Stratificationand Prejudice in Current Events
Stratificationand Prejudice in Current Events
Class,race, and gender are interrelated systems of stratification. They areforms of inequality that Putman terms as a matrix of domination inwhich everybody of us lives in (Putman, 2016). The issue of mediaeffects on social problems of gender, race, and class have been hotlydebated for several years. People from different spectrums blamemedia for promoting issues of violence, gender discrimination, racismand division in social class. Many studies have affirmed that mediahas led to numerous social effects that have negatively impacted thesociety.
Tostart with, gender discrimination is a situation where men and womenare treated differently. The society we live in, embraces patriarchywhere men are perceived to be dominant over women. This has resultedin the institutionalized stratification where men for their dominancepay the price and have become the bigwigs of the society. With thehelp of media, women have been portrayed as victims of many socialproblems such as rape and domestic violence, work and family,reproductive rights and political participation.
Historically,women have been given responsibilities in the “non-political”associations where they satisfy men, cook and take care of children.This has been witnessed mostly in Africa and some of the Middle Eastcountries. They have been objectified and exploited. They have alwaysbeen made the sacrificial lambs because parents prefer educating aboy child as the boys are seen as investments for the family. Thehorrors that women pass through such as the rape cases in Darfur,incidences of sex trafficking in Europe and genital mutilation inAfrica have been condemned by the U.S, yet we ignore our genderissues right on our doorsteps (Washington post).
InTheGuardian(2016), it was published that Stanford University had removed one oftheir web pages called “Female Bodies and Alcohol.” It is saidthat the page promoted rape and “victim-blaming” on campus. Thecollege received attention after a former athlete, Brock Turner,assaulted an unconscious woman. The information went viral on thesocial media. It claimed that women are seen as sexually availablewhen drank, which might not be the case. I think that the perceptionon how a woman behaves and how men look at them is wrong. The contentshowed that women should adjust their behaviors so as to avoid rapeinstead of teaching men on obtaining consent and avoiding the badbehaviors of assault.
Furthermore,women are also seen as weaklings who cannot handle big politicalresponsibilities. Some countries like Croatia, Switzerland, Liberia,Brazil and South Korea have given women a chance as the presidents.The US has made big strides towards the eradication ofdiscrimination, but despite being a superpower nation, it has not yetcome to terms with the fact that women can be given a chance to bethe president. This dream may come true if the current presidentialcandidate Hillary Clinton will be elected as the first womanpresident of the US.
Anotherissue that has led to stratification is racism. It has been felt inmany parts of the world. The media is part of the society that welive in. It is part of us and all the information that they giveinfluences us in one way or the other. It has perpetuated racism byusing names to brand those who are different in color. It uses namessuch as the “blacks”, “Hispanics”, “Aboriginals”, “theJews”, or “people of color,”(Grusky & Weisshaar, 2014).These people are indicated as “others”.
Thereis also a term commonly used by the media called the “Islamophobia,”which is used to discriminate, prejudice and harass Islam and Muslimsin the US. This kind of discrimination in religion was intensifiedafter the 9/11 terror attacks and is still experienced today.Historically, there has been racism from the time of slavery andcolonization, which led to the introduction of different people intothe country. This has resulted to the inequalities depending on colorand religion.
Thelevels of inequality due to racism in the US show that there isinstitutionalized stratification where the race influences intragrouprelationships. This was evident after the several deaths of theblacks and Hispanic in the US. This triggered a lot of differentemotions about the rate of racism and inequality in America. Theshootings in Minnesota and Louisiana were captured on phone videosand went viral. There were hot debates on the police force againstthe African- Americans in the US. There was a video of a policeofficer in Falcon Heights in Minnesota, who was shooting anAfrican-American man by the name Castile during a traffic stop (CNN,2016). The video surfaced after the shootings and was all over themedia.
OnJuly 7th, in TheHillPresident Obama, the first African-American president of Americacondemned the acts of the police force on black men. He said, “whenpeople say black lives matter, that does not mean blue lives don’tmatter, it means all lives matter.” He also said, “but the datashows that the black folks are more vulnerable to these kinds ofincidents (shooting).” Another statement that indicated theexistence of racism is when Obama said, “when incidents like thisoccur, there is a big chunk of our citizenry that feels as if,because of the color of their skin, they are not being treated thesame,”(BBC News, 2016). America should embrace color-blindmeritocracy, where people of color are treated like the natives.
