SOC 110HM Saint Leo University Racial and Social Identity Paper Part 1 Much of our understanding of race and ethnicity is based on conventional wisdom tha

SOC 110HM Saint Leo University Racial and Social Identity Paper Part 1

Much of our understanding of race and ethnicity is based on conventional wisdom that is passed through socialization (relatives, peers, education, media). In the 21st century, media (television, film, print, music) and social media (twitter, Instagram, facebook) inform much of our knowledge of different groups.

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Identify some of the misconceptions that are passed through media. How might we correct these misconceptions to create a more balanced and equitable society?

These terms are to be used in part 1 and part 2. Terms to understand and use for Module 6: stereotypes, ultimate attribution error, subjective uncertainty, selective perception, cognitive dissonance, criminalization, Contact theory, mascots, symbols, cultural appropriation, assimilation, dominant culture, hegemony, othering, racial profiling, racial hoax, second sight, media, blame the victim You should use these terms in Discussions and Quizzes.

Part 2

It is simplistic to suggest that any contact between members of racial groups automatically improves race relations. Based on the research, identify (a) the ways which isolated contacts can reinforce stereotyping and prejudice, and (b) the types of contact that are most effective in improving race relations. (Make sure you are using your own words to summarize the research findings. Using everyday language and hypothetical examples to restate study patterns in plain language is a helpful technique to avoid plagiarism).

Minorities face many misunderstandings and misperceptions of them in everyday life. Please describe three specific stereotypes and how they negatively impact the group. (Please focus on the stereotypes presented in this week’s readings regarding African Americans and Native Americans, and make sure to cover both groups).

Sometimes we consume stereotypes in the media and use the cultural racism frame to reproduce them-that is, we may not think Trayvon Martin is an inborn criminal, or that Native Americans are inborn alcoholics, but assume they come from environments that encourage them to “act out” the stereotype. As a sociologist, how might you point to other structural (not cultural) factors for why (a) African Americans face criminal justice challenges, and (b) Native Americans face demeaning self-concepts? (Hint: these factors would initiate from outside their own communities, in institutions—-give very specific examples in your own words)

Example of Part 1

Identify some of the misconceptions that are passed through media.

Social media has been a place where you can find out different things that is going all over the world, individual outlook on different topics. Individual are also being racial profiled on social media. Fake news article are created and posted on social media like Facebook and everyone starts to share it and sometime it’s determined not to be facts. Good and bad news travel fast on social media.

In my opinion, one misconception that is passed through media that I have seen in the news lately is the death of George Floyd. The media will have you to think that it’s only African American that is protesting and looting. If you watch the news all walks of race is protesting for justice for all. The media also make things look and sound worse than it really is.

How might we correct these misconceptions to create a more balanced and equitable society?

I think that we can correct the misconceptions to create a more balanced and equitable society by not always sharing a post because it could turn out to be fact news, not use social media to express your political view, dislikes about different race groups. Bottom line you can believe everything you see or hear these social media outlets.

Another example of part 1

Identify some of the misconceptions that are passed through media. How might we correct these misconceptions to create a more balanced and equitable society?

When it comes to reporting “unbiased” news, the media does not report all the facts, and that’s because they have an agenda. The news, no matter who you watch, will twist and turn the truth. We have “left-wing” news and “right-wing news.” Everybody wants their voice to be heard, and they want their opinion and views to be the god-spoken truth.

With the option to change the channel or turn off, unfriend/unfollow, close the book anything beyond that is really out of our control when it comes to correcting these misconceptions to create a more balanced and equitable society? Even though we can choose what college, university, or tech/vocational school we want to attend after high school, we really can’t control what the teacher or professor teaches us. As for social media (Instagram and Facebook), you cannot post anything that has a strong Republican view; Twitter, on the other hand, is more unbiased, The president posts some pretty strong things, and there is no left or right side of the aisle.

I stopped going to concerts because even there they push their agenda. I don’t go to a concert or a ball game to hear politics; I go there to be entertained. If they want to talk about politics, then save it for social media. As for the television, films, and print or music on the radio, I can control that by turning off the TV, changing the station, not buying the book, etc.

