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Race, Class, & Inequality W15

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by

Julie Jenkins

on 5 April 2016

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Transcript of Race, Class, & Inequality W15


Race, Class, & Inequality:
"We can't breathe"

-Crude way of classifying human variation but socially meaningful
-in people's experiences and interactions
-in the way our institutions are structured
-in the distribution of power, resources, and opportunities for economic mobility
-Housing discrimination
--reproducing residential segregation
--Why does this also then reproduce educational segregation and inequality?
disproportionately denied access to credit & mortgages
Employment discrimination
--whites with criminal records more likely to be treated favorably than African Americans with NO criminal record
disproportionally targeted by police and suffer higher levels of violence at hands of police
occur on a grand scale, re-producing system of institutional racism and structural inequality
"color-blind racism"-- forgoes references to race for a more subtle series of practices that differentiate while professing the ideal of being 'color-blind' (Hatigan 2010)
--emphasize individual actions while downplaying social and structural circumstances that shape our experiences and opportunities
--social boundaries around class, ethnicity & race spoken about in terms of morality
How is discipline used to (re)produce racial, educational, and economic inequality?
What are your thoughts on the Lyons' students encounter?
Why does Mike steal a bag of potato chips?
Inequality- degree to which culturally valued material and social rewards are given disproportionately to groups, individuals, & families
----Access to wealth, prestige, & power
race, class, & gender are interlocking systems of power that shape our experiences
class- system of inequality where group is defined in terms of access to wealth
-achieved status
--possibility for mobility
53% of Americans consider themselves to be middle-class
-including 40% of those who make less than $20,000/year
In the US- don't realize how wealthy the wealthy actually are....
--richest 20% controls 80% of wealth in the US (Norton 2011)
--wealth vs income

--46.5 Million under poverty line (2013 Census Bureau)
Why do we have inequality?
"Functionalist theorists":
--we need inequality to motivate people to work hard and take on challenging roles
--it makes sure the most able individuals are recruited into the most socially valuable roles
Are the most socially valuable roles adequately compensated in terms of wealth & prestige? Does prestige correspond to wage level?
Does this theory explain race, ethnicity, and gender based inequality?
"Conflict Theorists" argue:

inequality serves those who own the "means of production", technology, land, corporations, capital
--and it enables them (the 'bourgeoisie') to exploit workers (the 'proletariate')
--exploitation manifested in terms of profit
Are the 'elite' only exploiting others? Do they not have socially valuable occupations?
How is inequality maintained? How is it reproduced?
--violence
--ideologies (ideas that maintain the status quo)
--patterns of behavior
What is class?
How does it differ from caste?
caste (theoretically)
-system of inequality where membership is based on birth
--ascribed status
-limited to no mobility
-endogamous
-codified social norms to govern behavior between castes
-underpinned by Hindu ideologies of purity

--not uniform throughout India

--shifting towards hierarchies based on class
Are we 'ascribed' status based upon birth into a social group? Is there possibility for mobility?
What kinds of symbols are used to indicate class membership or exclusion?
What type of ideologies do we use to explain wealth & income disparities?
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