Race As A Class Summary

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Brian Partee SOCY2000-Ethnic Minorities in the U.S. Dr. Bram Hamovitch 5/4/2009 3. Race as a Class Herbert J. Gans in “Race as a Class” explains how the human population as a whole is considered one race by sociologists and most biologists, but subsequently, different races were socially constructed based on skin color and social class beginning during the colonization period. Certain white ethnics were initially seen as inferior to whites but were eventually accepted as whites as they became more financially successful and moved up the social hierarchy, while blacks tended to seemingly be trapped toward the bottom of the ladder in terms of social structure, education, and financial freedom. However, the color barrier can be…show more content…
Despite a fair amount of blacks have become middle class, they are still seen as blacks. This unfair treatment seems to keep the blacks and whites separated, or keeping blacks “in their place”, resulting in a lack of upward mobility. Even though this continuously happens, Gans really has no explanation for it. Perhaps a fear of darkness, or people with “negriod” features. Other reasons could be that the majority of blacks were poor for two generations, and one out of every four lives in poverty today. Blacks are more involved in street crime- typically street drug sales, due to the fact that they have trouble finding legitimate jobs. Another reason could be that Blacks may still be seen as ex-slaves. They are regularly suspected of being criminals, and constantly have feel the need to prove to the rest of society that they are worthy of the American Dream. If African Americans reject low paying jobs that other immigrants are competing for, they justify the belief that they are less deserving than immigrants. Resentment for this treatment further validates the white belief that African Americans are unworthy, restarting the cycle over again. Gans concludes that it might be a possibility that race could be eventually erased through interracial marriage, but he also points out that Americans may come up with a different way to mark levels of social classes. I feel that Gans’ conclusion follows his evidence logically, explaining the reasons why people socially construct different classes, and what might be a possible outcome in the
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