Describe how race and gender shape a person’s life. Which is most powerful in a person’s life: race, gender, or class?
Race and gender impinge on a person’s life in various ways; socially, politically and economically. For example it took over 200 years for America to have a black president and a female presidential candidate. Obviously most opportunities have been to white males. Notably people of colour and females got the right to vote much later than white males. Hence, class stratification has mostly been influenced by race and gender making class less powerful than race and gender. And while race is skin-deep, gender affects a person’s temperament and health: “While there is growing evidence of a number of significant differences between males and females in terms of health and health outcomes, considerable controversy remains about the existence and importance of racial differences in genetic effects, particularly for complex diseases” (Neville, 2015). As such, of the three, gender can be classified as the most powerful.
How do all three intersect in your life?
Discrimination based on sex and gender is illegal but prevalent in the US. This discrimination is especially pronounced at the workplace where, to date, women receive less pay and perks than men (Neville, 2015). Apart from politics, health and work, gender and race also affects educational institutions, sports, housing and credit rating; with underrepresentation and bias against women and people of color evident.
How are your own experiences different (or the same) as your parents’ experiences?
The situation has improved drastically over the past few years though, and as a woman, it has affected me less than my mother and grandmother. Unlike my foremothers, I am able to vote, enjoy a night out without harassment, and have equal rights at the workplace. Civil Rights Act and Equal Pay Act afford me this, offering me an opportunity to rise up the social class (Neville, 2015). For the wider society, it entrenches a culture of equality, peace and good feeling.
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