Theories on Race, Racism, and Discrimination

Many of the theories that psychologists embark upon in the study of race, racism, and discrimination is referred to as a type of phenomena. “We conceive of race, or more broadly ethno racial distinctions, as historically contingent social constructions. These distinctions are categorized”.

These categories can be best described as hierarchical differences that shape social relations that include life’s experiences and life’s chances. By using survey based experiments, psychologist has combined many variables to arrive at their conclusion. They also used in-depth interviews to deepen their knowledge concerning this topic.

In the study of oppositional culture theory, it was suggested that “low expectations lead minority students to feel ambivalent about school and to disengage academically in believing that academic achievement is the sole purview of Whites” (Ogbu 1986, 1992). This term, acting white, is the final product of this development.

Stereotyping them does not work against them because they have already stopped trying academically.

In the theory on organizations, labor markets, and workplaces, there have been a notable disparity of advantaged positions of ethnic minorities in the contemporary urban labor market. The reason for the disadvantage has been primarily centered on race. These types of disadvantages significantly reduce life’s chances, which in turn correlate to lower social class.

It has been believed among economists and social scientist that the competitive labor market would end racial discrimination in the workplace. Apparently that has not taken place to this day. The amazing aspect of workplace discrimination is that employers openly admit to racial discrimination based on stereotypical information.

The theory on contact and interpersonal interactions focused on the degree on contact and interpersonal or intimate relations between dominant and subordinate groups. Much of this research concluded that the dominant group will and often continues to underestimate the subordinate group. The result is a type of double jeopardy for the minority group.

The subordinate group may achieve success that conforms to the dominant group, yet they continue to experience racism and discrimination. The downside to this study is that most people interviewed will adjust their answers to minimize tension about the acts of racism and discrimination. In either case, the minority group faces greater stress for achievement and remains attached to their minority group.

The theories of White’s racial attitudes bring about a very interesting point. During the interview, it was determined that White’s “avoided making overtly racist statements, especially in the presence of African Americans” (Bobo, Fox p322). This creates the assumption that White’s racial attitudes have somewhat changed and have been diminished.

However, it is to be noted that there is a substantial increase in the idea of racial equality, which can be supported by federal government policies. Another aspect of this theory is the social-psychological theory that old fashioned racism has not disappeared, but replaced by a different brand of racism called symbolic racism. In this case, racism is often subtle and not easily seen.

Encourage yourself: There are other theories that reflect that prevailing attitude toward racism and discrimination in the United States. In many cases, racism and discrimination is often preferred to remain subtle. To not give the appearance that Whites are tainted when it concerns race, especially in public.

America will never totally rid itself of this dreadful attitude of race and discrimination, but one of the keys to getting a better understanding is through education from all minority groups.

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