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Race and ethnicity - Essay Example

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Race and ethnicity are words most commonly confused and used interchangeably, yet both have different meanings. Race is referred to as the difference in skin color, religious preference, nationality and even humanity. Race is a category of people who have been singled out as inferior or superior, often on the basis of real or alleged physical characteristics, such as skin color, hair texture, eye shape or other subjectively selected attributes…
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Download file to see previous pages The identity based on environmental, cultural or historical diversity should have no effect on the fact that human beings can and may live differently. All peoples of the world possess equal faculties and can attain the highest levels of intellectual, technical, social, cultural, economical and political development. The difference between the achievements of the people are entirely attributed to geographical, historic, political, economic, social and cultural factors and by no means should form the basis of rank-ordered or classification of peoples of different races.
All human groups no matter what their ethnic origin contribute according to their own genius towards the progress of civilization and culture. Racism and racial prejudice have afflicted the world in ever-changing form. By continuing legislative provisions and administrative practices which are contrary to the principles of human rights, contempt and injustice continues to prevail for certain individuals and groups in a society.
An understanding of the racial issue facing America needs to be viewed in a historical context. The African Americans arrived as slaves, shackled in chains and their social status was defined by their captivity. They were regarded as beings of inferior order and altogether unfit to associate with the white race, either socially or politically. They were deprived of the rights the white man was bound to enjoy and were considered by some as lawful to reduce them to slavery for their benefit.

The criteria by which the social worthiness of individuals is judged and discriminations made are class, caste and the cultural history i.e. the legacy of slavery on race relations as in the case of blacks. The ways in which inequality is institutionalized or the ways by which the socially defined categories of person are rewarded unequally for their social contribution, is by ignoring
the talents and abilities of individuals.

The targeting and mistreatment of ethnic minorities has been a recurrent theme in the history of the modern world. The ethnic cleansing practiced by the Serbians in Bosnia is a recent example and the systematic massacre of the Jews by the Nazis in the Second World War even to this day, is considered a heinous crime by the whole world. Even some European countries have demonstrated very high levels of intolerance, especially towards immigrants of color who have entered their workforce in recent decades.

The society we all live in, is an organic system in which various components work together to contribute to the health of the whole system and some of these systems are more important for the survival of the system as compared to others. Functionalism relies on the metaphor that society is a body or a living system. (Rigney 2001, p. 17) Just as a human organism consists of many parts like the brain, heart, kidneys and lungs etc. which work together for the survival of a person, in the same way the society also consists of multiple cooperative components.

Functional analysis proceeds not by examining the details of specific interaction but by looking at the society as ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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