Social Inequality and Minorities in the United States

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Social Inequality and Minorities in the United States

SOC/120

Social Inequality and Minorities in the United States

During the duration of this course I have learned about social problems within the society in which we live and around the world. It is still troubling to learn that poverty, social inequality, race and cultural discrimination, gender stratification, environmental damage, population growth, and urbanization are among the social problems and controversial issues that still exist in the United States. Social inequality is subject that has been around for many years because of someone’s race, gender, status, wealth. The harsh reality of this situation is that people are being judged and discriminated against for these reasons. Discussed will be the affect that social inequality has on minorities. The term minority does not refer to only African Americans, or to someone’s ethnic diversity. A minority, in terms of social relationships, could be anyone in terms of race, gender, status and wealth. In a sociological perspective, this means that a person could be a minority in which an individual is more or less advantaged; by definition a minority is any category of people distinguished by physical or cultural differences that sets apart and subordinates meaning that it is a socially constructed concept (Macionis, 2006). A person’s race and ethnicity, class, and gender shed light on inequality because members of a society decide that a person’s physical attributes actually matter (Macionis, 2006). Minorities have two important characteristics: distinct identity and subordination (Macionis, 2006). In the United States, minorities have lower income, occupational prestige, and limited schooling serving as a master status overshadowing personal accomplishments that leads to prejudice, and discrimination as an affect of inequality (Macionis, 2006). Prejudice is a rigid and unfair generalization about a category of people that is based on little or no direct evidence; prejudgments of positivity or negativity (Macionis, 2006). Prejudice can target people of particular social classes, sex, sexual orientation, age, political affiliation, race and ethnicity; as positive prejudices exaggerates the virtues of people like ourselves, and negative prejudices condemn those who are different (Macionis, 2006). Prejudice usually takes on two forms: stereotyping and racism (Macionis, 2006). Stereotyping is a simplified description applied to every person in some category, especially in the workplace; officials may see minorities in terms of stereotype and make assumptions about a person’s abilities, steering them toward certain jobs limiting better opportunities for them (Macionis, 2006). Racism is one of the most harmful forms of prejudice because it is the belief that one racial category is innately superior or inferior to another; it fails to recognize that racial differences in mental abilities result from environment rather than biology (Macionis, 2006). Discrimination is closely related to prejudice as it is unequal treatment of various categories of people; prejudice refers to attitudes while discrimination refers to actions (Macionis, 2006). Greater harm results from institutional prejudice and discrimination; bias built into the operation of society’s institutions that include schools, hospitals, law enforcement, and the workplace (Macionis, 2006). As prejudice and discrimination begin, minorities become socially disadvantaged, occupying low positions in social stratification, and is interpreted as evidence that the minority is innately inferior (Macionis, 2006). Furthermore, someone’s class is defined by social relations within the labor markets and productive units because initial distinctions arise between employers, self-employed workers, and employees; further distinctions are then made in terms of their relations with employers as embodied in terms of their employment contracts once...
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