. The Latin American race in the US may be broken down into five, or even six, different categories of races in South America. Ethnicity is also socially defined, but, instead of using physical characteristics, these groups are defined by a shared language, religion, nationality, history or some other cultural factor. Ethnic groups are less statistically defined than racial groups, and the definitions can change over time. Sometimes the ethnic minority can even be absorbed into the majority after a generation or two. A minority consists of a group that makes up less than half the total population and is treated differently because of some characteristic. In the 1900s, native-born Americans did not consider Irish, Italian or Jewish immigrants to be white, which actually resulted in a discrimination against them and limited where they could live. Discrimination is the unjust treatment of a category of people simply because they belong to that category. It often results from prejudice, which is when someone has some preconceived opinion that isn't based on reason or experience. Let's get back to those immigrants. While the immigrants weren't considered white, the children of those immigrants were considered white because they were culturally American, so their skin color could be used to determine their ethnic identity. As we begin to look at socially defined groups of people, please keep in mind that what I'm saying doesn't apply to everyone in that group. Just like the English language, there are always exceptions. We need to be sure not to stereotype everyone in a group. We can look at statistical values for a group, but these are only guidelines, trends to keep in mind as we look at the population as a whole. There are a lot of statistical differences between both different races and different ethnicities. Racial differences especially can cause some drastic events, such as genocide or population transfer, where a group is forcefully moved from their territory, or inter-colonialism, where a minority group is segregated and exploited, or assimilation, where the minority group is absorbed into the majority. Pluralism, on the other hand, actually encourages racial and ethnic variation in a society. Statistically, families, education, income, birthrates and life expectancies all vary between racial and ethnic groups. There's a wide-spread disparity in health care between racial and ethnic groups as well. Many Americans simply can't afford basic health care, which then affects the life span of these people. Statistically, minorities tend to have shorter life span because of limited access to health care, lower-income jobs that can have greater dangers in the workplace, a higher prevalence of toxins in the environment, as well as personal behaviors, like drinking or poor diet. Throughout history, dominant groups have racialized minority groups. This means the dominant group ascribes some racial identity to members of a minority group that they do not identify for themselves. You can see this in the labor force in the United States. There's a myth in the United States that everyone has equal opportunities in life, including access to education. In reality, different races tend to be stereotyped for certain jobs. Minorities are expected to have lower-paying jobs, while majorities are expected to have higher-paying jobs. Asian Americans and whites, overall, have more access to education than African Americans or Latin Americans. What it usually comes down to is economic and cultural factors. The cost of education can be too high for minorities, who statistically tend to work lower-waged jobs. Perhaps culturally, for some people, starting a family is more important than continuing an education. This perpetuates the trend of difficulties for minorities, but it isn't just the cultural differences. Our society is structured so that racial and economic subordination develops and is sustained. In order to get a higher-paying job, you need a good education, so when education is not a priority, or isn't available, or when it is simply withheld because of discrimination, the jobs available are unskilled or semi-skilled low-paying jobs. An interesting discrimination among different races and ethnicities is present in the criminal justice system. While laws may not seem racist, the punishment for similar offences vary drastically. For example, the punishment for crack cocaine, which is less expensive and used by low-income users, is much tougher than for powdered cocaine, which is much more expensive. This separates the rich from the poor in the justice system, handing out tougher sentences to low-income criminals, who, statistically, are minorities. There are also higher unemployment and dropout rates for minorities, providing fewer options, other than crime. If you look at the percentage of people in jail who are minorities, it's much higher than the percentage of minorities who live in the United States. These numbers don't line up. Percentage wise, more minorities are being incarcerated than their white counterparts.