Conflict, Stratification, and Ethnic Groups

A Society and its Ethnical Makeup

A society is a collection of individuals who reside in and interact with one another in a certain place. Both their political systems and their cultures are similar. Apart from that, it is made up of individuals from many ethnic groups and strata. A category of people known as an ethnic group share traits including culture and language among others. The term “stratification” is used to describe how people are classified in society, such as according to socioeconomic status (Rosenblum & Travis, 2015). This paper seeks to analyze the ethnic groups, stratification, and conflict in Brazil and then compare them to those in the United States of America.

Ethnic Groups and Stratification in Brazil

Geographically, Brazil is the fifth largest country in the world. The main language spoken is Portuguese and many people belong to the Roman Catholic in terms of religion (Bastos et al., 2014). According to an estimate that was carried out about seven years ago, the country has a population of more than two hundred and fifty million people. The population comprises of various ethnic groups which include whites, mullatos who are mixture of whites and blacks, the blacks, the Asian, and the indigenous. The whites make up more than fifty percent of the this Brazilian society, stratification and conflicts exist on basis of wealth, power, and status resulting to various unequal groups and emergence of social groups. Such social groups that exist are the rich, the poor, and the middle class (Rosenblum & Travis, 2015).

Ethnical Problems and Discrimination in Brazil

Ethnical problems have come up due to such classes resulting to discrimination and prejudice in the society. Discrimination is an unfair act of treating different people or things based on their age, sex, and race. Prejudice is whereby one makes a bias action or decision basing their view on preconceived opinion over someone. In Brazil, cases of discrimination in terms of race is the main cause of stratifications and conflicts between the people. According to an analysis, racial discrimination exists and is is very common in the Brazilian labor and employment sector. The non-whites are majorly affected by this, most of the jobs are reserved for the whites (Telles, 2014). The non-white groups are discriminated from a number of privileges and good paying jobs. They are only meant to be working on firms, industries, and provide hard labor that the Brazilians consider dirty jobs for foreigners. Also, the employers are biased in terms of employing and paying the non-whites. In this regard, the non-whites earn half or less income compared to that of the whites. Such discrimination results in a social stratification whereby the whites become the rich forming the high class and the middle class majority while the non-whites form the poor class.

Ethnical Problems in Education

Another ethnical problem exists in the education sector. The top universities in Brazil, according to research, consist of a majority of whites. This situation comes up because of the criteria of admissions to the top universities and is done through an examination. The examination involves a very hard test that makes if unfavorable for the non-whites and hence making competition very difficult (Bastos et al., 2014). This way, the non-whites in the university get a lower presentation since they are not as many as the whites.

Ethnical Problems and Assumptions Based on Prejudice

The whites tend to assume that the blacks and other non-whites should simply belong to the poor or the lowest social class. This is a form of problem relating to stratification, conflict, and discrimination. The assumption is a prejudice opinion from the history where the blacks and natives were slaves of the whites. This way they treat them with discrimination. This has resulted in the non-whites not being able to have access to basic amenities such as health centers, water, and education among others (Rosenblum & Travis, 2015). In some cases where they have access to them, they cannot fully afford them hence lack quality services.

Expert Opinions on Ethnical Problems and Strategies

Experts have given different opinions on the matter of ethical problems. They all concur that racism, discrimination, and conflicts between ethnical groups do exist. They say that in Brazil, it is not open in that it has a veil (Bastos et al., 2014). Some experts suggest that injustice and unfair treatment in terms of races and social divisions can be dealt with by imposing affirmative action policies just like in the United States of America. The Brazilian governments that have been in power have supported such policies but have taken necessary caution to ensure the policies are positive and of development in terms of ruling out stratification. However, some experts have contrasted with the implementation of policies such as that of affirmative action. They have argued that such policies will lead to the creation of new racial problems (Feagin, 2014). For instance, it will lead to Brazilians being forced to put themselves in strict racial groups and stratifications. Instead, they have suggested other policies that will have a different impact on the people. They have advised that an integration of better and more effective legal actions against discrimination and quotas will reduce and rule out discrimination.

