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Racial Discrimination: Definition and Sociological Views

Updated on March 3, 2013

Discrimination many times is confused with prejudice. The difference is prejudice is a mindset and thinking, whereas discrimination is an act. People can be discriminated against for race, age, gender and family dynamics among other things. We will now look at racial discriminations from a sociological stand point using the three perspectives; functonalism, symbolic interactionism and conflict theory.

Functionalism would maybe argue that to keep different cultures intact, if a positive pride or even superiority is instilled at youth, less will be likely to procreate with the other races. So to keep up separate, we must look at each race differently.

Interactionism is based on symbols and I think society has done a good job trying to put each race in a stereo type, which breeds discrimination. So being told how to feel and think about each race by society and family, discrimination continues.

Conflict theory would see discrimination as a necessary evil. If blacks were not seen as a lesser race, there was no way to use them for slavery, which kept the South plantations working. Hitler had to promote fear from Jews to afford his agenda. Slavery in a sense was a resource needed by settlers, and killing Jews could be viewed as lack of resources, so cutting out other groups of people to guarantee enough resources as there was a flood of immigration at that time. Discrimination of Hispanics coming into the country now is used to control our resources, when in reality we all immigrated here at one time or another. Well besides Native American, which was deemed “savages” to justify taking all their land and resources.


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    • ajwrites57 profile image

      AJ 4 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Discrimination in any form harms us all. Nice summary of sociological terms and application. Maybe each one in its own capsule would be nice! :O)

    • LauraD093 profile image

      Laura Tykarski 4 years ago from Pittsburgh PA

      I agree with you they are often confused and some don't understand the difference. Regardless they are both a promotion of hatred. Voted up and interesting.