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Sociology Essay on Race and Ethnicity

The problem of race and ethnicity is very disputable and controversial. However, one can research these subjects from the points of view of biology and sociology respectively. It is easy to study the topic on race whereas people are divided into several races according to their physiology and appearance. Color of skin, type of hair, bone structure, eye color, etc. are the primary physical characteristics that help us differ one race from another. Ethnicity is another subject. This problem is observed from the side of sociology. There are not any biological characteristics in ethnicity. Ethnicity is defined with such elements as culture, religion, language, etc. If we study race and ethnicity in sociology, we should apply other methods. The public understanding of the term ‘race’ is generally associated with ‘racism’. Thus, we should study the topic deeper.

Ethnicity is the phenomenon that unites people of the same cultural traits who share the same historical ancestry. For example, one can name German or French ancestry. The common history, culture and language connects the people who live in the particular country. On the other hand, ethnicity does not always touch upon language and religion. For instance, there are Swiss who do not speak German and do not believe in God although they belong to the same German ethnicity associated with Christianity.

Ethnicity is a specific matter whereas people try to find some uncommon and authentic elements of their nation or ethnos. They want to differ from other nations. Apparently, this wish is natural. It is possible to say that even such a shameful problem as racism has natural roots as well. If we analyze the human history, we will see that people united into tribes and communities according to their similarities. Everyone who looked differently and spoke in a different language was treated negatively. No wonder, white Europeans were negatively treated in black Africa or Asia and vice versa. Centuries ago, people could not understand that there is anything common between the people of different race or ethnicity. The representatives of one nation created prejudices and stereotypes about other ethnicities to emphasize their originality and dominance. Very often, ethnic minorities within a country were humiliated and even killed. This idea lasted to the beginning of the 20th century. The 20th century is known for the protection of human rights and proclamation of racial equality. People understood that the internal world of a human being is distinguished by her bringing up and education but not by her ethnicity or race.

Sad to say but the problem of racism is still relevant. Furthermore, it exists all over the world. You can hear about racial and ethnical discrimination in the developed and developing countries. People still evaluate one another according to the color of skin and ethnical origin. There are many cases of racial profiling in the USA, Germany or France. African-Americans and Latinos are often treated like the potential criminals in the USA. Such people often suffer from physical abuse from the side of the police officer. The only argument for this brutal behavior is the color of skin. In the same way, white people are humiliated in African countries (e.g. Zimbabwe or South Africa).

Sociology studies race and ethnicity from the side of the minority groups who experience tension and unfair attitude from the dominant ethnical group. Minority groups generally appear because of immigration. When an Algerian family migrates to Finland, they become ethnical minorities in their new home. They can have problems with language and feel a slightly wary attitude from the locals. However, they have chosen this new life and should adapt to the new cultural environment in order to become the integral part of the Finish society. On the other hand, there are people who come a new country involuntarily. The brightest example is African-Americans who were transported to America as slaves several centuries ago. They did not choose this change of environment. They were forced to change it. Therefore, it is incorrect and hypocritical to oppress African-American ethnicity. It is the same rightful part of the American society.

The only solution of this problem is the right bringing up. Parents should teach their children properly. They should speak about different ethnicities and races in the positive way. It is reasonable to emphasize positive sides of every culture if we want to build a healthy multicultural society. Only knowledge and tolerance can save millions of people from abuse and ethnical discrimination.

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