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Kismartoni Sociology May 27 1998 Racism and Prejudice Background People of the world are part of different races which share different biologically transmitted traits that members of society deem socially significant Nineteenth-century biologist labeled people with relatively light skin and fine hair as Caucasians they called those with darker skin and coarser curlier hair Negroid and people with yellow or brown skin and distinctive folds on the eyelids were termed Mongoloid Sociologist consider such categories misleading since we now know that no society is composed of biologically pure individuals because of the human migration and the interracial births People with different races have different ethnicity or different shared cultural heritage Members of an ethnic category have common ancestor language or religion that together confer a distinctive social identity Race and ethnicity are different since one is biological and the other is cultural But the two sometimes go hand in hand Some people distinguished by physical or cultural traits are socially disadvantaged this category of persons is called a racial or ethnic minority Minorities share the same identity they are set apart and subordinated Minorities often suffer from prejudice what is a rigid and irrational generalization about an entire category of people with little regard for the facts Prejudices can be positive or negative Prejudices combine to form a stereotype which involves emotions like love and loyalty generally toward members of ingroups or hate and fear toward outgroups they are exaggerated images that are hard to change even in the face of contradictory evidence Racism is a more powerful and destructive form of prejudice racism refers to the belief that one racial category is innately superior or inferior to another Today racism remains a serious social problem everywhere as people still contend that some racial and ethnic categories are better than others are Social scientist have came up with various theories to explain prejudice The first
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