The concepts of race, gender, and class are used to give identities to people within the society.
The concepts of race, gender, and class are used to give identities to people within the society. Identities in terms of race, gender and class are highly regarded by people in the society who consider them as significant factors that describe a person’s history. Thus; over the years, the idea of transformation almost been regarded as a taboo since the society has made people to believed that transformation causes damage to history. However, Kai & Marquis argue that these identities are merely scripts, and the evidence that supports the scripts are within the people carry them (Kai & Marquis, 2017). By this argument, the authors mean that people themselves know their own identities despite what the society claims for them. The authors support their argument by stating that if we fear losing ourselves without these identities, we shall be trapped into identities that we know fail us (Kai & Marquis, 2017).
Categorization of humans based on their race is made depending on their physicals, behavioral and more so cultural attributes which may signify that they share the same origin (Swinehart, 2018). Especially in the current society, race can also be defined as a group of people who share certain traits like skin color, hair texture, and other physical features. Race stems from the idea that there are groups of humans in the world and all have specific physical features or cultural ways which distinguish them from another group. For example, people may identify their races as aboriginals, African-American or black, Asian, Pacific Islander, Native Americans, and Hawaiian. Individuals may identify themselves with one or more social identities which also define their race. For example, individuals of African, Asian American, Native American or Hawaiian ethnicity may identify themselves as African-Americans. In reality, race is thought by many to be a social construct. A social construction is a term used to define any concept which has only been created by society at large. In this definition, race is not a natural phenomenon that can be found in other non-human species. Race has its roots in human history which are very ancient in terms of evolution since they date early pre-historic times of humankind; thus, making it to be a strong identity for people.
Class is defined as a social division whereby people are categorized according to their social or economic status (Swinehart, 2018). The social classes are a hierarchy, and each class has its own customs, values, beliefs, and habits. Individuals that belong in the higher classes within the hierarchy enjoy more privileges than those that belong in lower classes; where by, the rights and freedoms of those in higher classes are prioritized and observed more than those of lower classes. On the other side, punishments are severe for those that come from lower classes especially when they offend people from a higher class. For instance, Kai & Marquis, (2017) reflect on an episode of law-and-order SVU in which a black boy, from a black school confronted a white transgender teenage girl from another school. The white girl sustained a fall over a bride when she was pushed, she survived the initial fall, but later died because of complications related with the fall. Over the course of episode, the boy was constantly reminded that he had not just hurt anyone, but someone from a “protected class.” As a punishment for the offense, the black boy suffered serious consequences by being jailed for 3 years in juvenile and 4 more years in the adult prison upon his 18th birthday (Kai & Marquis, 2017).
Gender is a classification of sex in terms of the social and cultural roles played by men and women. It is one’s status as a man or woman, boy or girl. This also includes anatomy such as chromosomes, hormone levels, muscle mass, fat distribution (Swinehart, 2018). The concept of gendered behavior will vary by culture but often happens during development stages such as childhood. In western societies gender typically refers to sexual identity while other cultures might use it for social roles and roles assigned by the society itself. The term gender identity, or simply “gender”, is a person’s personal identification with the sex that they were assigned at birth and sometimes defined as embodying certain personality traits or characteristics that are typical for people of the opposite gender.
Swinehart, K. (2018). Gender, class, race, and region in “bilingual” Bolivia. Signs and Society, 6(3), 607-621. https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/abs/10.1086/699668Kai M. Green & Marquis Bey (2017) Where Black Feminist Thought and Trans* Feminism Meet: A Conversation, Souls, 19:4, 438-454, https://doi.org/10.1080/10999949.2018.1434365
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