Category Archives: Social Inequality

Racism

Racism is often a reoccurring theme when resources in society are distributed unevenly. It is found nearly everywhere, and they judge you based on two things. One, they judge you on things that you cannot change, and they judge you on things that you can change. The most common form of racism found in our current society, is racism targeting African Americans.

Racism is nearly everywhere in our society, and the reason that we see it so much now is because its extremely easy to separate races in America, because it can be done visually. You can separate races by just looking at someone. Thanks to the Civil Rights movement you would think that we made a positive leap toward a desegregated America. One of my favorite philosophers, Malcolm X, said this, “If you stick a knife in my back nine inches and pull it out six inches, there’s no progress. If you pull it all the way out that’s not progress. Progress is healing the wound that the blow made….” I believe that eventually there will be no racism because people continue to marry and have children outside of their race. This will create one major race, so will no longer be a way to separate people into classes. Earlier I expressed the fact that racism exists when resources in a society are distributed unevenly and I believe that the prime resource that happens to be distributed unevenly is wealth.

Whether we believe it or not, a glass ceiling still exists. This glass ceiling happens to exist everywhere, not just in the work place but in hospitals and schools as well. The elite make healthcare unaffordable for the poor, as well as provide them with foods that are loaded with hormones that will have a negative affect on lives after consumed. All in all, I believe that the elite are trying to make it nearly impossible for the lower class people to survive by controlling a considerable amount of wealth.

A lot of this hate has been built up over the years and no one has really taken care of it. It’s a constantly building time bomb that is ready to explode. I believe that in order for us to change our country and stop people from being so racist, we have to reform our social systems so that they benefit everyone. I don’t see this happening in my life or the next, but eventually we’ll be able to pull that knife out and dress the wound.

— Marvin

Social Class

While growing up in America, you learn that people are categorized by their class, which is based on their wealth. The different social classes are the lower class, which is known to most to be poverty, homeless, and unemployed and lacking education. The next class is the working class, the people in this class are considered to be manual laborers. Jobs that you would associate with this class are construction workers, builders, plumbers, and even electricians. Then there is the middle class which most people in the United States would define themselves as. There is an upper middle class and also a lower middle class, usually the upper middle class workers have a good education and a great job, whereas the lower middle class has less of an education and gets paid less. Finally there is the upper class which is comprised of only 1 to 3 percent of the United States population and holds more than 25 percent of the nation’s wealth.  This class divides into two groups:  “old money” and “new money”. Old money are the big dogs at the top of the food chain; they are the most prestigious and were born into wealth.  An example of this would be the Rockefellers.

This picture illustrates the differences in appearance of people in different social classes.

An important belief in the United States is that anyone can advance past the status that they were born into, this belief is what drives many entrepreneurs to come up with new ideas. Social mobility is what keeps people working hard and trying to succeed.  Even though it is rare for someone to change their ascribed class, it is by no means impossible, all it usually takes is hard work and determination. One of the biggest barriers to social mobility is the social inequality that society faces. An example of social inequality is the differences in educational opportunities, a homeless man will be unable to go to college where he can earn a degree which could help him get a job.

— Jason

Social Inequality

Thanksgiving marks a time of- well- thanksgiving. We stop to reflect on the good things that have happened to us over the course of the year and thank God for the blessings and the family that surround us (then go and trample some strangers for a fifty inch TV, but I digress). At this time those who have less also come to the forefront of our consciousness. The Salvation Army bell ringers stand outside the supermarkets we frequent and we drop some spare change into their bucket to spare ourselves the guilt later on, or to get on the universe’s good side or Santa’s nice list or whatever. Rarely, I think do we stop to consider how much less those less fortunate than us really have.

The wealth/ income gap is ever widening in America with the top 5% of income earning households bringing in over 20% of total income in America and the bottom 40% of income earning households bringing in 12% of the total income in America. Income here being defined as the wages and salaries earned as measured over time, such as by hour or year (Witt 247). These numbers do not include a person’s wealth which is defined as all of a person’s material assets, including savings, land, stocks, and other types of property, minus debts at any one point in time (Witt 247).  Wealth in America is more unequally dispersed than percentage of total income. The top 5% of households own 63.5% of the nation’s wealth while the bottom 40% own -1.1% of all wealth in America. That means households in the bottom 40% of households owe more than they earn. And in 2009 14.3% of America’s population lived in poverty.

