What do you conclude about racism and racial identity in reading # 31 (Showing my Color by Clarence Page)? Do you think the readings is still relevant today? (3 pts)
The sociologists William Wilson has argues that social class is more important than race in determining the life chances of African Americans. Quoting chapter 12 in the textbook, please present his argument and state if you agree with him or not and why. (5 pts)
Reply to anther student in a meaningful way using your sociological knowledge. (2 pts)
I don’t have the textbook but I will post two examples about this assignment so you can use the information and page numbers.
Despite all the progress that has been made, color prejudice still exists and persists in new invidious ways. In fact, the efforts to deny differences resulting from skin color in the name of creating a â€œcolor-blindâ€ society continue to adversely affect persons of color by denying the very real ways that skin color affects their life experience.
I think the reading is still relevant today because, tragically, racial prejudice still exists and still lead to acts of violence against persons of color as we keep seeing in the news. This shows that our society has a long way to go to achieve racial parity and peaceful co-existence.
William Wilson states that â€œsocial class is more important than race in determining the life chances of African Americansâ€ (354). Before the civil rights laws African Americans could not become educated or have any way to improve their financial standing. Once after the civil rights laws African Americans where given the opportunity of an education and a means to advance economically. Many African Americans had an â€œupward mobility…into the middle class (which) created two worlds of African American experience â€“ one educated and affluent, the other uneducated and poorâ€ (354). Affluent African Americans have views and goals in life as typical middle-class whites. These aspirations are very different from poor African Americans who have little to no education, have difficulty finding work, struggle to make ends meet, and are filled with hopelessness. Clearly affluent African Americans â€œhave little in common with the orientation to life that arise from living in neighborhoods of deep povertyâ€ (355). This suggests that social class is a greater factor than race when considering the life chance of African Americans.
I agree with William Wilsonâ€™s view. Growing up with certain middle-class privileges like fully employed parents, a low crime neighborhood and good schools, offer children far more opportunities, and (I would argue) help determine future success more accurately that where they fall on the racial spectrum.
As Pierre Bourdieu defined in his work, individuals inherit of a social, economic and cultural capital. What we can conclude from the reading of Showing my Color, those capitals affect each individual through his/her life. As shared in the reading, “growing up as part of a minority can expose the individual to horrible bouts of identity confusion”. Being considered as “different” leads to the internalization of this deviance and end with a rejection of one’s self. Although, countries have made progress and try to be ‘color blindness’, which is “the ideology that posits the best way to end discrimination is by treating individuals as equally as possible, without regard to race, culture, or ethnicity”, color prejudice still occur.
The reading is still relevant today. In North America, “raceâ€“ethnicity is a major divide” leading to segregation, unequal treatment, and reduced life chances. Thus, none of us experiences the same life depending on one’s color. Nevertheless, we are far from MLK’s era when black people couldn’t even sit on the same bus seats as whites. As stated in the book â€œEthnic differences are the very essence of cultural diversity and national creativityâ€. This sentence is really deep. Instead of seing the color of skin as a difference, we should look at it as a quality. Race is a pure social construct. It doesn’t exist and will never exist.
The sociologist William Wilson claims that “social class has become more important than race in determining the life chances of African Americans”. Here, life chances are the opportunities each individual has to improve his/her quality of life, affected by the social and economical status more than the race. Plus, the sociologist contrasts and emphasizes on the 2 types of African/ American; the first one stuck in poverty, fill by hopelessness and despair whereas the other who, through anticipatory socialization, has moved up the social class ladder lives in comfortable homes in secure neighborhoods. This has more impact in someone’s life than race. He also observes a declining significance of race, the name of his book.
In my opinion, the social class is the most consequent element in an individual’s life. I deeply share William’s point of view, maybe because I have never experienced any different treatment regarding my skin color and I don’t understand how we could be treated differently because of it (reduction of life chances). Socialization is a lifetime process in which values and norms are mostly taught by our parents. Either, the individual will do a ‘social reproduction’, where social, economic inequality will result and be passed down or an individual in conflict will find one’s way and do an anticipatory socialization and will lead to meritocracy. Differential socialization also exists depending on the social class. People coming from middle class will access easily to museums than people coming from the working class. This, impacts the individual’s future, increasing or decreasing his/her chance to be accepted in the society. To my mind, social class is more important than race in determining the life chances of African Americans.