Category Archives: Race

The American Dream

I would say I grew up in a lower middle class household. My mother a nurse and my father a small engine mechanic. There were some birthdays and Christmases that were better than others but overall my family was pretty well off. I was not spoiled by any means but I normally got what I wanted, within reason. We lived in a four bedroom house somewhere between rural and suburban. More suburb if I had to choose one. It was home and I would not have traded it for anything else. In high school I had this dream of playing football at a private college called Albion. I visited the college and the coaches really wanted me on the team. However, financially, the money just was not there. Government financial aid did not help out enough for me to attend this college and thus my dream was shattered. I was devastated at first but soon realized it was not the end of the world. I then applied to Lansing Community College and am excelling exponentially.

Everything in our society revolves around money and what socioeconomic status you belong. Statuses can be divided into a few categories based on income. Starting from the bottom it goes like this, lower class, working lower class, lower middle class, upper middle class and upper class. This structure of socioeconomic status has been adopted by many sociologist in recent years. There are any different concepts that contribute to socioeconomic status including, race, location and family type.

Race is probably the most influential aspect of socioeconomic status. In the United States some races have huge advantages and disadvantages. My family is white, both of my parents have Dutch and Irish backgrounds. The United States is 63.2% white by population, however, only 41.5% of the poor population are white (Soc. P.255). More than half of the population in the United States is white but less than half are below the poverty line. Just being born with a white background puts me in a pretty good spot as far as socioeconomic status is concerned. So is that it, as long as you are born into a white family you will be rich? This is simply not the case, these are only averages. There are other factors that contribute, like where you live.

Location is a very interesting concept to socioeconomic status. Where you live has a direct impact on socioeconomic status. The Deep South for example is at a very high disadvantage. South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona all fall in last place with an average of 17-22.2% of the population, in those states, below the poverty line (Soc. P.255). For my family we are sitting pretty well off in this category as well. Living in the great mid-west state of Michigan we experience only 13.3-15.1% of the population below the poverty line (Soc. P.255). Much less than the southern states. What causes this? Race? Location? Family type?

Family types varies across the board, from single dad to happily married couples. The type of family has an impact on socioeconomic status. Married couples have it the best and it makes sense. Two adults, two incomes combining to make one. My family was very well off in this category. My mom makes an average of about $50,000 a year and my dad about $32,00 combining for a total of about $82,000 a year. That is a lot more money than say a single mom or single dad could. But again there are exceptions all over.

The point is there are many different aspects and concepts that make up ones socioeconomic status. They all add up to the end product which is where you stand in the greater society. My family is sitting in a fairly good place for what we need. We have food on the table every night, clothes on our backs and a roof over our heads. We have all that we could hope for. I think I got ahead of my status when looking for colleges to attend, picking a private school was not the best case scenario. As far as my football dreams go, when one door closes another shall open. I am currently an assistant coach on my hometown’s middle school football team. Teaching the game of football to younger kids is way more enjoyable than playing, in my opinion. There is a lot that money can buy but it cannot buy you everything. “Money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as a driver” – Ayn Rand.

 — Dylon

 

Works cited:  Witt, Soc 3rd edition. Mcgraw Hill Education Inc. P. 236-263. New York, NY. 2014.

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Race

Knowledge Is Power

clip_image001Race may always be an issue within society. In The United States, it has always seemed to be a prevalent part of the cultural make-up, as well as media focus. From the early days of slavery to today’s racial stereotypes and profiling, race seems to play a large role in political and social issues.

I, being of mixed-race, have seen the world in black and white for the most part (no pun intended). I always saw those who judged my parents for being together as being stupid and bad. However, recently I came to realize that there is more to racial profiling than just bad people assuming bad things about others based on their ethnic background. Yes, arrogance and naiveté are for the most part what causes negative stigmas for races, but there is more at play than good versus evil here.

clip_image004The key to why arrogance causes many people to judge race resides in one’s education. From what I personally have witnessed, the main reason why people judge is not found naturally in them. They didn’t wake up one afternoon and say, “You know what? Black people are ruining this great country!” I have noticed that it is, most of the time, integrated in their upbringing. Some people may have grown up believing that other races derive from lower social classes or inferior societies.

