The Concept of the Noel Hypothesis in the Relationship Between Races and Gender

The Noel Hypothesis is a theory that describes the development of a dominant and subordinate group of people due to the circumstances of their contact situation. (Healey, Pg.109) According to the theory, the three main aspects that lead to an inequality of two groups or more include ethnocentrism, competition, and a differential in power. The first aspect of Daniel Noel’s hypothesis, ethnocentrism, describes the tendency for people to judge other societies based on the differences of lifestyle, religion, physical traits, or traditional ways. As humans we acquire social constructs that determine our way of life and our realities.

Throughout history though, these norms have often been used to contrast with the norms of other cultures for criticism. The next aspect of Noel’s hypothesis, competition, is the “struggle over a fierce commodity.” These commodities could include land, labor, jobs, housing, educational opportunities, or political offices. Through the struggle of these commodities, competition usually occurs between groups, which can develop into prejudices.

The last part in Noel’s hypothesis is differential in power. Characteristics such as population size, strength, technology, and organization are all factors, which determine the difference of power between two groups. If all of these conditions are met, the hypothesis states, “Inequality and institutionalized discrimination between the two groups will occur”. (Healey, Pg.109)

One way we can apply the Noel hypothesis to a certain event in history is by looking at the establishment of institutional slavery in the United States. In contrast to popular belief, we have learned that blacks were not initially slaves in the colonies. In early colonial days (1600’s) blacks were indentured servants among whites. These indentured servants could earn their freedom; attain citizenship, and even own land and property. It was not until the British colonist were in need of a strong workforce for their plantations that the colonist looked to a group of people to do the taxing work.

The option for the colonist to enslave white indentured servants and American Indians did not exist due the fact that there was no differential in power between the groups. And in fact the initial relationship with American Indians and colonist was mainly harmonious. American Indians were conservationists and each tribe had a very elaborate culture that included many skills that were used for trade with the colonist. (Parillo, Pg.183) By the time the colonists looked at American Indians for a labor force,

American Indians were well organized and in large enough numbers to fend off slavery by the colonist. As for the white indentured servants, most of them had attained their freedom by the time colonial elites were looking to institutionalize slavery in America. As for the blacks, there was a clear difference in power, being that the colonist outnumbered the blacks. Along with a difference in power there were clear physical traits that obviously separated blacks and whites. William Shakespeare made this clear separation even more acceptable to the English with his story and play, The Tempest. (Takaki, Pg.49-50) By establishing slavery the colonist defined themselves as the dominant group over the subordinate blacks from Africa.

In addition to the clear differential in power between blacks and whites, ethnocentrism of the whites was also a catalyst in the establishment of slavery in the colonies. The colonists were whites from Britain who were Protestant, they spoke the English language, and according to their selves, they were a civilized group of people. Blacks on the other hand were in every which way different. In the 1660’s the colonist began to define the “slave” through laws, which were known as the slave codes. (Healey, Pg.145) These laws were used as tools to institutionalize slavery in the colonies and allow the colonist to use the blacks as laborers for their crops.

Crops such as sugar, tobacco, and rice were a major export for the colonies and in order for the colonist be successful they needed a large work force. Enslaving the blacks was seen as very profitable to the colonist since the blacks were forced to work for free. According to Healey, by the mid 1700’s slavery was well defined by the law and custom in the American way of life. These laws that defined slavery also gave the white colonist the right to treat their slaves any, which way they chose. In the eyes of the law, blacks were the property of their white masters.

Unlike the blacks who were a colonized group of people by the colonist, the American Indians had a different kind of contact situation with the British colonist. The main competition between the colonist and the American Indians in the early 1600’s was land. It was estimated that there were millions of American Indian tribes in North America; all had unique cultures, different tribal kinds, and different languages. These numbers dwindled to nearly 250,000 due to the diseases brought by the settlers. (Healey, Pg.241) Since the American Indians had large numbers on their side during the 1600’s there was not much that the British colonist could do to control the American Indian populations. Even then, the colonist did not look to enslaving a group of people until the demand for labor in their agricultural economy started to boom later on. In this sense we can see that there was no differential in power between the American Indians and the British colonist in the 1600’s.

