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PoliticalGround >> Inequalities in America


3/14/07 5:10 PM
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TolsmaFCF
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Edited: 14-Mar-07
Member Since: 11/08/2004
Posts: 95
 
This is a little assignment I have in a sociology class and I figured this fourm could help. Assuming America is a place in which inequalities exist, give evidence of it. In other words, find empirical "facts" that show there is inequality in America. That means, find the actual evidence that is NOT anectdotal (individuals' personal stories) that support a position that there is racism, classism, and sexism in America. Now, use two of the three theories (conflict, functionalism, or symbolic interaction) to help explain the existence of inequalities. So, this means, first, convince your reader that there are inequalities and then try to explain them using the new paradigms in sociology to help understand why we have them. Any assistance on this would be appreciated....
3/15/07 10:54 AM
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marck
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Edited: 15-Mar-07
Member Since: 01/01/2001
Posts: 7122
Wait a minute... why does the question shift from "inequality" to "racism, classism, and sexism in America" as though the existence of one implies the other? That is exactly the kind of simplistic thinking that is rampant in sociology. lol @ them talking about "factual evidence" as though facts are taken seriously in that subject. My entire essay would be to question the question.
3/15/07 10:56 AM
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marck
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Edited: 15-Mar-07
Member Since: 01/01/2001
Posts: 7123
There is a fantastic refutation of this kind of thing in Thomas Sowell's book "The Vision of the Annointed". Even when statistics are trotted out, you'll see exactly how easy it is (and they are) manipulated to prove whatever you want.
6/29/07 7:28 PM
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jaseprobst
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Edited: 29-Jun-07
Member Since: 06/06/2003
Posts: 9393
Wow, I forgot how completely theoretical and useless sociology courses were.
10/31/07 9:25 AM
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Atecexa
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Edited: 31-Oct-07
Member Since: 01/01/2001
Posts: 2634
Inequality cannot exist in a capitolist state. We are all a product of our own decisions and choices.
11/3/07 6:31 PM
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PeterGBO
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Edited: 03-Nov-07
Member Since: 06/30/2006
Posts: 715

So the fact that we live in a capitalist state, we as individuals can own business and property privately, somehow proves that there is no inequality?

 

11/7/07 8:51 PM
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gorillagrappling
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Edited: 07-Nov-07
Member Since: 07/20/2007
Posts: 649
Here are a few inequalities that exist. NAACP, United Negro College Fund, Black History Month, National Organization for Women, MADRE, Affirmative action. Should I continue?
11/8/07 7:23 PM
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gorillagrappling
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Edited: 08-Nov-07
Member Since: 07/20/2007
Posts: 685
ttt
11/11/07 11:23 PM
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IDXtreme
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Edited: 11-Nov-07
Member Since: 04/27/2002
Posts: 1516
Why not compare the US to lets say the UAE? China? Mexico? South Africa? That should make the US seem quite steller.
11/20/07 6:25 PM
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gorillagrappling
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Edited: 20-Nov-07
Member Since: 07/20/2007
Posts: 807
There are inequalities everywhere. This guy is supposed to find facts that white people are racists and have benefits that minorities do not. "finding inequalities" is a nice way to put it.
12/4/07 6:02 PM
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Jenny Wishbone
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Edited: 04-Dec-07 06:20 PM
Member Since: 09/05/2007
Posts: 106
I would start off by locating studies demonstrating the existence of "inequality" in America. That shouldn't be hard, as there's plenty of literature on the topic. For example, you might look for studies on racial prejudice in employment, in education, in access to housing, in quality of health care, and so on. You then want to apply one of the 3 theories to your data. I would choose the one that best fits your perspective of inequality, as it would make for a more enjoyable assignment. The classical functionalist position is that inequality is an inevitable and necessary bi-product of any functional society. For example, there are rich people because some people work harder than others and because if there were no disparities in wealth, there would be little motivation to, say, educate yourself in the search of higher-paying jobs. Talcott Parsons is most associated with functionalism and there are also the "neo-functionalists" who adapted the theory to modern conditions. The functionalist position is a defence of capitalism. By comparison, the conflict perspective is grounded in Marxist theory, and particularly the view that inequality is a product of "conflict" over resources and that it's a negative thing. For example, on the issue of race, a conflict position might say that racism was introduced to ensure Europe's supremacy over resources in the colonies. It wasn't that race was a meaningful predictor of human behaviour, but that it served to rationalize wealth disparities between Whites and others. For example, slavery was justified on the pretence that Blacks were inferiour to Whites, yet in reality, the real motivation was the wealth produced by the slaves for the benefit of plantations owners. In a modern context, you might say that racism works to mask disparities in wealth, so that working class White people complain about "immigrants stealing their jobs" rather than agitating for a fairer distribution of company earnings. Symbolic Internationalism, if I recall, is a micro level theory. In the context of inequality, it would discuss how individuals make meaning of social interactions and how that translates into inequality. For example, if you are a male manager hiring for a security position, you may draw certain conclusions about a female applicant that you wouldn't with a male applicant, and the same might apply to a black applicant applying for a CEO position vs White or Asian applicants. I expect the easiest way at tackling your assignment is using the first two theories and then 1) explain how each studies inequality 2) and through actual examples, show where each runs into problems (e.g., pros and cons of either approach) 3) and, lastly, explain where you yourself lean on the topic, or even build on the theories by suggesting a middle ground/position. For example, Sweden is an example of a country that incorporates the best of both theories, i.e., contains disparities in wealth, yet at a much limited extent than in the United States and other western European states. So, you can say, Sweden agrees with the functionalist position that inequality is good though (consistent with Conflict theory) it recognizes the need for safeguards against unbridled capitalism, as seen by the significant social supports it provides to less privileged countrymen.
12/4/07 6:40 PM
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gorillagrappling
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Edited: 04-Dec-07
Member Since: 07/20/2007
Posts: 934
"For example, slavery was justified on the pretence that Blacks were inferiour to Whites, yet in reality, the real motivation was the wealth produced by the slaves for the benefit of plantations owners." True that. And in doing so it led to millions of people believing in a non-science based theory that we all came from monkeys. Darwinism was the beginning and society has run with it. Now most people do not believe in God and we are freaking doomed. Good job guys.

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