Karl Marx said it best when he said, “Cultural messages work daily to reaffirm these worldviews, particularly in the media. Whether it is race, class, gender, or other social statuses, I may come to believe those in the dominant group look and sound smarter, more authoritative, more together, and I may learn to cringe when someone ‘like me’ takes the stage.” I feel this would be the best way possible to correct the misconceptions to create a more balanced and equitable society. I have often wondered what would happen if, for a while, we stopped letting family, the media, Hollywood, social media, etc. stop controlling us and shaping the way we think. Would this help bring us together? What would happen if we researched what we saw on TV or heard in the news as the gospel truth and did our research for the facts, would that help eliminate the biased new and bring our country back together. Journal of Political Ideologies (2003), 8(1), 63–82
Racial attitudes or racial ideology?
An alternative paradigm for
examining actors’ racial views
Department of Sociology, Texas A & M University, 311 Academic Building,
College Station, TX 77843-4351, USA
ABSTRACT Most analysts of racism in the United States rely on surveys to make
sense of actors’ racial views and are oriented by methodological individualism.
In contrast, a minority of scholars study actors’ views as part of a racial
ideology expressing their collective group interests. Nevertheless, these latter
analysts have not developed a conceptual apparatus that can guide other
researchers. My task in this article then is advancing a formal conceptualization
of racial ideology and operationalizing it to facilitate using it in research. Using
data from the 1998 Detroit Area Study, I illustrate the elements of this paradigm.
In the explication of the various components of this paradigm, I discuss the
central features of contemporary racial ideology in the Unites States which I
label ‘colour blind racism’. I conclude with a short discussion of the implications of this paradigm and of colour blind racism.
Ideas, to repeat a commonplace, do not exist in a vacuum. They are expressions of social
forces, and explanations or rationalizations of observed phenomena.
Iclus A. Newby1
From the premier work of Theodore Adorno and Gordon Allport, mainstream
social analysts have relied on surveys as the chief instrument for assessing
actors’ racial attitudes. The conceptual framework that orients most of their work
is rather simple: prejudice → attitudes → discrimination.2 However, the most
salient element missing in their conceptual scheme is an analysis of power
dynamics: that is, these researchers do not connect racial beliefs to a system of
racial domination. Although Allport, unlike many of his contemporary followers,
attempted to explain prejudicial attitudes as the product of multiple forces, his
analysis was still essentially wedded to methodological individualism and not
connected to a system of racial domination. This conceptual limitation has led
ISSN 1356-9317 print; ISSN 1469-9613 online/03/010063-20  2003 Taylor & Francis Ltd
DOI: 10.1080/1356931032000042966
these researchers to a ‘clinical approach’ on racial attitudes—the search for
prejudiced and tolerant individuals in societies.
Because of its limitations, traditional survey research underestimates the
extent of race-based beliefs among whites in contemporary America. This
underestimation results from two related problems. First, because post-civil
rights racial dynamics and dilemmas have changed,3 researchers relying on
questions developed to measure racial attitudes in the Jim Crow era4 systematically overestimate the level of tolerance among whites. Second, because most
surveys provide a limited analytical context—often the somewhat mysterious
meaning of check marks on restricted questions and items—researchers assume
the meaning of ‘agree’ or ‘disagree’ answers in their surveys and the interpretation of their findings is not straightforward.
In sharp contrast to survey researchers, most qualitative researchers conceive
of ‘racism’ as having a structural foundation. Whether the product of colonized
class dynamics, racialized class dynamics, or racial dynamics,5 these authors
contend that ‘racism’ has a collective nature and thus affects the consciousness
of all actors in any society. Therefore, for these analysts ‘racism’ is not a
free-floating ideology but intrinsically connected to the field of racialized social
relations. Accordingly, these analysts are more concerned with extracting larger
common frames from their data than with attitudinal variation among individuals. Furthermore, whereas most survey researchers rely on ‘yes’ and ‘no’ type of
questions to make sense of respondents’ positions on very complex racial
matters, qualitative researchers base their research on ethnographies, interviews,
discourse analysis, and focus groups which allow them to get a deeper understanding of respondents’ views.
Qualitative researchers in the United States have been joined recently by a
growing number of survey analysts who, following the central work of Blumer,
