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Racial and Ethnic Inequality

Racial and Ethnic Inequality Chapter 3

Racial and ethnic discrimination are among the most divisive social problems facing the United States. A racial group is a category of people who have been singled out, by others or themselves, as inferior or superior, on the basis of selected physical characteristics such as skin color, hair texture, or eye shape.

By contrast, an ethnic group is a category of people distinguished, by others or themselves, as inferior or superior, primarily on the basis of culture or nationality. Race and ethnicity often form the basis of ranking between majority (or dominant) group members, who are advantaged and have superior resources and rights, and minority (or subordinate) group members, who are subjected to unequal treatment by the dominant group.

Prejudice is a set of negative attitudes toward members of another group simply because they are members of that group; it is rooted in ethnocentrism—the assumption that one’s own group and way of life are superior to all others.

Symbolic interactionist perspectives assert that racial socialization is a process of social interaction that contains specific messages and practices concerning one’s racial or ethnic status.

Functionalist perspectives (assimilation and ethnic pluralism) focus on how members of subordinate groups become a part of the mainstream. Conflict theorists, on the other hand, analyze racial and ethnic inequality from class and gendered racism perspectives or in terms of internal colonialism or racial formation theory.

The unique experiences of Native Americans, African Americans, Latinos/Latinas, and Asian and Pacific Americans are examined.

Chapter 3 Discussion Post Wednesday, 9/26/18 11:59PM and Respond by Sunday, 9/30/18 by 11:59PM

Answer the following questions:

  1. Why do racial and ethnic inequalities make it more difficult for some people to achieve the American dream? What changes would have to be made to bring about more equal opportunities in this country?
  2. What are the effects of individual and institutional discrimination? Which is easier to identify in daily life? Why might institutional discrimination be more difficult to reduce than individual discrimination?


Last Updated on September 27, 2018

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