Lets take a moment to define poverty for America. According to sociologists we can define poverty in two ways, in absolutes where poverty is the minimum level of subsistence that no family should be expected to live below meaning that someone below the poverty line lacks enough resources to survive (Witt 250). People in poverty in America, although they cannot afford many of the things our society deems essential they are still better off than those in absolute poverty in poorer nations; this is relative poverty. Where does this aforementioned poverty line lie for those living in America at or below its quantified location. In 1964 a formula was created to to help fight what President Lyndon B. Johnson had deemed a War on Poverty. At the research bureau of the Social Security Administration a food economist Mollie Orshansky combined findings from a study that stated families spend about one third of their budget on food, and the cost of a minimally nutritious diet as established by the USDA to generate a poverty threshold. This threshold, or poverty line was was calculated at three times the cost of the USDA’s proposed diet. This definition or formula has come under debate since the formula is seemingly outdated as families now spend about one fourth or one fifth of their budget on food. New supplemental measures of poverty now take into account costs of shelter, utilities, work expenses, and out-of-pocket medical costs.

Many thoughts about those living in poverty are greatly flawed. Many think that those in poverty are there by means of their own doing, they refuse to work, or foolishly got themselves into a great amount of debt. Most of the time this is not the case. Many of those living in poverty are children or those who are ill or disabled and cannot work.  And many who are in poverty do not stay there for very long. “In a three year study of census data, researchers found that 28.9% of the population spent two months in poverty, and 23% were in poverty for the duration of the study” (Witt 253). Poverty can be tied to social and cultural resources as well since people in poverty lack the social connections, or culture capital to help them get good jobs.

In conclusion poverty is not always the outcome of a persons failings in society, life circumstances have a great effect on if a persons lives in poverty and for how long. And while the government has set up resources such as SNAP and Social Security to ease the burden on families living in poverty it is not only food, clothing, and shelter that these people need. They need access to networking, and educational opportunities that will help them rise out of poverty and into a standard of living.

— Danielle

Sources cited:  Witt, Jon. “Chapter 10: Social Class.” Soc 2012. S.l.: Mcgraw-Hill, 2012. Print.

Social Inequality

Do you know what social inequality is? When it’s brought to your attention you most likely are thinking it means having unequal rights in society, which, in a way, you’re right! Social inequality is described as a condition in which members of society have different amounts of wealth, prestige, or power. You understand now? Let’s look at it this way, a boy who is raised around parents that are farmers versus a boy being raised around parents that are lawyers is most likely going to stay in or around that same “class” per say.  A child’s social class greatly affects his chance to go outside of the class he was born into. This affects the boy’s amount of wealth, prestige or power throughout his life.

Now you may be asking, what is social class.  Well, it’s a group of people with similar positions in society. Like the boys and their parents, in most cases, will be in the same class. In other words a maid and a janitor are in the same social class just as a dentist and an architect are. These two sets of examples of social classes are also forms of social inequality; one set makes a greater amount than the other set. With all this being said, I’d like you to know that just because one is raised in a certain class it is very possible for them to change classes, this is called social mobility.

Social mobility is when there is movement of individuals or groups from one position in society to another, this can happen positively or negatively, this is called vertical mobility. To give you a better understanding let’s say the maid is now a dentist and the architect is now a janitor. The maid has now experienced great vertical mobility while the architect has now experienced negative vertical mobility. Let’s just go into a little more depth, here’s a short story about Benjamin Franklin. Franklin’s father was a soap maker with 17 children to take care of, he wanted Benjamin to enter the clergy but could only afford one year of schooling and clergymen needed many years of schooling. Instead he had him apprenticed to his brother who was a printer and he ended up selling their work on the streets. After trying many times to show his work to his brother and others, he ran away looking for printers work, he failed greatly and even became homeless. Soon enough he finally got a printers job and started his own business and the citizens began to notice him. He began getting contracts to do government jobs and from then on business was booming. To this day we know him as drafting the Declaration of Independence and the face to the $100 bill. Benjamin Franklin is just one example of vertical mobility, social class and social mobility that ties into social inequality.

