Sociology : Theoretical Approaches to Race and Ethnicity

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for Sociology

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Theoretical Approaches To Race And Ethnicity

Which of the following theoretical approaches to racism has been critiqued by sociologists as an unproductive method to address racism because it avoids addressing racism as a social problem?

Possible Answers:

Egalitarianism 

Color blindness

None of these

Education

Affirmative action

Correct answer:

Color blindness

Explanation:

"Color blindness" is an approach to end racist thoughts by assuming that color makes no difference modern society. Sociologists have critiqued this approach because it refuses to recognize that racism still exists in society as observed in unequal access to wealth and education. Also, sociologists contend that whites possess inherent individuality and identity that is granted by their social class. On the other hand, persons of color often have to fight for these same rights. "Affirmative action" and "egalitarianism" attempt to equal the playing field by permitting representative numbers of ethnic groups into particular positions and basing social promotions on merit rather than other factors, respectively. Last, educated individuals tend to be less racist; therefore, it is an effective approach to reduce racist thoughts and expand unequal access to education. 

Example Question #2 : Theoretical Approaches To Race And Ethnicity

A 13 year old girl who has grown up in an American Jewish family celebrates her Bat Mitzvah despite not practicing Judaism. This is an example of:

Possible Answers:

Symbolic ethnicity

Cultural heritage

Situational Culture

Situational ethnicity

Symbolic Culture

Correct answer:

Symbolic ethnicity

Explanation:

The answer is symbolic ethnicity because the Bat Mitzvah is a part of the girl's Jewish ethnic heritage. Despite not being a practicing Jew, the Bat Mitzvah is a way for her and her family to symbolically celebrate being Jewish. It is not situational ethnicity because the girl is not exactly showing or hiding her ethnicity throughout different social situations, but instead celebrating it symbolically.

Example Question #3 : Theoretical Approaches To Race And Ethnicity

According to T.H. Marshall, citizenship is a bundle of rights that come in sequential order. Which category of rights comes last?

Possible Answers:

Civil rights

Both civil and political rights

Social rights

Political rights

Correct answer:

Social rights

Explanation:

According to T.H. Marshall, citizenship is fully realized once groups and individuals are granted social rights (or welfare rights), because social rights are granted only to citizens. In order to get access to social rights, individuals must first be recognized as bearers of civil and political rights. 

Example Question #4 : Theoretical Approaches To Race And Ethnicity

What is the difference between race and ethnicity?

Possible Answers:

None of these

Race and ethnicity are synonymous

Race is based on obvious physical differences that have taken on social significance, while ethnicity is based on national or cultural origins

They mean almost the same thing, however ethnicity is based on more visible differences

Ethnicity is based on obvious physical differences that have taken on social significance, while race is based on national or cultural origins

Correct answer:

Race is based on obvious physical differences that have taken on social significance, while ethnicity is based on national or cultural origins

Explanation:

Race and ethnicity are different because for one thing, people can be of the same ethnicity but of a different race. Race is based on physical traits that society has deemed as important differentiators. For instance, skin color, but not eye or hair color, are socially important in distinguishing race. Ethnicity on the other hand is not necessarily tied to race, though physical factors may be involved. Ethnicity is more of an identity based on one's culture and upbringing. Examples of ethnicities would be Mexicans, Jews, or Italian-Americans. People of these ethnicities could in theory be of the same race within a society (say, if they are all white or European-descended) however their different ethnicities are based in culture and practices.

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