Racism and Sociological Theories

Racismand Sociological Theories

Racismand Sociological Theories

Racismis a social issue in most societies and have over the years attractedcivil rights attention in various parts of the world. When peoplehear about the civil rights movement, they probably think about it asa racial problem associated with Americans and the African Americans.However, racial discrimination have been rampant in other parts ofthe world. In the current article, the authors focus on racism inCanada. This paper will explore the issue of racism in Canada aspresented in the article in regard to theories of interactionism,structural functionalism, and the conflict theory.

Thearticle fails to consider the functionalism viewpoint of society.Functionalists perceives society as a multifaceted system and focuseson diverse event’s contributions to social stability and strength.In the article, what can be seen is classical structuralfunctionalism. Structural functionalism fails to critically evaluaterace or ethnicity, and instead perceives race as another essentialelement within the larger society, that was incorporated in to itsconsiderably smooth functioning (Schaefer,2012).

Inthe article, conflict sociological school of thought is evident.Conflict theorists just like Kielburger and Kielburger believe thatracial discrimination or prejudice have detrimental consequences forsociety. This is the notion exhibited by Lund, the professor who isat the center of discussion in the article (Kielburger andKielburger, 2014). The conflict view of racism is quite convincing asseen in the article. When Canada Minister of State forMulticulturalism become the target of racism, it appears that thereis conflict between the various races. The woman expressing disgustsays at some point that, she thinks the minister is jobless. Thisshows how the mindset of racism in conflict theory works. Similarly,it explains why the Chinese immigrants, whom in the beginning of thenineteenth century were useful in the railway construction, becameunwanted later in the century when they started scrambling foropportunities with the Americans (Schaefer,2012).The article expresses a concern in the way racism issues in the U.Scarry magnitude effect in the society, something which is clearlyseen in the scenario in Canada with professor Lund and his movement(Kielburger and Kielburger, 2014).

Theauthors of the article have not considered the theory ofinteractionism in their article. This theory suggest that, as peopleinteract in the social environment, or at work, they tend to learneach other’s strengths and appreciate each other’s contributionto the society. As a result, they abandon the racial stereotypes thatthey associated with each other (Kendall,2012).This makes them work together for the better. This explanation couldbe useful in the current article. The authors could have used it toexplain why when students from the university, with the help ofprofessor Lund started a campaign for racial and gay prejudice, itwas clear that through the experiences shared, students were able tosee things differently. They were able to appreciate each other as aperson and not as a gay or as an Indian, black or white (Smedley&amp Smedley, 2005).This is termed as contact hypothesis. The contact hypothesisstipulate that in mutual circumstances, interracial contact betweenindividuals of similar status will lead them to become less prejudiceand to leave old stereotypes. Individuals begin to understand othersas individuals without the broad generalization of racialcharacteristics. However, in instances where the two raciallydifferent people are fighting for the same position in the society,racial hostility between them may be established (Bloch&amp Solomos, 2010).

Canadais a country that has been able to increase contact between people ofboth minority and dominant groups, and the issue of racism has notbeen as extent as in the United States. Of importance is to note theway the different sociological theories influence racialdiscrimination and prejudice in the society. In a country like Canadafor example, where racism issues have not been rampant like in theUnited States, it shows that there are some social forces that aregiving rise to these social phenomena.

Inthe article, the authors compare the reporting of the incidentconcerning Minister Uppal, to the shooting of a black teenage boy inMissouri in the U.S (Kielburger and Kielburger, 2014). In the U.S thesociety has accepted that there is a problem of racism. The reportingis clearly labeled with all forms of racial connotation includingracial profiling, racial prejudice and discrimination against blacks.The kind of response that such incidences receive in Canada shows howthe Canadian society is in denial of the sociological forces behindracism.

Conclusively,the current article provides a clear view into a sociologicaltheory-racism in Canada and illuminates the reader’s view of racismin Canada. However, the article did not utilize the rich sociologicaltheories in explaining the problem. The theories that have beenassociated with the problem of racism include structuralfunctionalism, interactionism and the conflict theory. The currentarticle was able to reflect the conflict theory which expressesconcern over the severe damage racial discrimination can result in asociety.


Bloch,A., &amp Solomos, J. (Eds.). (2010). Raceand Ethnicity in the 21st Century.Palgrave Macmillan.

Kendall,D. (2012). Sociologyin our times.Cengage Learning.

KielburgerC. and Kielburger M. (2014 Sep. 18). Racism is Canada’s problemtoo-let’s talk about it. HuffingtonPost.Retrievedhttp://www.huffingtonpost.ca/craig-and-marc-kielburger/canada-racism_b_5845284.html(Accessed November 24, 2014).

Schaefer,R. T. (2012). SociologyA Brief Introduction 10th edition.McGraw-Hil.

Smedley,A., &amp Smedley, B. D. (2005). Race as biology is fiction, racismas a social problem is real: Anthropological and historicalperspectives on the social construction of race. AmericanPsychologist,60(1),16.