— Ryan

 

Cited Sources

“A Quick Biography of Benjamin Franklin.” The Electric Ben Franklin. USHistory.org, 4 July

  1. Web. 1 Dec. 2014. <http://www.ushistory.org/franklin/info/&gt;.

Witt, Jon. “Social Class.” SOC. 3rd ed. New York: McGraw Hill, 2014. 238. Print.

Witt, Jon. “Social Class.” SOC. 3rd ed. New York: McGraw Hill, 2014. 240-242. Print.

Social Inequality

Unequal World

Social Inequality occurs when resources are distributed unequally; this including Wealth, Prestige, and Power. The presence of social inequality in the United States makes for men to earn more than women, the power elite to keep their authority, networking, and knowledge, and allows for the rich to get richer and the poor to get poorer.

An example of social inequality in our society occurs with different paying jobs in the United States. Fast food working employees for example, are demanding higher wages and respect for entry level jobs. People don’t want to take the time and effort to get a higher education that would make for a better job. People at the bottom want what the people at the top have, they just aren’t willing to put fourth effort to earn what their successors have earned. Inequality occurs because some people are willing to work hard to be successful and some aren’t.

In the United States Women make 77 cents to the Men’s dollar, but why is this? If a manager has an opportunity to offer a promotion to a man or woman, they are most likey going to give the offer to the man soley because of the stereotypes women have attained from being in the workplace: Men are seen as being more stable, less emotional, and more reliable than women. I believe this scenario is beginning to change and women are starting be recognized as equals, but the transition isn’t happening fast enough.

The social class we attain can impact our access to outside resources and opportunities, mostly because of the respect that comes with which class you belong to. Someone living in the lower class with lower class jobs isn’t going to get the respect that someone belonging to the upper class has. Someone with an entry level job isn’t going to be offered a promotion before someone higher up than them is offered the job first, primarily because the higher up most likely belongs to a higher class. The barrier between social classes exist because higher classes are entitled to more success than the others, which allows for them to have more money, more respect, and more power than the lower classes.

With the United States having an open class system, social mobility is encouraged which makes it possible for one to climb from the bottom to the top of that social ladder; it is more difficult for someone from the bottom to make strides towards the top than someone who has been born towards the top or born close to the top of the social ladder, but never impossible. Social mobility takes place frequently, but it very rarely makes that big of an impact on the person’s treatment by society which barely changes the treatment of people and allows for inequality to stick around.

I think the problem with social inequality is that when someone wants to improve their class status, the upper classes make it very difficult for them to do so. The stereotypes and lack of respect that people get when belonging to the lower classes can be very discouraging. This applies to both males and females in the workplace; it is a challenging task to climb the social ladder when someone is constantly bringing you down and treating you poorly due to your class status. With that being said, social class doesn’t define a person or mean that they are any less important, yet for some reason people connect class status to someone’s well being. If people start looking past labels and stereotypes there wouldn’t be class barriers and prejudices that apply to certain statuses.

— Anna

Citations

Witt, Jon. “Social Class.” Soc. Third ed. Mcgraw-Hill, 2014. 238-247. Print.

 

 

 

 

One-Child Policy

As a product of China’s One Child Policy, it is safe to say that I have had my fair share of inequality. I, like many other females, had been abandoned for a reason that was and still is undoubtedly idiotic. Parents wanted males. This way of acting and thinking can be considered a norm because of the influences that were passed down from generation to generation. Can you believe that there’s still so little value in being female?  I can’t, but I understand better when I know some of the history of the nation’s beliefs. Historically, it was decided that patrilineal descent would be more important than a female’s descent. As time went on, this idea became widespread in China. Their culture has lived and thrived through traditional values until the One Child Policy was introduced. The father of the male within a couple’s relationship would be very influential to their procreation because it is considered unacceptable to dishonor a family and their history.

In 1980, the Chinese government enacted the one-child policy to stunt the rapidly growing population. As time progressed, the culture began adapting to this new rule.  There was a limit to the chances of getting that coveted son now.  What would they do? In fact, anything they could. Parents sometimes went to seemingly horrible means to get that son. As medical technology evolved, women would ask for a doctor to determine the sex of their unborn. If the results were favored by the couple they would keep the baby, otherwise they would abort it if they were not pleased. If the wife/ girlfriend did not agree to abortion, they would go through with the pregnancy but then give up the child to a foster family or an orphanage. Within orphanages the life of an infant would have been no better if not worse than death. From 1980 up to present day, families have given away their children to the one-child policy. Yes, this has effectively stunted the growth of  China’s population but because of their love for males it has created a grave imbalance ratio of men to women. If a families were to just keep female children,  it would help catch up the lead that males have over females.

