The ideology of race and it’s counterpart (racism) have been phenotypically
interpreted throughout history. Race, defined by Dalton Conley in his sociologically-based
book You May Ask Yourself, as “a group of people who share a set of
characteristics and are said to share a common bloodline.” (Conley 322).
Ethnicity, defined by Conley is one’s ethnic quality or affiliation (Conley
355). Race is something that is externally imposed and involuntary, usually
based on physical difference (phenotype) and hierarchial based on social
constructs. Race is exclusive and primarily unitary: you can only have one
race. Ethnicity, however, is based on differences in practice, not phenotypical
voluntary, self-defined/embraced by group members, non-hierarchial, fluid and
multiple: you can have many ethnical affiliations. The fundamental difference
between race and ethnicity is that race is hierarchial and socially imposed:
you have no control over your race, it’s imposed by others. You can identify as
many different ethnicities, but only one race. For example, you could identify
ethnically as Russian and Irish, but can only really racially identify as black
or white.

            Most associate ethnicity with culture and race with
biology. Given the history of biology’s use for political means, it’s a very
important people to realize that race as we know it is not a
biological concept. According to sociologist David Freund, “one could argue
that both ethnicity and race are socially constructed, their influence in terms
of power and inequality is in the way that racial identities have been
constructed historically. One could argue that they’re both illusory and
imagined. But racial categories have had a much more concrete impact on
peoples’ lives, because they’ve been used to discriminate and to distribute
resources unequally and set up different standards for protection under law”.
The core focus of this excerpt is that the influence of race and ethnicity are
global, and have both been used to highlight inequality. An example of racial
inequality is in the 1950’s, when racial segregation was extremely prevalent,
and thousands of people were killed over the philosophy of white privilege. An
example of ethnic inequality is Hitler’s reign over Germany, and his
antisemitism towards Jews, where he put thousands of Jews in concentration
camps and killed them, all because of their ethnicity: Jewish. There are many
theories regarding inequalities and how they are related to race and ethnicity.
As a
functionalist view, ethnic and racial inequalities must have served an
important function in order to exist as long as they have. However, this concept
raised some questions. How can racial prejudice contribute positively to
society? A functionalist might look at “functions” and “dysfunctions” caused by
racial inequality. Anthropologist Manning Nash (1964) focused his argument on
the way racism is functional for the dominant group, for example, suggesting
that racism morally justifies a racially unequal society. For example, the way that
slave owners justified slavery in the South: by suggesting that black people
were fundamentally inferior to white and preferred slavery instead of freedom.

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!


order now
x

Hi!
I'm Eleanor!

Would you like to get a custom essay? How about receiving a customized one?

Check it out