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Social Inequalities of American Society



Persuasive Essay Introduction

This persuasive essay is aimed at presenting the structure of American society, discussing and analyzing race and social inequalities that take place in the modern world. There is an analysis of why King`s dream remains an elusive goal and why still many Americans see racial disparities. Different racial groups have a different perception of racism, and in some way, it influences their lives, therefore the income of whites and blacks is discussed and the reasons analyzed.

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How Are Race and Social Class Related?

The world is full of inequality, namely racial discrimination, and our moral duty is to fight it using all means possible. The affirmative action is a special policy that will both rectify the injustice in the past and make prevention efforts in the real world, thus making a step towards a perfectly fair world. This policy has faced much discussion and controversy among scientists, in particular, it is a subject of Pojman’s publication ‘The Moral Status of Affirmative Action’ and van Roojen’s ‘Affirmative Action, Non-Consequentialism, and Responsibility for the Effects of Past Discrimination’.

In his work, Louis Pojman looks critically on the problem, defines the terms, brings light on the history of affirmative action, and discusses arguments for and against the issue. The author appears to be skeptical about the possibility to build a color-blind society. He argues that redressing past discriminatory inequalities will lead to a new form of inequality, this time aimed against the whites. Furthermore, the whites, who innocently benefited from such discriminatory inequalities, have neither legal nor moral duty to pay for it by preferential hiring of ‘less qualified women and blacks’ (Pojman, 1992, pp. 194-195).

Mark van Roojen provides a number of objections against the criticism about purported unfairness of affirmative action, preferential hiring, and admission programs. Primarily, he argues that either action (establishing affirmation action programs or not) will involve people excluded and unjustly treated unless additional positions are provided (Roojen, 1987, p. 282). On the one hand, if an affirmative action program is not put at work, Afro-Americans will be set aside and the harm will be further allowed. On the other hand, preferential hiring of those who were discriminated against will result in unfairness towards some of the whites while then they will be given fewer positions. Therefore, the author introduces the concept of consequentialist moral theory. He argues that the choice should be made after estimating the overall effects which the policy will have. It should be value-neutral, that is, the policy should result in the best possible outcomes for people regardless of their race. What is more, affirmation action still should be taken if the number of people receiving compensation of discrimination outweighs those who will suffer by being excluded from positions?

Generally, the consequential approach favors affirmative action programs since they lead to less overall unfairness than the current policy (Roojen, 1997). On the contrary, non-consequentialist moral theory evaluates the relative outcomes of the policy in an agent-relative way. Thus, non-consequentialist action will include any action different from ‘merely allowing such actions to be done’ (Roojen, 1997).

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Providing equal jobs and educational opportunities for blacks will naturally result in fewer positions being available for the whites. However, were our world ideal, that is, where there is no discrimination and no affirmation action, the blacks would be given the jobs anyway. That is why there should be no complaints from the whites, who willingly or not benefit from racial discrimination.

The Afro-Americans have been deprived of work, educational, and political opportunities since the colonization started. Thus, it is high time to take measures to prevent current discrimination and endow the blacks with their morally legitimate rights. Affirmative action programs should be put in place in order to give the deprived nothing more than their merited right to equal consideration and, accordingly, better chances at jobs. Ideally, such ‘compensation’ policy should result in depriving the whites of ‘an unfair advantage’, not of an unfair job. Such policy would bring the actual world closer to the perfectly just one.

In addition, the author claims that everyone bears responsibility for the effects of discrimination. While the current situation is a result of the constant support of social institutions governing the distribution of most social goods, all the whites are responsible for current discrimination.

Thus, the whites should compensate not the effects of past discrimination but the benefits which they ‘knowingly and willingly’ are gaining from current discrimination. The problem of unfair treatment can be solved by putting into action affirmative action programs and enforcing anti-discrimination legislation which will ensure equal opportunities for all the members of society regardless of their race, gender or religion.

Racial inequality has always been and still remains a burning issue. Many presidents of the United States tried hard to fight against it, but, unfortunately, the situation still remains unchanged.

50 years ago Martin Luther King gave a speech called “I have a dream”, stressing that “all the people are created equal”. Unfortunately, his words have not come into life yet, because nowadays, our society has greatly changed.

