Dimensions of Social Inequality Race Class Sex  Essay

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  • Subject: Family and Marriage
  • Type: Essay
  • Paper: #95633335

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Dimensions of Social Inequality

Race, Class, Sex, Marriage, Gender: Social Scholars' Dimensions of Social Equity and Inequality

Race, Class, Sex, Marriage, Gender: Social Scholars' Dimensions of Social Equity and Inequality

Race, Gender, Sex, Marriage, and Class

Race, Gender, Sex, Marriage, and Class are themes that are socially and historically constructed by the society and operate on an individual and social level. Academics and social scholars emphasize these dimensions are interdependent, and define social boundaries. In this manner, social studies that investigate these dimensions use them as boundaries that define social inequality and equity. In effect, social scholars limit and restrict people while privileging others by defining social inequality and equity in these dimensions. However, interdisciplinary studies like the multicultural, women studies and geographical studies identify these dimensions as the cause of social stratification. In effect, many college courses address the multiple dimensions of social inequality in terms of race, gender, class, sex, and marriage. This research seeks to find evidence of this multiple dimension of these factors in 21st century America. The goal is to identify if the dimensions define social inequality, prejudice, injustice, and stratification today.

It is evident that progress towards an increasing social justice in America requires a vision beyond race, class, and gender. Jensen (2010) identifies that in the U.S., both political and economic realities associate social injustice with categories of class, gender, and race. The study indicates that all systematic injustices imposed upon humans by others in their society are associated with these categories. Often, the multicultural diversity indicated in a society that is globally connected defines a social space in terms of gender, race, and class categories. Jensen (2010) indicates that this situation has led mainstream organizations including schools, corporations, governments, universities, and churches to accept gender, race, and class. These organs have been pushed by the social movement to focus on culture, as defined by these dimensions, as a form of diversity.

In another aspect, social sciences use the class category to theorize the society and its legal institutions. Theories of social structure and class have made class a major research concept. Social sciences have successfully made class an identifier and anchor of individual identity like race, ethnicity, and gender. Social studies like that of Carroll & Frank (1996) on social inequality, race, gender, and class, identifies class as an which describes an individual's position in cultural and economic institutions in the society. Social studies at the time associated class as that which related to the position of an individual's social resources available. They show that class is an indicator of social inequality or injustice for it is marks the distributive effect of social resources like education and law to the population.

However, other social studies like that of Walby (2003) believe social inequality is complex. This is because inequalities from class, gender, and race cannot be limited to each. To prove this, the study uses data from McCall's 1989 study of 554 U.S. labor markets of Detroit and Dallas. The study indicates that inequalities of gender, race, and class exist in separate yet correlated contexts. The study found that there was a temporal correlation between a decrease in gender inequality and an increase in class inequality. Though the correlation existed, the factors or trajectories that determined each type of inequality were different (Walby, 2003). The survey found that Detroit as an old industrial city was different from the new post-industrial Dallas in the south. Women in Detroit had a higher wage inequality, especially among the racial, education, ethnic divides as compared to Dallas. However, the economy in Dallas was less favorable for male workers with little education as compared to Detroit (Walby, 2003). Therefore, study concludes that racial inequality was greater in the city of Dallas than in Detroit. Walby (2003) identifies that class inequality varies according to economic and education factors, which affect wage differential.

Beyond this social movement, mainstream institutions have been forced to find and define forms of family suitable for women, men, and children, and the society as a whole. The different forms and definition of marriage, sexual relations, and unions is creating a social divide. Wax (2007) identifies that the traditionalists and pluralist ideals arise from the divided vision of sexuality, marriage, and family in today's U.S. social life. The traditionalist is trying to maintain the institution of marriage defined as, "a life-long sexual relation between one man and one woman" (Wax, 2007). However, pluralist views commit to a diversity of marriage and family types. Wax (2007) uses the dimension of marriage and sex, to prove that family segmentation exists in race and class, and are products of each other.

The diversity and social segmentation of marriage and family arises from these paradigms used by Wax (2007). The first paradigm is that there is a shift in the marriage patterns like prevalence and timing. Secondly, social segmentation arises from incidence of remarriage and divorces. Thirdly, social inequality arises from the diversity in child rearing and bearing choices. Wax (2007) identifies questions like having children within marriage, or raised by biological parent, single parent, or a combination of parents, as central on my people's minds.

Wax (2007) uses secondary data sources from cohort studies to prove that marriage and family are key causes of social inequality, injustice, and segregation. Wax (2007) identifies that marriage is a foundation of family and for child rearing in traditional U.S., in all social classes and families. Wax (2007) indicates that more than 90% of women in every birth cohort dating back to the 1800s eventually got married. Changes in the society began in the 1960s, where the first indicator of social inequality was indicated by changes in marital behavior (Kathryn & Joanna, 2005). Wax (2007) identifies that in all socio-demographic groups, the marrying age for men and women rose, and the number of those entering marriage began declining. This trend continued into the 1980s, with marriage rates diverging, as the likelihood of poor women to get married was three quarters that of privileged women. Wax (2007) finds that the decline in marriage among disadvantaged population continued, with poor women and men only half as likely to marry as men and women with three times their income in 2005. Wax (2007) further finds that in the 1990s, women with higher education were less likely to marry than those with only a high school diploma. However, by the end of the 1990s, women with a graduate degree or more were more likely to get married than those with a lesser education (Kathryn & Joanna, 2005). Throughout history, the higher the economic standards and education of men, the more likely they were to marry. It is evident that this research was attempting to link race and class with incidences of marriage, to describe America's social life and inequalities.

In effect, Wax (2007) research proved that class predicted the marital status, marital success, and age of getting married for persons. The research assumes that the educated, economically stable, with a good financial background enjoy long lasting relationships. Kathryn & Joanna (2005) identifies that social class, education, also support this perception and economics determine marital longevity. The studies make the argument that marriage and relationships can be a measure of social stability, inequality, and injustice. This is in terms of the divergent demographic groups, their economic power, and education level, age of getting married and marital stability. Therefore, in the society one is placed in a social class according to their education and marriage status, the more educated, the more stable the marriage, the more successful an individual.

Further, they indicate that marriage as a social dimension is correlated to dimensions of race and ethnicity. Wax (2007) indicates that by the mid 1980s, blacks were more likely to get divorced than whites, with their divorce rates seeing a steeper increment by the end of the 1980s. Divorce rates among white women were high in the 1970s, reaching a peak in 1969, during the sexual revolution era. These rates then stabilized and decreased in the 1980s at 9% lower than the 29% divorce rate of black women in the same era.

Studies indicate that race and class disparities within reproductive behavior and family structure should be a concern.

Joanna, Stockard, & Stone (2006) proves this point by identifying that in the 1950s only 4 children were born out of wedlock, with many of the mothers marrying following the birth of children. The society today has changed and vales children bearing differently, since more than a third of the children born are born to unmarried mothers. Joanna, Stockard, & Stone (2006) find that by the end of the 20th century, 36% of children born were born to unmarried mothers. The studies indicate though this trend increased across all social classes, it diverged in terms of mother's education and income level. The study of Joanna, Stockard, & Stone (2006) finds that the main dimensions that make these statistics differ is women with a degree or college education. In addition, women…

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