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Functionist View on Ethnic Inequality

In: Social Issues

Submitted By apalmer22
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Outline and Assess functionalist explanations for ethnic inequality
Functionalists hold the view that ethnic inequality is a dysfunctional for society, and that ethnic minorities need to become more similar to the white majority. This is known as Assimilation theory, which is staunchly criticised by the Marxists who believe racism exists to justify the inequalities that are so wide spread by the Bourgeoisie via Capitalism. Weberianism concurs with Marxists (so they diverge from the Functionalists) to an extent, but they introduce status into the explanation. Postmodernists take a approach antagonistic to all of the afore mentioned approaches, and that is to argue that blanket terms such as ethnicity are no longer relevant in the modern era, where our identities are defined by consumerism and globalisation.
Functionalists outline the Assimilation Theory, suggested by Patterson. Patterson believes that the influx of immigrants into Britain in the 1950s disturbed what was a homogenous society with social stability and a high degree of social integration, leading to a value consensus. The norms and values brought in with the immigrants led to a Cultural Clash, where each different ethnicity were seen to be against the norm. This created many stereotypes e.g. boisterous West Indians. Prejudice also came about, buoyed by xenophobia, competing for jobs between ethnicities and a lack of similarity (Assimilation) with foreigners. Patterson continues by arguing this has caused self-segregation, whereby ethnic minorities separate themselves in certain areas, and this combined with ‘White Flight’ has caused entire areas and schools to be dominated by certain ethnicities e.g. Tower Hamlets and South Hall. However, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) point out that self-segregation is caused by racism, rather than white flight. Additionally, research has found that…...

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