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Racial and Ethnic Matter - Assignment Example

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1. There are vast inequalities between the life chances of people of different race and socioeconomic classes. One of the problems is that discriminatory practices tend to accumulate rather than dissipate over time. In the story of Max and Byron, for instance, Max’s parents were able to achieve good jobs and buy a nice, expensive house…
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There are vast inequalities between the life chances of people of different race and socioeconomic es. One of the problems is that discriminatory practices tend to accumulate rather than dissipate over time. In the story of Max and Byron, for instance, Max’s parents were able to achieve good jobs and buy a nice, expensive house. Byron’s parents were prevented from being able to do that. This meant that even though Byron demonstrated he has equivalent skills to Max – getting himself an Ivy League education, for instance, he is still less financially secure than Max is. Byron’s parents were unable to sell their home for enough money to retire on, which means Byron still has to spread his wealth far thinner than Max, so his children are likely to perpetuate the cycle and have less than Max’s children, and so on and so forth until corrective measures are made. 2. Government policies have long played a role in perpetuating ethnic and racial inequalities, leading to nonwhites having significantly less chances in life and less money than whites of similar intelligence, aptitude and work ethic. Though this has been going on for centuries, several examples in the twentieth century demonstrate clearly that many government policies have perpetuated, rather than reduced, racial inequalities. When social security was first introduced, for instance, it systematically discriminated against blacks by excluding agricultural laborers and housekeepers from receiving the benefit, because those two occupations were predominantly black. The legalization of labor laws, furthermore, also allowed labor unions to exclude blacks from their membership, meaning that it was even harder to get a job for them after those labor laws were passed than before. And even when the government passes legislation to try to reduce inequalities, such as the fair housing act, the acts tend to be toothless and have very few methods of enforcement. 3. Neighborhood decline is a vicious cycle that is almost impossible to halt once it has begun. The first step to neighborhood decline is usually flight to the suburbs, often termed “white flight.” This is a phenomenon where people with means seek to leave the inner city to live a better life style, have more room etcetera. After this has begun, those who remain must support a larger tax burden to maintain important local resources, and property values drop because of a perception of decline and the fact that taxes are higher. Following this, people living in the neighborhood no longer have the resources to support that tax burden of local services, so local services begin to dissipate, shopping and retail leave, and less reputable businesses move in, creating further signs of decline and perpetuating the cycle. 4. I have learned a great deal about the systems that serve to keep oppression going in our society, and especially how long lasting these negative effects could be. It is so easy right now to say that there is so much equality, that overt racism does not exist anymore, and then rail against policies like affirmative action. But the problem is that even if there is a good deal of equality today (which is not necessarily true) policies of the past few hundred years have still put non-whites in a worse position. I agree with all of the information posted here, though there are some issues (for instance, I thought the GI bill applied to black soldiers as well as white ones? And it seemed that much of the difference in Max and Byron’s life was that the GI bill helped Max’s family but not Byron’s) but overall the information posted seemed convincing and accurate. 5. Individual racism is basically ugly incidents between people which can range anywhere from discomfort to hurtful remarks to violence. Institutional racism is racism embalmed in laws and policies of companies, countries and so on. I think both are obviously extremely damaging, but institutional racism is more damaging to society. I think that this is true because people’s one on one interactions seem more malleable and likely to improve than institutional problems. While overt racism was okay fifty years ago, it is not tolerated in most spaces today, however many aspects of institutional racism remain. So while both can be extremely problematic, institutional racism is harder to dismantle, and has a longer term effect on our society. This means that any damage done by it cannot be erased in a few generations, but tends to be passed on again and again keeping one segment of society oppressed while all the vestiges of personal racism disappear. Read More
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