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Race and Ethnicity – Demographic Structure of Society (PSY, SOC)

by Tarry Ahuja, MD
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    00:00 Race is another one. Race and Ethnicity.

    00:02 So race is a socially defined category that is based on physical differences between groups of people.

    00:08 The color of your skin is an easy way to remember that. That’s a physical difference.

    00:15 Now, racial formation theory looks at race as a socially constructed identity, where the content and importance of racial categories is determined by some of the same things; social, economic and political factors.

    00:28 So these are the three drivers behind what’s forming our concepts around race.

    00:33 So many times, the racial difference may be perceived or based from a historical perspective, Its color of your skin versus color of the hair or your eyes.

    00:41 So let’s look at, I’m thinking of North America this justice and the spirit that we have, and the black culture.

    00:49 So African Americans have been looked down upon for years in generations.

    00:54 But people really don’t discriminate based on the color of somebody’s hair or eyes.

    00:59 Alright, so why are we discriminating against blonds? Well I guess sometimes we do have some blond jokes. But I mean, on the same way that we perhaps discriminate based on the color of your skin.

    01:09 So are you, is the color of your skin black? Or do you have red hair? There’s a difference there for sure.

    01:17 Now, ethnicity is a category of people who identify with each other based on a cultural difference.

    01:25 Common language, ancestry, social, cultural and national factors.

    01:29 And is primarily an inherited status.

    01:32 So you kind of, you inherit your ethnicity.

    01:36 And its something that you basically carry with you but it has less. I would say, I don’t want to say power. But it’s less concrete or it’s less, I don’t know here.

    01:48 So, less statistically or concretely defined than racial groups.

    01:52 It’s quite clear, you know. Your, the color of your skin is brown or black.

    01:57 And you’re categorize as being black.

    01:59 But in terms of ethnicity, there is more [inaudible 00:02:01,7] room in it.

    02:03 And it can change a lot of times you have the ability to actually overtime, over generations adjust your ethnicity.

    02:10 You really can’t do that with race.

    02:13 Now, ethnicity is a dynamic process that can change across generations.

    02:17 So social constructs of race and ethnicity can impact level on access to education, employment, and you see this disparity in pay and opportunity a lot like you would gender.

    02:27 There’s an actual, we can actually see there’s a differences in life expectancy, overall health, access to healthcare, health behaviors.

    02:34 So it’s extremely impactful.

    02:37 We make these broad generalizations of ethnicity but that shapes to social construct of that ethnicity.

    02:44 So again back to my example, in North America, we can have this categorization of a certain ethnicity.

    02:53 Say, all Hispanics or you generalize across a broad ethnicity.

    02:58 And they tend you fall within a lower social economic status and that therefore impacts thing like health, access to health, health behaviors.

    03:06 So racialization and ethnicization is the process of assigning ethnic or racial identities to a group that does not identify itself as such.

    03:15 So just because you have a certain colors of skin, you might not necessarily relate yourself to that obvious race or ethnicity. But the culture, the dominate culture are you with does and bends you with others solely base on like the color of your skin or the ethnicity they think you belong to.

    03:37 So the racialized group often gradually identifies with and even embraces the ascribed identity.

    03:42 So if they say, if we start to give an identity to Hispanics or Blacks or Asians or Indians, and say, “Oh, you know, all Hispanics, they have these identity or they are only good at doing these." That describe by that broader population.

    03:59 Not by the Hispanic community or Black community or any community themselves.

    04:03 But over time, slowly they start to almost identify it and embrace it.

    04:08 If you’re gonna say that I’m, that we’re always kind of into crime and are unable to work.

    04:16 Then that becomes almost part of their culture and they start embracing it.

    04:19 Now, they start singing about it and playing those roles in movies.

    04:23 And overtime, they actually reaffirm the actual identity that was ascribed by that broader group.


    About the Lecture

    The lecture Race and Ethnicity – Demographic Structure of Society (PSY, SOC) by Tarry Ahuja, MD is from the course Demographic Characteristics and Processes.


    Author of lecture Race and Ethnicity – Demographic Structure of Society (PSY, SOC)

     Tarry Ahuja, MD

    Tarry Ahuja, MD


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