Even though some people state that racial or ethnical discrimination and prejudice are issues of the past, there is still double standard in the US society. Ethnic minorities have to face various issues related to prejudice or discrimination. It is possible to consider the concepts of discrimination and prejudice from different theoretical perspectives.
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In the first place, these concepts can be considered in term of the conflict theory. According to the conflict theory, people struggle for resources and the society develops in terms of this struggle. Thus, European Americans tend to think that ethnic minorities can take certain jobs away.
This prejudice exists in the society especially when it comes to Asian Americans. There is a prejudice that Asian immigrants come and occupy posts which could be taken by Americans (Cheng & Yang 290). At the same time, minorities tend to stress that whites control all spheres of the US society.
People of color argue that whites have taken all major positions in the society and such concepts as ‘double-standard’ and ‘glass ceiling’ are common for minorities. Such events as the case of Rodney King prove that the conflict exists (Blauner 272). Notably, some people who find themselves in uncertain position (e.g. experience financial constraints) tend to share discriminative practices. However, those who are well-off are not afraid of competition and strive for discrimination-free society.
As far as psychological perspective, prejudice can be explained by the theory of stereotyping. Thus, people tend to stereotype. This is a psychological peculiarity of the human being. If an individual sees several (or even one) German who likes beer very much, he/she develops a stereotype concerning Germans’ attitude towards this beverage.
Likewise, there are various examples of prejudice. African-Americans are often thought to work as low-paid employees or even to be gangsters. Philippine females are often believed to work as maids. At present, young people are taught to be free from stereotypes though people are still vulnerable.
It is also possible to see discrimination and prejudice from symbolic interactionist perspective. According to this theory, minority groups cannot see themselves as a part of a larger group if they are not seen as similar by the majority group. Admittedly, ethnicity is what makes people different in terms of their skin color, mindsets, traditions, etc. (Blauner 279).
Different groups of people remain somewhat hostile to others, as this is a part of the human perception. Others are seen as different and hostile. Discrimination as well as prejudice can be regarded as a type of self-defense when the majority group tries to defend itself from the influence of the ‘others’, i.e. minority groups. Therefore, it is essential to promote the concepts of equality and cooperation to make people free from the concept of ‘otherness’.
In conclusion, it is possible to note that discrimination and prejudice can be considered in terms of conflict theory, theory of stereotypes and symbolic interactionist perspective. According to these sociological and psychological perspectives discrimination and prejudice are indispensible parts of the human society as it is. However, there is a way to get rid of these concepts. People should try to develop understanding that all are equal irrespective of their ethnic background.
Globalization is one of the factors that can help people understand that. The differences between ethnicities become insignificant when people start thinking about more global issues like environment, diseases, natural disasters, resources distribution, etc. People should understand that cooperation (i.e. the end of discrimination and prejudice) is the way to build global society which can cope with global issues.
Blauner, Bob: “Talking Past Each Other: The Black and White Languages of Race.”
Cheng, Lucie and Philip Q. Yang: “Asians: The’ Model Minority’ Deconstructed”.