5 Must Know Concepts of Race and Ethnicity

(W.E.B. Du Bois)
Last week I posted an article on the 6 sociological concepts that I thought everyone should know about. For this article, I decided to do the same -- except with concepts of race and ethnicity. So to keep the introduction short, here they are, the 5 must know concepts of race and ethnicity:

6 Must Know Sociological Concepts

Sociology is a complex social science. There are a lot of ideas in and it can get confusing. But, to make things easier, here are 6 concepts to introduce you to it.

On Everything Sociology, we've gone over many concepts. 

And since the holidays are here, I thought I'd make a (half) year in review so you can pick and choose what you want to re-read during the lonely, cold days of your break. 

So without further to do, here are the 6 must-know sociological concepts from Introduction to Sociology:

White Supremacy: Colonizing the Mind

The term white supremacy is often only used when people sit around and discuss Hitler and his band of Nazis or when people talk about the Grand Wizard and the Ku Klax Klan's latest shenanigans, as they believe that white supremacy only happens when there is a physical force. But what many don't seem to realize is that it also occurs at a psychological level. White supremacy is the colonizing of the mind.

The Hybrid

(This article was originally posted on my other blog, PunchPunchFrontKick.com. However, I recently decided to halt that site, and felt compelled to re-post this article here.)

(The Great Wave by Katsushika Hokusai)
Conflicted by two cultures, the Hybrid has to constantly learn what to absorb and what to abandon. What is right? What is wrong? What do I believe in? Confused by these questions as she walks the road of life, the Hybrid never really fits in completely and never sees herself properly represented. "What am I?" the Hybrid often asks. When she travels to her motherland, everyone acts differently from her. When she comes home to North America, she never truly fits into society because she practices "the other" ethnicity. "So, what am I?"

Concepts of Race and Ethnicity: Double Consciousness

(W.E.B. Du Bois)
This week, we continue with the concepts of race and ethnicity. For this article, I will discuss W.E.B. Du Bois' concept of double-consciousness. This is one of the most important concepts as it will help you with becoming ecstatic. So take your time to digest it.

Concepts of Race and Ethnicity: Otherness and Collective Memory of Oppression

In the last article, I talked about Jean-Paul Restoule's idea of "identity" and "identifying." For this article, as we continue on with the concepts of race and ethnicity, I will discuss Susan Judith Ship's theory of "otherness" and "collective memory."

Sociology of Identifying and Identity

(Chicago Blackhawks team logo)

Continuing on with Theories of Race and Ethnicity, I will talk about the sociological definitions of identifying and identity, which was coined by Jean-Paul Restoule, in this article. This is an important concept to grasp because it is a such a great tool for understanding yourself and your true feelings
about your ethnicity.

Concepts of Race and Ethnicity Continued

(A picture from the Holocaust. Via http://www.mtholyoke.edu)
On the previous Sociology of Race and Ethnicity article, I talked about what 'race' is and how it is not real. I also discussed the concepts of racism and discrimination. For this article, I will continue on with the concepts from this subject.

What is Peter Berger's Society as Drama?

Peter Berger's society as drama is a thought-provoking concept that examines the idea of humans being characters in a theatrical drama. 

Peter Berger, in his work Invitation to Sociology, brings up Erving Goffman's interesting idea of society being a drama. In this theory, Goffman says that humans are just characters with roles (specific ones based on their group) that society has given them.

For instance, a doctor is meant to have the role of a healer. But if we look deeper into society, we can see that it also hands out the roles of the scary thug black man or the obedient wife with great kitchen skills. For Berger, he believes that we have to use this knowledge to escape the "tyranny of society."

What is the Sociology of Crime and Deviance?


The sociology of crime and deviance is the examination of what society views as criminal and deviant behaviours and why. 

When sociologists study deviance, they look at people or groups who violate social norms, such as drug addicts, murderers, child molesters, Satanists, Nazis, etc, and then observe to see why society deems these people/groups as deviants. Sociologists also try to figure out how these individuals/groups became full-fledged deviants.

As well, some sociologists also consider people with conditions such as mental illness, disabilities, obesity, etc, as deviants. But not because of the person's personal self, but rather because of how society looks at and treats them; they are not acceptable in the eyes of their fellow humans.

What is the Sociology of Race and Ethnicity?

(W.E.B du Bois)

The sociology of race and ethnicity is the study of the construction of race and how this affects society.

The Sociology of Race and Ethnicity was my favorite course back in university because it revealed so many aspects of people and society that I didn't realize. I hope that through this post -- and many more like it -- you will achieve the same realizations I did.

Sociology of Social Stratification

(Karl Marx)

Social stratification is society's way of ranking people based on a hierarchal system of property, prestige, and/or power.

There are two different types of stratification. The caste system and the class system. Caste ranks people based on whose family they were born into, while class ranks people based on both birth and a person's achievements.

What is the Sociology of Sexuality and Gender?

The sociology of gender is the study of gender in society. It examines the effects of socialization and the construction of each.

According to social scientists, sex and gender are two different things. A person's sex defines what they are biologically. Are you a girl or a boy? Male or female? Sex answers these questions. 

Gender, however, is the different social behaviors between males and females and how groups of power have exploited people based on it. I am a man, therefore I will go out and hunt, and protect the family. You are a woman, therefore you will stay back, and gather fruits and take care of the children. Basically, it looks at the different gender roles that society has created.

What is the Sociology of Religion?

The sociology of religion looks at the sacred, awe-inspiring beliefs and practices of a community. 

