Race is a social construction
Please see the guidelines on RAMCT for full instructions.
1) Scholars often claim that “race is a social construction”? What does it mean to say that race is socially constructed? How does race come into existence if it is socially constructed?
2) Some people claim that our currently existing racial categories (e.g. Asian, Black, Latino, White, etc) are fundamentally biological or genetic in nature. Describe some of the problems with arguing that race, as we commonly understand it, is biological or genetic.
3) Describe changes in U.S. census racial categories. Why did those categories change over time? What were some of the changes?
4) Describe the role of the state and the legal system in creating and perpetuating racial categories in the United States.
5) For this question I want to watch the documentary film 9500 Liberty. Apply Social Closure theory and Social Identity theory to the situation described in the documentary. First, you should clearly define the theory. Then, you must explain how the theory explains some of what you observed in the film. Make sure you cite specific moments in the film to make your case. You can find the film here: http://www.snagfilms.com/films/title/9500_liberty.
6) Describe some of the evidence for labor market discrimination that we reviewed in class. Based upon this evidence, how would you characterize the state of labor market discrimination today?
7) In class and in the readings you learned about several plausible causes of mass incarceration. Describe some of these causes. Which do you think is the best explanation? Or, what combination of explanations do you think explain mass incarceration the best?
8) As we discussed in class, the U.S. has an unusually high prison population. Statistics indicate that there are strong racial patterns in incarceration. Briefly describe some of those patterns and then provide some explanation for these patterns.
9) According to Michelle Alexander what is “The new Jim Crow”? Describe her argument.
10) As we discussed in class, it is plausible to argue that some people benefit from mass incarceration and other people suffer the consequences of mass incarceration. Who might benefit from mass incarceration and in what way do they benefit?
11) Describe some of the consequences of mass incarceration. How does mass incarceration effect black and Latino individuals and communities? What are some of the long-term implications of locking so many people up?
12) In class we discussed several explanations for labor market discrimination. Describe at least two of those explanations; you may describe more explanations if you want to. Of the possible explanations for labor market discrimination, which do you think provides the best explanation? Or, what combination of explanations provides the best explanation?
Mid Term Questions SOC 205 Mayer
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