As more and more immigrants from Europe started to arrive in America, the British colonist sought to take up more land and in doing so started occupying American Indian territories. These conflicts between the whites and Indians led to many wars, kidnappings, and murders between the two groups for nearly two centuries. By the beginning of the 1800’s the English settlers, along with the diseases they had brought from Europe, had killed so many American Indians that many sources claim the atrocity to be of genocide proportions.

The contact situation between the American Indians and the white settlers fulfills two of the conditions, ethnocentrism and competition, needed to satisfy Noel’s Hypothesis but it does not satisfy the last condition of differential in power. Although the American Indians were never enslaved by white settlers, they were a highly oppressed group of who had their land and culture stripped away from them. Furthermore, the acceptance of oppression and isolation of the American Indians led to discrimination and prejudices by white settlers.

Comparatively, we can see the contact situation the African Americans experienced with the British Colonist differed in one very different aspect than that of the Indian Americans. That aspect is differential in power. According to Noel’s hypothesis both groups were subjected to competition and ethnocentrism during the contact situation, but the American Indians resisted the colonist with numbers and in doing so do not satisfy Noel’s last condition for his hypothesis, differential in power. These initial contact situations led to the enslavement of the African American’s by the colonist and the American Indians to be oppressed, murdered, and isolated onto reservations. Hands down the European settlers established themselves as the dominant group among the ethnic groups in North America. Inequality and institutionalized discrimination between the two groups did occur and the subordinate groups were subjected to discrimination and racism in the most unacceptable form.

Relating to the Noel Hypothesis, sociologist Robert Blauner distinguished between colonized and immigrant minority groups. The Blauner hypothesis states, “Minority groups created by colonization will experience more intense prejudice, racism, and discrimination than those created by immigration. Furthermore, the of colonized groups will persist longer and be more difficult to overcome than the disadvantaged status faced by groups created by immigration.” (Healey, Pg.111) This is highly observable when distinguishing the contact situation of the colonized African Americans and the European Immigrants from Southern and Eastern parts of Europe.

Although both groups faced prejudice, racism, and discrimination by the dominant group, it is very obvious that the colonized African Americans faced harsher subjections by the dominant group that still persist today. Immigrant groups from Europe more rapidly overcame these backlashes by thedominant group and eventually were able to assimilate into the dominant culture within four to six generations.

The main colonized group of people that we have studied about in Sociology this semester has been the African Americans. The African Americans have had a very rough pass in the United States and their initial contact situation with the British colonist led them to being enslaved by the established dominant group of whites. The laws essentially dehumanized the African Americans and they were considered property. This group of people were stripped from their motherland of Africa and brought on ships to the American colonies. On these ships, we have read that the blacks were cruelly treated and if they contracted disease and many times they were thrown overboard. In no way were these African Americans treated as human beings and just like how Blauner’s theory states, they were subjected to harsh discrimination, racism, and prejudice. Unlike immigrant minorities, these colonized blacks were helpless and were forbidden to assimilate into American society.

Marriage by blacks was unrecognized by the law, they were forbidden to learn to read and write, and the children of blacks also became slaves by birth. (Takaki, PG.56) The cruelty of the dominant culture lasted long after the southern states were defeated in the American civil war and even after, blacks were still not recognized as whole citizens by the law. On the other hand, immigrant groups from Southern and Eastern parts of Europe faced similar circumstances to those of slaves but in a much less severe way and they were not totally controlled like the slaves. During the 1800s and 1900’s in America, immigrants from Europe came to America by choice. They left their lands due to famines, repression, and persecution. They were not forced to come like the African Americans and instead saw opportunity to succeed in America’s newly industrialized economy.

