Social Inequalities: Race, Class, & Gender

Topics: Racism, Sociology, White people Pages: 10 (4011 words) Published: September 10, 2013
Many viewpoints arise on the topic of social inequality. Some may say that social inequality is “getting better” or nearly nonexistent in this day and age, because many Americans like to deny the fact that inequalities still exist in a country that is supposed to be accepting of all. On the discussion of social inequalities, many white males may either feel blamed or targeted, or they may deny that it exists all together because they have never experienced it. When white women are addressed on the subject of inequality, they may think of themselves as a prime example since women tend to be discriminated against due to being the “inferior” gender in society. When African American and other minority men and women alike are addressed on the subject, they perhaps feel the most victimized having endured the greatest struggles of inequality for many years. The truth of the matter is, social inequality has not disappeared and is far from it. Race, class, and gender differences affect the behaviors, lifestyles, and mindsets of Americans and the future generations.

Let us first consider the classic game of Monopoly. In Monopoly, players compete with others, receive a salary, pay taxes, buy property, occasionally receive awards, and on some strokes of bad luck, go to jail. On a basic sense, the game seems more like the game of life, and looking at it in a broader spectrum it very well could be. Now imagine a skewed game of Monopoly. Take away the level playing field for all players and instead, instill a social pyramid into the game. Give one player the privilege of being blue, entitling them to the most expensive properties on the board, the largest salaries received, the leeway to either move up one space or back one space on any given roll, and the most favorable chances of getting out of jail quickly given special instructions. Next give a player the role of being a red player, receiving the second largest salary, the second most expensive properties, the ability to move forward one space on any given roll, and some-what favorable conditions on getting out of jail quickly. Next in line comes the green player who receives a lower salary than the red individual, the middle of the ladder properties, the ability to move back a space on any given roll, and no special instructions or increased chances on getting out of jail. Last, make one poor soul purple, as this player receives the lowest salary, the cheapest properties, no freedom in moving up or back a space on any given role, and less favorable conditions on getting out of jail than the average Monopoly player would receive. One may read these directions and notice the blatant manipulation of the game in order for the blue player to win and the purple player to lose. The directions also make it quite clear that the colors represent different social classes, blue being upper-class, red being middle-class, green being working-class, and purple the object of poverty. However, Monopoly is the game of life, and life does not include a level playing field; it is skewed and it contains inequalities.

One of the most, if not the most, important aspects of life has come to be the accumulation of wealth which has the deciding factor of how one is viewed in society. However, many Americans like to deny the fact that social classes exist based on wealth, partly from the fact that the word “class” implies a relatively fixed position on the social pyramid, yet Americans love to tell and believe in certain rags-to-riches stories. In reality, one’s wealth affects and determines their social status which will determine their lifestyle, and consequentially, their behavior. It is no secret that the tip top of the social pyramid, the upper-class, rules America’s economy today. Remember the manipulated game of monopoly? Let us look at that privileged blue player. In the game the blue player wound up owning almost all the properties on the board, accurately representative of the assets owned by...
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