Social Inequality in the United States

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Social inequality is the existence of unequal chances and rewards for members of a society performing particular tasks in a particular environment. The social patterns that were created with the intention of excluding some members of the society from performing certain activities are what led to the inequality. The denial of some people's social demands as a result leads to an imbalance in the overall accomplishment of shared objectives. The assignment of society roles based on race, sexual orientation, kinship, power, prestige, ethnicity, gender, class, and age leads to social segregation (Weiß, Anja, 2005, p. 710). The most significant social factors that create social inequality are the division of the members of the society in forms of class, race, and sexual orientation. Classism is the discrimination of the members of the society by social classes. Social theorists hold that sex is a biological function while gender is a socially developed meaning that is associated with sex. Sexism is a form of social segregation based on sex or gender, most practiced against women and girls. Sexism theorists hold that gender is socially constructed because different cultures have varied meanings of one being a man or a woman. Sexism is developed on the belief that one sex is more superior to the other (Weiß, Anja, 2005 p 712). Racism refers to the development of a variety of ideas, practices, and social relations directed at forming a racial hierarchy whereby some members enjoy superiority and some privileges while others are discriminated and oppressed. The effects of racism, classism, and sexism have very high impacts on the society. The essay will dwell in the formulation of a policy that will help the Congress change the present regulations on racism and sexism.

History of social discrimination in the U.S

In the 20th Century, Kitch performed racial analysis in the United States to understand the impact of social segregation in the society. Among all the race that she noted, Kitch found out that gender and sex were the foundations of racial inequality (Oliver and Thomas, 2006). Slave trade brought a big tragedy in balancing the widespread racial discrimination among the entire race. The blacks were treated as an inferior race and therefore never qualified to get similar treatment as that of the whites. There was a resultant eruption of many movements that were directed to address their discomfort. The widespread racism against the blacks and other non-Americans influenced great revolution. Utopian communities came up to deal with the prevalent gender segregation. Kitch wanted to know whether the communities could provide neutrality to gendered issues.

Problems of racism and sexism

Racism affects almost all the aspects of human existence to a level that some individuals are unable to express their desires and feelings publically. There are numerous impacts of racism in the society. Firstly, racism causes discrimination among the members of the society. The superior race discriminates the socially inferior race in the various aspects of the society (Ridgeway, 2011). Secondly, racism increases cases of injustice in hiring employees thus qualified people may be locked out of employment in favor of unqualified individuals. The result is a reduction in the work output. Thirdly, racism increases injustice in the criminal justice system. For instance, a situation where there are criminal elements from people of different racial backgrounds, the dominant race is mostly spared and given ease pardon while that from the minority race faces the full judgment. Fourth, racial inequality leads to increased poverty. A socially superior race may discriminate others from acquiring the necessities of life hence growing poverty index. Fifth, racial imbalance also leads to the formation of hierarchy in the society (Oliver and Thomas, 2006). The lowly placed in the hierarchy are often faced with detrimental effects which make them inferior in almost all the social activities. Racial inequality also undermines unity and cohesiveness. Racial discrimination increases differences between individuals from different racial backgrounds thereby raising hatred among them. Seventh, racial, discrimination leads to failure in embracing diversity. Human beings are created with diverse abilities and personalities. Failure to live freely with each other may limit full expression of some people's skills thereby undermining diversity.

Sexism may lead to a development of a notion of masculinity or femininity superiority which leads to many effects in the society. In most instances, Femininity is gendered to be inferior in the society. Female members of the society are mistreated in many aspects leading to significantly significant sex-related issues. Male members of the society usually discriminate women from the social, economic and cultural participation in many responsibilities (Ridgeway, 2011). The women are thus unable to express their personal and professional relationships in the society fully. The result is an overall reduction in the performance of critical issues that affect the society. From the ancient time, some roles are ascribed to be well performed by men, a fact that is gradually changing since some women perform duties that are believed to be masculine better than men. Rigidity in role assignment between boys and girls may result in the development of far-reaching consequences in boys and men, like a creation of self-perception that will end up limiting their social relationships. The unequal treatment of the women and girls thus leads to failure in achieving the best for the society.