Although these immigrants were not treated as bad as the colonized blacks, they were still subjected to discrimination, racism, and prejudices. These immigrants worked in factories that demanded long hours, lived in small quarters, and were not considered American citizens by law. Their children who were born in America on the other hand were citizens. Unlike the colonized blacks, these children had options, options to educate themselves, an opportunity to have their marriages recognized by law, and the ability to own land and property. It took less than a century for immigrants from Europe to assimilate into American society and they reaped the full benefits of their citizenship. The process of European immigrants becoming U.S. citizens can be defined by Milton Gordon’s stages of assimilation.(Healey, Pg.52)

Firstly by acculturation, the immigrants were able to easily learn the American culture, language, traditions, and even laws. This gave way for them to blend into the dominant society and then enter the public institutions such as schools, churches, clubs, and take part in government programs. Through their joining of the institutions these immigrants intermarried and became one identity. That identity was white. A highly controversial identity in the early 20th century, every ethnicity from Europe sought to be recognized by the law as white. Eventually all of the immigrant groups were recognized by the law as white and their discrimination, prejudice, and racism was reduced to soft stereotypes.

Whereas the immigrant groups from Europe endured only a short period of racism, prejudices, and discrimination, the African Americans experienced a prolonged period of these conditions. From the time of the slave codes in the 1660’s that defined a slave, to the end of WW2 in 1945, the African Americans experienced nearly 300 years of subjection by the dominant culture. Even though blacks were free they still experienced harsh forms of prejudices, were lynched by groups like the KKK, and faced segregation in the 1900’s.

Colonized blacks also do not fit perfectly into Milton Gordon’s stages of assimilation because although they entered the American institutions they were segregated occupationally, residentially, and even in the military. Since minority groups fought in World War 2 this opened the door for them when they returned to expand the civil rights movement. Through the civil rights movement, blacks were able to fight for their legal rights as citizens. They succeeded in putting an end to segregation and by 1964 laws were passed to end all discrimination on the basis of race color, religion, sex, or national origin.

So although African Americans had a prolonged history of racism and prejudice and did not naturally assimilate in accordance to Milton Gordon’s stages of assimilation, they nonetheless eventually assimilated into American society. By and large, immigrant minority groups are more likely to follow Gordon’s stages of assimilation. There is much more fluidity of immigrant minority groups assimilating in the way that they acculturate, they enter the institutions, and they then intermarry into the dominant group. This is especially valid for the European immigrants that immigrated to America during the 1800 and 1900s.

These immigrant groups from Europe were able to overcome minimal racism, prejudice, and discrimination within 4 to 6 generations. (Parker, Web.) It was much harder for the colonized blacks to overcome racism, prejudice, and discrimination by the dominant group and these conditions lasted for centuries unlike the immigrant minority groups. So with that being said it is very clear that colonized and immigrant minority groups have substantially different patterns of assimilation.

Japanese Americans in the 1800’s sought a better life by migrating to the United States. These immigrants left their families to work in places such as Hawaii on sugar plantations in hopes that they would be able to send their families back some of their income. In his book A Different Mirror, Author and Educator, Ronald Takaki describes the ways in which race was used against the Japanese in order to control labor in Hawaii. Similar to that of the migration of the Chinese, American Businessmen went into Japan to contract labor for the Agriculture boom in Hawaii. A U.S. government labor contract required for 40% of Japanese nationals migrating to the U.S. to be women. When these men and women arrived in Hawaii they worked long hours for minimal pay and they were unable to attain management roles on the plantations.

Their working conditions were physically demanding and the white foremen watched over them with whips. These tough conditions led to the Japanese working on the plantations in Hawaii to create unions to demand better working conditions, better pay, and better living standards. A phrase that really stood out to me in Takaki’s reading happened to be an argument made by a union member where the worker stated, “It is not the color of our skins that grows the cane in the field, It is labor that grows the cane.”(Takaki, Pg.243) This statement made by the union member is so significant because of the fact that the Japanese sought equality in Hawaii and demanded equal treatment for all in such an eloquent and precise manner.

The overseers in Hawaii eventually agreed to pay higher wages and realized that if the living standards were increased, then the workers would be happier therefor increasing the production on the sugar plantations. But before a matter of time whites in Hawaii started to bring in immigrants from the Philippine islands to counter the Japanese demands for equality. These Filipino workers were equally as hard working as the Japanese, and it was essential for them to do so. The competition allowed for greater production on the plantations and the dominant white group to control the labor in Hawaii by managing race relations.

