Racism and Sociology

Topics: Sociology, Symbolic interactionism, Race and Ethnicity Pages: 6 (1969 words) Published: April 6, 2014

The Plight of Man

Racism has punctuated the shaping of society for centuries, each major instance of which has helped dictate the direction of social interaction. Although we have come a long way in addressing the situation, it still remains a prevalent issue today. Being a global citizen in this day and age, one has a responsibility to be tolerant, as social circles overlap in a multicultural environment, and the luxury of being informed, grace of the globalizing advances in technology and social media. We live in a melting pot society and the idea of “Racism” holds no place in the modern world. Being collections of individuals who perceive ourselves to be members of the same social category, we share similar emotional involvements and we experience social overlap. To have conflict or strife in the community, as a result of racial animosity, degrades the moral pillars upon which society is built and results in what is effectively a civil war. The population experiences stratification and the distribution of social rewards are poorly distributed, as are the burdens. These institutionalized mis-allocations as a result of race or ethnicity continue to perpetuate prejudice and create a minority group, which is characterized namely by lack of social power or authority. The term "Prejudice" refers to attitudes of aversion and hostility toward the members of a group simply because they belong to it and hence are presumed to have the objectionable qualities ascribed to it. The results of deeply engrained racial prejudices are active racial discriminations and the arbitrary denial of privilege, prestige, and power to members of a minority group. With every stigma attached to members of a certain culture, the potential for conflict and separation increases, as does the social and political stress. These prejudices can be very deeply engrained, because of the nationalistic tendencies, on both sides, to carve your own independent nation out of an existing state. These tendencies set the tone and direction for the social interactions to come.  In North American society, immigration has long since been a part of our heritage and until recently had very lenient immigration laws allowing immigrants from Africa, China and people of varying faiths and groups to retained their cultural identities and distinctiveness for many years. As a result of these multi-ethnic societies, certain ethnic groups can lose their personal distinctiveness through the process of assimilation, or retain their identity and integrity through the process of pluralism. Assimilation refers to those processes whereby groups with distinctive identities become culturally and socially fused. Pluralism refers to a situation in which diverse groups coexist and boundaries between them are maintained. There are two distinct direction in terms of mind-set when practicing pluralism: Equal Pluralism, where ethnic group members participate freely and equally in political and economic institutions. And: Unequal Pluralism, where economic and political participation of minority groups is severely limited by the dominant group and may even entail genocide. Through the scope of global media we’ve been able to catch a glimpse all of these social phenomenons at play. From racist remarks in professional sports leagues, to hate fueled attacks at home as well as abroad, we can see these interactions affect public opinion and incite unique reactions.

When a race is being discriminated against, it becomes very difficult for a person of that race to compete, survive, and strive in that society. Because the allocation of social benefits and opportunity are not based on the merits of the individual, but rather preconceived notions. The contemporary or modern racism has been derived from many different places and ideas, one of the most common ideas being upbringing. As a youth, we are malleable and we rely on our parents to help us become who we...
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