Structural Inequality & Diversity Root Term Paper

  • Length: 20 pages
  • Sources: 10
  • Subject: Sociology
  • Type: Term Paper
  • Paper: #73975506

Excerpt from Term Paper :

" (Dafler, 2005) Dafler relates that for more than thirty years children who were 'half-caste' "were forcibly removed from their families, often grabbed straight from their mother's arms, and transported directly to government and church missions." (Dafler, 2005) This process was termed to be one of assimilation' or 'absorption' towards the end of breeding out of Aboriginal blood in the population. At the time all of this was occurring Dafler relates that: "Many white Australians were convinced that any such hardship was better than the alternative of growing up as a member of an 'inferior' race and culture." (2005) it is plainly stated in a government document thus:

The destiny of the natives of Aboriginal origin, but not of the full blood, lies in their ultimate absorption by the people of the Commonwealth, and [the commission] therefore recommends that all efforts be directed towards this end." (Beresford and Omaji, Our State of Mind; as cited in Dafler, 2005)

This example has been provided to demonstrate the "gross injustices that have been committed within the framework of the Social Darwinist worldview. Collective abstractions of racial 'superiority' and their behavioral manifestations have led to numerous great tragedies of similar dimension during the 19th and 20th centuries, resulting in the displacement and death of millions of people." (Dafler, 2005) in conclusion Dafler relates: "The Australian government today embraces "multiculturalism" as its collective abstraction related to race relations. (35) What white Australians intend to convey through the symbolism of multiculturalism is a society where "diversity" is valued, even celebrated. The reality of Australian culture, however, seems much different." (2005) the Social Darwinist manner of dealing with the native inhabitants of North America and the subsequent enslaving and importation of black men have much mirrored the progression of the treatment of the aboriginals of Australia.

The work of Katz, Stern, and Fader (2005) entitled: "Women and the Paradox of Economic Inequality in the Twentieth-Century" state: "Throughout American history, male/female has defined an enduring binary embodied in access to jobs, income, and wealth. Women's economic history shows how for centuries sex has inscribed a durable inequality into the structure of American labor markets that civil and political rights have moderated but no removed. This economic experience of women reflects the paradox of inequality in America; the coexistence of structural inequality with individual and group mobility." It is noted by Katz, Stern and Fader (2005) that T.H. Marshall related that "Women, like African-Americans, have gained 'civil and political citizenship' [as they] "are no longer disenfranchised, and discrimination on account of race and gender is against the law." (Katz, Stern and Fader, 2005) in spite of this women in American society "earn less than men, end up in occupational ghettos, bump up against glass ceilings, and find themselves, in relation to men, as poor as ever." (Katz, Stern, and Fader, 2005) Various contexts in society in terms of inequality such as in the "domestic, social, and political spheres" have served to shape women's experiences." (Katz, Stern, and Fader, 2005) Katz, Stern and Fader (2005) state that they examine inequality in relation to sex, race, ethnicity or age from four different points-of-view:

1) Participation - the share of women who work;

2) Distribution - the kinds of jobs women held;

3) Rewards - the relative income they received; and 4) Differentiation - the distance among women on scales of occupation and earnings."

Katz, Stern and Fader state that: "The intersection of history and experience becomes even more vivid with women's labor force participation considered by age cohorts." (2005) Prior to the 20th century only a very few married women were employed however "among women born in 1915 and 1925 - mothers of the baby boom - the situation changed markedly. Many more of them worked, and their labor force participation increased until their late 40s of early 50s. At age 25, 20% of married women born in 1925 had entered market work - a fraction that swelled to 42% when they were 35 years old and 60% at age 34, when for the most part their children had left school." (Katz, Stern, Fader, 2005) Among the women born in 1955 and 1965, 59% and 70% worked respectively and "these were the first cohorts to combine motherhood of young children with paid employment." (Katz, Stern and Fader, 2005)

Stated to play a "key role in the surge of married women into the workforce" was education and this because of: "...the increased number of jobs that demanded advanced education - health care..." is given as one example. These inequalities can be viewed in the financial arena clearly and for example in the banking function. Katz, Stern and Fader state: "Banking had been a traditional man's domain for two reasons, sex stereotypes about women's interests and mental capacities and the physical demands of the job:

Men handled financial matters because it was assumed that women were not interested in such activities and furthermore women's minds were incapable of and unaccustomed to what was referred to as, 'doing figuring' and making financial transactions. Since [the] early medium of exchanges included heavy gold and silver commodities as well as currency, women were presumably unable to handle such heavy items. Moreover, large posting and accounting books used in banking were presumed difficult for women to lift." (Jane E. Prather, 1971; as cited in Katz, Stern and Fader, 2005)

Katz, Stern and Fader (2005) state: "The historical record is clearer about how exploitation and opportunity hoarding shaped women's inequality in the twentieth-century than it is about the role of emulation and adaptation. Exploitation took various forms: rules that prohibited the employment of married women, actions by labor unions concerned with preserving male family wages, hegemonic cultural ideas that assigned married women to domestic labor while devaluing the kinds of market work they performed..." (Katz, Stern and Fader, 2005) Katz, Stern and Fader conclude by stating that powerful lessons may be found within this "history of the paradox of inequality." (2005) the most obvious is stated to be "access --political and civil citizenship -- is not enough. Access promotes individual and group interests but does little to diminish the structures of inequality.

Waters and Eschbach (1995) in the work entitled: "Immigration and Ethnic and Racial Inequality in the United States" relates that "The half century since the close of World War II has seen numerous changes to the face of racial and ethnic inequality in the United States, while the problem of inequality has endured. When Myrdal published an American (1944) the segregationism tolerated by Plessy v. Ferguson was the law of the land, and caste-like barriers separated black from whites." (Waters and Eschbach, 1995) it is additionally related by Waters and Eschbach (1995) that Scholars who study ethnicity are in general agreement that racial and ethnic categories are social constructions rather than natural entities that are simply 'out there' in the world." The most disadvantaged of major American ethnic categories on census measures of poverty and educational attainment is stated by Waters and Eschbach to be American Indians and they state that "...the persistence of the social significance of Native American ethnic category 500 years after Columbus' voyage is evidence that ethnic distinctions may in some cases be durable." (2005) the following chart is adapted from the work of Waters and Eschbach which lists the socioeconomic indicators by race in the United States.

Selected socioeconomic indicators for groups in the United

States, 1990



Labor family persons in force

Ethnic racial groups income 1989 poverty participation (a) (%)

White not Hispanic


American Indian (b)



Puerto Rican







Asian Indian





Persons 16 years and over in labor force.

Includes Eskimos and Aleuts.

Source: U.S. Census of Population, 1990, Social and Economic

Characteristics CP-2-1, Washington, DC, U.S. Government Printing

Office. 1993; as cited in Waters and Eschbach (1995)

The pattern of inequality has emerged in different ways for different ethnic categories and this due to the various histories of the group. (Waters and Eschbach, 2005; paraphrased) Waters and Eschbach state that economic growth "was a primary engine for improving the economic status of both blacks and whites from the depression through the early 1970s. Decompositions of changes in black-white differences show that the lion's share for the explanation for the narrowing of the wage gap for males is attributable to the narrowing in the education gap between blacks and whites, and to declines in the racial disparity in earnings as returns to schooling." (1995) Further, "the economic gap between blacks and whites seems unlikely to close soon because the American economy seems to have stalled well short of the mark that would allow full equality." (Water and Eschbach, 1995) the story about transformations concerning women is different from the story concerning the races even with black women who had "higher rates of labor force participation and employment than did white women."…

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