In January 2013 a prominent national US newspaper quoted former Secretary of State, Condolezza Rice, “It doesn’t matter where you come from, but where you are going.” However, In “The Land of Opportunity,” James Loewen discusses how significant inequality is in America. The social class that you are born into will influence your outlook on social class and will also be the social class you stay in (Loewen, 1995. 322). Your social class will determine the opportunities available for you including health, fitness, nutrition, education, SAT scores, medical resources and more (Loewen, 1995. 321-322). Loewen also proposes that the education system in America does not incorporate a proper analysis of our social class (Loewen, 1995. 323). It is necessary for students to be realistic about social inequality because it is linked with history. As students, we are socialized from an early age to believe in the American Dream through media and our loved ones. We were raised to believe our merit determines our success. In reality race and ethnicity, class, and gender play vital roles in determining where an individual ends up in life. The following articles raise inconvenient facts that go against the American Dream.
The majority of the articles assigned covered inequality centered on race and ethnicity. Feagin discusses attitudes and views of white Americans towards race discrimination and government actions against discrimination as well as the persistence of race discrimination. White Americans were interviewed and did not believe they are racists. However, their responses seemed racist in interviews. Feagin states most racist ideas and attitudes white Americans have are engraved in them due to media, the education system, workplaces, churches, and how they were raised (Feagin, 2000, 356).
Harlow admits that her job, as a college professor, is easier than her African American colleagues’ (Harlow, 2003. 364). Harlow also discusses the role of gender on social inequality. Racism occurs in the classroom. She included how black professors, who may be extremely qualified for the position, felt directly and indirectly challenged. The African American professors attempt to prove themselves to their students by demonstrating their knowledge and competence. If they succeed, then they do not reinforce negative attitudes towards black people and their intelligence (Harlow, 2003. 368-370). The inequality African American professors experiences includes being underestimated and challenged by their students and possibly their colleagues.
Kelley’s article discusses the influence of stereotypes. He mentions how media portrays races, blacks in particular, and that it is linked to perceived behavior (Kelly, 1995. 388). The typical roles of blacks in the media are often negative criminal forms. Because African Americans are perceived this way, their behavior is thought to be violent and impractical.