Orphanages were the next best alternative at the time for women who didn’t want their female kin to die. For the lucky few like me, they were adopted out of the poor conditions provided by orphanage staff. A newborn who was not as lucky would have been bound in place by their legs and arms in potty stools all day long with no interaction from staff members (“Dying”). While I stated that they sat in potty stools, I did not state that they were changed regularly.  For babies that were less than a year old they laid in cribs wrapped up in one diaper with layers of plastic and blankets for days on end (“Dying”). This lack of sanitation is unhealthy and cruel for babies who have done nothing evil in the world. The simplest way to fix this would be to provide a little more carefor these children by the orphanage staff.

To be a female in China right now is fantastic, but back in the 90’s it felt shameful. Economic level played a role also in childbearing.  Families who were looking to have more than one child would have had to be rich due to the fines that were handed out for each illegal child born. Currently the Chinese government has been loosening up its reins on the policy and has stopped enforcing it so heavily. They are posting signs and posters all over the country promoting female babies.

— Leah

 

Social Class

Since the beginning of time, people have been categorized. The broadest category that everyone seems to fit into was a ‘social class’ category. Over time, and within different cultures, the definition of each class and what put you there has varied. For some cultures it was due to money, some it was a matter of race, and others a matter of immigration. Really, any type of social location could put a certain person into a certain class. As sociologists, we know the most important fundamentals of culture. Those fundamentals being: culture is learned and shared, and varies across time and place. That being said, we can deduce that our culture today has made our social class system what it is, based on what we have learned from other (much older) cultures. So I think the big question here is, why do we put people into social class systems? I firmly believe social classes help to define people and help a society function. Unfortunately, money defines who we are and in our society today, money (how much we have and how much we make) puts us into the classes we are in.

Money rules us. It buys us nice cars, nice clothes, and nice houses. You wouldn’t put Kim Kardashian and a homeless man in the same social class, would you? Of course not. You’ve been taught that how much money a person has, puts them into the social class they ‘belong’ in. So Kim would be put into the Elite class, and the homeless man would be put into the poor class. From day one, we have been taught that we each belong somewhere. As a child, I remember being confused. We have these social classes, but everyone is supposed to be equal? That doesn’t make much sense. However, I have since come to realize that as a society, we do the things we do because it is what we have been taught to do. The town I live in is primarily a lower-middle class town, with a few families being middle class, and a few families being lower class. My family is one of the few upper-middle class families in this town of less than ten thousand people. So personally, I was quite often reminded of my family’s money in a not so nice way. Jealousy is an emotion often aroused in teenagers, but high school was hard no matter how well I dealt with the kids who made me feel bad. All they saw were the nice clothes I wore and the nice car I drove to school. They didn’t see how hard both of my parents worked each and every day. My passionate Republican side says that everyone gets what they work for. I think that’s the issue with people today. They so desperately want something; they just aren’t willing to work for it. The same goes for social classes; people don’t want to be in the lower class anymore, but they really don’t do much to earn the money to put them in a different class. Like I stated earlier, money defines who we are.

Along with money, I feel as though racism has been a leading factor of putting people into different classes. Often times, the media will tell you a story of a murder committed by a black man, but they won’t tell you about the crimes committed of a white man. The media and movies have taught us that black people are always the ones to get in trouble. With the Civil War, and the Civil Rights Act, you would have thought that racism would have ended, but I do believe it is still alive today. For example, if a white woman and an Asian woman go to interview for the same job, the white woman is more likely to get the job. However, if a man and a female go in for the same job (no matter the race), the man will most likely get the job.

The biggest factors defining social class are income and wealth. To give you an example of social class inequality, in the workplace, for every dollar a man makes, a woman makes 77 cents. Potentiall, this puts any single father in a high social standing compared to a single mother. Also, the median household income is around $52,000 per year. From everything she does (clothing line, video game, makeup line, photo shoots, etc.), Kim Kardashian has stated she made roughly $28 million this year. Hardly seems fair. But then again, the famous quote goes, “Life isn’t fair.”

