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Structural functionalism is one of the three main theoretical perspectives in sociology. Functionalism argues that every aspect of a society plays some part in keeping that society stable and functioning properly. If this is true, racism must benefit our society in some way because it has existed for as long as our American society has existed. So, we must ask how racism helps our society.A major theorist of race and racism, Manning Nash, proposed three ways in which racism helps our society. It is important to note, however, that Nash does not claim that racism helps all parts of our society. Instead, it helps our society as a whole, but hurts those against whom it is directed. Society as a whole benefits because the majority of society is not the victim of p what types functions would functionalist claim rejudice and racism. Nash’s first claim is that racism lets whites justify our unequal society. If non-whites are poor and suffer from other problems, it is not the fault of our society. Instead, their own inferiority causes these problems. If whites believe this, they can feel good about our society even if it seems unjust and our society (dominated by whites) remains stable. Second, Nash says that racist beliefs keep non-whites from challenging the foundations of our society. In this view, non-whites come to believe racist ideas and believe at some level that there is something inferior about themselves or their culture. Because of this, they believe to some degree that their problems are their own fault. Because they believe their problems are their own fault, they do not rebel and society, though unjust, remains stable. Finally, racism lets us believe that our society would suffer if we tried to change it. If non-whites are inferior and we try to give them a bigger place in our society, our society will decline. Therefore, we should keep society the way it is. If we believe this, we are more likely to keep our society stable.These are the main functionalist views of how race and racism help our society. They help mainly by making society better for the majority, which is white. They harm the non-whites, but since those groups do not make up the majority of our society, race and racism still help kee what types functions would functionalist claim p our society as a whole stable. There are many who would disagree with these views, but this is the gist of the functionalist perspective.
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