Race and Class in America
Democracy is known to be striving for the equality of all people and their prosperity on the basis of freedom of choice and self-expression. The United States, as the initiator of the majority of democratic tendencies along the entire world, has made a considerable progress within a half of century. Hence, nobody would deny that racial equality is one of the fundamental properties of democracy. However, the issue of racial inequality is still recognized as a strong public concern. In fact, according to the survey of Pew Research Center, more than a half of Americans express the idea that the problem of racial inequality remains unsolved due to the fact that since a well-known I Have a Dream speech by Martin Luther King, a little progress has been made. Furthermore, the majority of the U.S. citizens suggest that there is a wide range of issues, which are supposed to be improved concerning the problem of racial inequality.
Taking this point into consideration, it is necessary to admit that the following paper discusses this issue from the next perspectives. First of all, it is important to distinguish the difference in the perception of racial inequalities by whites and blacks. By the same token, a drastic economic disparity between whites and blacks has to be explained in terms of the fact that the civil rights movement has been initiated fifty years ago. In fact, the need for the research of this issue is based on the increasing evidence of social minorities being less capable of making a living in the United States, while the American Dream has been proclaimed for the entire U.S. citizens. Moreover, it is worth admitting that the paper conducts a discussion of the outlined issue in terms of comparing and contrasting the works by Weber (n.d.), Brooks-Gunn, Duncan and Maritato, and Gilbert, which are addressing the main issues of the paper and the related survey of Pew Research Center.
To start with, it is necessary to provide brief summaries of the related readings. In such a way, Weber’s work primarily focuses on the description of power, especially economic one, within the society. Moreover, Weber discusses the phenomenon of class, social status, and social groups. Thus, speaking about the issues that the paper addresses, it should be admitted that Weber (n.d.) describes the reasons, due to which economic inequality occurs within the society. Therefore, this reading is quite applicable to the second issue of the study. However, the processes, which are described by Weber, can be referred to the one of the differences in the perception of racial inequality in the U.S.
With regard to the work by Gilbert, it is necessary to admit that this work interprets and comments on the ideas of competition between oppositions and unity of production by Karl Marx. To be more exact, this reading describes the full extent of the Marx’s theory, which states that opposite classes are attempting to overrule each other, while the basics of production are sourced by the unity of classes as a variety of different skills. In a like manner, Gilbert describes the implications on Marx’s terms of ideology. In general, the ruling class comprises tendencies for the current ideology. Hence, this work can be applied to the study in the following way. According to this work, the differences between the perceptions of racial inequality are underpinned by competition between opposing forces and unity regarding the production. As a result, whites and blacks live in the same society but are treated differently. Likewise, blacks have the same requirements for labor, but their income is lower than income of whites.
Concerning the reading by Brooks-Gunn, Duncan, and Maritato, it is to be said that this work continues with the discussion of poverty from the perspective of the youth and child well-being. The reading describes a wide range of aspects, including behavioral patterns of children from poor families, statistical comparison of poverty rates, and various contexts of poverty regarding the child welfare. Thus, it is important to emphasize the statement that poverty implies such problems as education and socialization of children from poor families. In other words, a child from a poor family usually attends school with minimal resource capacities and communicates with children, whose families are also poor. As a consequence, these children have little chances to get a normal education and acquire a particular social status due to the inability to communicate with different people. Therefore, this reading can address both issues of King’s Dream Remains Elusive.
In fact, it is important to note that one can find numerous similarities between Weber’s and Gilbert’s works. To start with, both works refer to Marx’s idea of class and ideology. Hereby, the ruling class controls the production and tendencies of ideology. However, it is worth saying that both of these works assume that class is not just a group of people who are distinguished by their level of income. To be more precise, these works suggest that a term social group is more applicable. Taking these points into consideration, it should be admitted that they are certainly true in accordance with Marx’s idea that racism serves the interests of capitalism. In other words, capitalists try to divide white and black workers so that they will not be able to unite with the aim of demanding better working conditions. Therefore, the ruling class influences the ideology of the parties, which comprise their means of production.
In a like manner, the Weber’s work has a particular agreement with the work by Brooks-Gunn, Duncan, and Maritato on the following issues. First of all, it is necessary to emphasize the importance of education while endeavoring to overcome poverty. Apparently, both readings assume that poor families can afford only a poor education for their children. Doubtless, the latest research has proved that lack of academic degree directly influences the possibility to get employment. What is more, both works highlight the fact that income is not a metric, which distinguishes a particular class because such aspects as customs, environment, and upbringing should be taken into account as well. Thus, it is possible to admit that lack of education thwarted many African Americans from overcoming poverty, while class stratification addresses the interests of wealthy citizens.
