Explain two theories of prejudice on individuals

Essay by emmalouUniversity, Master's May 2004

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Racism or Racial prejudice means that a person is immediately for example disliked on the simple grounds of his/her skin colour and that the personal qualities of a black person are ignored. This racial prejudice can then lead to discrimination, which would be to treat the person in a worse manner on the grounds of his/ her colour.

Conflict theorists see societies as plagued with divisions, tensions and struggles. To the theorists, it is illusory to claim that people tend to live amicably with one other, even when there are no open confrontations, they argue that deep divisions of interests are present. Racism is an expression of one of those confrontations, whereby conflict theorists argue their case.

Ethnic minority groups are often associated with unemployment, inner city deprivation and high levels of crime. Marxists suggests that there is competition amongst groups with scarce resources. Such as housing and jobs, and that using ethnic minority groups as scapegoats, the rich exploit the poor to obscure the real reason for deprivation.

Whites are encouraged to blame ethnic minority groups, resulting in hostility between races, rather than joining together to find common solutions to their problems. Therefore conflict becomes inevitable, because of dominant groups who will perpetuate and dominate their own ideology, that colour and race are stereotyped as being stupid, inferior and subservient to whites. Some sociologists, structuralists argue that it is the uneven distributions of power that causes conflict in society.

On the other hand, functionalists see the problem as a short term one. The assumption is based on assimilation, whereby ethnic minority groups would fit into our existing social structures. During the 60,s, there was an expectation that the immigrants would establish themselves into a British way of life, and that through time and socialisation, these groups would come...