analyse racial views from a broader perspective.6 Their analysis, which is
compatible with the theorization I develop in this article, has uncovered many
features of post-civil rights racial ideology. However, because these analysts still
depend heavily on survey data, they have not been able to uncover important
components of the ideological material used by whites to justify racial inequality. For example, because of the very nature of survey data, these analysts
are hard pressed to identify whites’ contemporary racetalk (specific linguistic
ways of articulating racial views), specific rationalizations for racial inequality,
deep cognitive connections between frames and racial issues, and racial stories
(see below).
In this article I do three things. First, I make a strong case for shifting the
paradigm for examining actors’ racial views from the individualistic framework
of the prejudice paradigm to the group-based framework of the racial ideology
paradigm. Second, because the racial ideology paradigm has not been properly
defined, I propose a conceptual apparatus to explicate how we ought to conceive
and study racial ideology. I anchor my theorization on a structural interpretation
of ‘racism’ and the work on ideology and discourse of van Dijk and Jackman.7
Third, I illustrate the components and primary social functions of racial ideology
with contemporary examples of ‘colour blind racism’8 from the 1998 Detroit
Area Study (DAS henceforth).9 Hence, although my central goal in this paper is
theoretical, I also describe the basic features of the dominant racial ideology in
the contemporary United States.
The racial ideology paradigm defined
All social life is essentially practical. All mysteries which lead theory to mysticism find
their rational solution in human practice and in the comprehension of this practice.
Karl Marx, Eighth Thesis on Feuerbach10
What social forces are expressed through individuals’ racial views? I contend
that individuals’ racial views fundamentally express at the semiotic level the
dynamics of real race relations. Although races, as social categories such as
class and gender, are socially constructed and thus permanently unstable categories of human identity and action, after they emerge in any society they
organize diverse forms of hierarchy that produce social relations of domination
and subordination. Thus, as Hanchard has argued, race operates ‘as a shuttle
between socially constructed meanings and practices, between subjective and
lived, material reality’.11 The engine that makes races—and race relations—
socially real is that in ‘racialized social systems’12 the race ascribed the superior
position receives economic, political, social, and even psychological (‘I may be
poor, but at least I am not black’) advantages while the race—or races—ascribed
the inferior position receives disadvantages. Not surprisingly, these groups
become social collectivities with different interests: the dominant race tends to
defend, justify, or accept the racial order, whereas the other race, or races,
attempt to change their position through various means.
Based on the preceding arguments, I suggest that a more fruitful approach for
examining actors’ racial views is the notion of racial ideology, or the raciallybased frameworks used by actors to explain and justify (dominant race) or
challenge (subordinate race or races) the racial status quo. Although modern
societies articulate various forms of hierarchy and, thus, societal ideology
encompasses frames from gender, racial, class, and other forms of hierarchical
structurations, I focus here on how aspects of the larger ‘ideological ensemble’13
play out in the field of race relations. I label these frameworks ‘racial’ albeit I
recognize that many (e.g. the frame of abstract liberalism) are used to justify
gender and class inequality.
Notwithstanding that all races have the capacity to develop these frameworks,
those of the dominant race become the master frameworks upon which all actors
ground (for or against) their ideological positions. Why is this the case?
Adapting Marx’s argument to situations of racial domination, which some
Marxist scholars have suggested can be done,14 explains why the ideas of the
dominant race tend to be the dominant ideas.
The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas, i.e., the class which is the
ruling material force of society, is at the same time its ruling intellectual force. The class
which has the means of material production at its disposal, has control at the same time
over the means of mental production, so that thereby, generally speaking, the ideas of those
who lack the means of mental production are subject to it. The ruling ideas are nothing
more than the ideal expression of the dominant material relationships, the dominant
material relationships grasped as ideas; hence of the relationships which make the one class
the ruling one, therefore, the ideas of its domination.15
But what is the foundation of these frameworks? From the ideology paradigm