Historically,wealth was concentrated in cities and because of the less population,it was distributed fairly, but as time passed, there was theemergence of wealthier people who had millions of dollars only tothemselves. This has resulted in the rich being richer and they havegained a lot of influence on the economy and the gap between them andthe poor is widening.
Currently,social class has been used as a mode of stratification in the US andhas far reaching consequences. People have unequal chances to accesssocial opportunities because of class stratification. They have beenstratified depending on their wealth, education, income, socialnetworks and occupation. This impacts people’s family life,political affiliation, health, religious affiliation, participationin politics, and their experience with the criminal justice system.
Thereare three types of social classes in the U.S, the upper, middle andworking class. The higher you are in the hierarchy, the more thechances of accessing good health, better education, and excellingprofessionally. There is a perception that poor kids who are smarthave low chances of graduating than those from rich families. RobertPutman said, “smart poor kids are less likely to graduate fromcollege now than dumb rich kids. That’s not because of the schoolthat is because of all advantages that are available to the richkids,” (Putman, 2016).
Longbefore the existence of the media, celebrities were not heard of, butnow we see them and have felt their presence. They are treateddifferently from the common person because of their status andinfluence in the society. Recently, on 28thAugust 2016, many celebrities gathered for the Video Music Awards(VMAs), which was held at Madison Square Garden (Grant, 2016). Justafter the event, the dance by Teyana Taylor from Kanye West’s song‘fade’ was all over the social media and I was so curious to findout what was in the video, so I checked. This was a celebrity’sstuff people with money and fame, it wasn’t about the commonperson. I wish that such events were held in a place convenient forall classes and affordable tickets or free entry. This will help infilling the gaps between the different classes of people.
Theissues of stratification according to race, gender and class are notnew to us. It existed long before us and it needs our efforts toeradicate it. People have always been treated differently dependingon their sex, their position in class hierarchy and their race.Currently, many people are trying to embrace a society with variousabilities, talents and color. We have seen the rise of organizationsthat fight for equal gender rights and efforts to eradicate racism.This is good progress because we all dream of a society whereeverybody is equal.
Iam an advocate for equality. This does not mean we all become rich,but we are viewed as the same and given equal opportunities despiteour color, gender or class. Color-blind meritocracy is a way out ofracism. Furthermore, we should also embrace our differences becausewe all have diverse abilities and talents. I love my country becausedespite being in the midst of racism, we have an African-Americanpresident and we will probably have a female president.
BBCNews (2016, July 8) Obama: US police shootings of black men `shouldconcern all` – BBC News. (2016, July 8). Retrieved fromhttp://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-36741336
CNN.com.(2016, July 14). Philando Castile shooting: What happened after thevideo? – CNN.com. (2016, July 14). Retrieved fromhttp://edition.cnn.com/2016/07/13/us/police-shootings-investigations/
Grant, S.(2016, August 28). Teyana Taylor, The Girl in Kanye’s Racy ‘Fade’Video, Was An Early MTV Star – MTV. Retrieved fromhttp://www.mtv.com/news/2925313/teyana-taylor-kanye-west-fade-my-super-sweet-sixteen-vmas-2016/
Grusky, D. B.,& Weisshaar, K. R. (2014). Socialstratification: Class, race, and gender in sociological perspective.
Guardian.(2016, August 24). Stanford removes `victim-blaming` online materialon women and alcohol | US news | The Guardian. Retrieved fromhttps://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/aug/24/stanford-alcohol-rape-culture-women
Hill.(2016, July 18). This is a war, and Black Lives Matter is the enemy |The Hills. Retrieved fromhttp://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/civil-rights/sheriff-david%20clarke-black-lives-matter-baton-rouge-civil-war
Putnam, R. D.(2016). Ourkids: The American dream in crisis.New York, NY: Simon & Schuster Paperbacks.
WashingtonPost. (2016, February 21). For women in America, equality is still anillusion. Retrieved fromhttp://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/02/19/AR2010021902049.html