Individual Assignment 4

Individual Assignment 4

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  • Race
  • Social Evolution and Darwinism
  • Social Evolution and Darwinism
  • and
  • and
  • VS.
  • Source: Little, 2013. Whittington-Walsh, 2018. 
  • A race is a group of people, often with similar physical characteristics, who are descended from the same ancestry. Examples of distinguishable characteristics are skin colour, hair, and facial features. Race is now a social construct, and a social category which gives or denies access to resources, social class, and power.
  • Stereotypes
  • Boys aren't as creative as girls! You're from a poor neighbourhood, so you will never succeed... You play football? Jocks are dumb.
  • Source: Whittington-Walsh, 2018. 
  • Herbert Spencer applied Charles Darwin’s famous theory of evolution to societies. Spencer said that societies change and grow much like organisms. Society grows from a simple to complex society, and some societies change faster than others. Social Darwinism is the belief that in order to be successful societies must adapt and grow - those that do not, perish. Spencer made the connection from society to race. 
  • To Kill a Mockingbird Example #1
  • "In our courts, when it's a white man's word against a black man's, the white man always wins. They're ugly, but those are the facts of life. The one place where a man ought to get a square deal is in a courtroom... but people have a way of carrying their resentments right into a jury box." (Ch. 23. Lee, 1960)
  • Source: Little, 2013. Whittington-Walsh, 2018. 
  • Simpler societies meant a simpler race, and thus began the basis of racism. Social Darwinism enforced the belief that Non-Western societies who were not caught up with Western industrialization, were of lesser intelligence and value than the Western societies. This created a social hierarchy with Westerners on the top. These ideas justified inequalities that the "lesser" races would face.
  • To Kill a Mockingbird Example #2
  • Stereotypes reduce people to characteristics. People latch on to facial features, expressions, and personality types, and exaggerate these to form an idea about a certain group of people. Stereotyping creates an "us and them" mentality - dividing the "normal" from the "abnormal". It causes people to subconsciously judge others based on stereotypes they have heard of.  Sources: Whittington-Walsh, 2018. Little, 2013.
  • Girls aren't as smart as boys. You'll just grow up to be a housewife. You shouldn't play soccer, you're a girl... you're not fast OR strong!
  • Source: Lee, 1960.
  • Racism in the Courthouse In the above quote, one of the main characters Atticus in Harper Lee's novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, is speaking of the disadvantage African-Americans have in the courthouse of the fictional town Maycomb. Atticus believes that no matter a person's colour, they should have a fair chance at trial. Sadly, in Maycomb racism trumps all and a man is wrongly persecuted for a crime because of his skin colour.
  • Calpurnia A more accepted form of racism in Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird was in the home. Calpurnia was employed as the Finch family's housekeeper. Although this was considered a good job for an African-American woman in this time, it would never be accepted today. Even Atticus, who ridicules the racism displayed by the people of Maycomb and defends a black man in court, is still part of this aspect of racism. 
  • Source: Lee, 1960.
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