Term Paper: Sociology and Racism Sociologists Recognize

Pages: 6 (1553 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Race  ·  Buy This Paper


[. . .] Instead, people form ethnic groups and racist belief as a result of their socialization and social interaction (Shibutani and Kwan, 28).

The implication of the Shibutan and Kwan book is that racism arises not because the ethnic groups look different physically. Rather, racism results from the different ways that members of various ethnic groups communicate. Different racial groups develop various systems of meanings and communication.

An illustration would be the way members of African-American groups have taken "ownership" of the N word. This word changes in meaning when spoken by a Caucasian person.

The interactionist perspective has its limitations, particularly in its narrow focus. Focusing on micro level research such as symbols and language can neglect the influence of social institutions on the development of racist attitudes. After all, people do not live their everyday lives independent of institutions like religion and media.

However, the interactionist perspective has the advantage of bringing people into the sociological analysis. As the example regarding the N word has shown, the interactionist perspective recognizes the dynamic role that people play in the development and propagation of racism in society.

Works Cited

Herrnstein, Richard. The Bell Curve. New York: Free Press, 1994.

Nisbett, Richard. "Race, Genetics and IQ." The Black-White Test Score Gap. Christopher Jencks, ed. Washington: Brookings Institution Press, 1998.

Olzak, Susan. The Dynamics of Ethnic Competition and Conflict. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1992.

Shibutani, Tamotsu and Kwan, Kian…

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