Racism In America
Race is a socially constructed category. Society assigns races to people based on opinion
and social experience. If races are socially constructed, then racism must also be an offshoot of
race and derived from social experiences too. Racism, as defined by Webster’s New American
Dictionary, is “a belief that some races are by nature superior to others.” Why is there racism in
There are two distinct schools of thought; the social psychologists and the sociological
theorists. There are two social psychological theories. The scapegoat theory, that argues
“historically, members of the dominant group in the United States have harbored various
frustrations in their desire to achieve social and economic success” and vent these frustrations in
the form of anger towards other racial groups (Andersen, Taylor, 291). The authoritarian theory
“is characterized by a tendency to rigidly characterize people” (Andersen, Taylor, 291). The
sociological theories focus more on institutional racism.
Racism appears to be a mixture of the scapegoat, authoritarian, and sociological theories.
While majority of the people automatically characterize people into groups, they also have a
tendency to turn these groups in punching bags. The reason from this may be the detachment
associated with categorizing people into groups other than your own. Therefore, detachment of
one person from another allows each person to feel able to blame or hate the other without
feeling guilt. George Ritzer would argue that “Mcdonaldization of society” definitely helps to
create the dehumanization needed to ignite and cultivate racism.
Symbolic interaction theorists ague that greater interaction within the groups will reduce racism.
If racism is socially constructed, then changing the structure of how society allows only brief and
indifferent interactions between people, (curbing the growth of mcdonaldization) will help create
a more equal society.
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