What is the relationship between social class and race? This question is both problematic and significant because, when attempting to analyze social classes in America, it is important to determine what factors contribute to the establishment of social class. In modern America, despite advancements in civil rights and equality, many things are still divided along racial lines. Are individuals of different races set on pre-determined courses for specific social classes, due simply to their skin color? The answer to the question is part of the puzzle that, when completed, will lead to a greater understanding of social class in our country. For this reason, it must be answered. As an individual living in North Dakota, I see regular examples of social class being divided upon racial lines. These examples have led me to develop preconceived notions about the subject, and so I embarked on a quest for greater understanding of the issue. Having consulted three separate sources on the issue, and thoroughly examining their data, I am ready to begin a synthesis of the bits and pieces I have gleaned, and assemble the puzzle that may answer my question.
Gilbert provides a light analysis of social class in America, utilizing definitions and theories of social stratification posed by renowned sociologists such as Karl Marx and Max Weber. Through these theories, Gilbert establishes the distinction between class and status, and determines that “the most important class distinction is between those who own property and those who do not” (Gilbert, 2008, p. 7). He then presents three issues (economic, social, and political implications) and ten socioeconomic variables (occupation, wealth, income, poverty, prestige, association, socialization, social mobility, power, and class consciousness) that affect the study of social class. His own definition of social class is provided and the American class structure is examined; finally, he conducts a brief analysis of changing...
References: Gilbert, D. (2008). Social Class in America. American Class Structure in an Age of Growing Inequality (7th ed., pp. 1–18 ) .Belmont, CA: Pine Forge Press.
Kessler, R.C., & Neighbors, H. W. (1986). A New perspective on the relationships among race, social class, and psychological distress. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 27, 107-115. Retrieved from JSTOR database.
Wilson, W.J. (2006). The declining significance of race: from racial oppression to economic class subordination. In R.F. Levine (Ed.), Social Class and Stratification (2nd ed., pp. 215–232) . Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers.
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