Race and Ethnicity, Essay Example

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Race refers to a person’s physical appearance.In the past, race used to be identified by the use of skin color, eye color, hair color and bone or jaw structure (Karen and Nkomo324).Conversely,ethnicity, is based on shared cultural factors such as nationality, culture, ancestry, food, languages and beliefs (Karen and Nkomo325). Currently, race identification is done by use of DNA molecules thus, physical appearances cannot give one the right race.Ethnic identification can be accepted or rejected by the person in a particular group.They are social characteristics that can either make a person to be accepted or rejected in the society (Greene and Owen 27).

Race according to sociologist are social concepts and is a way in which people are treated, for example, people treat black people different from the white.Race and ethnicity affects day-to-day life.For example, in the video, Sociologist Key Coder, when she was five years old, she was being asked what she is.Others saw Coder as Caucasian American, Spanish, others as Japanese although she was taller, darker and with some spots, this bring out clearly the aspects of racism in the society (Exploring Society Telecourse – video).

Causes of Race and ethnicity

There are four outcomes of race and ethnicity. These are stereotypes, prejudice, discrimination, and racism. Stereotypes arebehavioror a tendency of a particular group of people. When it is extreme it will be viewed as stereotypes. For example, all young people like music (Exploring Society Telecourse – Video).Prejudice is based on the stereotypes and attitudes or ideas determine how a person is treated. This is treating a person differently because of his/her race, for example, you stupid woman driver, just because she is a woman, she is treated differently. This judgment can either be positive or negative.

Discrimination, on the other hand, is when prejudice is acted upon. Discrimination is the acting on the attitude one has on the other.For example, having different hotels and washrooms, which are meant for white and black people (David174).Racism is discriminating people using their inherited traits. This is mostly used for the rationale of control and power. For example, during slavery the blacks were inferior and less privileged to the whites who became their masters. In racism, there is institutional racism, which is a large form of discrimination to a larger group.For example,the giving of health care services to the whites in a certain hospital and not the blacks (David, P.174).

Sociological perspective of race and ethnicity

Sociological perspective is the understanding of race and ethnicity in depth. There are three sociological perspectives; these are functionalism, conflicts, and interactionism.  Functionalism indicates that race and ethnicity exist because they serve a certain purpose in the community. Leaders can use it during the war to establish a sense of belonging in a country allowing them to act as one, for example, Hitler in Germany (Exploring Society Telecourse – Video).

In conflicts perspective, race and ethnicity is used for economical and political powers. This is used for the advantage of the dominant group against the inferior group.  For example, slavery was a conflict perspective because the slave acquired would work for their master, improving his wealth and political position in society. This is taking advantage of the less fortunate group (Exploring Society Telecourse – Video).Interactionism perspective is mostly in small scale and normally comes out when a certain group of people are around others. When there is a group of employees, a few will start viewing themselves differently.For example, Asians, this is because there are American and African in the same group; this is commonly known as Labeling (Exploring Society Telecourse – Video).

In conclusion, race and ethnicity impacts on the society by having people of a different race influencing the actions of the other race. This can be negative or positives,but mostly people choice to copy the positive traits or what they view as fit to them. For example, the rock and roll musicians in America, most of them being white or black acted the same way and people enjoyed their music.

Works Cited

Exploring Society Telecourse – Streaming Videos, Retrieved on 7 December 2012 From http://irt.austincc.edu/streaming/telecourses/si.html. Web.

Greene, Patricia and Margaret, Owen. “Race and ethnicity.” Handbook of entrepreneurial dynamics: The process of business creation(2004): 26-38. Print

Proudford, Karen L., and Stella Nkomo. “Race and ethnicity in organizations.” Handbook of workplace diversity.(2006): 323-344. Print.

Williams, David R. “Race, socioeconomic status, and health the added effects of racism and discrimination.” Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 896.1 (2006): 173-188. Print.

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