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Race, Class, & Inequality:

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Julie Jenkins

on 9 December 2014

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Transcript of Race, Class, & Inequality:

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 to a more subtle series of practices that differentiate (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 reproduce 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
class- group defined in terms of wealth, occupation, & other economic criteria
--but also a social group, with set of values, norms, ideas, language
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

Income distribution 2012
--richest 1% - 22.5% of national income
--bottom 90%- 49.6%
--46.5 Million under poverty line (2013 Census Bureau)
Why does inequality exist? What is its function?
Functionalists argue:
--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?
--ideologies (ideas that maintain the status quo)
--patterns of behavior
Full transcript