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Theoretical Perspectives

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Sarah Neal

on 22 January 2013

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Transcript of Theoretical Perspectives

Functionalist Perspective *Emphasizes how the parts of society are structured to maintain its stability Racist beliefs relieve the majority group of the responsibility to address the economic and educational problems faced by the minority groups Racism is awful, so why does it continue to be passed on from one generation to the next? *If an aspect of social life does not contribute to a society's stability or survival,
then it will not be passed on from one generation to the next Or, what positive functions does it have in society,
from the point of view of those who perpetuate
racism? Racist ideologies provide a moral justification for maintaining a society that routinely deprives a group of its rights and privileges Racist beliefs discourage subordinate groups
from attempting to question or refuse their
subjected status Racial ideologies not only justify existing practices but also serve as a rallying point for social movements Racist myths encourage support for the existing order, such as drastic social change would result in greater poverty for the subordinate group or lower living standards for the dominant group *Functionalist theory argues that racial ideologies grow when a value system (colonialism, slavery, etc.) is being threatened Discriminatory societies fail to use the resources of all individuals and limits the search for talent to its dominant group Discrimination aggravates social problems and places financial burden of alleviating these problems on the dominant group Society must invest a good deal of time and money to defend the barriers that prevent the full participation of all members Raical prejudice and discrimination undercut goodwill and friendly diplomatic relations between nations Social change is
because change
may assist a
subordinate group Discrimination promotes disrespect for law enforcement and for the peaceful settlement of disputes Conflict Perspective Society is a struggle between the
privileged, dominant group and the
exploited, subordinate group These struggles result in conflict or tension between competing groups, which creates significant economic disparity and structural inequality in education, the labor market, housing and healthcare Conflict theorists often note the tendency of the dominant group to "blame the victim" (definition: portraying the problems of racial and ethnic minorities as their fault rather than recognizing society's problems Labeling Theory This perspective is often used today to
explain the differences in race and ethnic
groups in the U.S. because it readily
explains the tension that exists
between groups Attempts to explain why certain people
are viewed as deviants while others
engaging in the same behavior are not Argues that stereotypes, when applied
by people in power, can have negative
consequences for people or groups
identified falsely The majority group rationalizes the
subjugation of the minority groups by
arguing that minority groups lack the
ability or inherent characteristics
necessary for success Labeling subordinate group individuals has real effects: if those who do the hiring for the most lucrative jobs believe minority groups have innate negative characteristics and do not hire people from those groups, the people subjected to this discrimination are locked into society's inferior jobs and thus actually occupy a lower social status than the dominant group Scapegoating Theory Prejudiced people believe they are society's victims Jews blamed for social ills in Nazi Germany, immigrants are blamed in many nations for economic crises, etc. Authoritarian Personality
Theory Psychological construct of a personality type likely to be prejudiced This personality type encompasses adherence to conventional values, uncritical acceptance of authority, and concern with power and toughness; also often includes aggressiveness toward people who do not conform to conventional norms or obey authority Highly criticized study, a bit outdated but still highly cited Exploitation Theory Marxist theory that views racial subordination in the U.S. as a manifestation of the class system inherent in capitalism Even the poor whites use prejudice to minimize economic competition from upwardly mobile minority groups Essentially, those with economic power exploit the conflicts between the lower classes of all racial and ethnic groups to ensure their dominance in society Normative Approach Prejudice is influenced by societal norms and situations that encourage or discourage the tolerance of minority groups Theoretical Perspectives on Race and
Ethnicity and Prejudice
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