The issue of ethnicity and race in present world

The issue of ethnicity and race in present world

Racism is an issue prevalent in the current world and that few people are willing to talk about. Racial discrimination has been reported to be on the rise and even spreading around the world so that the situation seems to affirm the worst expectations that humans’ bad worst behaviors start developing in the womb. This is more evident in the few cases where racism has been related to xenophobia, discrimination and injustice. The issue of race can be examined through functionalism, conflict theory and symbolic internationalism in a bid to explain racism and related discrimination and stereotypes.


In the functionalism perspective, the role of racial inequalities or discrimination should serve an essential function them to in existence as long as they have? Such an idea is basically problematic, if one was to question how discrimination can have positive contribution in the society. Functions or dysfunctions might be viewed by a functionalist as being a result of racial discrimination and inequality. To the dominant race, racism becomes functional in some ways, an example being the suggestion that it can justify a society that is racially unequal (Brinkerhoff, Ortega & Weitz, 2013). This can explain the case of slavery, where slave owners’ suggestion that the white people are fundamentally superior to black people was aimed at justifying slavery.  Another issue to consider is whether racism has any positive contribution to how the society functions through strengthening of bonds between among the in-group members by excluding members not belonging to the group (Kirby, 2000). In case a community may increase solidarity through declining to other people access. Societies that have dysfunctions related to racism involves failure utilize the talents of various subjugated groups and a society should shift from any employing effort and time required in maintenance of racial boundaries that are artificially created. A lot of time, effort and resources are lost while trying to perpetuate racial segregation and discrimination (Brinkerhoff, Ortega & Weitz, 2013).

Conflict perspective

This deals with the part of the society that can be viewed as negative, where the status quo is challenged by conflict theorists, who hold up to social change and the belief that influential and wealthy individuals force social order on individuals  who are weak and poor.  Inequalities related to race can be explained through conflict theories, and especially the many present struggles between the ethnic minorities and white rich and ruling class where the former perceive the latter as a threat to them. In addition, decades after American Civil War indicates attempts to disenfranchise and even suppress the rights of the minority group’s rights (Brinkerhoff, Ortega & Weitz, 2013).  In the present global culture it is hard to separate impacts of race on the society.  When race is examined and the various advantages or disadvantages that can be derived from it, society should acknowledge that how race is experienced is normally shaped. The issue of racism can also be examined through the prejudice culture, where prejudice is ingrained in the culture.  A person is born, grows and develops in an environment full of stereotype images and where racism is casually expressed and this imparts a stereotyped impression on the people (Kirby, 2000).

Interactionism perspective

In this point of view, sociologists are bound to consider details and symbols present in life, their significance and interaction among individuals in the society.  Race is a strong symbol as an identity source in the society. The symbol of race is even viewed by some interactionist is the source of racism but not the race per se.  Through interactions among the dominant group members in the society, racial prejudice is formed and without such interactions, the dominant group members would not harbor racist views. The interaction of these individuals lead to a perceived image of the minority race which enables the dominant group to promote its perception of the inferior group and eventually the status quo is maintained (Brinkerhoff, Ortega & Weitz, 2013). It becomes ingrained in the culture of these people in such a way that a person holding a racist belief concerning a given group is based on information and images they receive. The popular media may become a mode through which such images are conveyed to the individual, who unquestionably believe them since they have not personally come across or interacted with that group. In addition, internationalism may be used to examine how people in the society view their races and other people’s races.  Given that people take up a white identity due to high concentration of skin pigment than those taking up a black identity, the definition of white or black are astounding (Gordon, 2015).   The interaction among people of a given group exposes them to thoughts and images that influence their perceptions of their race as superior to other races. 


The most significant perspective relating to racism is interactions perspective, where race is perceived to be essential source of social symbolism and even the identity of an individual. The interaction among members of a given group leads to formation of negative images about other races and thus prejudices culture. Everybody becomes a subject to resulting stereotypes that are embedded in such a culture.



Brinkerhoff, D. B., Ortega, S. T., & Weitz, R. (2013). Essentials of sociology. Cengage Learning.173-174


Kirby, M. (2000). Sociology in perspective. Heinemann.. 754-757


Gordon, L. N. (2015). From power to prejudice: The rise of racial individualism in midcentury America. University of Chicago Press.




915 Words  3 Pages

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