standpoint, these frameworks are rooted in the group-based life conditions and
experiences of the races. These frameworks are the social representations16 of
the races: that is, the conscious and unconscious sum of ideas, prejudices, and
myths that crystallize the victories and defeats of the races regarding how the
world is and ought to be organized. According to Jeffrey Prager,17 these
frameworks embody the cultural material of ‘dead generations’ and operate as
‘public world-view[s], capable of being articulated, collectively arrived at,
negotiated, and systematically organized through public channels’.
Despite the fact that the dominant racial ideology crystallizes the interests of
the dominant race, that ideology is not fixed but highly interactive. The
flexibility of the dominant racial ideology enhances its legitimizing role because
it allows for accommodation of contradictions, exceptions, and new information.
As Jackman points out, ‘Indeed, the strength of an ideology lies in its loosejointed, flexible application. An ideology is a political instrument, not an
exercise in personal logic: consistency is rigidity, the only pragmatic effect of
which is to box oneself in’.18 The interactivity of the dominant racial ideology
stems from divisions between segments within the dominant race as well as from
debates between the races. For instance, white élites, because of their special
location in the complex matrix of domination typical of modern societies, exert
an inordinate influence on the ideas of white masses. However, it is a mistake
to interpret whites’ racial views as the direct effect of the ideological work of
white élites. Poor and middle-class whites are not passive repositories of some
‘objective interests’ or supra-consciousness that tells them what to believe, say,
feel, or do when in the presence of racial minorities. Instead, the white masses
have some real agency, that is, they participate in the construction, development,
and transformation of racial ideology since, after all, it is in their racial interest
to maintain white supremacy. Although élites attempt to sell their particular
racial projects19 to the masses, the masses themselves are agents in the
production and refinement of these projects. For example, although the present
racial crisis in the United States is partly the result of how neo-conservatives, the
Far Right, the Reagan Revolution, Clinton’s neo-liberal policies, and more
recently, George Bush’s ‘compassionate conservatism’ have played out in a
context of economic decline, the efforts of these groups have worked through the
long-standing racial divisions in America. When white workers express views
such as ‘They don’t want to work, because if they did, there wouldn’t be so
many of them selling drugs and getting in all kinds of problems’,20 they are not
just repeating élite views but expressing their race-based resentment toward
minorities based on their own experiences. Indeed, élite segments of racial
groups are in strategically advantageous positions for influencing the ‘public’,
but their views and projects are not ‘simply imposed, inculcated, or otherwise
passively adopted by the public’.21
The agency of the white masses also implies that individual members of the
dominant race can become ‘ideological dissidents’ or ‘race traitors’.22 For
example, intellectual, moral, or political concerns have led many individual
whites to challenge racial inequality throughout history. Yet, the William Lloyd
Garrisons and John Browns (whites who struggled for the abolition of slavery)
have always been a minority since committing racial treason involves going
against your collective interests. In practice, members of the subordinate race(s)
are more likely to commit racial treason since individuals who do so can
improve their standing (e.g. in the post-civil rights era, anti-minority individuals
such as Ward Connerly, Clarence Thomas, and Linda Chavez are handsomely
The interactivity of the dominant racial ideology also evinces the process of
‘racial contestation’23 between the races at all levels. Although as I stated above,
the ideas of the dominant race tend to be the dominant ideas in society,
ideological rule over the subordinate race(s) is never absolute, is always at best
partial, and is always contested. For example, if the United States has a new set
of dominant racial frames (see Table 1 below), it is because struggles in the past
(civil rights movements, race-based rebellions in ghettos, etc.) led to a change in
the ‘racial structure’—the specific social, political, and economic practices and
social arrangements that help reproduce racial domination. However, the new,
post-civil rights racial ideology incorporated many of the ideas endorsed by
racial minorities in the ‘sixties (equality of opportunity for all, eradication of
racist statements as illegitimate in public discourse, censorship of racist views on
the supposed biological-moral character of blacks, etc.) but in a hegemonic way,
that is, by including them in a manner that does not threaten white supremacy.
