Unit 4, Chapter 7 Notes: Ethnicity Where Are Ethnicities Distributed?



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Unit 4, Chapter 7 Notes: Ethnicity

    1. Where Are Ethnicities Distributed?

  • Ethnicity is identity with a group of people who share the cultural traditions of a particular homeland or hearth.

  • Race is identity with a group of people who share a biological ancestor.

    • Distribution of persons of color matters to geographers.

      • One’s skin color can determine where they reside, attend school, spend their leisure time, and perform life’s daily activities in some societies.

  • Every 10 years, the U.S. Bureau of the Census conducts an enumeration of the population.

    • Its survey identifies three main ethnicities.

      • Asian American

      • African American

        • Americans who identify as a group with an extensive cultural tradition with origins in Africa

      • Hispanic

        • Americans who are from Spanish-speaking countries.

  • Distribution of Ethnicities in the United States

  • Ethnic groups may live in particular regions and particular communities within cities and states.

    • Regional Scale

    • Urban Scale

      • African Americans and Hispanics are highly clustered in urban areas.

        • Ex: Chicago

          • Neighborhoods on the south and west side of Chicago have extensive African American clusters.

        • Ex: Los Angeles

          • African Americans in south-central L.A.

          • Hispanics in east L.A.

          • Asian Americans in south and west L.A.

    1. Why Do Ethnicities Have Distinctive Distributions?

  • International Migration of Ethnicities

    • Most African Americans are descended from Africans forced to migrate to the Western Hemisphere as slaves during the eighteenth century.

    • Most Asian Americans and Hispanics are descended from voluntary immigrants to the United States during the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.

  • Forced Migration from Africa

    • Different European countries acquired slaves from various regions of Africa, then sent them to the Americas.

      • Examples

        • Portuguese shipped slaves from their colonies in Angola and Mozambique to their American colony, Brazil.

        • Other European countries took slaves primarily from a coastal strip of West Africa between Liberia and the Congo, then sent them to the Caribbean islands and Central and South America.

  • Voluntary Migration from Latin America and Asia

    • Latin America

      • Immigration from Mexico and Puerto Rico fueled rapid growth of Hispanics in the United States beginning in the 1970s.

      • Third largest group of Hispanics came to United States from Cuba.

    • Asia

      • Ranking of sending countries

        • 1) China 2) India 3) Philippines 4) Korea 5) Vietnam

  • Internal Migration of African Americans

    • African Americans have displayed two distinct internal migration patterns in the United States during the twentieth century.

      • Interregional migration from the U.S. South to northern cities during the first half of the twentieth century

      • Intraregional migration from inner-city ghettos to outer city and inner suburban neighborhoods during the second half of the twentieth century

    • Interregional Migration

      • Freed as slaves, most African Americans remained in the rural South during the late nineteenth century, working as sharecroppers—works fields rented from a landowner and pays rent by turning over a share of the crops to him or her.

      • Mechanization of agriculture served as a push factor, while manufacturing jobs in the north acted as a pull factor that encouraged African Americans to migrate to the northern cities.

        • Traveled by bus and car along the major two-lane long-distance U.S. roads

      • African Americans arriving at northern cities clustered in neighborhoods where existing African Americans already lived.

        • Areas came to be known as ghettos.

      • Over time, ghettos grew outward typically along major avenues that radiated out from the center of city.

      • Many whites fled their neighborhoods when blacks began moving in nearby.

        • Ex. Detroit’s white population dropped by 1.5 million from 1950 to 2000.

  • Segregation by Ethnicity and Race

    • U.S. Supreme Court upheld a Louisiana law that required blacks and whites to ride in separate railway cars.

      • Plessy v. Ferguson, states that the law was constitutional, because it provided separate, but equal, treatment of blacks and whites.

    • Southern states enacted a set of laws commonly referred to as the “Jim Crow” laws to segregate black from whites.

      • Ex: Blacks had to sit in the backs of buses, and shops, restaurants, and hotels could choose to serve only whites.

      • Why Do Ethnicities Have Distinctive Distributions?

  • South Africa Apartheid

    • White descendants from Holland enacted a legal system intended to segregate its people called apartheid.

      • Defined: physical separation of different races into different geographic areas

    • Newborn baby was classified as being one of four races: 1) black 2) white 3) colored 4) Asian

      • Each race had a different legal status and associated rights in regards to where one could live, attend school, work, shop, and own land.

    • Apartheid laws repealed in 1991.


7.3 Why Do Conflicts Arise among Ethnicities?

  • Ethnicities and Nationalities

    • Nationality is identity with a group of people who share legal attachment and personal allegiance to a particular country.

    • Nationality shares similar concepts with ethnicity.

    • Nationality differs with ethnicity in terms of legal standing.

      • Nationality defined through shared experiences derived from voting, obtaining a passport, and performing civic duties.

      • Why Do Ethnicities Have Distinctive Distributions?

  • Nationalities in North America

    • Distinguishing between nationality, ethnicity, and race in the United States

      • Nationality identifies citizens of the United States

      • Ethnicity identifies groups with distinct ancestry and cultural traditions.

        • Ex: African Americans and Hispanic Americans

      • Race distinguishes blacks and other persons of color from whites.

      • Why Do Ethnicities Have Distinctive Distributions?