The problem is that the money in the US isn’t distributed equally; and I agree, it isn’t! I must warn you, Republican is going to come out of my mouth again. It irritates me to no end when I see a person panhandling on the side of the road. So my solution to those people is: instead of wasting your time making a few bucks on the side of the road, go to a place like McDonalds which hires all of the time, and make more money working there. Everyone has to start somewhere. It might be a crappy place like McDonalds, but it’s a start. Typically, people tend to stay in the same social class their whole lives, but any change you want to make, you have to work for it.

Social classes are unfair, a double-edged sword, if you will. However, in order to have a classless society, people would need to love themselves, and love thy neighbor. Knowing history, that will never happen. So for now, I think we as a society need to deal with the social class system and work towards a more loving society in general.

Here is a humorous video about social class from 1957:

Here is a stereotypical explanation of social class:

— Abby

 

Global Divide

The world is smaller than we realize. To Americans, a country like China, may seem so far away, and if you measure it in distance, it really is. However, there are many things that connect us. Even though we have different languages, food habits and cultural expectations, there are also many things America has in common with other countries; like certain technologies, religions, and even educational foundations. However, despite these similarities, there are many more things that separate countries from each other. Some of these major differences include the gap between wealth, technology, distribution of resources, and overall economy. And, not only is the world as a whole broken up by these differences, but there is a whole other level of inequalities right in our own backyard. These differences in well-being around the world make up the concept known as the Global Divide.

As previously mentioned, one of the most prominent areas of global divide is financial. The world of wealth is an imperfect system. Countries hit a high of economic growth and wealth, only to suffer a collapse, resulting in bail-out plans for large banks. Governments have to act and rescue these financial institutions, often adding more financial problems to their own institutions in the process, causing even more problems for the taxpaying citizens living in the societies of these crisis. It begs the question: where is a safe place in the cycle?

When looking at these types of issues, one could use a theory called the World Systems Analysis to understand and graph anything from reading levels across countries, to economic growth and decay. It has been found that the richest 1% of people in the world own more than half of the wealth of the entire world. (www.theguardian.com) But why is this the case? Well, as MarketWatch.com describes it, “the rich are rich because what they do is so valuable.” One may argue that celebrity actors shouldn’t be rich because they really don’t do all that much for humanity. However, people still pay to see their work, and on a large scale as well. The majority of those in the top 1% are corporate executives for financial firms, and lawyers for those firms. Because of the fact that the rich thrive in only the top percent, that means after the most recent recession, they were able to fully bounce back, while those in the poor category remained the same, or only got worse. This isn’t only happening here in America. Millions of people all over the world are struggling just to survive through the next day, while others lead privileged and secure lives.

Here is a short video that shows a simplified look into the wealth divide around the world, and mostly in the United States. It really makes you think twice about the way our country works.

 

Our world is not only divided by wealth, but also by the lifestyles and attitudes of the people involved in these categories. In this class, we have learned about the Social Class System. The Social class system is the division of people into categories based on their income, and while this does have to do with wealth, there is a whole other cultural side to these classes. The way people are able to express themselves, the way they conduct their everyday lives, strongly depends on their social class. This is where we tend to experience and see Social Inequality and Social Stratification. Obviously someone who makes $5,000 a year is going to live quite a different life from someone who makes $100,000. And there are many reasons for this gap. Education, connections, family ties, all are involved in the fate of a person’s financial status. In class we’ve also discussed the stratification side: the fact that “social inequality is built into the structure of society”. (Witt, SOC pg. 238)

  • From here one is able to truly visualize how the Global Divide effects us. Allow me to break it down one last time:
  • The 1% rule more than half the wealth around the world.
  • Income, Resources, and Technology are unevenly dispersed around the world.
  • This causes another gap, not just amongst countries, but amongst the states
  • And then, there are even more divisions in our own state of Michigan
  • In our own towns even
  • There is always going to be a divide

Here is an image that charts the amount of internet access and usage around the world. The yellow being the highest rank, and the red and orange being the lowest. Just another example of the Global Divide.

