Racism as a Social Problem


Social problems are societal conditions or issues that vandalize society. One of the crucial impacts of these issues is that they disturb the community’s compatibility, bringing hostility. Racism has become one of the major social problems across the world. It is discrimination or oppression by any particular person, institution, or community based on their physical traits such as skin color or ethnic group. Racism has brought about racial segregation where some ethnic groups are inferior or superior to one another.

The blacks are the most affected by the issues of racism. Over time now the blacks have been discriminated against by police officers in the United States. These actions can bring many problems in society, such as conflict, unnecessary fights, poverty, and fear. African Americans in the U.S have led protests against racism through the Black Lives Matter movement (Virdee 1806). Some governments have disregarded and violated human and civil rights, especially towards the blacks (Virdee 1803). In typical cases, they exhibited this disregard through imposts that were oppressive. Racism is hurtful to a nation and its cultures, causing great moral and economic suffering to them.

Examples of Racism Issues

The Jim Crow Era

The Jim Crow laws are rules that legalized racial segregation between the Americans and the African-Americans in the Southern region of the United States. These laws emerged by the end of the 19th century (Alderman 21). These Jim Crow laws authorized the segregation of the whites from the blacks by separating public places, institutions, and transportation (Alderman 22). Jim Crow laws were based on the White’s superiority and oppressive to the African-Americans. The rules prohibited the African-Americans from participating in local and state elections (Alderman 22). They aimed to disconnect every interest received by the black people and dominate them.

George Floyd

George Floyd is an African-American man who was killed on 25th May 2020 by a police officer. Floyd is arrested in Minneapolis following suspicion of using a fake bill (Barbot 1253). In videos that spread across the media, one of the police officers kneels on Floyd’s neck while the other three police officers watch till he loses his breath and dies. The African-Americans lives were significantly threatened by the police officers, who should be the people offering security to the public (Barbot 1253). Protests began at different places globally, fighting against racial discrimination and police brutality, especially against the blacks (Barbot 1253). The sad story of the death of George Floyd spread throughout the world.

Bessie Smith

Bessie Smith is an African-American female artist known in the 1920s and 1930s in her musical style known as the blues. She died in a fatal car accident early in the morning on 26th September 1937 (Naseef 35). Smith was in the car with her boyfriend, Richard Morgan, who was driving. Richard crashed the car into a truck, and Smith was severely and fatally injured on her arm (Naseef 37). A doctor was passing by and stopped by to attend Smith. He called an ambulance to take Smith to the hospital, but it did not arrive in time.

After a few moments, another accident occurred at the same place. This second accident is caused by two young American couples who are injured less than Smith (Naseef 40). The ambulance arrives at the spot and takes the young American who is suffering minor injuries. Smith is left there because of her race. The laws of Jim Crow were still active in those days. African-Americans were inferior and were never considered by the Whites. Smith could not be taken to the hospital because she was a black person (Naseef 44). After seven hours since Smith gets an accident, she is taken to hospital, where she dies few hours after arrival (Naseef 46). It is so sad that Smith lacks medical attention to the point of death because of her race.

The three racism issues discussed above share a lot of similarities. The three talk about the social issue on topic in detail. Oppression against people based on their skin color by the whites is evident in all the examples. The death of the African-Americans is mentioned in two of the models. George Floyd, an African-American man, is killed by a White police officer, the same as Bessie Smith’s case, who dies after being ignored because of the segregation between the African-Americans and the Whites. All the examples have a similar narrative which is the superiority of the whites over the Blacks.

Sociological Theories (Functionalism, Conflict and Symbolic Interactionism)


Functionalism in social sciences is a theory that argues that every psychological one depends entirely on the roles it plays. The functionalism theory states that for racial relations to provide good behavior and a steady society, ethnic and racial minorities must fit that society (Sica 6). The comprehension means that the minorities must give up their own culture and wholly embrace the dominant society’s culture. Some of the chief’s culture the minority must adopt is its language and manners (Sica 10). That is the view of functionalism towards racism in society.


The sociological theory of conflict states that conflict is a fundamental part of social interaction. Conflict theorists say that to reduce racial and ethnic conflict, and inequality must decrease (Sica 12). Some theorists paying attention to class argue that class and replacements in the economic structure are occasionally important. Other theorists say that race is moderate than class (Sica 12). The conflict theory makes it aware to learners how to go about racial conflicts in society.

Symbolic Interactionism

Symbolic interactionism theory discusses two significant points, which are first, the duty of decreasing racial and ethnic, antagonism and second, the social raising of race and ethnicity. It depends on the symbolic definition that evolves and raises upon in social interaction (Sica 15). This theory enquires what usually takes place when two people of different races come together and how to decrease the hostility and conflict between them (Sica 16). Symbolic interactionism interacts with the two parties: the minority and the superior one, to know the source of conflict and helps bring the enmity down (Sica 20). Symbolic interaction theory plays a significant role in society in helping learn how to handle hostility.

Today racism is witnessed a lot in our daily lives and particularly in law and administration. Racism issues are being witnessed every day across the world. It is a violation of human rights and very hurtful to the victims and their families too. Many African-Americans have lost their lives over time, and justice is rarely granted. Most racial discriminators are never punished for their violations. More protests should be conducted fighting against racism across the world. The governments should take necessary actions against individuals who discriminate against others based on their skin color with immediate effect. Racial discrimination is going down to our generations from the present racial problems they undergo. If not stopped, racism will keep people in conflict, fear, and emotional distress.

Works Cited

Alderman, Derek H., Kortney Williams, and Ethan Bottone. “Jim Crow journey stories: African American driving as emotional labor.” Tourism Geographies (2019): 1-25. Web.

Virdee, Satnam, and Brendan McGeever. “Racism, crisis, Brexit.Ethnic and racial studies 41.10 (2018): 1802-1819. Web.

Barbot, Oxiris. “George Floyd and our collective moral injury.” (2020): 1253-1253. Web.

Naseef, Enas Talib. “The Neurosis of Blackness and Psychological Trauma in Edward Albee’s The Death of Bessie Smith.” Journal of the College of Education for Women 31.2 (2020): 35-51. Web.

Sica, Alan. “Classical sociological theory.” The Wiley Blackwell Companion to Sociology (2019): 1-20. Web.

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