Racism is defined as the belief that the members of a given race possess some particular features and abilities that make them superior or inferior to other races. It is also the discrimination against an individual of another race basing on the belief that his or her race is inferior to that of the discriminating party (Sanders, 2006). There have many been many instances of race-based discrimination among the whites and the African Americans since time immemorial. The main reason is that the former believe that the latter are not intelligent like them. Thus, they think that the best job opportunities should be given to the whites alone while the African Americans are left to deal with the other remaining positions that do not satisfy the former. This treatment has caused a lot of harassment and suffering to the African-Americans. This paper will analyze racial discrimination on labor market from the functionalist perspective.
An Instance of Racism
Race-based discrimination is an issue that is still present in the society today, especially in the American continent. A discussed case relates to how racism has led to severe unemployment. The African-Americans have been traditionally subjected to higher unemployment rates compared to the whites (Austin, 2008). The unemployment of the former is almost twice higher than that of the latter, and studies have shown that it is discrimination that has caused the wide gap. In fact, the African Americans are the ones whose unemployment rate is higher than those of the other races. What is most remarkable is that the African Americans of the middle class, including those with high educational levels, are finding it hard to secure jobs for themselves. Qualified professionals with equal or even better resumes are being turned down for whites with less significant qualifications. Studies have noted that applicants with African-American-sounding names get twice as fewer call-backs than those with white-sounding names. For this reason, the former are currently altering their names to sound more ‘white’ so as to stand a chance of being called for an interview.
Getting invited for an interview in a private job market cannot guarantee that one will get the job basing on his or her qualifications. Most of the interviewers are white and choose the employees basing on their wish. And since most of them are racists, the African-Americans’ chances of getting hired to private companies are very minimal. The only sector where the selection is a bit fair is government institutions where there is stronger enforcement of anti-discrimination policies leading to the employment of more representatives of minorities. The discrimination has been evident in instances where the applicant is addressed well through a phone call, on how a company will be lucky to hire him or her, but the interest dies when the potential employer meets the applicant and discovers that he or she is African-American.
The Functionalist Perspective
According to the functionalist perspective, ethnic groups and race are among the main parts of a harmonious society, which is seen to be an organization in which each part contributes to its survival (Thio & Taylor, 2012). Functionalism aims at ensuring that the elements that are allowed to thrive in society are strictly those that increase the stability. Assimilation is a procedure by which a minority turns out to be both financially and socially integrated into the predominant society (Thio & Taylor, 2012). The assimilation point of view accepts that to end up completely fledged individuals of society, minority groups’ representatives should embrace most of the prevailing society's way of life, especially its dialect, manners, and objectives for achievement, and, therefore, surrender their culture. Assimilation remains as opposed to racial and social pluralism, which is the upkeep of one's way of life, dialect, peculiarities, practices and art (Austin, 2008).
Racism can be viewed to be functional to the society because of its positive functions. It provides a justification to maintain a society that deprives some given group its rights and privileges and serves as a rallying point for social movements (Thio & Taylor, 2012). Its beliefs also discourage the subordinate group from questioning their lowered status since by doing so they challenge the society’s foundations. The dominant group is also relieved of the responsibility to handle the social problems that are faced by the subordinate groups (Austin, 2008). Despite some positive consequences, it is notable that racism has some dysfunctions that decrease the society’s stability. Race-based discrimination has led to the massive unemployment of both individuals, being mainly the African-Americans since they are perceived as not intelligent enough to be employed, and resources. It has caused social problems such as crime, negligence, and poverty as well as reducing the right relationships among nations (Ornelas et al., 2009). It has limited social change because the latter is seen as being able to favor the discriminated group. Additionally, the discrimination has been seen to undermine peaceful conflict resolution (Sanders, 2006).
In conclusion, it is evident that even after many years of advocating for civil rights, racial discrimination is still common in many nations. Each sector of life is faced with massive racial discrimination issues. There is an undeniable supremacist following up on a profound antipathy to the African-American individuals. Racism has been a disease that ought to be halted. It has existed for quite a long time, yet there is still an opportunity to end it. Racial discrimination has been a threat to the lives of numerous individuals and if it continues, it can part the solidarity of races. It might likewise prompt more wars among the nations. Race-based discrimination ought to be halted, because no race is better than some other race, since all the races have equal potentials and opportunities.