is race? Race is defined as a group of persons related by common descent or
heredity (Dictionary). Many notice this as color of skin or where you were
born. The differences in race, class, gender is what make the position of an
individual in society. In our textbook race is defined as “a category of people
who have been singled out as inferior or superior, often based on real or
alleged physical characteristics such as skin color, hair texture, eye shape,
or other subjectively selected attributes” (Kendall, 2013, p 296). A variety of
people believe that race and ethnicity are the same when they are not. Race,
class, and gender all plays into someone social stratification. I interviewed
two individuals from different race and ethnicity and different class and
gender. These individuals both came from a different walk of life.
The first person I interviewed was an
admission administrative for South
University Columbia campus. The person I interviewed was a woman which is
African American in race and African in ethnicity. Ethnicity is defined as the
fact or state of belonging to a social group that has a common national or
cultural tradition (Dictionary). Our textbook define ethnicity as “a collection
of people distinguished, by others or by themselves, primarily based on
cultural or nationality characteristics” (Kendall, 2013, p 296). Her name is
Carmellita Outten. Based on Mrs. Outten background she came from a low-class
family but has now made her way towards being middle class today. She explained
she had many struggles throughout her years and wanted to help people get into
school. According to out book today middle class is two-year or four-year
college degrees have replaced the high school diploma as an entry-level
requirement for employment in many middle-class occupations (Kendall, 2013, p 219).
When applying for college she helps students get all the resources and so much
information about the school. Mrs. Outten also exhibited social mobility.
Social mobility is defined movement of individuals or groups from one level in
a stratification system to another (Kendall, 2013, p 212). With her being a
middle-class person, her job is to help people get into school and they can
graduate and obtain middle class or upper-class jobs. She explained saying
“middle class can have their ups and downs but its how you get through it and
make it the best it can be you will be fine”. She explained her race played a
significant role into her life because she is African American, but she is
extremely light skin, and many people always take her for being mixed or just
being Caucasian. At her place of work
her office has moved into a different location as if she is more experienced
than other admissions administrative. With her being a female, she explained as
if some things were just handed to her because of her being a woman.
As far as social perspective I
believe the symbolic interaction best describes Carmellita’s life. Symbolic
interaction focuses the study of sociology on the daily interactions of people
within larger society. Symbolic
interactionism is micro-level because it looks at our behaviors in specific
situations (Kendall, 2013, p 21). I choose symbolic interaction because she had
a challenging time growing up and was in the low class she decided to become
someone that can help people get into school and have a better life for
themselves and obtain a great education. She helps with the first step into
getting a better education and then its up to the person to make it all the way
through. Theorists uses this perspective focus on the process of interactions defined
as immediate reciprocally oriented communication between two or more people and
the part that symbols play in communication. A symbol is anything that
meaningfully represents something else. Examples include signs, gestures,
written language, and shared values. Symbolic interaction occurs when people
communicate using symbols (Kendall, 2013, p 21).
The second person I interviewed is
Hayward Thompson. Hayward is a friend of my father for a very long time.
Haywood works at a truck stop but during his free time he love to give back to
the community by helping with toy drives around Christmas and around
thanksgiving helping to give out plates to the homeless and less fortunate
people. Haywood is a low-class man or working class. Working class is defined by those who sell their labor
to the owners to earn enough money to survive. An estimated 30 percent of the
U.S. population is in the working class, which is characterized by an annual
income in the $40,000 range. Today, many in the
working class are employed in the service sector as clerks, sales- people, and
fast-food workers whose job responsibilities involve routine, mechanized tasks
requiring little skill beyond basic literacy and a brief period of on-the-job
training (Kendall, 2013, p 220). His race is African American, and ethnicity is
African. Hayward has no children and his wife passed away a couple of years
ago. He decided with is free time when he is off work to give back to people
going to several types of organizations. Being a working class African American
man people may think he’s committed some type of crime or he just doesn’t look
like a person who would give back and try to help other people especially when
they less fortunate themselves.
These factors play a role in his stratification.
Based on the sociological perspective Mr.
Thompson best fits in the social conflict interaction. Social conflict is
defined by norms and laws that exist to support the current inequalities those
in power have the ability and resources to control society (Kendall, 2013, p 18).
I choose social conflict due to the fact the norms of his history and what
people in his social organization seem accurate is what he observed. He says,
“when you give back you will always get something in return, you may never know
where it came from but always see it as a blessing”. From that stand point I
agreed with him. He said, “since he doesn’t have no children he wants to put a
smile on other children’s faces”. This sociological perspective shows us that Hayward
follows the norms of his culture and exceeded to become a respectable working-class
man. The stratifiers are playing a leading role for Mr. Thompson. This is due
to him being of male gender, which in some places are consider inferior to
women and his position in the working class makes him well respected in the
community because usually people that are already less fortunate don’t usually
give back or do special things for the community. Based on his culture and the norms, Hayward knew what
he was doing was something from the heart. Hayward gained prestige through his
challenging work and dedication. Prestige is defined as the respect or regards
that someone or status position is given (Dictionary). He stated, “when I first
started joining these events I felt like an alien like I wasn’t in the right
place at the right time”. This can be described in the term alienation.
Alienation is defined as a feeling of powerlessness and estrangement from other
people and from oneself (Dictionary). This
would explain his acceptance of the way his life was set up to be.
For an interview there are many pros
and cons. An interview is a data-collection encounter in which an interviewer
asks the respondent questions and records the answers (Kendall, 2013, p 41).
The pros to an interview is you get better information from being face to face
with the person. Another reason is you would know the information you’re
getting is credible. When doing an interview you would have something to quote
them on something that is coming directly from that person’s mouth. A con is it
can be time consuming. You might have a set time on how much time you want to
take but you may go over that limit. The questions might also be difficult for
the person to answer. Even though the source is credible the person may or may
not be telling the truth while answering the questions. When conducting an
interview, one must make sure that respondents must be screened as appropriate
and questions must be structured to the specific topic.
In conclusion I have
interviewed two people I know that contributes to society. I explained their
race, gender, and class and how it affects them in society. I also have
explained which social perspective best explains their life and why I choose
that perspective. By interviewing these two individuals, I was able to
determine race, ethnicity, class and social stratification. Mrs. Outten and Mr.
Thompson come from the same backing but now are in two different class.
Regardless of what class they are in they both do something for the community