Lecture 9: Race and ethnicity

Race and ethnicity 


  1. A social construct is used to distinguish people in terms of one or more physical markers, usually with profound effects on their lives


  1. Perceived cultural markers that are deemed socially significant. Ethics groups differ in terms of language, religion, customs, values, ancestors, etc.

Social interactionism 

  1. The development of racial and ethnic labels, and ethnic and racial identity, is a process of negotiation 
  2. Racial or ethnic identity vs. imposed identity 
  3. Symbolic ethnicity - a sense of self or identity - ethnic origins 


  1. Ethnic and racial stratification 

  1. The race is “an inadequate and even harmful way to think about human biological differences” (Goodman 2000) 



  1. The belief that a visible characteristic of a group indicates group inferiority and justifies discrimination 


  1. Forming ideas about people based on their race


  1. Pre-judging people based on group membership 


  1. Treating people differently based on group 

Hate crimes 

  1. The race is the highest hate crime and ethnicity 

Implicit bias 

  1. How can bias still occur in a democratic society like Canada with a rule of law?
  2. Attitudes that can be favourable and unfavourable unconsciously shape our understanding and actions 
  3. Democratic racism 
  4. The coexistence of egalitarian values alongside discriminatory practices against racial minorities 

Systemic racism 

  1. Institutional racism 
  2. The bias that is inherent in social institutions and is often not noticed by members of the majority group 
  3. When policies and practices systematically deny opportunities and equal rights to racial minority groups 

Systemic racism in banking 

Financial advisorsclientsredlining

Assigned to underperforming banks Excluded from working with wealthy clientsNew account fees are higher in black communities Wealthy black clients receive inferior service Fewer banks in black communities The systematic denial of mortgage services Blacks are more likely to be denied a mortgage than whites, even with the same income, credit history, and mortgage amount 

White privilege?

  1. Blames whites as whole 
  2. Class, not race, insulting and inaccurate 
  3. Political correctness 
  4. Advantages afforded to minorities 

  1. Surveys of adult Canadians on racial attitudes indicate what whites are consistently rated most favourably compared to all other social groups in Canada 
  2. Advantages: treatment, jobs, housing 

Discrimination - who gets a free ride 

White, black, East Asian, and Indian testers for bus riding experiment 

White and Asian 70%
Black 36%

  1. The driver of the same rate: slight increase but still mostly white or Asian 
  2. Status: business suits, increase for all but casually dressed whites get more free rides than well-dressed blacks 
  3. Hypothetical: drivers said they would give free rides twice as often as they actually did

Discrimination - who gets a rental?

  1. Prospective tenants: caucasian, black, east/southeast Asian, Muslim/Arabic, and Jewish 5600 emails, 75% response to all groups 

No response Mostly Arab, black, Asian
Additional conditionsBlack and Arab
Fewest conditionsWhite and Jewish


discrimination - who gets a job 

  1. Does your racialized matter 
  2. Varied the names on resumes between anglo, Chinese, Indian, and Pakistani 
  3. 13,000 similar resumes to over 3,000 jobs in Toronto and Montreal 
  4. Results: for every 100 callbacks for an anglo, there were 72 callbacks for others 
  5. For medium to small businesses, call back rate was around 62

Audit study with black and white testers matched on physical appearance, self-presentation, educational credentials, and work experience ( and criminal record) 

  1. Whites with no criminal record 
  2. Whites with a criminal record 
  3. Blacks with no criminal record 
  4. Blacks with a criminal record 

Japanese Canadian internment 

  1. Ww2 pearl harbour 
  2. Declared enemy aliens 
  3. Seizure and forfeiture of property 
  4. Road, internment, POW camps 
  5. Dispersal or repatriation

Anti-Asian sentiments 

  1. “Let our slogan be for British Columbia” 

  1. Involves one race or ethics groups subjugating another in the same country it prevents assimilation bt segregating the subordinate group in terms of jobs, housing, and social contracts

The future of race and ethnicity 

  1. Everyone is going to be a mix of everything 
  2. Pluralism Internal colonialism 

  1. Retention of racial and ethnic culture combined with equal access to basic social resources 
  2. “All Canadians are full and equal partners in Canadian society” Canadian multiculturalism act (1988) 

Advantages of ethnicity 

  1. Economic benefits through the patronage of ethnic community 
  2. Political benefits through community pressure 
  3. Emotional supports like comfort, understanding, protection against discrimination 

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