Understanding race and racism

Create a 14 page paper that discusses to what extent has contemporary sociological theory advanced our understanding of race and racism. llective, and how they have developed a common culture, while theories about cultural transmission help explain how this common culture sustains itself over generations. These are all helpful theories that explain racial identity. That said, the origins of racism are much more difficult to explain, and theories have been unsatisfactory in this regard. Some theories base racism in economic realities, others see racism as a product of dominance and dependency, while still others see an inherent intelligence gap between races, and this explains how races are separated. Therefore, no one theory regarding racial relations is satisfactory. That said, there are commonalities between the theories, so, by combining the theories, one can come up with a composite whole that might be helpful in explaining racial difference, relations and racism.The first issue that must be examined is how contemporary sociology views the issues of race and ethnicity, by examining ethnic identity theory. An ethnic group is “a reference group called upon by people who share a common history and culture, who may be identifiable because they share similar physical features and values and who, through the process of interacting with each other and establishing boundaries with others, identify themselves as being a member of that group” (Smith, 1991, p. 181). In other words, ethnic identity theory encompasses what it means to be white, black, Jewish, Irish, Chicano, etc. (White & Burke, 1987, p. 311). Ethnic identity theory derives from how one feels about his or her membership in the identified ethnic group, which includes the symbols, beliefs and values of that group. Moreover, ethnicity is not a choice – one must be born into it (Smith, 1991, p. 182). Ethnic identity development is the process that one takes to come to terms with one’s ethnicity (Smith, 1991, p. 182).

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