Class Vs Race Essay
3137 Words13 Pages
When asking the question, “Race versus Social class: Which really matters?” there are several important concepts that must first be addressed in order to approach this very complex query sufficiently. First, what do the terms “social class” and “race” signify? Also, in determining which really matters, the context of this question is crucial, in other words, to WHO or to WHAT or WHEN or WHERE or HOW each of these terms matters. All of these more specific questions are directly relevant to the answer and each may produce a contextually different explanation. So let’s define the terms we are evaluating and comparing and at the same time attempt to identify which really matters and in what context.
What is social class? Generally,…show more content…
An example of this is the period in United States history known as the Great Depression. Mass dire economic circumstances proved to be a class equalizer when the wealthiest of families who were considered to be in the upper tiers of the class hierarchy experienced dramatic changes to their lifestyle which necessitated struggling alongside those “lower class” groups who had previously and would otherwise have been beneath them.
Another fundamental aspect of “class” is that it is a universal phenomenon and thereby manifests itself all over the world. As such, the tendency to subject members of society to a certain class status or label within a social system is not a concept that is specific to the United States. An illustration of this is Great Britain’s famous class system which has traditionally been divided into three classes. These are: the upper class/ruling elite who are aligned to the monarchy; the middle class who are people born into wealth but not on the same class level as those with “good breeding;” and, the working class who provide labor but did not own any many of production. These divisions show that in the United Kingdom, class is only partially related to money and greatly owing to family ancestry (Liddell, 2013).
Even more perplexing than the initial concept of class are the complexities by which class is determined. Class can be measured both subjectively an objectively.
Race Vs. Social Class Essay
Race vs. Social Class
THESIS: Race differences in identity and social position were, and are, more important than class differences in American society.
"Events in the nineteenth century made it abundantly and irrefutably clear that race as a concept sui generis superseded social class as the dominant mechanism of social division and stratification in North America." (Smedley 219) For many decades people have been using race as a way to classify humans into different social categories. Lower, Middle, and Upper classes were created to divide humans into appropriate categories using their individual lifestyles, financial income, residence, and occupation. People decided to ignore this classifying system and classify one another, simply by the color of their skin. People's skin color says nothing as to what a person does, their beliefs, attitudes, or any of the ideas for creating a fair social classification system. Racial barriers were created that divided people into different groups at work and at home. Race differences in identity and social position were, and are, more important than class differences in American society.
The role of work, money, and the effect they have on individuals has changed throughout the past years due to social classes and racism. Social classes being based on by race is just the beginning of the differences. In the work force there are always people who feel the need to dominate in their field or profession solely because they think they are the dominant social class or race. People of any rank at the office will look down upon others, not because of their position, but skin color. People are not only treated differently at the work site based due to these issues, but also in some cases they are deprived of jobs altogether. Certain jobs are only offered to those of certain skin color, such as higher positions are held for European Americans, and janitorial jobs are for African Americans. These conditions in turn lead to the way individuals perform at work. It also affects their views of each other as well as those considered to be "above" or "below" them. So, racial discrimination happens at the work level, as well as, the dividing of social classes.
Racial discrimination dominated over social classes creating an unfair way to divide people. "In all areas of life, Americans were persuaded that the major races - black, Indian, Asian, and white - could not and should not live or work together and certainly not as equals." (Smedley 221) All other races were homogenized, regardless of education, skills, language, religion, income, or place of origin, into one simple category. Class...
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