The correlation between class and race

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Abstract

The case study revolves around the correlation between race and class.  It has been critically evaluated that how racism and class play an important role in every society across the world.  However, many developed nations do not consider them to be racist, but it has been witnessed that they widely segregate people under social class and race. A prominent example of U.S. was highlighted in this regard.  In the sociological concept part, four types of sociological theories relating to the class and race have been discussed briefly. The effects of race and class worldwide are greatly disturbing and negative. Most of the individuals are highly affected by these two factors. Particularly, education is highly influenced by these two factors. The educational institutions should address the needs of every student. Race and class are the most highlighted topic nowadays, as the society suffers due to these two factors to a great extent.

Research Summary

Race and class are two distinct concepts. Racism is not at all open in any many places but still, there are many people who hold racial grudges against the various races. Racism was not considered to be the big problem a few years ago, but nowadays people are quite racist. In America, racial discrimination does not really exist in their community nowadays. However, prejudice and reminiscence remain the same. There are two propositions that U.S experienced a sequence of racial formations or periods. According to Wilson’s historical data analysis allowed him to investigate the underlying structures of race relation as they changed over the period of time.  Wilson overviewed the succession of periods was less dynamic and more mechanical. For example, the black experience was highly inactive. He concluded that human beings are driven by the structural conditions of their existence. Wilson argued that social class has become more important. On the other hand, a race has become less important. In reality, the black life-chances is much more twisted and complicated. Furthermore, the issues concerning to the manifestation of the race have not been resolved yet. Earlier studies have been conducted somewhere around the period of 1980’s examined the relative effects of social class and race in structuring the intergenerational occupational mobility patterns. The socioeconomic role played an important role in the determination the access of the black men to the middle-class occupations (Niemonen, 2002).

According to the Gardener and David Gardner in the year 1930’s and 1940’s regarded the concept of race and class as caste and class. Countries like U.S. the social status of an independent person can severely hamper or limit a person’s power to improve her or his quality of life in the society.  Race and social class organize society as a whole and create the variety of for the family living through their social opportunities of unequal distribution. It has been already stated in the discussion earlier that race and class have been one of the prominent debates nowadays. It is indeed a controversial topic. There are inseparable factors that race and class share. Therefore, people cannot stop talking about it. Most of the people are in denial of their own race because of the difficulties it brings to scale socially and economically in the community (Andersen & Taylor, 2007).  Parker explained how life is affected by poverty. Additionally, the author showed how children were living a tough life as a result of the poverty. It was also described by Parker how she struggled daily to raise a family.

People nowadays believe that the ethnic background or the color of the skin is directly related to the standard of living in the society. Arguably, this conception is totally wrong, as the upbringing of an individual has the bigger effect rather than their race. U.S. has witnessed the problem from a long period of time. The trails of the American minorities’ are still taking place today. One of the major notable cases was the Holocaust during the period of 1930-1940.  Education is regarded as one of the important aspects in the correlation between race and class that puts the whole scheme into view. Education is the basis under which all of the society is categorized. For instance, the high-class people are educated properly hence they enjoy better life opportunities. On the other hand, lower class people who are not properly educated create hardships for them to cope up with the advancing society.

In the current scenario, racism is still prevalent. A few decades prior, individuals were witnessed to be highly racist. Racism has properly depicted various societal differences, causing negative impact on academic achievements. Occupation, income, education and wealth of a specific race, helps in portraying the relationship which exists between race and culture. For instance, family income level has been observed to rapidly increase in white families compared to black families. The presence of distinct racial groups has somewhere created a wide gap between social classes. There are extensive scholarly work conducted in the field of race and class. The article by Ridgeway & Kricheli-Katz (2013) focuses on intersectional analysis where gender, class and race are considered as highly distinct segments of inequality. In this race and class context, there are numerous contradicting stereotypes and each of which is based on cultural aspects. Class differences are considered to be highly complex compared to race and gender. It can be argued that varying elements within a class often intersect with one another resulting into further cultural differences. The example of Black woman and White man has been taken into account so as to demonstrate the inter-relationship between race and class. There are certain class indicators, such as education, dress, etc. which are highly salient, hence, such indicators are linked with societal differences.  Racial aspects gradually lead to class assumptions shared by Blacks and Whites.  The class assumptions which are embedded within Whites and Blacks have even made them accountable towards distinct class outcomes. The detailed analysis conducted by scholars reveals that the great amount of intersections prevalent among class, gender and racial systems within social relations initiate stereotyping and cultural beliefs.

Socio-economic diversity is a reflection of the relationship which exists between race and class, as described by Park & Denson (2013). Student interaction is an outcome of the highly distinct cross-racial interaction. Cross–class interaction (CCI) has been assessed by authors with the support of certain theoretical tools. For instance, hierarchical linear modeling can be stated as a common framework which is often used to determine the predictors related to CCI. It can be stated that race and class both the elements matter when focus is on diversity engagement. At the institutional level, racial diversity lays the foundation for building a classroom constituting socio-economic diversity. Campus climate is largely driven through racial and class related aspects. From a broader perspective, individual’s attitude can be denoted as an outcome of race and class.

Healey (2011) has stated that the existence of modern racism is still prevalent despite of urban and economic developments. There are numerous examples which have been incorporated in this book in order to highlight the correlation between race and class. A wide segment of African-American population was not allowed to access opportunities for growth and success. In certain segments, white collar jobs are only offered to White men, and Blacks are provided with only blue collar jobs. In the earlier scenario, African-Americans were found to be isolated within rural areas, but the backward racial groups are often subjected to such harassment even in urban areas. American values have gradually led to the strong connection between race and class. In today’s world, there is a basic stereotyping that some racial groups, such as African-Americans, usually belong to the backward social class.

