Societies integrate various aspects that determine how people interact while executing their daily endeavors meant to uplift their well-being. Social facets such as cultural diversity, race, class, and ethnicity influence the position of different groups in a society. Social stratification in countries like the U.S. has enhanced the categorization of people with respect to the ease of access to various resources, wealth status, and extent of participation in economic-building activities (Cole, 2017). This is facilitated by intersectionality whereby a hierarchy is established to rank people in terms of their ethnic, racial, and economic affiliation, which has proved to be disadvantageous to some members of a society. For instance, different racial groups in the U.S. that include whites, blacks, Hispanics, and Asian Americans have varying influence in the country’s political and economic scope. Understanding social stratification and the intersecting factors of class, race, and ethnicity is vital in determining the integration policies that need to be established to steer unity and equality.
The intersecting factors of class, ethnicity, gender, and race have been used as an oppressing tool in America for a long time. Through social stratification, some groups have been regarded as more superior to others while the ensuing stereotyping has enhanced the association of different races with specific behavior (Veenstra, 2011). For instance, the whites, who are the majority group in the U.S., are regarded as more superior as depicted by the manner in which they control the country’s economic activities through partial practices such as the unequal distribution of resources. It is appalling how other groups have been conditioned to consider themselves as minorities by doing too little to fight for better wages and resource allocations as well as getting their deserved recognition due to the critical role they play in the economy such as labor and market provision for U.S. firms. Moreover, intersectionality has resulted in the classification of women as less effective in the country’s corporate world as manifested through their lower wages and recruitment to senior positions.
Social stratification and intersectionality have enhanced stereotyping the U.S. by linking people from different racial backgrounds with certain practices that are deemed unethical. First, black people in the U.S. are associated with poverty and low social status compared to the whites who are seen to have a higher class (Bowleg, 2012). This has resulted in the branding of black people as lazy and criminals, enhancing their oppression through denial of employment and political opportunities. On the other hand, Hispanics, who mostly have a Mexican heritage are associated with illegal immigration and earn lower salaries compared to the white Americans. Moreover, this group of citizens is highly connected with drug use and is the most targeted through programs such as the screening, brief intervention and referral treatment (SBIRT) initiatives by medical practitioners, which are viewed as discriminative. Similar to the black Americans, Hispanics are considered as lowly and find it difficult to find well-paying jobs which are presumably reserved for the whites. Therefore, it is clear that intersectionality has widened the gap between different ethnic groups in the U.S. and heightened the persecution of minorities.
Overall, social stratification facilitates a better understanding of the social, cultural, and economic disparities among different groups in the U.S. While classifying people from different ethnic groups with their characteristics may help in promoting diversity, the intersecting of the various factors that identify them has resulted in increased stereotyping. This has enhanced the discrepancy on how whites, blacks, and Hispanics are treated, with the former dominating in most of the country’s influential positions through inequitable resource distribution. Additionally, the association of different groups with certain unethical practices has made it difficult for the monitories to get equal employment and leadership opportunities as the whites.
- Bowleg, L. (2012). The problem with the phrase women and minorities: Intersectionality—an important theoretical framework for public health. National Center for Biotechnology Information. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3477987/
- Cole, N. L. (2017). What is social stratification, and why does it matter? ThoughtCo. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/what-is-social-stratification-3026643
- Veenstra, G. (2011). Race, gender, class, and sexual orientation: intersecting axes of inequality and self-rated health in Canada. National Center for Biotechnology Information. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3032690/