Racial And Ethnic Identities In America

Racial And Ethnic Identities In America

Review this week’s Learning Resources. Pay particular attention to the definitions of wealth, power, and the tri-racial stratification system in the article, “From Bi-racial to Tri-racial: Towards a New System of Racial Stratification in the USA.”
Consider the impact of the tri-racial stratification system on perceptions of race and ethnicity.
Think about how race, power, and wealth might influence people’s perception of social class
Reflect on whether race, power, or wealth might have the most influence and why.
The Assignment (3–4 pages):

Explain the impact of a tri-racial system on societal perceptions of race and ethnicity. Provide specific examples.
Separately analyze the impact of race, power, and wealth on people’s perceptions of social class. Provide specific examples for each.
Explain which you believe has the greatest influence on people’s perceptions of social class and justify your response

Race, Class, Gender and Life Chances

The investigation of the structural social inequalities and their impacts on the community is one of the major issues in sociology. Race, class and gender are some of the sources of such inequalities that are believed to have significant impacts on social mobility including individual life chances. Different theories have been put forth to explain the role of the social categories in influencing life chances, resulting in mixed findings on their relevance. One group of theorists argues that class, gender and race are the major forms of social stratification and have a significant influence on life chances (Rothman 89). On the other hand, there has been a debate on the “death of class”, with scholars arguing that the relevance of class in social stratification has declined over time (Bécares and Priest 65). To this group of scholar, gender and race play a significant role in social stratification and inequalities, more than the social issue of class that if continuously fading away. However, (Rothman 89) reports, class inequalities have not died, rather other forms of social stratification such as gender and race are gaining greater importance, due to their role in influencing life chances. Class, race and gender inequalities are fundamental aspects of social stratification that significantly influence life choices. This paper is a reflection of the role of race, class and gender in influencing life chances, focusing on my experience as a female undergraduate student of American origin seeking to achieve a quality life.

GENDER AND LIFE CHANCES

Life chances refer to the opportunities available to individuals to enhance his/her quality of life. Life chances entail access to employment, healthcare, and education. The accessibility of life opportunities is influenced by a number of social factors including race, gender and class. Gender is a major factor of social stratification that causes inequalities in life chances. According to OpenStax College (262) gender relations play a pivotal role in influencing social inequalities that avail different opportunities to boys and girls in society. Gender inequalities witnessed in many communities results in the disparities in the life opportunities availed to men and women in various spheres. OpenStax College (262) posits that gender stereotypes are the major basis of sexism and promote the belief that one sex is better than the other. The extent of sexism and gender stereotypes varies from one region to the next with regions where women are undervalued being the most affected. These stereotypes cause social stratification and inequalities through major agents including education, mass media and family. The implications are significant disparities in access to life chances.

Gender stratification has limited my access to valuable and well-paying jobs. In my process of job search and seeking for a part-time job as a student I have not only been segregated to take up certain roles, but have also been convinced to undertake jobs that are labeled as feminine. Tasks allocated to men are considered complex and highly prestigious even when they have negligible differences with those that I was expected to handle. Consequently such jobs allocated to men are powerful and well-paying in relation to those designated for women. While we nearly execute similar roles and duties within the workplace, men were revered and got better pay, for what was termed as handling of complex and daunting tasks. Gender stratification in the division of labor limits the ability of women to access valuable and well-paying jobs that they are likely to effectively execute as their male counterparts.

RACE AND EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES

The race is also considered a major factor in social stratification and life chances disparities. From a sociological perspective, racism is a form of prejudice that entails the beliefs, thoughts and feelings about a given racial group, that is constructed based on the social and physical characteristics of individuals (Flanagan and Kornbluh 960). According to OpenStax College (225) prejudice is not based on any facts or experience, rather is considered a prejudgment based on other non-factual factors. Racism is one such form or prejudice that labels a given race as superior more than others, based on non-factual factors (Duncan and Matty). White supremacy has remained pervasive in most companies enhancing the chances of the white Americans to access more well-paying than other racial groups leaving in the US (OpenStax College (226). In my job search after high school, I noticed that I would receive many favors from employees, courtesies that were not extended to my peers from other races. Their accounts are a clear indication that employers would offer first opportunities to white with the belief that they are better performers, while the remaining racial groups left to scramble for the remaining opportunities.

While the dominant racial groups are likely to benefits from prejudice, the minority races in the population are likely to witness a serious deterrent in access to life chances. Discrimination based on race bars individuals from access to fair hiring process. Overt discrimination has barred different racial groups from accessing various jobs, with some employees indicating that they only require a certain race for the advertised positions (OpenStax College 232). As much as such kinds of discrimination are not encouraged today, racial discernment is likely to remain pervasive in most societies. The repercussions are disparities in life chances for the various racial groups within the society.

CLASS AND HEALTH CHANCES

Social class also has a significant influence on the health chances of an individual. The social class of an individual is the major determinant of health and access to quality health care. While race and gender also play a major role in explaining health disparities, the class is considered the major factor that causes serious health inequalities (OpenStax College 264). Whether determined based on level of education, occupation or income, individuals with low social class have limited chances to quality health care (OpenStax College 265). Coming from a middle-class family, I have been able to access relatively quality health care and did not contact any of the communicable diseases in my childhood. This is however different for children coming from working and low social classes who apart from health problems in their childhood failed to access quality healthcare. The implications are high morbidity and mortality rates for lower and working class.

Conclusion

Gender, class and race have a significant influence on the life choices of an individual. Gender inequalities deter the female gender from accessing high-paying jobs, while designating high paying jobs to men. Racial prejudice and discrimination bar the minority race from accessing various employment opportunities that are considered suitable for the valued and revered race in the society. Social class disparities are major determinants of health inequalities that prevent the lower and working class from accessing quality health care. Individuals in the lower social class are exposed to high morbidity and mortality rates. Gender, class and race inequalities have remained pervasive in many societies and prevent the minority, prejudiced and lower-class persons from accessing quality life chances, deterring them from having a quality life.