Subordinate Group Creation and Consequences

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Subordinate Group: African Americans

Kelly Durham

Eth 125

February 21, 2010
Stephanie Perry

Subordinate Group: African Americans

America is the land of freedom and a land of opportunity. From the beginning of this great nation people have immigrated to America in the pursuit of freedom and happiness. However, not everyone who immigrated to America has been blessed with the same freedoms as others. This is especially the case with African Americans. African Americans are a subordinate group that even though they migrated over to America to explore certain freedoms, was faced with segregation caused by non-subordinate groups. To really understand the reasoning behind African Americans and the segregation they faced as a subordinate group one must understand what a subordinate group is and how a group is determined to be subordinate.

At the time of the United States Census in 2000, there was approximately 34,658,190 African American’s living in the United States. This number is relatively small when compared to the total United States population of 281,421,906 (U.S. Census Bureau, 2000). That means that African Americans make up less than 12% of the total population. When compared to the overall population, African Americans play a minor part in the overall population. A subordinate group is another way of saying a minority group, and there are five characteristics that make a group a subordinate group (Shaefer, 2006). The five characteristics of a subordinate group are distinguishing physical characteristics or cultural traits, unequal treatment, involuntary membership, awareness of subordination, and in-group marriage (Shaefer, 2006). African Americans usually fit into all five of those traits, with the one exception being in-group marriage as sometimes African Americans do choose to marry someone not within their subordinate group.

The three most applied characteristics of subordinate groups that relate to African Americans are the...
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