Synthesis Essay - race and class

1447 Words6 Pages
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…show more content…
The initial view of the white population that African Americans were inferior to them quickly led to slavery, but there was a definite second motivator. Slavery provided cheap labor to the white elite; this provided the means to improve their own socioeconomic standing while effectively eliminating any possible economic competition from blacks. Even segregation minimized the educational and employment opportunities of blacks, to the consequence that blacks were kept low on the socioeconomic ladder. Whether it was intended this way or the economic effects were an unintended consequence of establish “racial superiority/inferiority” can be argued; however, the chapter written by Wilson indicates his opinion: segregation was designed not only to determine racial superiority, but also to limit the opportunities of African Americans. Indeed, Weber makes specific reference to this in the chapter from Gilbert, saying “to preserve their advantages, high-status groups attempt to monopolize those goods that symbolize their style of life—they pass consumption laws prohibiting the lower orders from wearing lace, or they band together to keep Jews or blacks out of prestigious country clubs” (Gilbert 2008, p. 9).
Wilson is quick to point out the change between the old and the new. “Whereas the previous barriers were usually designed to control and restrict the entire population, new barriers create hardships
Get Access