Social Location in American Culture
There are a variety of social factors, which make up a person’s social location, that exert an effect on every person’s development as an individual. Social location can be defined as the spaces that people occupy due to their location in society. In the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass and Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolpho Anaya, the characters of Frederick and Antonio struggle to find their sense of identity. It becomes evident in both stories that social location is the most important constituent of being a “successful” American.
To begin with, the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass prohibited finding ones self. Douglass’s Narrative shows how white slaveholders perpetuate slavery by keeping their slaves ignorant. At the time Douglass was writing, many people believed that slavery was a natural state of being. They believed that blacks were inherently incapable of participating in civil society and thus should be kept as workers for whites. The Narrative explains the strategies and procedures by which whites gain and keep power over blacks from their birth onward. Slave owners keep slaves ignorant of basic facts about themselves, such as their birth date or their paternity. This enforced ignorance robs children of their natural sense of individual identity. As slave children grow older, slave owners prevent them from learning how to read and write, as literacy would give them a sense of self sufficiency and capability. Slaveholders understand that literacy would lead slaves to question the right of whites to keep slaves. Finally, by keeping slaves illiterate, Southern slaveholders maintain control over what the rest of America knows about slavery. If slaves cannot write, their side of the slavery story could not be told. This ignorance of course cancelled out the first level of social location, the micro level. At the micro level individuals feel the most comfortable about themselves. This was definitely...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document