To facilitate using the racial ideology paradigm in research, I propose
conceiving racial ideology as an interpretative repertoire24 consisting of the
following three elements: frames, style or racetalk, and racial stories. Individual
actors employ these elements as ‘building blocks … for manufacturing versions
on actions, self, and social structures’ in communicative situations. The looseness of the elements allows users to manoeuvre various contexts (e.g. responding
to a race-related survey, discussing racial issues with family, or arguing about
affirmative action in a college classroom) and produce various accounts and
presentations of self (e.g. appearing ambivalent, tolerant, or strong-minded).
Although individual members of races may exhibit considerable rhetorical,
stylistic, and even affective variations, analysts can determine whether they are
breaking with the dominant repertoire, that is, if they are relying on a different
ideology altogether.
The first and most important element of an interpretive repertoire is its frames
or topics central to the maintenance (or challenge) of a racial order. Although
many frames have a long and deep history—e.g. racially-based fear of the
‘Other’, association of blackness with criminality, etc.—most are directly related
to the specific needs associated with the reproduction of a particular racial order.
These frames embody ‘folk theories’ that individuals use to explain race-related
matters. For example, during the Jim Crow era, the ideology of the colour line,
in contrast to the ideology of slavery which emphasized blacks’ sub-humanity
and natural servility, focused on keeping blacks ‘in their place’.
The civil rights rebellion, in conjunction with other social, economic, and
demographic changes that transpired in the 1960s, dramatically altered the nature
of America’s racial structure. No longer do blacks and other minorities face the
indignities of having to sit at the back of the bus or of confronting signs stating
‘No blacks and Mexicans allowed’. Nevertheless, the death of Jim Crow has not
meant the death of white supremacy. Instead, as several analysts have argued, a
‘new racism’ has replaced the old racial structure.25 In contemporary America
racial privilege is reproduced in a mostly covert, institutional, and apparently
non-racial manner that does not depend on overt expressions of hostility. For
example, whereas blacks and Latinos were excluded through housing covenants
and racial terror from certain neighbourhoods in the past, today racial exclusion
is accomplished through steering by ‘realtors’, not advertising units, and unequal
access to loans. Similarly, whereas racial privilege in the economic realm was
maintained by reserving the good jobs for whites and by paying minorities less
than whites when they worked in the same jobs, today the economic shackles are
reproduced through strategies such as testing which is not relevant to job
performance, advertising of jobs in factories where racial minorities have little
representation, and by racializing jobs even at the top of the occupational
Accordingly, post-civil rights racial ideology reflects the character of the new
racial order. Instead of relying on an in-your-face set of beliefs (‘Minorities are
behind us because they are stupid or biologically inferior’), the new ideology is
as indirect, slippery, and apparently non-racial as the new ways of maintaining
racial privilege. I label this new ideology colour blind racism and argue that it
is centrally anchored in the abstract extension of egalitarian values to racial
minorities and the notion that racial minorities are culturally rather than biologically deficient. I summarize the central frames of colour blind racism in Table
1. Below I describe two of the frames of colour blind racism (abstract liberalism
and naturalization) and provide examples of how whites use them.
The most important frame of colour blind racism is abstract liberalism. When
minorities were slaves, contract laborers, or ‘braceros’ (Mexicans brought as
agricultural workers), the principles of liberalism and humanism were not
extended to them. Today whites extend the ideas associated with liberalism to
minorities, but in an abstract way that rationalizes racially unfair situations.
Because of the curious way in which liberalism’s principles are used in the
post-civil rights era, other analysts label modern racial ideology ‘laissez-faire
racism’ or ‘competitive racism’ or argue that modern racism is essentially a
combination of the ‘American Creed’ with anti-black resentment.27 The importance of this frame is evident in that whites use it on a host of issues ranging from
affirmative action and interracial friendship and marriage to neighbourhood and
Table 1. Central frames of colour blind racism
(1) Abstract liberalism: This frame incorporates tenets associated with political (e.g., ‘equal
opportunity’, the idea that force should not be used to achieve social policy, etc.) and economic (e.g.,
choice and individualism) liberalism in an abstract and decontextu…
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