Journal Entry- History *DUE AT MIDNIGHT*

Journal Entry- History *DUE AT MIDNIGHT*

Minorities in America:

An Introduction


  • The definition: a culturally, ethnically, or racially distinct group that coexists with but is subordinate to a more dominant group. As such, minority status does not necessarily correlate to population.
  • Minorities in relation to power, influence, equality of opportunity
  • In some cases one or more minority groups may have a population greater than the dominating group.
  • ie). Native Americans tribes in the 1600’s, Mexicans in CA in the 1700-1800’s. They were greater in numbers but not in power influence or status.

Exploring Terms and Phrases

  • Ethnicity
  • Race
  • Racism
  • Discrimination
  • Oppression
  • Whiteness


  • Derives from the Greek word meaning Ethnos “People”
  • People perceive themselves and are perceived by others, to be bound together by a common origin, history, values, attitudes and behaviors.
  • It is a sense of Identification with and membership in a particular ethnic group.
  • A sense of people-hood.


  • Defined on the basis of (observable) physical characteristics

Meaningless in a biological sense

  • Socially defined and constructed
  • A group is defined as a race when certain physical characteristics are selected for special emphasis (by society)
  • Mis-uses of the word Race:
  • People mistakenly use the following identifiers to describe someone’s race

Linguistic categories – Aryan, English speaking

Religious categories – Hindu, Jewish

National categories – French, Italian

Mystical categories – Teutonic (ancient Germanic Mythological people)


A set of ideas and beliefs used to explain, rationalize or justify a racially organized social order.

*Racism is a power relationship.

it exists when the person in power exercises oppression or discrimination upon a less powerful person—based on race.

(powerless people can hold prejudice or discriminatory attitudes, but not exercise racism)


  • Individual racism


  • Institutional racism

Used to maintain social order

Most damaging

One can only be a Racists if there is an ability by the ‘racist’ to affect social order with his/her racism. The racist must have some sort of power over the person(s) being targeted in order to be considered a racist action.


  • “ A hostile attitude toward a person who belongs to a group, simply because he or she belongs to that group, and is therefore presumed to have the objectionable qualities ascribed to that group” –Allport, 1958.
  • Prejudice thus refers to at set of rigidly held negative attitudes (not action), beliefs and feelings toward members of another group.
  • Prejudice often involves an emotional component.
  • Ranges from unconscious aversion to members of the out-group to a comprehensive, well-articulated, and coherent ideology, such as the ideology of racism.


  • Involves unfavorable treatment of individuals because of their group membership.
  • Prejudice – involves attitudes and internal states
  • Discrimination – involves overt action or behavior.


  • Discrimination can manifest itself in a number of ways:
  • Mild slights (like Polish jokes)
  • Verbal epithets intimidation and harassment
  • Graffiti with ethnic / gender slurs
  • Refusing to hire or promote qualified applicants
  • Out right Violence


A social system which disallows mobility and equality based on race, class or gender.

  • Institutionalized oppression is a matter of result regardless of intent.
  • Established laws, customs, and practices systematically reflect and produce inequities based on one’s membership in targeted social identity groups
  • Institutional Oppression creates a system of invisible barriers limiting people based on their membership in unfavored social identity groups.


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