  • Ethnic Competition

    • Ethnic Competition in Lebanon

      • Nearly all Lebanese Christians consider themselves ethnically descended from the ancient Phoenicians.

      • Lebanon’s Muslims consider themselves Arabs.

    • Diversity in Lebanon at the surface appears to be more religious than ethnic.

      • Why Do Ethnicities Have Distinctive Distributions?

    • Ethnic Diversity in Sri Lanka

      • Sri Lanka is inhabited by three principal ethnicities.

        • Sinhalese (74 percent)

          • Migrated from northern India in fifth century B.C.

          • Converted to Buddhism

        • Tamil (16 percent)

          • Migrated from India in third century B.C.

          • Practice Hinduism

        • Moors (10 percent)

          • Ethnic Arabs

          • Migrated from southwest Asia in eighth century A.D.

          • Practice Islam

  • Dividing Ethnicities

    • Few Ethnicities inhabit an area that matches the territory of a nationality.

    • Dividing South Asian Ethnicities among Nationalities

      • Britain’s end of colonial rule of the Indian subcontinent in 1947 gave birth to two new countries—India and Pakistan.

        • Pakistan comprised of two noncontiguous areas called West and East Pakistan

          • East Pakistan later became Bangladesh in 1971.

        • Reason for separating West and East Pakistan from India was differences in ethnicity.

    • Dividing the Kurds among Nationalities

      • Who are the Kurds?

        • Sunni Muslims

        • Speak a language in the Iranian group of the Indo-Iranian Branch of Indo-European.

        • Feature distinctive literature, dress, and cultural traditions.

      • An Ethnicity without a Country

        • After WWI, the European allies demarcated land for the Kurds called Kurdistan.

        • 1923 Treaty of Lausanne established what would have been Kurdistan as part of Turkey.

        • Today, Kurds are divided among several countries: eastern Turkey, northern Iraq, western Iran, and Syria.

  • Ethnic Diversity in Western Asia

    • Iraq

      • ¾ of Iraqis are Arabs.

        • 2/3 Shiite

        • 1/3 Sunni

      • 1/6 of Iraqis are Kurds.

      • Most Iraqis have stronger loyalty to a tribe or clan than to a nationality or major ethnicity.

    • Iran

      • Most numerous ethnicity is Persian.

        • Adheres to Shiite Islam

    • Afghanistan

      • Most numerous ethnicities include Pashtun, Tajik, and Hazara.

        • Faction of Pashtun called the Taliban (meaning “religious students”) gained control over most of the country in 1995 and proceeded to rule with policies based on Islamic fundamentalism.

    • Pakistan

      • Most numerous ethnicity is Punjabi.

7.4 Why Do Ethnicities Engage in Ethnic Cleansing and Genocide?

  • Ethnic cleansing is a process in which a more powerful ethnic group forcibly removes a less powerful one in order to create an ethnically homogeneous region.

    • Motivation is not to simply defeat an enemy or to subjugate them, instead it is to remove each member of the less powerful ethnicity, including men, women, children, and the elderly.

      • Ex: Forced migration associated with WWII that included the deportation of millions of Jews, gypsies, and other ethnic groups to concentration camps where most were exterminated

  • Ethnic Cleansing in the Balkans

    • In recent years, ethnic cleansing has occurred in portions of former Yugoslavia.

      • Bosnia

        • Serbs and Croats fought to not be part of a multiethnic state with a Muslim plurality.

          • Motivated to perform ethnic cleansing on Bosnian Muslims to reduce their numbers and to offer an ethnically homogenous group of people to be better candidates for union with Serbia and Croatia.

        • Ethnic cleansing of Bosnian Muslims created one continuous area of Bosnia Serb domination rather than several discontinuous ones.

  • Ethnic Cleansing in the Balkans

    • Balkanized was a term widely used to describe a small geographic area that could not successfully be organized into one or more stable states, because it was inhabited by multiple, longstanding ethnicities with animosity towards each other.

    • Balkanization is the process by which a state breaks down through conflicts among its ethnicities.

    • If peace comes to the Balkans, it will be because ethnic cleansing “worked” tragically.

  • Ethnic Cleansing and Genocide in Sub-Saharan Africa

    • Genocide is the mass killing of a group of people in an attempt to eliminate the entire group from existence.

      • Ex. Darfur

        • Darfur’s black Africans launched a rebellion in 2003 because of discrimination experienced.

        • Sudanese government, with help of marauding Arab nomads, crushed the rebellion.

          • 480,000 have been killed.

          • 2.8 million live in refugee camps in harsh conditions.

        • Many countries have termed the actions of the Sudanese government as genocide.

  • Ethnic Cleansing and Genocide in Central Africa

    • Rwanda

      • Genocide involving Hutus murdering hundreds of thousands of Tutsis began in 1994.

    • Congo

      • Conflict between Hutus and Tutsis spilled into neighboring countries.

    • Ethnic conflict is widespread in Africa largely because the present-day boundaries of countries do not match the boundaries of ethnic groups.

      • During nineteenth and twentieth centuries, European countries carved up the continent in to a collection of colonies, with little regard for the distribution of ethnicities.

      • When colonies became states, some tribes were divided among more than one modern state, and others were grouped with dissimilar tribes.


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