Eventually, South Africa’s native population took over and the dominant group is no longer the white minority in that country. A dominant group is defined by who holds economic, political, social, or coercive power over the minority.
b. A minority group is defined as the group that is dominated by the dominant group. Again, in South Africa, the minority groups were 90% of the population while the dominant group was only 10% of the overall population. The dominant group has the power over the minority group despite the numbers of either group. In South Africa, 10% of the population held the power over 90% of the population.
C. Racial categories are considered social because they are a division of people based upon appearance only. Before genetics race was considered proof that there was a significant difference between peoples. Genetics proved that despite outward differences in appearance all people were part of one genetic race. Differences in appearance are the outward adaptation to climate or region. Racial categories are still used to divide peoples and those who hold prejudices against others base their prejudices upon the assumption that one racial make up is inferior to another. Again, genetics does not support this belief. Another reason race is a social issue is because it is easy to point to someone and point out their differences. Most often race is an issue for the dominant group and is defined by the dominant group.
d. The main difference between race and ethnicity is that race is defined by the dominant group whereas ethnicity is self defined. Ethnicity can be defined by language, cultural activities, and religion. Sometimes ethnicity is defined by physical characteristics such as clothing or modesty. Ethnic groups located in the United States include Hispanics, American Indians, Jews, African Americans, and white Americans. Ethnicity can be identified by how people celebrate (Christmas for example.) and how people mourn their dead. Many African Americans share a common desire for foods that have been passed down from one generation to another. These include fried chicken and collard greens. Many Mexican Americans still prefer Mexican fare such as tortillas and refried beans. And, as more and more cultures assimilate in the United States the identification as American can include foods considered ‘American’ such as hot dogs and apple pie.
Three social paradigms exist. Each paradigm describes human behavior and society. Social scientists use social paradigms to explain their viewpoints about what is happening in society and why. Paradigms describe only and cannot be enacted or made to happen.
Figure 1 (Fox Valley Technical College 2000)
a. The Conflict Paradigm
The social conflict paradigm is characterized by conflict and inequality. It is a paradigm that seeks to answer such questions as what are the social inequalities, where does the conflict exist, and are their winners or losers The conflict paradigm asserts that society is made up of everyday interactions. The best way to think of it is as a society of ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’. For example, when driving along the highway you can almost bet on what the income level or socioeconomic class a person is in by looking at the car they drive. .