Assignment1: LASA 2: The Application Paper
Assignment1: LASA 2: The Application Paper
Thecontemporary multicultural society is stratified in a way wherebydiverse groups and individual are allocated power, resources, andsocial worth differently. As a result, social stratification hasfostered group-based inequalities where people are ranked in an orderbased on their economic and social traits. In addition, individualsare also categorized with reference to their social class, race aswell as gender identity. For example, in the United States ofAmerica, inequality is based on varying traits such as race andgender. Arguably, the American blacks in one way reflect thechallenges of inclusion and empowerment in the nation. With thediversity in the society today, different approaches have been usedto define peoples` status and also how they are regarded in thesociety. This paper will use an interview approach to evaluating howdifferent person`s position in the society is impacted by aspectssuch as race, gender, and class.
Class,Race, and Gender
Inthis interview, two subjects were interviewed with regard to theirpositions in society. The first to be interviewed was a femaleAsian-American working in a health care facility. As an immigrant,she belongs to a racial and ethnic minority group and also comes froma low social class. The second character to be interviewed was amiddle-class African-American male. Being an African-American he alsobelongs to a racially and ethnically minority group. He is unemployedand survives by working as a day laborer in different offices. Theunemployment rate among the African-American population in the UnitedStates has been high compared to the whites. On the other hand, thesocial environment has posed more obstacles for the marginalizedgroups hem to seek employment. The diversity with the intervieweeswas carefully selected in order to have a different approach to theimpact of the three factors (race, gender, and class) towards thelife of an individual.
Roleof Class, Race, and Gender
Class,race, and gender have all played significant roles in the lives ofthe interviewees in shaping the type of opportunities and challengesthey face every day. On the other hand, the life of Americans isgreatly affected by their racial, class and gender identification.These stratifications play a fundamental role in shaping theirself-identity and how they are treated by the dominant population inthe country. Additionally, they also influence the opportunitiesavailable and the kind of inequalities faced by their respectivesocial groups and minority groups. For example, many white-collaredjobs available in the country are preserved for the highly trainedindividuals, while the day labor jobs are left for the lower class.The African-Americans pursue manual jobs since they lag behind inearning their college degree compared to white and Asian Americanmen.
Accordingto the interviewee, the chances of formal education were minimized.This is due to the fact that, formal education was regarded for themighty and whites. This, in turn, would be attributed to the reasonmajority of the interviewee were confined to the manual laborersclass not to mention being regarded as less important. Besides, mostemployers regard this type of group as a cheap labor source. Also,most African-Americans encounter greater discrimination with unequaldistribution of resources, slowing down their opportunity for upwardmobility (Andersen & Taylor, 2008).
Naturally,the society dictates separate distinctive roles of women and men. Thegender factor affects the power dynamics, practices, and assumptionsin many of the American institutions. Consequently, there is genderinequality and inequality in power, resources, and opportunities toboth males and females. Even if the interviewee is unaware of it,race, class and gender have created a matrix of gender andstereotypes used for domination and subordination of women of color.As a result, this has developed their identification, self-esteem,and personality. In the United States, inequality is structurally orsocially patterned. Both the blacks and the Asian communities in thenation are vulnerable to economic exploitation due to their limitedEnglish skills, as well as, uncertain citizenship status (Andersen &Taylor, 2008).
Accordingto Abbot and Wallace (1997), the structural-functional theorymaintains that poverty in a society contributes to the stability ofthe larger interconnected system. This, in turn, leads to the ideathat, stratification and inequality are beneficial inevitably for thefunctioning of the society as a whole. However, for the economy of agiven nation to flourish, it needs to have both a bunch of workers,each functioning independently and collaboratively. Therefore, theAfrican- American working as a day laborer goes a long way for fulloperation of the system and stability of the economy. This is despiteconfining the African American to lesser regarded class in thesociety. On the other hand, the female Asian-American working in ahealth care facility also plays a significant role in assessing howwell the family functions both internally and externally. This iswith reference to the other components of the system (society). Ichose the structural-functional theory because it is crucial andemphasizes the significance of harmony in the society. More so, thetheory is inherently social and explains the characteristics ofsocial structures and how they relate to the rest of structuresrecognized in every in the society. Despite the diversity anddifferent in terms of race, class and gender identity in the society,every person is equally important to the wholesome well-being of thelarger society that an individual lives in (Abbot and Wallace, 1997).
Benefitsand Limitations of Using Interview
Interviewsare the most common technique in the field of research as well asdata collection. This is more so when the source is a livingindividual. Interview help to investigate sensitive issues in adetailed way about the interviewee or group’s experience, feelings,opinions, and perceptions. The main advantage of using interviewmethod of data collection is that the process gives a high responserate. On the other hand, ambiguities can be clarified while socialcues such as the body language, voice and intonation can be capturedto provide the interviewer with additional information about theinformation/question asked or about the source of information.Finally, another merit that comes with face to face interviews is thefact that the interviewer can record the interview report which ismore accurate compared to writing out notes. The recorded informationor interview sessions can be used for a later date (Abbot andWallace, 1997). However despite the numerous merits related tointerviewing approach of data collection, there are also demerits orshortcomings related to the method (interview). These includelimitations such as being costly and time-consuming with elementssuch as the interview process, transcribing, analyzing, giving thefeedback and also preparing the report. Another limitation of usinginterviews is that different interviewers may understand theinterviewee’s opinions and ideas in a different way (Abbot andWallace 1997).
Kendall(2010), states that cultures evolve and develop over time. It has astrong influence on an individual’s behavior, beliefs, values, andattitudes. The cultural traditions of African-American are distinctfrom the American culture. Most blacks have been assimilated into theAnglo-American culture. They have a Negroes kind of accent,pronunciation, and dialect. Besides, they have strong kinship bondsand prefer using informal support networks such as church orcommunity. This culture has developed in a process where they haveadopted the American culture through interaction (Kendall, 2010). TheAsian-American attached more meaning to their traditional culture.Their women should have modest behavior while their society ispatriarchal/hierarchical. According to Keister & Southgate,(2011), the family is male dominant. However, today this group hasexperience acculturation differently. Coming from a middle-classbackground, the Asian-American female has the opportunity toexperience a certain level of educational and occupational mobility.Generally, in the modern society, men have gained privileges at theexpense of women by limiting their professional opportunities. TheAsian-American female gave out her experiences where she reallystruggles by the virtue of being a woman. According to her culturewomen are not supposed to be working, but staying at home and takingcare of children (Kendall, 2010).
Irrespectiveof place or time inequality exists in all societies. Despiterevolutionary ideas, socialism, and democracy, social stratificationremains. The hierarchical system of racial oppression in the UnitedStates has led to the whites being powerful and highly regarded. Thishas led to benefiting from almost all economic, political and socialinstitution. This is demonstrated in the prestigious institutionsthat make clear a history of gender and racial exclusion. Tochallenge certain stereotypes as well as inculcate respect andself-worth, the minority groups and their valuable contributionshould be positively included in the society.
Abbot,P., and Wallace, C. (1997) AnIntroduction to Sociology – feminist perspective.London: Routledge.
Andersen,M. L., & Taylor, H. F. (2008). Sociology:Understanding a diverse society.Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Thomson Learning.
Keister,L. A., & Southgate, D. E. (2011). Inequality:A Contemporary Approach to Race, Class, and Gender.Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Kendall,D. E. (2010). Sociologyin our times: The essentials.Australia: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.