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Racism - Admission/Application Essay Example

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It can be loosely described as a negative, hostile behavior or feelings of people or an ethnic group towards another and it includes all the actions that result from such attitudes (Fredrickson, 2002). There are…
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Racism Introduction: It is very difficult to formulate an exact definition of racism. It can be loosely described as a negative, hostile behavior or feelings of people or an ethnic group towards another and it includes all the actions that result from such attitudes (Fredrickson, 2002). There are different theories that try to highlight the sociological perspective of racism, discrimination and prejudice. These theories includes: functionalist’s theory, symbolic interaction theory, and conflict theory. All these theories agree that racism exist as a social problem but there is a conflict on the underlying cause or root of racism. This review will try to dissect perspective of each of these theories and how they address racism from their own vintage point.
Functionalist’s Theory:
Functionalists believed that in order to maintain harmony in a society the minority groups should blend with the dominant social group. In order to do so, the minorities not only have to leave their cultural foundation but should also change economically and socially. This process of blending in, called assimilation, is in direct conflict with racial cultural pluralism that promotes maintenance of culture, language, mannerism, art and any other integral founding stones of a society. According to functionalists, racism exists because different cultural values and social norms cannot co-exist. If this aberration is exterminated by dissolving in the dominant culture than racism will also abolish (Andersen, Margaret, and Howard, “Sociology: essentials” 234).
Symbolic Interaction Theory:
This theory explores how social interaction can reduce tension and hostility between two ethnic groups. Secondly, it focuses on how society is constructed in terms of race and ethnicity. (Andersen, Margaret, and Howard, “Sociology: essentials” 234). Individuals in a society give a subjective meaning to objects, events and behavior and they rely more on believes rather than what is objectively true. Therefore, symbolic interactionists believe that society is constructed socially based on human interpretations. When people interact in a society they form social bonds based on how they interpret each other’s behavior upon interaction (Andersen, Margaret, and Howard, “Sociology: understanding” 22).
Conflict Theory:
This theory highlights link between racism and social class. It is believed that conflict between various groups in a society based on their class is inherent and is a fundamental component of social interaction. So according to conflict theorists, it is compulsory that this inequality of power and influence should be abolished or at least reduced in a society to prevent hostility and racial conflict (Andersen, Margaret, and Howard, “Sociology: essentials” 234), (Brinkerhoff et al. 33).
Modern Day Racism:
Most of these theories have not much in common. The main emphasis of functionalist theory is cohesion in a society, whereas, conflict theory emphasize friction between social groups. But both these theories deal with racism on a macroscopic level as compared to social interaction theory that goes deep at microscopic level emphasizing interactions of individuals within a society. Many critics criticize social interaction theory stating that it fails to see racism from a bigger perspective. (Andersen, Margaret, and Howard, “Sociology: understanding” 22).
Conclusion:
In my opinion, functionalist’s theory most accurately address the problem of racism and also provides a practical solution. Social and cultural integration is possible with time and is evident in many societies. Abolishing inequality based on class is a solution proposed by conflict theory but I do not think if it is possible to do so. Viewing society as a structure based on peoples own perception of behavior during their interaction generates numerous possibilities and also raise many questions.
Reference:
Andersen, Margaret L, and Howard F. Taylor. Sociology: The Essentials. Belmont, CA: Thomson/Wadsworth, 2005. Print.
---. Sociology: Understanding a Diverse Society. Belmont, CA: Thomson/Wadsworth, 2006. Print.
Brinkerhoff, David B, Lynn K. White, and Suzanne T. Ortega. Essentials of Sociology. St. Paul, Minn: West Pub. Co, 1992. Print.
Fredrickson, George M. Racism: A Short History. Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press, 2002. Print. Read More
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