Conflict Theory Chapter 1 ; Social Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

This is where social distance comes in; the survey referenced by Parrillo (3-4) shows that non-ethnic Caucasian college student do not sense a social distance from each other, but when it comes to other Europeans, to African-Americans, Latinos -- and especially Muslims -- there is a gap in acceptance that falls into the category as social distance (4).

While colleges are supposed to be a microcosm of the greater society, looking more closely at academic settings reflects that students tend to associate more easily with other cultures and hence the social distance between African-American and Whites, and between Whites and Latinos, is not as great (perhaps because all share a goal of education while in the mainstream of society there are myriad goals that people from all ethnicities are seeking) (Parrillo, 6).

The conflict theory is based on the writing of Karl Marx, and it extols the idea that the elite and powerful in a society tend to exploit the masses; moreover, the conflict theory generalizes that there is natural tension, there are disagreements "…and clashes" as different groups struggle for limited resources (Parrillo, 11). In the case of Latinos, and Asians, the conflict theory applies because African-Americans have struggled for employment and along comes the immigrant that has worked in the fields but now he has become a citizen and wants a respectable job working at General Motors. And along comes an immigrant from Vietnam who also has become an American citizen and wants that $18-an-job at General Motors the same as the African-American does.

Marx posited that there is the ruling class and the subject class. So, the Latino, the Vietnamese man, and the African-American adult male -- these three are not trying to be part of the "ruling class"; they are the subject class but they want a piece of the American pie and hence the conflict theory is applicable as they all struggle for that better job to support their families. The iconic scholar Max Weber viewed the issue of class in economic terms, suggesting that those in the same class will share similar life experiences. The desirable things in society (a comfortable home, a good car, a sustainable job) are sought by immigrants and those born in the U.S. As well, so the conflict theory comes into to play along with social distance because there is social distance between each minority culture, and there is social distance between each minority culture and the mainstream European culture (majority culture).

In conclusion, it is important to understand and relate to the social distance between minority cultures and the mainstream majority culture; these are the social realities of the society that exists today so being informed is important because knowledge is power and leads to acceptance and empathy. The conflict theory has application in many social situations, but in this particular case the conflict theory helps explain in an objective way why people act the way they do in pursuit of similar goals.

Works Cited…

Sources Used in Document:

Works Cited

Parrillo, Vincent N. (2012). Understanding Race and Ethnic Relations. Upper Saddle River, NJ:

Prentice Hall.

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