Sociological concepts application

Under the view of functionalism racial and class inequalities have served as the important aspect in order for the human existence. A sociologist who follows the rule to the functionalist group argues that racism can contribute positively to the society but it will only contribute to the dominant group. Coincidently, it has only served towards the dominant group. Throwing the light towards the racist views can only benefit those who want to deny the privileges and rights to the people who are lower to them. Racism ultimately harms the society to a great extent. Outcomes of racism are disastrous such as higher crime rates, discrepancies in the educational opportunities and employment. The functionalist perspective towards the racism is to discuss the way racism can donate positively to the functioning of the society by making powerful bonds between the group members through the process of ostracism of out-group member.

The culture of prejudice specifies the theory that prejudice deep-seated in our culture. The culture in which everyone grows up is surrounded by the images of casual expressions of racism and stereotypes. For example, the stereotypes that fills in popular advertisements and movies. People living in the Northeastern United States are well acquainted with the Mexican Americans. Everyone is exposed to some sort of thoughts and images. Hence, it is impossible to know to what extent they have influenced everyone’s thought process. The concept of this theory identifies that all people are subjected towards the stereotypes that are rooted in their society.

The correlation between race and class is viewed as the stepping stone towards social conflict. In some circumstances, the conflict theory is taken into account to understand the inter-relationship between class and race. It can be argued that class-based conflict forms a significant aspect of social interaction. Conflict theorists have laid emphasis on the fact that the concept of class inequality can be eliminated through considering race related prejudice. In the recent years, there has been a lot of controversy revolving around class and race. Some authors have stated that among class and race, one of them holds more importance in justifying inequality, or both can be regarded as equally important. Arguably, class conflict is considered to be the most crucial aspect because it is responsible for bringing forth economic structural changes. Sociologists correlate race and class while defining various social phenomenons, but always give more importance to racial aspects. They claim that presence of different racial groups has initiated societal disparity in terms of varying social classes. Interactionism theory denotes that an individual’s symbol of identity is based on ethnicity and race. Racial prejudice is developed while entering into interactions with members belonging to the dominant social group. The underlying prejudice influences people to classify racial characteristics of own and that of others. It is evident that this form of prejudice has resulted into the custom of disregarding people possessing black identity. Therefore, dominant group tends to occupy the upper social class, whereas, minority race is not provided with desirable opportunities.

Critical evaluation, Implications and Conclusion

The research findings comprise of certain qualitative findings and brief description about theoretical frameworks. Based on this qualitative research study, it can be concluded that the correlation between class and race has resulted into wide-scale prejudice in the society. From sociological perspective, being knowledgeable about race and class facilitates effective diversity engagement. The diverse classroom interactions are an outcome of students belonging to different racial groups taking active part in group discussions. On the contrary, restricted educational opportunities are also a result of inter-relationship between class and race. In America, there are some educational institutions which have been legally sued for differentiating between Black and White students. Comparatively, White men are offered managerial positions in the workplace, whereas, Black women are often not selected during interviews. As stated in the above discussions, such social disparity was earlier prevalent only within rural areas but now the trend has even extended to urban locations. The segregation in job types is also a prominent result of linkage between race and culture. For instance, the rate of college admission in case of Blacks has increased, but the rate of attaining a Bachelor’s degree has become stagnant. Hence, Blacks are usually witnessed to apply for sales and service related job posts, rather than managerial vacancies. As per the research findings, such form of correlation is expected to yield worse sociological results in the form of higher rates of inequality.

The most important implication of racism is how to create problems in the society. In case of America, it has been witnessed that the slavery era was common in the older times. Education is greatly affected by the class and race.  The class is the constant reality that states one’s approaches towards life.  For instance a teacher may want the students to learn the study skills which are needed for math in a given class but is the class is economically unsteady and the worksheets refer to the problems with people spending the large amount on the luxury items. People can very well witness the disconnection between the lesson and student here. In this case, it has been observed that the students are distracted by the worksheet from learning the specific skill for the day. Social class and race also affect education in other ways. Most of the time people belonging from the lower income family or minority group do not posses historical evidence of higher qualification. If the parents had no access to education then it is common that the child belonging from that family did not have someone to expose them to books. Teachers of the educational institutions know very well that these children will face big problem when they are placed in a environment where every child has tremendous exposure to the written word. It is an unreal expectation that education will be untouched by the class, race or gender. A good teacher should always possess the ability to be compassionate to students who are dealing with the situations influenced by social distinction or racial differences.

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  1. Andersen, M. L., & Taylor, H. F. (2007). Sociology: Understanding a diverse society, updated. New York: Cengage Learning.
  2. Healey, J. F. (2011). Race, ethnicity, gender, and class: The sociology of group conflict and change. California: Pine Forge Press.
  3. Niemonen, J. (2002). Race, class, and the state in contemporary sociology: The William Julius Wilson debates. New York: Lynne Rienner Publishers.
  4. Park, J. J., & Denson, N. (2013). When race and class both matter: The relationship between socioeconomic diversity, racial diversity, and student reports of cross–class interaction. Research in Higher Education, 54, 725-745.
  5. Ridgeway, C. L., & Kricheli-Katz, T. (2013). Intersecting cultural beliefs in social relations: Gender, race, and class binds and freedoms. Gender & Society, 27(3), 294-318.
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