Racism In America Term Paper

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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

America today?

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.

Word Count: 294

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