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SOCS 185 Discussion: Race, Ethnicity, and Gender Hashtag Case Study

Week 7

Discussion: Race, Ethnicity, and Gender Hashtag Case Study

As social media engagement among youth continues to rise, everyone is becoming increasingly exposed to and involved in hashtag campaigns related to themes of identity, diversity, justice, and social action. For example, #BlackLivesMatter has sparked international conversation and action around racial justice, antiblackness, and police brutality. Although some have critiqued the cons or limits of digital activism, others emphasize that it can be effective in spreading awareness, influencing action, and providing people with access to representation and information.

For this discussion, identify any hashtag campaign connected to race, ethnicity, and gender issues and answer the following questions.

Name the campaign.
What is the purpose of this campaign?
Who seems to be the intended audience for this campaign?
Why is this campaign important?
Why did you choose this campaign to discuss?
Are you currently connected to this campaign? Explain how.
If you are not connected to this campaign, do you think you will connect or play an active role in the future in this campaign?
How might this campaign influence people’s thoughts or actions in real life?


The video below gives us some ideas of how gender is socially constructed. Deborah Siegel, a gender scholar, and mother of boy/girl twins bring to life key research about the gendering of childhood in the earliest years of life. Taking us through a personal journey peppered with blunders and epiphanies, she challenges us to move beyond pink and blue and learn something new about gender from society’s smallest experts: our kids. (Links to an external site.)

The video:  Born That Way

After watching the video, discuss the following key questions:

1: What is the problem of viewing gender in binary terms?  2:  Think about some examples from your own life that led to gender socialization.


What is meant by the social construction of race? Take a look at this video link:Kiri Davis: A Girl Like Me (Links to an external site.). (Links to an external site.)

Is your race more a matter of how you view yourself or of how others view you? In what ways is how you view yourself influenced by our society and culture?

Reflecting on your chosen hashtag, do you think your own social location (for example, race and ethnicity, and sexuality) influenced your selection of hashtag? If not, what social factors contributed to your decision to investigate the particular hashtag?

By 2043, if assumptions about the future hold, the majority of the U.S. population will be what we now describe as various racial and ethnic minorities.  Even now, a majority of births in the United States are registered as some minority category. As time goes on, this “minority-majority” will move up the demographic pyramid reaching a numerical majority by about 2043.

The colors in the figure show demographic trends for five categories of the population. At present, non-Hispanic whites remain more than 60 percent of the U.S. population, but every year will see this share decline. The other big “mover” in this transformation is the share of the population represented by Hispanic Americans. From about 17 percent now, this share will reach about 27 percent by 2043.

An interesting question, of course, is how the use of the concept of “minority” will change over the course of the next century.  How will this overall transformation reshape the United States?

Have women been earning more, working more? Why? Has the result always been equal pay? Is there a stigma when women take traditionally men’s jobs or vice versa?

Do you think that the changes in the roles for men and women are only cultural or did the economic changes affect the way in which roles and behaviors have changed?

Based on census figures, Native Americans are not the largest minority category, but their numbers are increasing rapidly and now exceed 2.5 million.  This increase is not due to primarily to natural increase. It is more a consequence of a shift in the meaning attributed to being Native American. For centuries, the dominant culture regarded “Indians” as inferior. As a consequence of this prejudice, many people with mixed Native American and white ancestry chose to identify themselves to census-takers as white.

The tribal rolls of Native American groups are also expanding, in part because Native American heritage qualifies an individual for a variety of government benefits including health care, financial aid for college, and special fishing and hunting rights. While the census does not ask respondents to document their ethnic background, the tribes do require proof of ancestry, but the “blood requirement” differs from tribe to tribe. In some cases, tribes require applicants to prove they are one-half Indian, others require only some Indian ancestry.

Discussion Question:  How can the surge in the American Indian population be seen as evidence of the social construction of race and ethnicity?


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