Now that we’ve covered a more in-depth look at wealth and it’s relationship to the global divide, we will now turn our attention to a quick glimpse at what is probably the second most talked about areas affected by the global divide: digitalization. This divide is considered a social inequality, and is taken in reference to the access to, use of, and knowledge of the internet and modern digital technologies. This is a division that has really grown over the last couple decades. The inequality goes beyond just countries, but also to businesses and households. There are four arguments on why we should “bridge the gap”. They are: economic equality, social mobility, democracy, and economic growth. Connections have been made between the way a government is run, in correlation to a society’s internet usage and availability. ICT (information communications technology) centers are working to help developing countries in the adaptation and integration of technologies that we take for granted. There is also a lot of controversy surrounding this, especially from those who believe that our modern technologies are unneeded and polluting. What do you think? Do you think every country should have the same equal access to these technologies? What will be gained? What will be lost in the process?

Now that you know of just a few areas effected by the global divide, you will be able to easily analyze your own life, and where you stand on the scale. We see these divisions not only world wide, but on a small scale as well, within our own country, our own state, and our own neighborhood. We’re all affected by social inequality, whether we are in the top percent, or the bottom. Because of our easy access to the internet, we are exposed to hundreds of charts, graphs, and informational databases that can further explain these and many other world wide divisions. And while some may think that the coming technological world wide revolution is unneeded, I’m sure we’ve all appreciated our modern technologies at one point or another.

–Kellie

SOCIAL ROLE

All societies in the world are socially stratified meaning wealth, power, and honor are unequally distributed among different groups. In other words all communities are separated into different social classes. The most frequently used basis for categorizing different forms of stratification systems is the way status is acquired.

In sociology social roles are expectations for the ways in which people are expected to behave in specific situations. These expectations are created and defined by the societies in which the people live. Different societies have dissimilar social roles. Role expectations include both actions and qualities.  For example, a teacher may be expected not only to deliver lectures, assign homework, and prepare examinations but also to be dedicated, concerned, and responsible.

We cannot talk about social role without explaining social status. According to sociologists, social status is the honor or prestige attached to one’s position in society.  It may also refer to a rank or position that one holds in a group. For example, we are all students in this class and each one of us is either a son or daughter of somebody. The position or rank of a person or group within the society can be determined in two ways. A person can earn their social status by their own achievements also known as achieved or attained status. Alternatively, a person can be placed in the position. This inherited position is known as ascribed status meaning they are predefined for an individual at birth. For example prince William of England will have many high expectations compare to any poor child born in England.

In modern societies like ours, occupation or job is usually thought of as the main determinant of status. Other factors such as ethnic group, religion, gender, voluntary associations and hobby can have an influence also. This achieved status is when people are placed on the stratification structure based on their individual merits; the most commonly used here in America is education. The amount and kind of education people attain determine the kinds of jobs they get. The kind of work people do is the main determinant of their income.  Therefore, one’s place within the stratification structure is determined by financial, academic or political success. The higher a person is in rank, the better off he is. Moreover, the education, occupation, and income of parents largely determine the kinds of advantages or disadvantages they create for their own children. These situations are the roots of social inequality we observe in every society. Based on that observation, the gap can only grow deeper and deeper with time. For example Blacks are substantially less well educated than Whites just because the parents of blacks are poorly educated themselves. The sharp difference between blacks and whites is the continuing legacy of slavery. For centuries whites could educate themselves, passing that huge advantage to their children while it was forbidden for blacks to get any kind of education.

In the United States of America, there is no difference in the opportunity given to both girls and boys to have access to education. After graduation comes the reality of the work world. In fact, according to Donald J. Treiman, a sociologist, at equal levels of education, women earn about 60 percent of what men earn. This is explained by the gender preference for men over women that prevails in the work place. Women’s potential seems to be undermined by their so called women to-do task. In fact, the work lives for many women are interrupted for childbearing. Consequently many corporations want to avoid the stress of training and hiring somebody else for her job to replace women whenever they have to be put on leave. Moreover when it comes to gender in American society, women and men are assigned predetermined cultural roles. Women assume the roles of mothers, housekeepers, and servants to their husbands and kids, while men are providers, protectors, and heads of the household. More and more, we see a change in society today regarding the gender roles. Indeed, in modern homes, husbands and wives work both outside of the house. Both are providers for their family and both do the housekeeping job for the well being of the all family.

