Tag Archives: herbert Spencer

Survival of the Whitest

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 that are living in poverty.   Almost 8% of the people in poverty were white, that’s 2 out of every 25. That means the other 23 out of 25 people were people of color. According to Herbert Spencer (English philosopher, biologist, anthropologist, sociologist, and prominent classical liberal political theorist of the Victorian era,) coined the Phrase “survival of the fittest” He believed this to be Social Darwinism, i.e., societies way of weeding out those who have defective genes and qualities, which prevent them from thriving in our capitalist society. My belief system is a combination of (The Structural Discrimination Theory, The Bias Theories, Functionalism, and The Conflict Theory).

I believe these theories do well to describe more than poverty, among the ethnically challenged; I think they also apply to gender and sexuality.

We know both nurture and nature have aspects that participate in the production of a trait. Therefore, I would have to agree partially with the “Biological Deficiency Theory.”  I approve of the cultural deficiency aspect of the philosophy.  When you grow up observing a specific type of behavior, from your parents, neighbors, and friends, the chances are higher, that you will subconsciously embed that practice into your persona. Even if the actions of your parents are behaviors they adopted, to survive in a world with institutionalized racism, it is probable that in turn, you will also take those behaviors, keeping you in a vortex of adverse reactions from society.

I also think that “The Bias Theories,” holds some merit, because if it were not for the prejudice attitudes continuously held toward minorities, then it would be simple to change the structural inequalities, faced by those minorities. I experience prejudice every day, and sometimes, I don’t even realize what is happening. I occasionally forget that other people see an ethnic female when looking at me. I generally think negative behavior from a person, is merely a side-effect of their own shortcomings.  I have come to learn that many people don’t realize they carry prejudices. Some fail to see that their behavior and language is ignorant and outdated. People spew thoughts, words, and information from their memory bank. You gather expressions, ideology, and opinions based on what you have seen and heard.

Finally, I believe the most significant value lies in the “Structural Discrimination Theory.” “Slavery is over. Why can’t you stop holding a grudge.”? I have heard this from multiple people during discussions on stratification. Had slavery never existed, then black people would be on an even keel, when it comes to institutionalized racism. It starts now of conception and follows you into adulthood. For instance, if your parents are lower class ethnic people, that didn’t graduate high school. Then most likely they have jobs which pay minimum wage, with little to no benefits. You are born in a hospital with sub-par care because your parent’s employer fails to provide insurance leading to a penalty in most states, which leaves them even further in debt. You are born, to parents living in debt, residing in low- income apartments to save money to provide food.  One issue is that the majority of teachers in these areas are lackadaisical, giving you an unequal education. You find you’re treated like a failure because you’re not rich or white, and the maltreatment from individual teachers, bullying, lack of finance and the inability to fit in coupled with constant failure, and  academic pressure causes you to drop out of high school, dooming you to the same fate as your parents.

 My idea of how stratification works is this: I feel as though American society operates with a “point system.” Gender, Race, and Class. The ideal gender being male, and the perfect race being white, and if you’re not a white male, you’re a good two points below at any given time. I, for instance, can never have as much power as my white male counterpart. However, an ethnic male can be as powerful as a white male, if the white male is poor, and the ethnic man is both rich and educated. However, even a wealthy, educated ethnic male can never be as affluent as an educated white woman. His precious, knowledgeable white male counterpart is a good three tiers above him. Since I cannot change my race or gender, I can only ever be as powerful as an uneducated, rich ethnic man, or a poor white woman.

 I feel equal rights for all sexual orientations is as important as women’s rights, or racial equality. Though we will not see equal rights in all aspects until being black or a woman doesn’t knock you down two tiers. Even then, I feel as though a gay black man can be accepted if he is wealthy and educated. A gay white man would only have to be affluent or trained, to get the same acceptance, and even then, the wealthy, educated white gay man will have more power than the black one.

In conclusion, if you want to be among the most powerful in America, it is simple, all you must do is be a rich white educated male or you’d might as well aim lower.