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Race, Class and Gender - Essay Example

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The theory that will be used is the theory that race, class and gender have meaning at the macro level and the micro level. What this means is that race, class and gender have meaning to the individuals who are in that race…
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Race, Class and Gender
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Race, Class and Gender

When there are broad changes in society, according to Weber, then race, class and gender play a part in how these groups are affected by these societal changes. For example, if there is a recession, black women might be affected differently by the recession than are white women or black men. Examining issues at a micro level gives meaning to statistics about these groups – it gives life to the otherwise flat statistics about this group or that, and it brings new meaning to what is known at the macro level. Likewise, these individual groups may experience oppression and domination as a whole, but, on the individual level, these feelings of oppression and domination might be mediated by a kind teacher, a loving family and a supportive community. Looking at these groups at an individual level, as well as a macro level, is how to best understand their lives. Therefore, the best way to approach the topic would be to make broad statements about black women and Hispanic women, and include how the broad aspects of their lives are mediated on a more individual level. Black Women Black women is the first ethnic and gender group that will be examined. Among these stereotypes are that of the Jezebel, a dark-skinned temptress and harlot who is devoted to false gods; “mammy,” who is a happy and caring slave care-taker who is overweight, happy, lazy, stupid and submissive; sapphire, the loud and domineering black woman so named for Sapphire in the Amos and Andy radio and television shows in the 1940s and 1950s; welfare queens, so named by Ronald Reagan, and portrays black women as shiftless, lazy, baby-making and unwed; and crack whores, who use crack and will do anything to get their fix. (Windsor, 2013). These stereotypes are socially constructed by those who are in power. However, the lives of individual black women do not necessarily follow these stereotypes (Croissiant). The black women, on an individual level, might be looked at according to these stereotypes, but they do not internalize the stereotypes and do not act them out. For instance, the study conducted by Windsor (2013) found that the black women in his study did not adopt promiscuous behavior, therefore they did not internalize the Jezebel image. However, these same participants felt that others treated them like Jezebels, in that they were treated as sexual objects with little or no power. This is illustrated by the stories of two of the participants, Peaches and Carmen, both of whom were repeatedly raped by different people throughout their childhood and adolescent years. As for the crack whore image, Peaches, who was a participant in the study, did fit the mold, in that she was a crack whore. But she was a crack whore because of the oppression and structural barriers she had encountered in her life. As for the welfare queen and the mammy images, the participants in this study often had contact with the welfare system, but it was emphasized that it was because of lack of educational and job opportunities that they were forced into this. One of the participants, Carmen, felt that she encountered discrimination and prejudice when she tried to collect these welfare benefits. The Sapphire image was the most positive one for the African American women in this study, in ... Read More
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