Race: Sociology

Topics: Sociology, Race and Ethnicity, Ethnic group Pages: 4 (1549 words) Published: March 1, 2013
Race and ethnicity are important concepts in the field of sociology and are ones that are studied a great deal. Race plays a large role in everyday human interactions and sociologists want to study how, why, and what the outcomes are of these interactions. Sociologists look at many questions related to race and ethnicity, including what is the difference between race and ethnicity. Within sociology, the terms race, ethnicity, minority, and dominant group all have very specific and different meanings. To understand the sociological perspectives on race and ethnicity, it is important to understand the meanings of these concepts. An ethnic group is a group of people who share a common culture, such as a language, religion, norms, customs, practices, and history. Ethnic groups have a consciousness of their common cultural bond. An ethnic group does not exist simply because of the national or cultural origins of the group, however. They develop because of their unique historical and social experiences, which become the basis for the group’s ethnic identity. For example, prior to immigration to the United States, Italians did not think of themselves as a distinct group with common interests and experiences. However, the process of immigration and the experiences they faced as a group in the United States, including discrimination, created a new identity for the group. Some examples of ethnic groups include Italian Americans, Polish Americans, Mexican Americans, Arab Americans, and Irish Americans. Ethnic groups are also found in other societies, such as the Pashtuns in Afghanistan or the Shiites in Iraq, whose ethnicity is base on religious differences. Like ethnicity, race is primarily, though not exclusively, a socially constructed category. A race is a group that is treated as distinct in society based on certain characteristics. Because of their biological or cultural characteristics, which are labeled as inferior by powerful groups in society, a race is often...

References: Anderson, M.L. and Taylor, H.F. (2009). Sociology: The Essentials. Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth.
Giddens, A. (1991). Introduction to Sociology. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.
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