Please follow all of the instructions!!!!! The instructions are as follows and is based off of the textbook Sociology 5 by George Ritzer.
Discussion 8. Race and Ethnicity
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Discussion 8: Race and Ethnicity
This discussion is based on Ritzer, Chapter 10: Race and Ethnicity
This discussion will be evaluated using the discussion participation rubric.
Please review the FAQ in the discussion forum for information on the rubric and how postings are graded. This discussion is a series of short answers. It is
not along essay.
Introduction to the assignment.
Professor Ritzer is one of the most influential living sociologists. This chapter on Race and Ethnicity is well researched and represents the most current
thought on the subject. Observant students will have noted that the required readings are almost entirely written from a conflict theory point of view.
Historically the study of race and ethnicity has been done from a conflict theory viewpoint.
It is worth reviewing the assumptions that underly conflict theory.
Society is structured so that social goods are unequally distributed.
Usually, conflict theory is reduced to two groups (exploiter versus exploited, capitalist versus worker, male versus female, privileged versus unprivileged,
majority versus minority, master versus slave, etc.
This unequal distribution is the result of one faction of society stealing or “expropriating” what should belong to the other part.
This expropriation is defined as “social injustice.”
“Social justice” requires reparation – that the exploiters return what was stolen or expropriated. This idea was expressed in a joke common in the Soviet Union
that before the 1917 Revolution man exploited man. After the revolution, it was the exact opposite. (I.e., the exploiter and exploited had changed places. I
once had, but lost, a cartoon that in the first panel showed and aristocrat on a horse whipping a working. In the second panel, the worker was on the horse,
whipping the aristocrat. During the last three hundred years, with certain notable exceptions, most successful revolutions have changed the rulers but left the
system of exploitation intact.
No compromise is possible. Power is a zero-sum game in which the gain of one side can gain power only come from taking power from the other.
According to Structural Functionalism, conflict can benefit society in two ways. First, by identifying areas in which the structure of society is hindering the
functioning of society. Second, by motivating society to modify those structures.
Note that, conflict-theory and structural-functionalism both agree on the need to change. The fundamental differences between them are
1. Conflict theory emphasizes justice and Structural-functionalism emphasizes harmony.
2. Conflict theory creates winners and losers while Structural-functionalism emphasizes improving society for all.
3. Today, conflict theory often uses such terms and identity, and critical race theory. Structural- functionalism is often identified with “old-fashioned”
Symbolic-Interactionism has been very effectively used in conflict resolution therapy. Cognitive therapy is mainly concerned with words as symbols and the
effect that different meanings assigned to symbols can result in conflict.
Consider the words “teacher” and “student.” These words define a relationship that can have very different meanings for different people. In some societies, a
teacher’s role is to be an example of and instruct others in behavior and beliefs. Think of martial arts movies where a “sensei” teaches the young warrior.
In others, (think of the song “School Days”) a teacher instructs in “reading and writing and ‘rithmetic, taught to the tune of a hickory stick.”
In still others, a teacher is a mentor who introduces to information and skills that they need to fulfill a role in society. Consider the role of a Tutor in a
traditional British university
In Mexico, where a position as a teacher is often hereditary, and many teachers are more concerned with obtaining a salary than in teaching, teachers are not
respected – Indeed, I was initially surprised that my experience teaching high school was even less appreciated in Mexico than it was in New York City several
decades ago. (And in New York it was assumed that I entered teaching because I was not competent to do anything else).
Exceptional teachers may be honored, but only because they are seen as the exception.
In cognitive therapy, symbolic interaction is used to “reframe” the meanings of words to help the client deal realistically with a situation. A maxim of cognitive
therapy is that “When we see a situation realistically, and face it honestly, stress goes down.”
Symbolic Interaction looks at the meanings we assign to race and ethnicity. These meaning are both socially assigned (ascribed) and individually defined
(achievement). Meaning also changes over time.
There is a critical thinking exercise which can help you to analyze issues as a social scientist. Take any popular idea or slogan such as “Black lives Matter,”
“Build Back Better, “Make America Great Again,” “Never trust anyone over thirty,” “Remember the Alamo,” etc. I included some slogans from the past as a
reminder that what appears to important to us now, may also pass.
Then ask yourself.
1. “Remember the Alamo” because ____________.
2. “Remember the Alamo” because _____________ and therefore we should ___________________.
You will find that there is not just one way to fill in the blanks, but many ways. A social scientist will examine and compare the answers – and consider also
the social status of the people who give them.
These questions force you to consider “why” and “so what.” Critical thinking is dangerous because it leads us to take action. I do NOT ask you to answer
these questions in the discussions. You will find that almost everyone will have different answers. I do ask you to consider them when faced with the
movements and propaganda of the day. If you can objectively consider them, and enjoy thinking about them, you will find yourself on the road to becoming a
Consider the following three definitions of racism. Categorize each as an example of structural-functionalism, conflict theory, or symbolic-interaction AND
explain (with sources) the reasons for your choice.
A. Racism consists in defining a minority group as a race, attributing negative characteristics, to that group, and then creating circumstances that keep that
group at a disadvantage
2. Racism is when race is a master status used to define roles, decisions, and policies,
3. Racism is the result of the meaning given to the social definition of race.
B. Define each of the following words or phrases. Briefly discuss (with sources) the implications for behavior predicted by each the three frameworks or
Structural-Functionalism predicted behavior