Comparison with the United States of America

Compared to the United States of America, there are quite a number of similarities. In the United States of America, there exist many ethnical groups, stratification along ethnical lines, and conflicts emerging from ethnical differences (Feagin, 2014). Just like in Brazil, the whites are the majority and the non-whites make up the rest of the population (Nascimento, 2007). As in Brazil, there is discrimination in the labor and employment sector. The chances of whites getting white collar jobs or jobs with good pay are higher than that of non-whites. In the education sector, the whites are more than the blacks in the top universities and colleges, just like it is in Brazil.

Policies and Laws

Another similarity is that in the two countries, there are policies that have been laid down and implemented by the governments. The policies include the strategies that are being used in bid to end discrimination and stratification along ethnical lines. Brazil has the anti-racism laws that target to reduce incidences such as aggression and other vices directed to people of other races. This is in terms of actions such as racial insults. United States of America has put in place strategies such as imposing affirmative action policies and other laws that seek to end discrimination (Rosenblum & Travis, 2015). For example, the government has implemented laws dealing with discrimination in schools.

Differences in History and Racism Awareness

There are also a number of differences between Brazil especially when compared to the United States of America, one is in terms of history. In Brazil, there was no existence of race-based laws hence it was a policy for the whites to intermix with the natives and the blacks. This was a move by the government to ‘whiten’ the society. The impact was that it led to the natives and whites being intermarried. However, in the United States of America, it was a completely different case in that the races were not supposed to mix, intermarriage between the non-whites and the whites was not allowed (Feagin, 2014). In fact, immigration of non-whites into the country was made illegal.

Furthermore, in Brazil, racism exists but is not usually in the open. It is common for a Brazilian to have friends and family members of different races. Hence, racism is not very rampant. The people and even the government have a historical denial of racism being in existence. Hence, there have not been activists such as black pride, Brazilian civil rights movement advocating for cases of discrimination (Zhang, 2015). Therefore, there is no clear instance of discrimination in Brazil. The case, however, is different in the USA, cases of discrimination are rampant and everywhere. The cases are confronted in the open. The activists have had demonstrations to address such instances. There is evidence of presence of groups and movements that seek to address issues of discrimination such as police brutality to non-whites. Therefore, racism and discrimination is very open in the US (Zhang, 2015).

Ethnical Problems in Society

In the society that we live in, ethnical groups, stratification, and conflicts do exist. People identify themselves with different social classes. Stratification is mainly in terms of wealth. This leads to the creation of different social classes such as the rich, the middle class, and the poor. There may be stratification in terms of wealth and power also. In the same society, there is also discrimination. This may be in terms of races, sex, and even age. Just like in the analysis of Brazil and the United States of America, the society we live in faces the same ethnical problems and conflicts. Cases of racism and discrimination of people of a certain race are evident. Just like in the two countries, there are laws that seek to end or reduce such cases. This way, the people of the society will be able to embrace the ethnical groups and deal with each other without discrimination.


Bastos, J. L., Barros, A. J., Celeste, R. K., Paradies, Y., & Faerstein, E. (2014). Age, class and race discrimination: their interactions and associations with mental health among Brazilian university students. Cadernos de Saúde Pública, 30(1), 175-186.

Feagin, J. R. (2014). Racist America: Roots, current realities, and future reparations. Routledge.

Nascimento, E. L. (2007). The sorcery of color: Identity, race, and gender in Brazil. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.

Rosenblum, K., & Travis, T. M. (2015). The meaning of difference: American constructions of race, sex and gender, social class, sexual orientation, and disability. McGraw-Hill Higher Education.

Telles, E. E. (2014). Race in another America: The significance of skin color in Brazil. Princeton University Press.

Zhang, J. (2015). Chinese American culture in the making: Perspectives and reflections on Diasporic Folklore and identity. Journal of American Folklore, 128(510), 449-475.

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