Sociological Problems

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In today’s society words like racism, inequality, discrimination, and prejudice take its toll, especially on minorities. In this essay I will discuss the ideas of functionalism and conflict theory to explain Dubois, “Of the Coming of John” chapter 13 of “Souls of Black Folk”. I will also try to identify the social and cultural factors that have been used to explain the origins of racism and discrimination. And Finally, I will try and explain how racial discrimination and prejudice continue to produce inequalities in the United States.

In Chapter 13 of Dubois’s “Souls of Black Folk”, it talks about John, a young black male that heads off to college but upon his return, he comes back to a society that won’t accept him for the person that he has become. He comes back to a society where the white people don’t accept him because they feel threatened by his education and fear him not being subordinate anymore. And now even his own people don’t accept the “new negro” because he is too educated. From a functionalist perspective John represents a change in society. He shouldn’t be educated but he is, and that is a threat to the way things are “supposed to be”. That is why he is not accepted in both cultures. Now from the conflict theory side, John is not accepted because he tries to teach black kids about the French revolution and this leaves him jobless. From the conflict theory, change is a must and John was that social change that needed to happen. This chapter represents much of what happen and how minorities are structured to have a harder time in life than the majority.

From birth we are structured and taught what our social norm is or what society expects from us in certain situations. Social norms are a part of the structural organization of a society which means they will be on going. This means that prejudice, discrimination, and racism seem to be the natural order of things because it is what we have known our entire lives. Even thought we don’t usually...
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