In the early years of the United States, dominant-minority relations were shaped by the agrarian technology and the economic need to control land and labor. The agrarian era ended in the 1800s, and the U. S. has gone through two major transformations in subsistence technology since, each of which has transformed dominant-minority relations and required the creation of new structures and processes to maintain racial stratification and white privilege (Healey, p.
131).The early 1800s to the mid-1900s was the industrial revolution, where machines replaced animal and human labor. Today’s society is known as the postindustrial or deindustrialized society which brought even more changes to social organization and new technologies. However, race and ethnicity continue to affect life chances and limit opportunities for minority group members even in the new system.
In Chapter 3, Healey presents two hypotheses that explain the creation of dominant-minority relations.Central to these is the idea that these are shaped by the subsistence technology of a society. According to the Noel hypothesis, the conditions of the contact situation when two groups meet is the single most important factor in the development of dominant-minority relations. This is called the "Contact Situation.
" The Noel hypothesis shows that the presence of ethnocentrism, the competition, and the power differential between groups at the time of contact will result in some form of racial or ethnic stratification (i. e. , dominant-minority relations), (Healey, p. 101).
Ethnocentrism tells the dominant group whom to dominate, competition tells the dominant group why it should establish a structure of dominance, and power is how the dominant group’s will is imposed on the minority group (Healey, p. 102). The Blauner hypothesis theorized that minority groups created by colonization will experience more intense prejudice, racism, and discrimination than those created by immigration. He also suggests that the colonized groups will have a more difficult time overcoming their disadvantaged position in society than will immigrant groups.
This hypothesis is illustrated by the story of slavery in the U. S. Blauner's hypothesis helps explain why blacks from Africa became slaves and not other ethnic groups. According to Blauner, blacks were forced into slavery by white colonists who had more resources at their disposal, hence, their power (Hoffarth, 2006).
They were forced into the subordinate position of a slave and were denied the opportunity to assimilate. Because of their distinctive physical traits, black slaves could not escape from one part of the country and try to blend in another.In colonial America, slavery became one and the same with race. Race, slavery, inferiority, and powerlessness became intertwined in ways that, according to many analysts, still affect the ways black and white Americans think about one another (Hacker, 1992in (Healey, p.
108)). Prejudice and racism are more the results of systems of racial and ethnic inequality than they are the causes; they serve to rationalize and “explain” these systems and the behavior of the majority.Healey continues this study of dominant-minority relations in Ch. 4.
He shows that despite changes in subsistence technology, and the opportunities for minority groups that have accompanied these changes, minority status has been maintained. The rigid-competition system of industrialization was when minority groups were more “free” to compete with dominant groups and faced repression because of this (i. e. , the de jure segregation of the Jim Crow system).This was followed by a more fluid competition system of the post-industrial society, where more opportunity exists still, but intergroup conflict results from the greater competition between groups and racial stratification and inequality persist in the form of modern institutional discrimination. The structure of gender relations throughout these transitions, help us understand the sense of minority group powerlessness.
Slaves in the American system were brutally repressed and exploited, but females faced greater subordination.For black female slaves, inequalities tripled and they became the most vulnerable group to sexual victimization. For example, the men of the dominant group saw their female slaves as a resource for more profit. They were often raped and used to breed more slaves for their owners to sell. Under the Jim Crow system, African American women were “free” but were relegated to domestic service or agricultural positions, and denied access to the education needed for social mobility. In the postindustrial era, structural inequality is less overt, but exclusions for opportunity abound in housing, and career mobility.
The repetition of the past is astounding. In the era of globalization, the subsistence economy is global, and new groups are increasingly integrated into this system. While slavery seems to be of past eras, its modern form has found its place in the current global economy. Most Americans today seem to look at slavery as a distant piece of history. Slavery and indentured servitude can still be found around the world, on every continent, in advanced industrial societies, including the United States.
Today it’s known as human trafficking. “There are an estimated 27 million adults and 13 million children around the world who are victims of human trafficking, and approximately 75-80% of those are for sex. After sex, the most common form of human trafficking is forced labor. Researchers argue that as the economic crisis deepens, the number of people trafficked for forced labor will increase,” (Skinner, 2008). Human trafficking is a global phenomenon that is fueled by poverty and gender discrimination.Contemporary slavery takes a variety of forms, but all feature dynamics similar to those noted in the Noel hypothesis: the motivation is supplied by a desire for profits and the populations from which slaves are taken are relatively powerless and lack the resources to defend themselves (Healey).
“Some of these modern forms of involuntary servitude are quite different from the system of American slavery. Instead of a journey from Africa that could last months, modern slaves can be shipped around the globe in a matter of hours or days. Instead of cotton plantations, slaves today work in factories or brothels.Like all forms of slavery, the modern versions are involuntary, coercive, and maintained by violence and force,” (Healey, p.
112). To know that slavery still exists 200 years later is upsetting. How can this postindustrial, well-educated world still have this problem? Globalization has not resulted in equal development, and there are winners and losers. The post industrial condition of some countries continues to depend on the agrarian and industrial phases of others. This has resulted in a global division of labor, of which women and children face the greatest levels of exploitation.