Functionalists maintain that racial and ethnic inequality maintains the dominant group's status. It provides a large pool of cheap labor. Functionalists acknowledge that discrimination can be dysfunctional. For example, racism prevents a society from recognizing or rewarding people who could contribute to society. Conflict theorists see ongoing strife, not harmony, between dominant and minority groups. Dominant groups try to protect their power and privilege while subordinate groups struggle to gain a larger share of societal resources. Once a system of racial oppression is put in place (as through internal colonialism), racial hierarchies are supported and perpetuated through economic inequality and the resulting social class differences. Feminist Theories are base on the reality that most of the low-paid employees are women, and predominantly minority women. For feminist scholars, such segregation of minority women reflects gendered racism. Gendered Racism is base on the combined and cumulative effects of inequality due to racism and sexism. Minority women face two types of discrimination. If we add social class into the mix, minority women may experience triple oppression. Interactionism perceives racism as a learned behavior. Humans learn attitudes toward dominant and minority groups through labeling and selective perception. Studies suggest that labeling some Latinos as social problems can lead society to ignore their broader contributions to society. Symbolic Interactionism is the most persuasive theory for me because they also focus on the contact hypothesis, which states that the more people get to know members of a minority group personally the less likely they are to be prejudiced against that group.
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