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Race and Gender
Race and Gender
Diversity is among the most discussed topics globally today. What is diversity? In simple terms, diversity can be defined as differences among individuals or rather groups of people based or various factors. Differences include gender, race, class, culture, religion, sexuality, citizenship, and many more. Social construction, on the other hand, is a term used to describe how different identity categories such as gender, race and class are formed within a given society and how they are maintained through social institutions. People have different experiences on their different diversities, which will be discussed by the end of this paper. Besides, this paper will discuss an autobiographical sketch of my personal experience, particularly in gender and race issues in life.
Every human being has to undergo social, physical as well as emotional changes in his or her life. As human being grow up, they learn more about themselves understanding how to accept how they look, their race, gender, and many more aspects. Identity is one of the compound aspects of human beings personality growth, and it is divided into different dimensions, which include gender and race. Race is a situation where one believes that a certain culture is better than the other.
Racism is among the world’s greatest problem affecting human beings in the 20th century. Racism is when one believes that one person is better than the other or rather a certain race is better compared to the other (Loewen, 2018). Racism is practiced in various situations or places in life, including in schools, workplaces, or even in a country at large. Racism provides an example of how social construction affects a society, further, it provides a clear representation of a society characterized by race differences. Race differences can be explained as the prejudices that people in a society have towards those perceived to belong to a different race. Race differences are a fact and affect everybody in every society (Cindy Tsutsumi, 2003). This is because, our attitudes towards others and ourselves depend on the race that we identify or identified with. This matters a lot, since race determines many fundamental aspects of life, like education, incomes, beliefs, immigration status and health.
A case of racism happened recently when a student in school mentioned that different races should report back to their countries, for instance, the African American should go back to Africa, the Chinese back to China and the Indians back to their country India. That raised a lot of questions, are human beings that different? Generally, people who practice racism in most cases dislike the other races culture, skin color, origin, or basically any other aspect that defines the nature of a person.
Racism has continued to affect immigrants, especially in the United States of America. A good example is the Muslim, people from Hispanic countries, Jewish people and African American students who travel to the U.S. for further education. The immigrants have a hard time being accepted in American society (Fredrickson, 2015). There is a notion that the Muslim culture basically promotes terrorism or rather Islam phobia, which has made it hard for them to be accepted. The Muslim culture is, in return, feared, hated, or even in other cases, discriminated as it is evident in the recent Muslim ban by President Donald Trump. Hispanic are seen as people that came to dominate, multiply and take over the country. White folks fear that Jews are coming to replace them, as seen in the Charlottesville Virginia white supremacy match in 2017. While African Americans on the other hand, are seen as slaves by the white people as a result of the slavery that historically happened in the past and are still being promoted in the 20th century through racism. The white students see the African American students as slaves and inferior, that have led to them being discriminated since they the whites are seen as better off than the African American students. Secondly, African American immigrants are seen by the white folks as people that came to take the jobs that were meant for them, thereby not giving them equal opportunity to thrive when they complete their studies. As an African American from a working-class background, I am guilty of having done little to examine my ancestry and how these affect my life or to examine the impact that race have on others. For most of my life, I gave little more than cursory thought to the culture and heritage of my first-generation African parents, other than to write the occasional report on slave trade and African migration in grade school. I regret never having discussed with my parents what their lives were like growing up.
My dad migrated from Africa when he was very young. He worked twice harder than his white counterparts to make ends meet, because of the racial prejudice that is existing in our society, while my mom was a fulltime housewife. We weren’t poor, but we weren’t wealthy either, my dad worked hard to provide for the family. We were raised to associate with different races or cultures. Men worked and the women stayed at home to take care of the children. It was a different time back then from what we have now in the 21st century. When I was growing up it wasn’t easy, I experienced racism myself because of my skin color. I had to ride the bus to school with children who were from different races, there was tension on the bus and whispering of the slur term nigga all around, but this did not deter me from working hard to become who I want to be. Another example is the migration based racist statement also made by current U.S. president, as reported in New York Times. He stated that the continent of Africa is a shit holes, that he would prefer migrants from European and Scandinavian countries to migrate to the U.S.
