week 3 sociology matters soc 262

Review the Sociology Matters prompt at the end of Ch. 6 or Ch. 7.

Write a minimum 700-word response to one or more of the bullets found at the end of Chapter 6 or a minimum 700-word response to one or more of the bullets found at the end of Chapter 7.

Here is Sociology Matters chapter 6 bullets

Sociology matters because it makes us think about why some people in our society are treated better than others.

Do you hold any prejudices against subordinate racial or ethnic groups? If so, has your reading of this chapter helped you to see those groups from a different perspective? How would your life change if you yourself were a member of one of those groups?

Are you White? If so, what privileges, perhaps because of your race or citizenship, do you enjoy that you have always taken for granted? Can you think of a way to reduce one or more of those privileges so that others can be more equal—and would you cooperate with such an effort?

Sociology matters because it makes us more aware of prejudice and discrimination against members of certain racial and ethnic groups.

Are you non-White? If so, what kinds of stereotyping and discrimination have you seen non-Whites experience? Do you think racial discrimination can be reduced through cooperative contact among people of different races?

Are you or your parents recent immigrants to the United States? If so, what is the primary basis on which others react to you—your ethnic group, race, or country of origin? Do you think you or your children will someday blend into mainstream society in the United States, and if so, what might hasten that process?


The social dimensions of race and ethnicity are important factors in shaping people’s lives. In this chapter, we defined the meaning of race and ethnicity and examined the social construction of those ascribed statuses. We discussed four theoretical perspectives on the unequal treatment of individuals based on their racial and ethnic groups. We noted some patterns of prejudice and discrimination against members of those groups, many of whom are recent immigrants. And we studied the economic effects of the unequal treatment of subordinate groups.

In the United States, people who are White enjoy numerous rights and immunities simply because they are White. Yet they rarely acknowledge their White privilege, to themselves or to people of other races.

Race and ethnicity are socially constructed. The meaning people attach to the physical characteristics of certain groups, which are often expressed in stereotypes, gives race and ethnicity their social significance.

A racial group is set apart from others by obvious physical differences, whereas an ethnic group is set apart primarily because of national origin or distinctive cultural patterns.

Over the last century, the racial and ethnic composition of immigrants to the United States has changed as the major sending nations changed. One hundred years ago, White ethnics from Europe predominated; today’s immigrants come mainly from Latin America and Asia.

Functionalists point out that to the dominant groups in a society, discrimination against subordinate groups may seem to be functional. But for society as a whole, discrimination can be dysfunctional.

Conflict theorists stress the harmful consequences of racial subordination. They see the unequal treatment of subordinate groups as an integral part of capitalism, a view known as exploitation theory.

Interactionists focus on the micro level of race relations, pointing out the ways in which Whites dominate members of other racial and ethnic groups in everyday social interactions. According to their contact hypothesis, racial prejudice and discrimination can be reduced through cooperative contact between the races.


Prejudice is a negative attitude toward an entire group, often an ethnic or racial minority. Prejudice is often based on ethnocentrism— the belief that one’s own culture is superior to all others—or on racism—the belief that one race is supreme and all others are inferior.

Prejudice often leads to discrimination against members of certain racial and ethnic groups. In the workplace, members of these groups may encounter a glass ceiling, an invisible barrier that blocks their promotion.

Discrimination that results from the normal operations of a society is known as institutional discrimination. To remedy this kind of discrimination, governments, businesses, and schools have developed affirmative action programs.

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