Sociologists tend to look at how the procedures of fundamentalism and secularization are influenced by religious pluralism -- a system where more than one religion is accepted in a society.

They also investigate why people join religions, why certain religions are more widespread, and how religion affects people's behaviour, to name a few areas that they study.

What is the Sociology of Family?

The Sociology of Family is the study of the different types of families. It investigates how a person enters each and how this can affect society. 

A family is defined as a group of two or more people who are related -- and consider themselves as such -- by blood, marriage or adoption.

When studying families, sociologists like to look at demographics, social class, ideology, domain, and interaction.  They research these areas to learn why certain beliefs and/or lifestyles, for instance, are more prevalent in certain areas (or societies) over others.

An illustration of socialization

Young and Dangerous
Here is a story to illustrate last week's concept of socialization.

I am an owner of a start-up and every month I have to go to the bank to deposit my earnings, which happens to be mostly cash. But this one time (maybe my fifth or sixth time going to that back), the teller, who was a middle aged white lady, was very suspicious with me and kept asking me personal questions and very specific questions about my business, and even though I cheerfully answered them, she made me feel very uncomfortable because I knew in the back of my mind that she was only hassling me because I was young, didn't dress like a businessman and Asian (this feeling is referred to as double consciousness, but we will explore this further later on).

On Cooley's and Mead's Theories of Socialization

(Charles Horton Cooley)

Socialization is the process whereby social institutions teach their members how to properly interact in a society. It also helps its members develop a sense of self (the "self" is a unique sense of identity that distinguishes people from others). 

But socialization can also be negative. A lot of times it can develop people into conforming citizens rather than free-thinkers or people with agency (a person's capacity to act independently; to have free will). 

The 4 Paradigms of Sociology

Emile Durkheim

For this week's article, I will take a very textbook approach. What I mean by this is that I will simply give you the definition of the sociological concept and a short example. The reason being is that these ideas are very broad, as they are tools used by sociologists to analyze issues of social institutions. 

So rather than giving you an in-depth, descriptive example of each paradigm, I will save it for when I write about the sociology of family or the sociology of religion.

My goal with this article is to get you to be familiar with the four major schools/ideologies of sociology so that you can start thinking about it, and maybe even applying it to the real world. So without further to do, let's get started:

1) Functionalism (Macro sociological)

Functionalism is the relationship and interdependency between all social groups, big and small. When a change occurs to one, other institutions will be affected as well.

An example of this would be the relationship between the economy and recent grads. Back in 2008, when the economy was hit with the financial crash, many new grads weren't able to find professional employment because companies were trying to cut costs by lowering the number of people working for them.

Functionalism is also broken into three sub-groups:
  • Manifest Function - The intended result.
  • Latent Function - The unintended result.
  • Dysfunction - The harmful result.

2) Conflict Theory (Macro sociological)

Conflict theory looks at the inequalities of life/society.

An example would be the narrative of some very wealthy people using their money and status to persuade the government into creating policies that are beneficial for the rich but are (the majority of the time) detrimental to the middle class and the poor.

3) Symbolic Interaction (Micro sociological)

W.I. Thomas

Symbolic interaction looks at how individuals interact with one another. Symbolic interactionists believe that society, or people's social reality, is created as people interact with one another, and not something that has been predetermined.

For example, if we, as a group, were to collectively view immigrants as a negative element of society, then immigrants will be a negative element of society because this is the definition that we have developed for them in our minds. The root of this example is based on the Thomas Theorem.

4) Feminists Perspective (Macro and micro-sociological)

The feminists perspective looks at the inequality among the genders, due to the dominance of men in major social institutions, such as education and work. It also looks at the efforts of women in overcoming discrimination.

An example of this would be the pay gap between men and women. If one male and one female with the same looking resume and same personality traits were to work at the same job and complete the same amount of work, the man would have higher pay than the woman, according to studies. This is why many women challenge big corporations and fight for equal pay.

RELATED: Sociologist's Tools

So there it is. These are the four paradigms of society. So now that you have an understanding of the theories and a gist of how society works, which paradigm do you think best describes your society? Is it just one, or a combination? Write your thoughts in the comments section.

P.S. Do you want to learn more about sociology? Check out my book,  SOCI 001: The Armchair Sociologist’s Guide to Sociology, on Amazon. It's a clear and concise guide with descriptive examples to help you better understand this social science. Click here to learn more about it.

What is C. Wright Mills' Sociological Imagination?

C. Wright Mills
The Sociological Imagination is a book and theory developed by contemporary sociologist C. Wright Mills.

In this theory, Mills explains that to truly understand society and a person's situation, we must not just look at the social issue from an everyday viewpoint. We must use some creativity and imagination by trying to understand the person's story and the society that they were brought up in (or how the social institutions they were involved with affected them).

What is Sociology?

W.E.B Du Bois
Sociology, as defined by many, is the empirical study of society. In other words, it is the scientific examination of social institutions and the study of methods that are used to investigate society.

For a clearer definition, McGill University defines sociology as:
"Sociology examines the underlying patterns in human behavior and our relationships with one another. Pretty much anything involving more than one person is fair game for sociologists. The subject matter of sociology ranges from the intimate family to the hostile mob; from organized crime to religious traditions; from the divisions of race, gender and social class to the shared beliefs of the common culture."
But the study of sociology is much more than that, as it teaches its students about society's hierarchy of power, how to analyze it, and how to make fellow humans conscious of the invisible ladder.