Essay on the Causes of Racism

2. Competition between the Groups:

It is necessary for the groups to have competition between themselves for valued resources, such as power, land, or jobs. In this condition of extreme competition, members of one group will be inclined to secure their own interests by denying members of other group full access to these resources.

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3. Presence of Groups with Unequal Power:

Another condition of racism is that the group must be unequal in power. In such a condition, one of them is able to make good its claim over scarce resources at the expense of the other group or groups. At this point, inequalities become structured into the society.

The conditions stated above, provide a favourable atmosphere for racism to thrive. Extreme competition between groups for example, makes them to develop negative attitude towards each other.

The dominant group develops racist views about the supposed inferiority of the minority group or groups. The dominant group uses these views to justify its continued supremacy. Any attempt made by the minority group to assert its own interests is likely to be regarded as threatening by the dominant group and as a result, further repression may follow.

The conflict theorists are of the opinion that economic inequalities underlie racism. They are of the view that disputes between groups are not so much about racial or ethnic distinctions as about the use of supposed distinctions to preserve an unequal society.

Marxian conflict theories trace the origins of racial and ethnic inequality to the conflict between classes in capitalist societies. Marx believed, for example, that American wage earners were unlikely to become highly class conscious because ethnic and racial divisions continually set them against one another and the resulting strife could be manipulated by the capitalist class. To forge class solidarity it would be necessary for workers to renounce their smaller group loyalties, including their loyalty to a particular ethnic or racial group.

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