For example, my uncle is a fairly conservative man. He drives an eighteen-wheeler for a living and in his experience he has met many people. I have heard a multitude of humorous tales from him and his trucking adventures (most I believe are fiction). But from time to time I hear some quite edgy opinions of his. While at dinner with my family one weekend, he told a story of how a newer truck driver was unsure about how to do a certain job related task. I cannot recall the exact details or even the premise of my uncle’s story, but I do remember that it was humorous. Yet, I was a little disturbed by my uncle’s comment in the middle of the tale, “No offense Mac,” he prefaced, “but mind you, this was a colored boy…” And then the story continued to the point.

clip_image005I suppose I wasn’t offended much, but I was confused. First of all, in what way was this comment relevant to the focus of the story? And secondly, colored is still an adjective for black people? I suppose I wasn’t there for that memo. But back on track, I know he truly meant it when he said no offense, I don’t believe my uncle to be a racist, he may be a tad judgmental though. I do realize that my uncle was hinting that somehow the trucker’s race had a role in his inability to perform this particular task.

Now to the point, what was the underlying factor to this stereotype? I wouldn’t put my finger on racism, mainly because my uncle respects me and my black dad, but I would guess a bit of ignorance was peaking it’s head in on this situation (of course no offense to my uncle). It is really nobody’s fault in most cases that they are unaware of the power behind their unintentional profiling.

This is where the solution comes into the picture. Rather than me, or anyone caught in this awkward situation for that matter, jumping down a person’s throat or using an “I am higher than thou” prerogative to put down a person caught in ignorance’s grasp, I can simply inquire about how what they said was a bit touchy for many people today. This is what can change the way many people view their actions. Education is the key to understanding, and understanding is the key to equality and additionally the key to ending the progression of minor and major racism. With this we can keep racial profiling and stereotypes a piece of our nation’s, and hopefully the world’s, history, rather than a piece of days to come.

clip_image007— Mac

 

Racism

As we are raised, we are taught to either accept certain people for who they are or we are taught to judge by race. In some cultures, diversity is huge; you may have diversity in your schools, offices, and neighborhoods. This makes growing up with race differences not that big of a deal. If you grow up with something you usually get used to it, and it doesn’t bother you. You mostly never even notice it. If you are raised in a primary white community, racial difference might feel strange to you and even uncomfortable. Your parents and peers also have a huge part in racism. As you grow up if you are told that black or white people are bad people and you are also told this by your friends and their families you will believe it yourself.

I grew up in Detroit, Michigan which is a very diverse community. There were African America, Caucasian, Italian, Mexican, and other ethnic children that went to my elementary school. I had tons of friends of different ethnicities and never had any issues. I was raised to find the good in people and give everyone a chance, not to judge them by their skin color or the way they talk.

Racism has to deal with people discriminating against minority groups that have a different racial background. It can be people discriminating against a racial group or ethnic group. Not all people fully understand why they can be racist but just know that’s what they were taught. There are tons of movies and shows that represent racism at its finest. A movie called Remember The Titans, about a segregated football team is a perfect example of racism. It shows you the difficulty of changing your ways if you were raised to believe a certain thing. There are two young men in the movie, one Caucasian, one African American, and they both struggle to deal with even talking to each other. They don’t like talking to each other, playing football with each other or even looking at each other because they were raised to believe that because of this person’s race they are a bad person.

A lot of racism causes people to lose jobs, potential friends, and even their lives. People start fights all over just because of the judgment that comes along with racism. I believe if everyone looks more at whom someone is and not just what they look like, then the world would be in such better care and we could live amongst each so much more easily. Not a lot of people realize how much racism affects our world still today, but it happens way more than we think. People still see the color of one’s skin and automatically judge them for being the race that comes along with, without even knowing them. I think it’s sad that after so much time of fighting racism we still drown in it. It’s up to us, to not judge someone because of their race but because of who they are as a person.

— Anna

Multiple Identities

President_Barack_ObamaI believe that multiple identities were created around the same time of slavery. Slave masters often raped and had biracial children with some of their slaves. And those biracial children went on and had their own children, and the cycle just kept going. As the world started to become more modernized, people of different races began migrating, and in return new mixes of people were created. Hardly anyone now-a-days is one race; nearly 73 percent of the world’s population identifies as being two or more races.

I myself have had trouble figuring out what social identity I belong to. My mother is half Puerto Rican and half African American, she is six foot tall with light brown eyes and very pale skin. My father is half American Indian and half African American, he is also six foot tall with dark brown eyes and dark skin. Somehow I ended up being only five foot two inches, medium brown skin, big brown eyes, and black curly hair. Given my genetic makeup, it would seem as if I only come from African American decent. Often when people first meet me and see my mother I’m asked if I was adopted. Some people don’t realize the mysterious ways that genetics work.

BlackPeople-OneDrop

One problem that people with multiple identities might encounter is figuring out where they belong. President Obama is half white and half black, but he identifies with the black community rather than the white one, even though he is the same amount of both races. I believe it has something to do with the one-drop theory. No matter how much “white” blood runs through your veins, if you are even one percent of a minority, you identify with that race.

— Victoria