Racial and Ethnic Groups

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Racial and Ethnic Groups
Michelle Winner
ETH 125
October 23, 2010

Racial and Ethnic Groups
There are three sociological perspectives of race and ethnicity which are functionalist, conflict, and labeling perspectives. The first one I will discuss is the functionalist perspective. The functionalist perspective emphasizes how the parts of society are structured to maintain its stability. As also described in the reading the functionalist approach is an approach, if an aspect of social life does not contribute to a society’s stability or survival, it will not be passed on from one generation to the next. The functionalist perspective thinks that racial hostility is hard to be admired but the functionalist would point out that it serves some positive functions from the perspective group of the racists as described. In the dominant group there are five functions that racial beliefs have for the dominant group. As described they are the following: 1. A society that practices discrimination fails to use the resources of all individuals. Discrimination limits the search for talent and leadership to the dominant group. 2. Discrimination aggravates social problems such as poverty, delinquency, and crime and places the financial burden of alleviating these problems on the dominant group.

3. Society must invest a good deal of time and money to defend the barriers that prevent the full participation of all members.
4. Racial prejudice and discrimination undercut goodwill and friendly diplomatic relations between nations. They also negatively affect efforts to increase global trade. 5. Social change is inhibited because change may assist a subordinate group. 6. Discrimination promotes disrespect for law enforcement and for the peaceful settlement of disputes.

The second perspective is the conflict perspective which is the perspective assumes that the social structure is best understood in terms of conflict or tension between competing groups. As...
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