Although, several Americans are not comfortable acknowledging that racism still exist in our country. These adversities have had a negative and positive influence in our society. After all, wouldn’t it be nice to believe as our forefathers wrote in the Constitution “that all men are created equal”. It is high time people learned that in the current era, we are no longer living under racism intuition, rather a diverse society. People should work on helping each other grow rather than destroying each other based on the idea that they are better than a certain group. Racism should be discouraged at all means, and everyone should be given an equal chance or even equal opportunities regardless of their race. Racism affects the migrant majorly, for the fact that they are left feeling out of place and unaccepted in society. Even if we can convince ourselves that these issues have nothing to do with us personally, we aren’t prejudiced, or we’ve worked hard to get where we are, they do affect us. Institutionalized racism are a fact of everyday life in America and affect everyone in our society. Often our degree of consciousness and always our perspective depends upon with which race we identify or are identified along with our personal experiences with racism. But, even if we choose not to notice, we cannot escape from the fact that racial identities and more importantly, the embedded and systemic societal privileges or disadvantages that come from these socially-constructed roles affect how we define ourselves, how others relate to us, and what opportunities we are offered or denied in almost every aspect of our lives (Hess, Beth B. and Elizabeth W. Markson, Peter Stein, 2001).
Gender can be defined as the physical appearance, which can either be female or male. Gender discrimination is another differentiating factor that affects people globally. Gender discrimination can be described as discriminating a certain person based on their sex or gender, and most of the people who are commonly discriminated are the women or girls. The New York Times magazine has discussed different cases of women being discriminated and among the articles is that of Maya Salam (2019), where she discussed women fighting for equal pay in sports. Salam has stated a few examples of cases where women faced inequality in terms of pay in sports. A good example is that of the U.S.A. hockey in the year 2017, where the women’s national hockey team declared publicly that they would boycott the world’s championship since they wanted an increase in their wages. Immediately, the committee responded by giving the female players $2,000 training stipend monthly as well as signing bonuses for medal winnings. That is among the few cases which have been paraded on the ground that women are being discriminated or rather, there are gender discrimination cases. Similarly, there have been multiple cases of men being discriminated due to their gender. A good example is in the teaching industry, where most administrations prefer women over men. That has continued to be practiced considering that in schools, a large percentage of teachers are women.
Gender discrimination or even racism has continued to be among the aspects that define identity which has created obstacles for different people at different times. The worst of all is that these two factors are used to determine opportunities which should be presented to individuals and has led to people missing out on opportunities. Both gender discrimination and racism should be discouraged, and it all starts with everyone, failure to do that, the trend will be passed on to generations after generations, which will be hard to tame by then.
Cindy Tsutsumi, (2003). CLASS AND RACE IN AMERICA: Retrieved from
Maya Salam, March 11, 2019, the long fight for pay equality in sports. Retrieved from
Loewen, J. W. (2018). Sundown towns: A hidden dimension of American racism. The New
Fredrickson, G. M. (2015). Racism: A short history (Vol. 18). Princeton University Press.
Hess, Beth B. and Elizabeth W. Markson, Peter Stein, 2001.Racial and Ethnic Minorities:
An Overview. IN Race, Class, and Gender in the United States: An Integrated Study.
Fifth Edition. Paula S. Rothenberg, ed. New York: Worth Publishers. 324-35.
The Story of Korie – An Autobiography
The Story of Korie
There once was a boy who was born into a family that was somewhere between low and middle class. He was the first born of the family and the family soon grew to have two more brothers and a sister, but not all of the same parents. Some of my earliest memories are of when my mom and dad when they were arguing. I remember being a seven-year-old boy and being torn from my dad’s car by my mother and her best friend during my little brother’s birthday party. The dilemma was all because of a custody disagreement. My family was getting separated. “While we might not remember more total details about a bad event we experience the details you remember about a negative event are more likely to be accurate” (Thompson, 2007). While that was a defining moment that would have a ripple effect on my childhood psyche and life growing up, there were many other events that shaped me into who I am today. My name is Korie Gaumer and this is my story.
Living and School
Due to our family separation, my mother was raising my brother, Kyle, and I as a single mother. She worked many odd jobs to cover the bills and we moved often. We never moved far but that was so that we could remain in the same school district during our critical developmental years. My mother was a very proud woman and we never applied for any government aid such as Women, Infants and Children (WIC) or food stamps. “With 42.2 million people participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), one might think Americans would have a more welcoming stance towards their usage” (Cutter, 2018). There was always a negative stigma in our area growing up about the people who utilize those sorts of programs. They were seen as extremely poor people who did not even use them for the right purposes. However, our family from time to time has purchased food stamps off of people when we were really hurting. It was a cheaper and better option socially for us as a family to buy our groceries in this manner.