Likewise, Gilbert’s work produces the same idea as the reading by Brooks-Gunn, Duncan and Maritato, namely class has to be distinguished by a wide range of aspects besides the income rate. In such a way, the communication between classes is rather weak. As a consequence, it leads to the disharmony in the production process. To be more specific, poor people are incapable of achieving sufficient education so that they cannot demand better working conditions. Hence, the property owners economize on wages and improvement of labor environment while the production loses its orientation on the entire society. Hence, it should be admitted that these statements address the main issues of King’s Dream Remains Elusive. Having considered all similarities between three readings, it is to be admitted that the main difference in the perception of racism is based on the identification of poverty and social relations. Namely, whites perceive racism as a matter of human aggression and malicious intention to possess freedom of other people, while blacks regard racism as the source of their poverty and social discrimination. In the same way, drastic economic disparity can be explained by the fact that the majority of property belongs to capitalists, who artificially alternate the means of production. Hence, racism is one of the ways to change the model of production.
Speaking about the differences between Weber’s and Gilbert’s works, it should be admitted that Weber (n.d.) claims that the society comprises the mean of production in a natural way. In other words, all disharmonies have to be regarded as the natural process of production. To date the same fact, ruling classes get adjusted to the current production model without influencing it. In contrast, Gilbert suggests that every single production model corresponds to a current state of the society. That is why capitalists try to alternate the current production model in order to remain the ruling class.
What is more, one can see a drastic difference between the Weber’s and Brooks’ readings. Thus, the Weber’s one actually states that social inequality is an implied way for the ruling class to obtain maximum property. By the way of contrast, the Brooks’ reading claims that poverty and, thus, social inequality is a matter of social relationships. Hereby, the society is responsible for fighting poverty, while the government is supposed to guide this process. In such a way, class stratification of society does not deal with social inequalities in its direct meanings. As a consequence, the society occurs to be indifferent to the discrimination of black people in social and economic respects. Surprisingly, these differences witness such situation that the entire society is considered to be one of the richest, while a number of social inequalities still exist. In such a way, the American Dream is oriented only on wealthy people.
Eventually, the Gilbert’s and the Brooks’ readings demonstrate several differences as well. In fact, Gilbert argues that the society suffers from inequality due to the different contributions to the process of production. In other words, working classes are comprised of the largest number of people, while there is a little number of property owners. To the broadest extent, the value of contributions is evidently drastic. As for the Brooks’ reading, it describes only the social perspective of economic inequality. As a result, it should be admitted that the contras between these works leads to the same conclusion of the previous paragraph. However, it is worth mentioning that this difference emphasizes the social causes of racism and economic disparity; thus, working class is incapable of demanding a better value for itself while the capitalistic tendencies imply a striving for larger profits.
All in all, it should be admitted that Weber’s reading addresses the issues of King’s Dream Remains Elusive the most. Apparently, it can be explained by numerous facts. First of all, this reading suggests an assumption that social inequality is caused by the intention of the ruling class to obtain maximum profits from production. In fact, a number of capitalists is considerably smaller that a group of working class. As a result, the value of workers’ contribution to production is much lower. Furthermore, Weber (n.d.) states that class is distinguished only by income rates, while more appropriate stratification has to consider environment, occupation, and upbringing of its representatives. As a consequence, strong opposition exists between whites and blacks. Thus, this misunderstanding is beneficial for capitalists because it disables workers to unite in order to demand better working conditions.
It is necessary to admit that the explanation of the difference in the perceptions of racism and considerable economic disparity regarding African Americans has been revealed due to the comparison and contrast of three readings, which address the issues of King’s Dream Remains Elusive. To be more exact, the study has identified that a drastic economic disparity concerning black citizens is caused by the intention of capitalism to achieve maximum profits from production. One may argue that it cannot be a deliberate intention. Nevertheless, Gilbert’s reading has provided the assumption that such inequalities are quite natural because the ruling class adjusts the model of production and the ideology in accordance with its interests. Speaking about the differences in the perception of racism, it should be noted that it is not only the matter of social indifference. In fact, black people perceive racism differently because it troubles them from the economic perspective as well.
In order to reach the conclusion, the paper has provided three summaries of works by Weber, Gilbert, and Brooks-Gunn, Duncan, and Maritato. Moreover, the paper has compared the main points of these works. By the same token, these readings have been contrasted. As a result, the study outlined several assumptions regarding the main issues of King’s Dream Remains Elusive. Finally, the reading which addresses these issues in the most efficient way has been chosen. All in all, it is to be said that the results of survey by Pew Research Center is quite relevant. Hence, the further research has to conduct the investigation of the essence of the social and economic pressure on the black citizens of the U.S. In other words, it is necessary to reveal the factors which influence such phenomena.