Eventually the Japanese and Filipinos started to form relations that allowed for them to create what were known as “Blood Unions”. The alliance between the Japanese and Filipinos made it very easy for both groups to demand working conditions, which were in their interest through the use of the Unions. Whites did not like this and eventually bribed the Filipino head of the Union, Pablo Manlapit, to influence the Filipinos to turn on the Japanese. This divide and conquer technique made it possible for whites to regain control of both minority labor groups and reestablished their dominance in Hawaii.

As we have learned through the readings of Takaki, Healey, and our online resources, the social constructs of racism, prejudice, and discrimination in the United States have all developed under these false pretenses created and imposed by a supposed dominant “white” race. The Noel Hypothesis has given us a better sense of understanding why these race relations come to be and the Blauner hypothesis gives us a better understanding of the lasting effects of the initial contact situation between groups. As human beings, we develop our reality and social norms through socialization with other human beings. People from around the world are all vastly diverse when it comes to religions, cultures, languages, dialects, upbringings, and places of origin. There is no one person on earth to truly say one group is better than the other. History has taught us that conflict between groups can create an artificial hierarchy in groups, therefore creating a dominant elite group in society and a subordinate minority group. Education of race relations is critical for all people to learn so that there can eventually be true equality among all human beings.


Calculate the price
Make an order in advance and get the best price
Pages (550 words)
*Price with a welcome 15% discount applied.
Pro tip: If you want to save more money and pay the lowest price, you need to set a more extended deadline.
We know how difficult it is to be a student these days. That's why our prices are one of the most affordable on the market, and there are no hidden fees.

Instead, we offer bonuses, discounts, and free services to make your experience outstanding.
How it works
Receive a 100% original paper that will pass Turnitin from a top essay writing service
step 1
Upload your instructions
Fill out the order form and provide paper details. You can even attach screenshots or add additional instructions later. If something is not clear or missing, the writer will contact you for clarification.
Pro service tips
How to get the most out of your experience with MyhomeworkGeeks
One writer throughout the entire course
If you like the writer, you can hire them again. Just copy & paste their ID on the order form ("Preferred Writer's ID" field). This way, your vocabulary will be uniform, and the writer will be aware of your needs.
The same paper from different writers
You can order essay or any other work from two different writers to choose the best one or give another version to a friend. This can be done through the add-on "Same paper from another writer."
Copy of sources used by the writer
Our college essay writers work with ScienceDirect and other databases. They can send you articles or materials used in PDF or through screenshots. Just tick the "Copy of sources" field on the order form.
See why 20k+ students have chosen us as their sole writing assistance provider
Check out the latest reviews and opinions submitted by real customers worldwide and make an informed decision.
Business and administrative studies
always perfect work and always completed early
Customer 452773, February 21st, 2023
Impressive writing
Customer 452547, February 6th, 2021
Human Resources Management (HRM)
excellent job
Customer 452773, July 17th, 2023
excellent work
Customer 452773, October 6th, 2023
Customer 452591, March 18th, 2021
Thank youuuu
Customer 452729, May 30th, 2021
Business and administrative studies
Excellent work ,always done early
Customer 452773, February 21st, 2023
Social Work and Human Services
Although it took 2 revisions I am satisfied but I did receive it late because of that.
Customer 452603, March 25th, 2021
Thank you!!! I received my order in record timing.
Customer 452551, February 9th, 2021
Human Resources Management (HRM)
excellent, great job
Customer 452773, June 19th, 2023
Business and administrative studies
Thank you for your hard work and help
Customer 452773, February 21st, 2023
Business and administrative studies
excellent job thank you Your Score 166.25/ 175- A 1. Current Culture 15% of total grade 18.37 Criterion "1. Current Culture" has textual feedback Criterion Feedback I see interesting points, though, in general they are not about the culture.
Customer 452773, June 4th, 2023
Customer reviews in total
Current satisfaction rate
3 pages
Average paper length
Customers referred by a friend
15% OFF your first order
Use a coupon FIRST15 and enjoy expert help with any task at the most affordable price.
Claim my 15% OFF Order in Chat

Sometimes it is hard to do all the work on your own

Let us help you get a good grade on your paper. Get professional help and free up your time for more important courses. Let us handle your;

  • Dissertations and Thesis
  • Essays
  • All Assignments

  • Research papers
  • Terms Papers
  • Online Classes
Live ChatWhatsApp