In school, my brother and I noticed very different cultures. The schools that my brother and I attended during our primary and middle school years were very close to a county line. Due to the constant moving to different addresses, I had to transfer school districts during my changeover from middle school to high school. This means that I had to say goodbye to all of my friends and start fresh with a new batch of miscreants. There was a very well-known rumor that went around my town that the good kids went to the district I was from and the bad kids went to the district I was going. I was already going into making friends with the forethought that these kids were all going to be bad people. The population at my new school was very diverse and had many more minorities as compared to my previous school. Many of the kids that attended this school lived in the poorer parts of town and made me realize that my city was more segregated than I previously thought. The town was not always segregated though.
Easton used to be a vibrant, culturally and racially diverse town in the 1800’s to the mid-1940’s consisting mostly of Lebanese, Jewish, and African American citizens. Easton fell victim to the Housing Act of 1949 that gave local funding and power to eradicate ghettos and slums. In turn these cleared areas of land were sold to private developers that were encouraged to rebuild. “Especially in the early years, cities practiced “bulldozer” renewal, eradicating whole neighborhoods. Programs sometimes eliminated not “slums,” but “low-rent” neighborhoods” (Smith, 2010). “Local redevelopment organizations did not always comply with federal requirements to replace demolished housing with additional housing units, exacerbating existing housing shortages for lower-income families” (Smith, 2010).
Marriage and Family
I grew up without seeing much success in marriage or relationships. My family was much more likely to sign a contract for a joint bank account with their significant other than they were to get formally bonded forever with marriage. My mother did get married once when I was around ten years old but that did not last more than about two years. Technically speaking, they are still married by law although they have been separated for almost two decades now. This complicated my meaning of relationships growing up as I began to think that relationships were not something that were built to last.
I did find myself thinking about what kind of family I would like to have going into adulthood. I knew that I would want to be married to a woman and that she was more than likely going to enjoy all the things that I liked. My life would be just like all the other nuclear families that I had seen on the television growing up. I would work my rewarding job while my wife stayed at home with our large number of kids and our one Golden Retriever. When I got home, I would be greeted and adored by my loving family and we would all sit around the table for dinner.
As I grew older, I knew that this was not only something that I did not want, but something that is unrealistic for today’s society. I am now married to the love of my life, Amanda, who made me realize that relationships can last. We have a beautiful boy, Lucas, who really lights up my world and makes me want to give him all the things I didn’t having in my youth. I’m proud to say Amanda works a very difficult job in insurance and makes more money than I bring home annually, although this does hurt my pride as a man. “From infancy on, we are socialized by family, educators, religious leaders, peer groups, and the wider community, who teach us what is expected from us in terms of appearance and behavior based on whether they code us as a boy or a girl. Media and popular culture play important roles in teaching us gender too” (Crossman, 2019). Amanda and I are working on having more children but it has been difficult due to medical issues and other life stressors that cause hypertension. In fact, there was only one thing I kept sort of the same from my childhood thoughts on marriage and family. We have two small Pomeranians, Roxie and Gizmo who love to bark and jump all over us when we come in the door after a long day of working jobs we tolerate.
Although my life is not perfect, I still would not change anything about that life. If I can offer any advice for people in my similar situation it would be to forgive people even if you feel they do not deserve it or want that forgiveness. I did not have much of a relationship with my father growing up and it hurt for many years. I did get to see him but only once or twice a month if that was feasible. I did not know why he did not want to see me more often or why he could not reach out more often at least. I did not have a phone. I was always out riding my bike. I was always making excuses. It was not until I decided to forgive myself for his absence and decide for myself that I was worth love that I truly started to develop as an adult. Pain does not leave overnight from emotional scars, but pain does get better. I have many events planned in the future for myself and my family and that will keep me young at least for the next few years. Thank you for listening to my story.
Crossman, A. (2019, May 25). ThoughtCo. Retrieved from The Sociology of Gender: https://www.thoughtco.com/sociology-of-gender-3026282
Cutter, E. (2018, September 28). Food Stamps program creates stigma amongst students. Retrieved from The Pacific Index: https://www.pacindex.com/opinion/2018/09/28/food-stamps-program-creates-stigma-amongst-students/
Smith, A. (2010). The Language of “Blight” and Easton’s “Lebanese Town”: Understanding a Neighborhood’s Loss to Urban Renewal. PENNSYLVANIA MAGAZINE OF HISTORY AND BIOGRAPHY, 128.
Thompson, A. (2007, September 5). Bad Memories Stick Better Than Good. Retrieved from LiveScience: https://www.livescience.com/1827-bad-memories-stick-good.html