RACISM AND SOCIAL CLASS
Racismand Social Class
Matters pertaining to race are considerably sensitive to cultural,social and political views globally. Racism is in most cases isviewed as hostility and antagonism against people of different races.Basically, racism is considered a vice that still continues to plaguesocieties around the world and continues to be the basis for violenceand crimes perpetuated around the world. This is mainly becauseracism as per the definition of the term involves a raced-basedworldview with the belief that individuals possess characteristics orabilities based on their race, a view that is also used todistinguish one race as superior or inferior to another. On the otherhand, social class refers to the stratification of society mainlybase on hierarchical categories such as wealth and income.Sociologists have discovered that some factors that drive socialstratification are also involved in racism and thus the interactionsof race and class.
The US has a long history in racism vividly captured by the historyof slavery and civil rights movement. Political strategists andgovernments have continuously sought to address the issue of slaveryand the legacy it has on black people in America. The fact that ahuge percentage of the back population in America is made up of slavedescendants cannot be denied and some of the issues that faced slavescontinue to persist today. Some of these factors have been appliedin modern times by governments to achieve certain agendas. Woodson(2015) says that public schools dominated by black people areunderfunded and have minimal resources. He believes that suchgovernment policies are driven and continue to perpetuate the notionthat the white race is superior and the blacks are inferior.
Furthermore, the other intersection is revealed in the current stateof different races in the income distribution map in America. Recentsurveys have indicated that some of the major non-infectious diseasessuch as diabetes and hypertension are significantly higher among somecertain races. This is also the same in the prevalence of infectiousdiseases such as HIV-AIDS. Furthermore, other indicators of socialeconomic status such as quality of health and accessibility tohealthy eating seem to follow racial profiles. For instance, thereare reportedly higher cases of childhood mortality and teenagepregnancies among Hispanics and African Americans compared tonon-Hispanic white population in America (Freeman, Pauker, Apfelbaum,& Ambady 2010). Furthermore, the incarceration levels and drugabuse follow racial patterns with Hispanics and African Americansreporting higher levels compared to non-Hispanic whites.
Understanding the intersection of race and class is critical inaddressing of some of the social challenges facing America today. Itis important for government policies to respond actively to theinteraction of race and class in order to competently addresschallenges. Lareau, Annette (2003) indicate besides the childhoodmortality rates following racial patterns, access to education and quality of education in elementary and secondary schools tend tofollow racial patterns. Therefore, education policies shouldrecognize the fact poor education and access to some educationresources differ across different races with the minority andimmigrant races suffering the most.
From such readings, my views of government policies on race and classissues have changed dramatically. Reading from the Lareau (2003), oneof the issues that has me thinking and reflecting deeply pertain tothe issue of overrepresentation of African Americans in the Americanincarceration system. Consequently, many people tend to associateblack people with crime and poverty but it is obvious that some ofthese issues have little to do with crime as police tend to monitorAfrican America neighborhoods more closely and even carry out raidsin such neighborhoods more frequently compared to other neighborhoodsdominated by other races. Following such unbalanced raids and closemonitoring of this particular race, the common American has beenrepeatedly informed that black people are likely to be violent oreven commit crime. Thus, I have come to understand that commonbeliefs people like me have are as a result of poor policies that donot acknowledge the intersection of race and social class. Othersocial measures that have created the current status have resultedinto some races being relegated to certain social classes and beingstereotyped to their disadvantage.
One such area where a whole race has suffered due to racism revolvesaround education. Wooodson (2015) believes that education has the keyto solve some of these racial issues facing African Americans. Heargues that African Americans suffer as a racial group due to poorpolicies and low income status that has repeatedly disadvantagedthem. He calls for black people to take radical approaches to achievesocial and economic change. While I agree with his view that there isneed for radical changes, what I find most interesting andcontroversial is that the author does not call for radical politicalapproaches to push for social and economic change. This shows thatthe author is opposed to radical political measures such as the civilrights movement that black people used to bring to an end racialsegregation. To him, education is enough to bring economic and socialchanges. Thus, the author contradicts himself by noting that thegovernment has employed systemic measures to deny the black peoplethe right education while at the same time denying that the samegovernment has not employed systemic measures to deny black peoplepolitical involvement. This is because, if education requires radicalapproaches, then government which formulates most policies alsorequires radical approaches.
The story of Greg as told by Horton (1990) reveals more deeply howeducation varies across the racial divide in America. Education isalso portrayed as having the capability of fighting cyclical povertywhich implies that those from poor families have s huge chance ofmoving to another social class if they are educated properly. Thismeans that those from poor families will continue to be poor.
From the readings above, my understanding of the intersection of raceand social class has greatly improved. It is clear that some of thefactors that drive social stratification are the same that drivepoverty. It is therefore important for people to understand thatracial and class matters have a point to interaction that must beunderstood to address some of the major problems facing America andthe world today. After going through the assigned readings andothers, I have reason to believe that race is not abo one’s ethnicbackground but rather a social institution created to differentiatepeople.
Anthias, F. (2013).The intersection of class, gender, sexuality and race: the politicaleconomy of
gender violence.International Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society 27(2):153-171.
Freeman J., Pauker,K., Apfelbaum, E. & Ambady, N. (2010). Continuous dynamics in thereal-
time perception ofrace. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 46 (2010)179–185.
Horton, Myles(1990). The Long Haul. New York: Doubleday. Chapter 5.Lareau,Annette (2003). Unequal Childhoods: Class, Race, and Family Life.Berkeley:
University ofCalifornia Press. Chapters seven through nine.
Woodson, C. G.(2015). Mis-education of the Negro. New York: Start Publishing