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Ethnic Stratification and Assimilation The uneven distribution of advantages material rewards opportunities and power among groups is due to stratification within a society Ethnic stratification is a system of structured inequality in which people receive different amounts of societys resources based on someones ethnic group Level of power is determined according to a persons differences from the dominant group These differences are generally cultural and physical The ethnic groups most similar to the dominant group are more highly ranked and those that are considerably different are ranked low The lower ranked groups generally take a subordinate position to those of the dominant group This comparison of ethnic groups to ones owns group is called ethnocentrism Marger 40-1 Ethnocentrism is one of the building blocks for ethnic stratification When you add competition for the same scarce resources and different levels of power it will lead to the development of ethnic stratification When the dominant culture has been determined the wider the gap in distribution of power determines the strength of the stratification system The more powerful the dominant group is the stronger the system is The dominant group uses its power to block the development of other groups and to solidify their own superiority Marger 47-8 The United States has a stratification system based primarily on physical appearances The top levels include white Protestants The intermediate levels include white Catholics Jews and many Asians The bottom level includes Blacks Hispanics American Indians and some Asians Marger 150 The enslavement of African Americans in the United States is one of the most obvious examples of these divisions It was said that African Americans were heathens due to their religious differences so it was justifiable to enslave them This argument does not seem to have any substance considering that African Americans who converted to Christianity remained slaves Instead it seems to be more closely related to the color of
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