Racism in the United States of America

There has been racial inequality in the legal system for decades. Most of the black people are discriminated from receiving justice. There are widespread forms of disparities in many regions and levels that are instigated on the blacks (Oliver and Thomas, 2006). Presence and practicing of aggressive prosecution strategies have led to inequalities between the black and the white prisoners in America. The black prisoners face a high level of mistreatment during the prosecution process. In most cases, the prosecution limits the black's right to fair trial. They are denied the right to have lawyers, and in the cases where they are allowed to be represented in the prosecution process, their lawyers are discriminated and are limited in their submissions (Weiß, Anja, 2005 p 716). Some white law enforcers practice racial instigated intentions when prosecuting the blacks. For instance, in July 2014 a white policeman applied choke hold, prohibited by New York Police Department, on a black man, Eric Garner killing him instantly. The level of inequality is seen to be increasing due to the creation of the new Government under Donald Trump. The President, through the help of the Congress, should be continuously briefed on the importance of having co-existence among all the people living in the U.S. regardless of their origin.

The passing of the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act by the Obama Administration remained blocked in the House of the Representatives, Republican-controlled (Ridgeway, 2011). Upon the end of Obama Administration, the law faced elimination and lack of support from the same people who blocked its operational. When Trump took office as the U.S president in November 2016, the operationalization of the law faced more opposition. During his campaign trails, Donald Trump openly said that he could deal with illegal immigrants and restore American supremacy. The message promoted the rise in racial discrimination against the non-Americans. Research undertaken by Leonardo Bursztyn of Chicago University affirmed that Trump Presidential win emboldened the white supremacy to express discrimination on the blacks publically. For instance, the white supremacy rally that was organized in Charlottesville sparked into violence, but the President did not have great condemnation. The racist move rally prompted a Nazi supporter to drive over a crowd of people killing one person and leaving 19 others seriously injured. The incident raised racism tension whereby the black Americans felt sidelined by the Government. There should be proper implementation of laws relating to managing immigration and freedom movement of people of all races. All racially generated events must be fully investigated, and culprits brought to book. The Government should empower all state departments responsible for investigations to ensure that they undertake their operations without any favoritism.

Racial inequality is also noted in the application of lending laws on residential estates for the blacks. There is a high discrepancy in lending between the white residential developments and that of the blacks. The disparity has resulted in the development of classic housing for the whites while that of the Black Americans remaining lowly developed (Weiß, Anja, 2005 p 718). The whites are therefore able to receive investments funds for the establishment of estates thereby eliminating poverty levels among the Americans. Inequality in getting investment assistance from financial institutions has led to increased poverty among the blacks resulting in poor housing.

Theories on racial discrimination

Job skill differential

The theory holds that unemployment inequality between the whites and the minority groups (especially black Americans) is due to the low rates of educational opportunities that the blacks have (Oliver, 2006). The low access to quality education standards leads to lack of skills necessary for specialized work opportunities

White gains. The theory holds that minority disadvantage is because the majority can benefit from them. For instance, job opportunities that the black person could get are easily availed for the whites. The theory relies on the basis that the whites gain most from the black People segregation.

Segregation and job decentralization

The theory postulates that racial discrimination pushed non-Americans to the central part of the city when job opportunities were in the suburbs. Their residing far from work areas disenfranchised the blacks because they lacked means of transport to access jobs.

Sexism in the United States

From the 1900s, there have been tremendous improvements in efforts towards achieving gender equality in the U.S (Oliver, 2006). However; gender disparities continue to exist in various forms including inequality in the women's involvement in political participation and presentation, gender pay gap, occupational inequality, and segregation in the distribution of household labor. The disparity has caused women to have a low profile in the society.

The political debates on family planning have for many years raised fears among the women in the U.S. They fear increased obstacles in balancing work and their family.

Current gender issues in U.S

Political participation

A report by Centre for American Women and Politics, conducted in 2013, showed that there was an unequal representation of women in political positions. The report indicated that only 18% of the seats in the Congress were held by women and state elective offices provided 23% women representatives. The report suggests that women do not have equal representation in both the political field and government elective posts. These facts are a confirmation of the study undertaken in 2001 by M. Margaret Conway, University of Florida Political science professor (Ridgeway, 2011). She gave three explanations for the continued gender disparities. She suggested that the continued inequality was due to the social and societal norms which discourage women from engaging in political activities, lack of equitable education for women to engage, to be regarded recognition for state appointments, and the cruel political party operations prevents women from joining politics.

Pay gap

According to the research at the University of California, Bekeley and the University of Illinois at Urban-Champaign, the principal cause of pay disparity is discrimination (Oliver, 2006). The researchers noted that women are frequently employed in low-paying jobs. Also, the research postulates that male receives higher payment than the women at the same level of the position.

