Race & Ethnicity Part I

Race and ethnicity
Contemporary race and ethnic
relations around the globe
– Ethnic conflict
– Economic divergence
– The role of immigration
Race and ethnic relations in the U.S.
– Native Americans
– Slavery and Race in North America
– History of Immigration and Immigration law in
Contemporary race and ethnic
relations around the globe
As we learned earlier, all people share
the vast majority of their genetic
Since people left Africa, there has
been small-scale evolution in traits
such as skin color.
This results in clusters of
characteristics such as skin and hair
color that we refer to as race.
Race has a social reality, so for social
scientists it is important to study.
A racial group is a group of people
who share certain phenotypical
features and are deemed by others to
constitute a “race”
An ethnic group shares a common
language and culture.
Ethnic groups are typically
endogamous – they preferentially
marry others within the group
Racial and ethnic conflict
Race and ethnicity are the basis of
much conflict in the world today.
E.g. Rwandan genocide of 1994
In many societies, race and ethnicity is
the basis of economic inequality as
Different ethnic and racial groups are
often introduced into a society through
Often people in these groups fill jobs
in the host country that no one else
E.g. in the Middle
East, foreigners fill
jobs as drivers,
butchers, or retail
Race and ethnic relations
in the U.S.
The U.S. is home to a great many
racial and ethnic groups.
Some are descendants of slaves
Some came for better lives for
themselves, both now and in the past
Native Americans
When Europeans first settled the east coast
of the U.S. they found it heavily settled with
groups of Native Americans.
Native Americans were horticulturalists who
were skilled in farming, hunting, gathering
and fishing.
No domesticated animals except dogs, no
wheeled vehicles, and no writing.
Early contacts
Native Americans had something that
Europeans wanted – furs- and this
began the fur trade.
Contact with whites brought alcohol
and guns to Native Americans.
Fueled intertribal warfare and created
increased deaths from war
Native Americans were not used to
alcohol and quickly became addicted
to it.
Served to break down native culture.
Native Americans also had no
immunity to European diseases.
Many got sick and died.
Europeans often wanted Native
American land.
Sometimes settlers would “buy” the
land from individual Native Americans,
who did not have the authority to sell
it since the land belonged to the
Conflicts over land often occurred.
Usual result was the signing of a
Terms would be violated, and Native
Americans were slowly pushed off
their ancestral lands.
Indian Removal
The program of moving Indians west
of the Mississippi began in 1825.
Andrew Jackson made it a central
policy – Indian Removal Act was
passed in 1830.
Cherokee of North Carolina tried to
avoid being removed.
The Cherokee had developed their own
written language and had their own
newspapers and schools.
1827 they formed the Cherokee republic
Appealed the Indian Removal Act to the
Supreme Court, which ruled in their favor
Nevertheless, they were forcibly removed.
The trail of tears
Of the 15,000 Cherokee that started
the trip west, nearly 4,000 died.
Slavery in North America
Europeans tried to use Native
Americans as slaves, but it didn’t work
Got sick and died, or ran away
Africans were used instead
First as indentured servants, then as
Because of the threat of slave revolt, slaves
were controlled in a number of ways
Ratio of slaves to non-slaves was kept low
Members of the same tribes were separated
when first brought to America
Illegal to teach a slave to read or write
White slave patrols
Slave trade was officially abolished in
1808, but slavery continued in the
Only 25% of whites families owned
slaves, and only 12% of these owners
had 20 or more slaves.
Took the Civil War to end slavery in
the south
19th century – First great
immigrant stream 18201889
Mostly people from Ireland, Germany, UK,
France and Scandinavia
1840s saw the arrival of about 1.7 million
people, 1850s saw the arrival of 2.6 million
Most were Germans – largest single group
of immigrants to U.S.
West coast saw many Chinese immigrants
(built railroads)
Irish went to East coast cities
Germans/Scandinavians went to rural
areas in mid West
Chinese settled in California
Rise of Nativism
Anti-Catholic on East coast (against
Irish primarily)
Anti-Asian on West coast (against
Chinese primarily)
Nativist movement: “Know-nothing
Dissolved in 1850s
Chinese Exclusion Act
Suspended immigration of Chinese
laborers for 10 years
1882 act amended in 1884 to cover all
Chinese regardless of country of origin
Law was extended in 1892, 1902 and
then extended indefinitely in 1904
Second Great Immigrant
Stream 1890-1924
Italians, Jews, Bohemians, Bulgarians,
Croatians, Greeks, Lithuanians,
Moravians, Poles, Serbs, Slovaks and
Most settled in cities of eastern
Worked as unskilled laborers on
railroads or in factories
Anit-immigrant sentiment
1917 illiterate people were ineligible to
immigrate (response to the immigrants
from SCE Europe, many of whom were
1921 Quota law limited immigrants to
3% of the U.S. residents of that
ancestry already in the country in
1924 National Origins Act
Quotas became permanent with this
Quotas were 3% of each nationality
residing in the U.S. as of the 1890
Intended to favor immigrants from
northern and western Europe
Anti-Asian Laws
Gentleman’s Agreement (1907)
restricted immigration from Japan
1917 – creation of an Asiatic barred
zone, designed to exclude all Asians
from immigration to the U.S.
1924 National Origins Act also
prohbited immigration of those
ineligble for U.S. citizenship – included
all Japanese
Third Great Immigrant
Stream (after 1924)
1943 repeal of the Chinese exclusion
Many European immigrants were
granted asylum in U.S. after WWII
1948 Displaced Persons Act
McCarren Walter Act of 1952 kept
Mexican “repatriation” in 1950s
1965 Amendments
Established preferences to
– Reunite families
– Permit skilled workers to enter country
– Provide asylum for political refugees
Priorities in 1965
1. Unmarried sons and daughters of U.S.
2. Spouses and unmarried sons and
daughters of lawful resident aliens
3. Members of the professions and scientists
of exceptional ability and their spouses and
4. Married sons and daughters of U.S.
citizens and their spouses and children
5. Brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens and
their spouses and children
6. Skilled and unskilled workers in
occupations for which labor is in short
7. Refugees
Numerical limits still imposed to limit annual
restriction from each hemisphere.
Result was to dramatically increase the
numbers of immigrants of nonEuropean descent.
Asia contributed about a third of
immigrants, Mexico and Latin America
about half.
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