In 2017, there were 325.7 million people in America, and of those people, 39.7 million Americans lived in poverty. That is approximately 1 in 7 people living in poverty. Almost 8% of the people experiencing poverty were white; that is 2 out of every 25 people, leading one to presume that 23 out of 25 people were people of color.
Herbert Spencer (English philosopher, biologist, anthropologist, sociologist, and liberal political theorist) coined the phrase “survival of the fittest.” Spencer believed this to be Social Darwinism, i.e., society’s way of eliminating the weak and preventing those with defective genes from reproducing or thriving in our capitalist society.
In reality, a combination of the following theories; Structural Discrimination Theory, Bias Theories, Functionalism, and Conflict Theory represent modern American society. The theories above explain deviance, poverty, and criminogenic among the ethnically challenged; each theory may also apply to gender and sexuality.
We know both nurture and nature influence aspects of personality. Therefore, one must agree with the “Biological Deficiency Theory” and the cultural deficiency aspect of the philosophy. When one grows up observing a specific type of behavior from their parents, neighbors, and friends, the chances are higher that they will subconsciously embed those behaviors as “the norm” and adopt them into practice. Even if one’s actions are adaptational to promote survival, there is still a high probability that one’s offspring will mimic those behaviors, thus perpetuating a cycle of non-social/deviant behavior and the adverse reaction accompanying such behavior.
“The Bias Theories” explain prejudiced attitudes reasoning behind the continuously held bias toward minorities. There may be a simple solution to the structural inequalities or systemic racism that many minorities face. However, the first step would be an acknowledgment on a massive scale. Many people experience discrimination daily and sometimes without realization. It is easy to forget that others may judge prior to personal knowledge, expecting others to fit into a box structured by implicit bias. One may excuse negative behaviors from a person as a personality issue rather than a side-effect of their discriminatory beliefs. Also, people fail to recognize their aptitude for bias.
The most significant theoretical value lies in the “Structural Discrimination Theory.” “Slavery is over; stop holding a grudge?” Many have heard this line of thinking, especially during discussions on stratification. Had slavery never existed, black people would be on an even keel regarding institutionalized racism. The social setback occurs at the moment of conception and continues into adulthood.
Everything is connected; for example, if one’s parents are lower-class ethnic people that did not graduate high school. Then most likely, they have jobs that pay minimum wage, with little to no benefits. The lack of insurance may have prevented access to birth control, leading to pregnancy. One without insurance seeking treatment finds lower care standards; in hospitals and centers that do not require insurance prior to treatment. Having a child without insurance will likely place a person in debt. If one’s parents live in debt, they may resort to residing in low-income apartments to save money and provide food. Low-income residences often have schools that cannot afford to pay teachers who genuinely want to teach or have access to the proper educational tools, leading to a lackadaisical group of teachers and less opportunity to give students an equal education.
Those without proper education generally also have issues with “socialization.” Society views those deemed unsocialized as deviant. When one faces treatment of those who are deviant, it creates a belief, which creates a stigma, which leads to actual deviance and potentially criminogenic thinking and behavior. Criminogenic behavior by people of color “supports” the discriminatory ideologies of the uneducated. At no fault of their own, a child born may face mitigating circumstances that inevitably create an environment that sustains and perpetuates cycle discrimination.
American society operates with a “point system.” Class, Gender, Race, and Education are the qualifiers. The preferred gender is male, and the superior race is white, and if one does not begin with those qualifiers, they automatically have two fewer points than those who do. An educated and wealthy ethnic male can never be as powerful as a lower-class, white male. However, a wealthy, educated, ethnic male is on equal footing as an uneducated, lower-class educated white woman. An educated and wealthy ethnic female can only ever be as successful as an uneducated but wealthy man of color, or a lower class, uneducated, white woman.
Sexual orientation causes a fair amount of discrimination as well. However, it is unlikely to see equality in race, class, and sexual orientation prior to gender equality.
In conclusion, if one wishes to be among the most powerful in America, it is simple, all they must do is be a rich white, educated male, or accept that it will take them ten times as much effort to be equal to an uneducated, lower-class male born into the superior race.