Social life

Historically, there has been male superiority in the United States. Women have been associated with the traditional roles in the society. According to the professor of family history, Stephanie Coontz, one of the contributing factors to gender inequality in the United States is the fact that most men still believe in the performance of traditional gender roles (Oliver, 2006). Men believe that the traditionally ascribed roles for men should never be taken by women. Women are still believed to take the space of undertaking only the household chores. The gendered division of household chores creates a double burden on women married to a working partner. The women are forced to take parental care and other household jobs in addition to the employment tasks, leaving them overburdened.

According to Pew Research Centre Fund conducted from August 2017 through September, 43% of women gave a feedback showing that they are receiving discrimination at the workplace compared to the 18% of men. The main disparities were in the form of equitable employment opportunities, promotion opportunities, unfair allocation of duties, low salaries, and lack of incentives in case of exceptional job performance. The statistics indicate that there are still high levels of gender disparities in the U.S.

Government policies on Gender inequality

Both international and local policies have been implemented to curb gender inequality. The U.S. Government has been making advances in the legislation of various policies directed in combating high levels of gender disparities. However, the Government has not fully implemented the policies.

The Government Amended the constitution in 1920 as a move on combating gender disparity (Weiß, Anja, 2005 p 717). The Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution empowered the women the right to vote. Women were thereby involved in making political decisions in the country.

Eleanor Roosevelt chaired the President's Commission on the Status of Women in 1961 to investigate on workplace discrimination. The Commission found that there was rampant women discrimination whereby men occupied almost all the high ranking jobs. It was also found that women were lowly paid causing them to remain oppressed by men. The Commission proposed formulation of regulations targeting to enforce equity in salaries. As a result, an enactment of the 1963 Equal Pay Act followed. The Act came to illegalize cases of unequal compensation on women having equal job position with their male counterparts.

In 1968, the Government illegalized all forms of advertisement directed to instigate sex segregation through the formation of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (Ridgeway, 2011). People were therefore cut from listening to the segregated social information. In 1994, the Government passed the Violence Against Women Act to provide legal protection. The Act also gave orders for the provision of funds and services for victims of domestic violence and rape victims.

Proposed ways of eliminating racial and gender inequalities

Equal economic independence

The Government should support the promotion of gender equality in implementing all the present laws as a strategy to empower women. State bodies should, therefore, put more effort in implementing employment guidelines that are all-inclusive. The state Department of Labor should continually monitor the adopted national policies to improve gender disparity in the economy and improve equal inclusion of women.

The Government should promote female self-employment and entrepreneurship. The Government is to allocate funds to increase the level of women empowerment in all sectors of the economy. Women empowerment will reduce poverty and increase all the members of the society in development matters.

Participation, Power, and Leadership

Women should be given equal participation and presentation in political life. Women inclusion in leadership opportunities raises gender equality and empowerment. Men should, therefore, be encouraged to embrace all-inclusive political party positions to contain women in their leadership positions. The parties should take people from all race to promote inclusivity.

The media should be encouraged to make media campaigns to raise women and girls' voice. Media should disseminate information to the public that will help all public members to understand and appreciate the need of embracing gender equality.


Equality in education should be embraced at all levels. The Government should, therefore, implement sustained programmes directed to change cultural stereotypes of male superiority in all levels of education. The educational achievement should thus be equally shared among all the qualified members of the society regardless of the gender and race.

The Government should also implement a school curriculum tailored to change gender stereotypes and sexist beliefs. Learners will thus appreciate the importance of embracing gender equality.


The paper has analyzed various forms of social inequalities in the U.S. society and given different suggestion upon which the Congress should implement more regulations to stop the existing inequalities. We have seen that there are detrimental impacts of social segregation in the whole economy. There are various recommendations directed at reducing racial discrimination. The active involvement by the state agencies to check all forms of social exclusion. The Government should take an active role in addressing all issues arising from racist moves. The police should always be trained to use legally recognized ways to prevent harm to the arrested people. The Government should implement all the international regulation on racial discrimination. There should be a strict adherence to all the internationally passed regulations for fighting social segregation.

Works Cited

Oliver, Melvin L., and Thomas M. Shapiro. Black wealth, white wealth: A new perspective on racial inequality. Taylor & Francis, 2006.

Ridgeway, Cecilia L. Framed by gender: How gender inequality persists in the modern world. Oxford University Press, 2011.

Weiß, Anja. "The transnationalization of social inequality: Conceptualizing social positions on a world scale." Current Sociology 53.4 (2005): 707-728.

April 06, 2023


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