Works cited

Treiman, Donald J. “Status Attainment.” Encyclopedia of Sociology. 2nd ed. Vol. 5. New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 2001. 3042-3049. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 13 Feb. 2013

ETHNOCENTRISM

In too many instances, most look at Blacks with harsh eyes, and whether they speak or are silent there are way too many doubtful thoughts racing through their mind. We, Blacks, may not be mind-readers but we already know what words and phrases are formulating through the minds of the “others” who don’t think it is quite possible for us to succeed…and sadly that might be true…but for only one reason…they have caused such blockage to occur.

One might ask who is the “they” that I speak of. “They” comes in many forms: people from other ethnic backgrounds, discrimination, stereotypes, government, justice system, educational system, and sometimes even our own. Why do they cause such blockage? It is because of their culture that has been embedded in them since birth or their condescending ways that have snowballed into a pile of self-worth and self-distinction. Things such as this create ethnocentrisms, the belief in the superiority in one’s ethnic group.

The outlook of being superior to blacks has gone on since we were brought to this country. And like John Mayer, we are waiting for the world to change, but I am sure his change doesn’t include blacks.  If Elvis Presley was featured in the song, his world wouldn’t include blacks either, because according to him only thing we could do for him is shine his shoes and we don’t want to stop blacks from doing that because everybody needs a good shoe shining!

“Yes we can!”

Instead we need the encouragement that Obama says best. But unfortunately this does not happen often, so our heart hums songs of overcoming, while are our actions involve ways that aren’t always that illegal. We are the true survivors of the fittest. With few of the resources one may need to make ends meet, we make change, not always good but we make things happen—despite the belittling from other ethnic groups.  And many may not believe this, but we want all our actions to be positive but this can’t happen if we are constantly ridiculed and not properly taught.

Give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Teach a man how to fish and feed him for a lifetime.” 

Like most, we want the opportunity to grow into something healthy and beautiful. But, unfortunately this can’t happen if we are not given the right resources to make that happen. In our eyes, we are like foster children who, unfortunately, got stuck with some not so nice and caring foster parents who badly abuse us and gives us the leftovers of what they once had and no longer wants or temporarily have no need for—usually they receive benefit from doing so .  In order to keep such a superior stance, one or many must keep the inferior group down. Here is how “they” did it and here are some of the leftovers, these are not to help, but to keep us distracted and quiet: 1. A ball. 2. Some crack. 3. 28 days. 4. A Piggy bank. 5. A beat.

1. As a Black, if you can dribble or throw a ball, you are seen as Captain Save ‘em.  Blacks are scouted out because their skills. Because of this, many Black youth value system may differ from white youth. For instance asking a young black boy what he wants to be when he grows up; his response …a basketball player.

2.  THE CRACK EPIDEMIC scare was orchestrated by the media. They inhaled oxygen and exhaled carbon dixode, blowing on an ignited flame forming an urban fire killing, not trees, but people…a fire that began in the eighties but has grown more vicious today.  Crack served as the white savior to many Blacks. It was passed around urban areas heavily populated by Blacks. Not only were Blacks getting hooked, but they were dying, killing, landing in jail. Surburban areas, most populated by whites weren’t even hit with 10% of the blow back from urban areas.

3.  TGIF: THANK GOD IT’S FEBRUARY!  For 28 days—sometimes not even that amount—Black youth have the opportunity to learn bits and pieces and half truths about their race and culture. But for the rest of the school year, they learn of norms orchestrated by white society.

4. WELFARE. The code for poor Black people.  Thanks to the media and ignorance of way too many, TANF, commonly known as welfare, is seen to cover the lazy behinds of blacks that just don’t want to work. I see it is as a stumbling block that spoonfeeds Blacks and keeps minds in bondage from trying to succeed. Think about it. Yes, there are financial benefits from TANF, but not many opportunities to teach one how to “pull themselves up from their bootstraps” and become self-sufficient.

5.  MUSIC…From the beginning of time the ancestors of Blacks have used music to uplift their spirits. Passing each lyric down from one generation to the next. Now there is a new style of lyric and new form of lyric passing. In this new day, we have rap; a style that most use to promote their new shiny materials, while subconsciously belittling themselves….guess who again gets the top cut and first and last laugh.