The speech was inspiring, but unfortunately, still, a lot needs to be done, because a great amount of Americans still see great racial inequalities. The statistics show that 56 percent of Republicans, 48 percent of Independents and only 38 percent of Democrats share the idea that a lot has been done towards destroying racial inequality. The most striking and important statistic is that only 26 percent of African Americans responded that the conditions of black people have improved during the last 5 years. They affirm that they are treated less fairly in the workplace or by the judicial system. At the same time, the opinion of whites on the situation is a little more optimistic. This can be explained by the fact that they do not recognize that the blacks are treated badly basically because most of them have never witnessed inequality, so they are simply unaware of this kind of disparity.

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A less optimistic approach to the question of African Americans can be explained by their long history of depression and inequality; thus, the feeling of inferiority may still be present in their genes, and consequently, they may have less confidence.

It is difficult to say whether the inequality between blacks and whites has shifted or not because it has changed differently in different spheres. For example, the household gap has widened and the life expectancy gap has narrowed whereas home ownership and poverty rates are roughly the same as 50 years ago. However, unfortunately, the unemployment of African Americans has doubled in comparison to that of the whites.

There are many approaches to analyzing the situation. Robert Reich, for example, concentrated on the economic problems of society and noticed its gyration. For instance, poor people don`t have enough money and can`t afford to buy everything they need; therefore, in most cases, they sink into debts, which usually ends up badly. At the same time, rich people speculate as they wish, but when they fail, they simply pull back. He argues that a hundred years ago, our society developed much faster, because the rich took a smaller proportion of the income, and that is why the middle class was growing and receiving greater wages; there was a growth of good jobs as well. Meanwhile, since 1981, when the Great Regression started, the rich have received bigger proportions of the income, and therefore the growth of the society slowed.

However, the economy continued to expand because of the development of new technologies, which replaced the working force and were much cheaper, furthermore, women got into force. Robert Reich suggests a lot of solutions which could be done by the government in the recent years, for example, improving educational system (which was actually done in Germany), expanding the access to higher education, improving the system of unemployment insurance, cutting taxes for the poor and raising them for the rich (Reich, 2011).

However, how can the emergence of two major classes be explained? It is definitely not because bad job market led people to leave their jobs. Mainly this is because the machines have replaced the workforce; thus, during the boom years (the 1980s, 1990s, 2000s) a mass labor-force dropout started.

Many sociological and economic investigations have been conducted to bring to light and explain the differences in income between blacks and whites. However, this inequality is mainly based on gaping differences in acquired family wealth, which is rooted far back in history but displays nowadays again. As a result, this disparity influences work, education, and even family structure. One more reason of race inequality in the economic sphere is that black people go to prison more often than whites. Therefore, a large percentage of unemployment can be explained by the incarceration of a lot of black people.

One more very important unfavorable division that has recently become strongly obvious is cultural inequality, which does not include race or ethnicity. The only way to change the situation is the recognition of the existing problem of cultural inequality. However, people should not only rely on the government`s decisions and programs – the main action should start and come from people, and their understanding and endeavor can change everything. If the situation continues like this, the upper class will live and contribute only to themselves and their families, separating themselves in this way from society. They can contribute a lot to America and become a part of it, or become marginal.

The development of the new generation also depends on the society the child is brought up in; for example, children who grew up in poor families among the working class are more likely to get “natural accomplishment of growth”. This can be explained by their natural surroundings and self-development, which can give freedom for the development of their natural talents, more interaction with their siblings and define clearer boundaries between adults and children. While children from the middle class are given more freedom and are taught to demand what they want, children from poor families are usually expected to be obedient and accept what they are told.

Therefore, middle-class children are usually more stressed and exhausted, they fight more for their chances than children from poor families, but in the end, they achieve what they want. One more determinative aspect of the children`s behavior is their race, though it is less determinative of experience and organization than the social one. The life of middle-class black children is practically the same as that of the white children; they have equal chances and surroundings. The only feature of the black children is that they all encounter racism which influences their outlook and self-esteem and may increase their rebelliousness, to some extent. This confrontation makes their childhood and how they accept the world and see their future in comparison to white children (Lareau, 2003).

Persuasive Essay Summary

To sum up, there are different opinions about life in the US during the last 50 years. Some people think it has changed for the better, some – for the worst, but mainly it stayed the same with its peculiar changes. These changes touched mostly the structure of the society, whereas the status of the African Americans has hardly faced any changes. One of the features of the last years is the separation of two major classes: upper, with its privileges, and lower, which can be characterized by its poor opportunities and low income.

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