The sociological imagination by C Wright Mills is a way to think for ourselves outside from our perspective. “ In order to develop such skills, you must be able to free yourself from one context and look at things from an alternative point of view” (Isaksen 2013, 1). One of the views explained in the sociological imagination is “Individuals and Society”. Individuals and Society by C Wright Mills explains social structures. We have specific boxes such as race, class, and gender. These categories impact how we live our lives and divisions amongst people.
In specific, these boxes; such as race, class, and gender affect our workplace. All these categories are socially constructed and fluctuate employment through inequalities and discrimination. Unemployment and underemployment for minorities are often higher than of whites. “ Despite all this fluctuation, one thing has remained the same: the non white unemployment rate consistently has been double that of whites” (Desmond 2016, 152). Race is a grouping of humans based on similar characteristics or shared physical qualities.
Starting with race which is visible. A person cannot hide away from their skin color, hair style, shape of their eyes, name and body structure.
Once the race is identified as non white, it is attached to stigma which essentially affects an individual’s employment ppossibilities. Inthe article “ At a Slaughterhouse”, people are racially separated and given jobs appropriate to the “worth” of their race. “ The few whites on the payroll tend to be mechanics or supervisors” (Eitzen and Smith 2009, 109). Inmates and latinos are ranked at its lowest, meaning they will be working the least wanted jjobs.
Thesepeople need leads to doing the “dirty work” of America for low wages. “ Compared to applicants with black- sounding names, those with white-sounding names were 50%, more likely to be called for an interview” (Desmond 2016, 153). Individuals with white sounding last names are more likely to be called for interviews, or have resumes to be considered. Given that names are easily distinguished by race, it essentially affects one’s job opportunities due to the stigma associated to the race. Regardless of the credentials, qualifications, or experience an individual may have, race essentially leads to discrimination in the workplace.
Given the credentials, qqualifications, andexperience lead to one’s class status, it also plays a vital role in the workforce. Race and class are intertwined.
“ But neither should we forget that racial domination, having a long and established career, has robbed many nonwhites of opportunities to build up class privileges: education, soft skills, job training, and connections to powerful people” (Desmond 2016, 154).
The larger social capital an individual has, will lead to greater employment opportunities. Social capital is defined as ability of actors to secure benefits by virtue of membership in social networks or other social structures (Harding and Blockland 2014, 162). Advantages to social capital include more networks that will lead to greater job opportunities, mutual trust, shared expectations, willingness to intervene in social control, collective efficacy, and positive role models. In the article “ On the Margins: The lack of resources and the Lack of Healthcare”, shows how people naturally create a division based on class status. We have people whom are winners and those who are losers. “ I suppose you think my tax dollars are supposed to buy ice cream and chocolate syrup. And those sandals you have on look pretty expensive. I suppose I bought those too.” (Eitzen, and Smith 2009, 53). This individual felt superior and powerful over the women because he noticed she was paying with food stamped. People on welfare are automatically labeled as low income class. These stereotypes of people being on welfare are lazy, uneducated, and effects one’s possibilities in obtaining a job due to the stigma associated to class.
Although race and class affect the workforce, gender is a third contribution to the inequalities and discrimination in obtaining a job. Gender is the state of being male of females base on cultural or social characteristics. “Gendered and sexualized assumptions still shape the class situations of women and men in different ways” (Acker 2006, 4). Given that our American culture has been predominantly ruled by men and the typical household men are viewed as the breadwinner. It essentially affects the way women are portrayed as far of their capabilities. Women are often seen as subordinates to men. Minorities are at a disadvantage for being non white. In addition to race, being a woman adds more of burden. “ And women of color ar rewarded less for their education and job experience than are white men, white women, or men of color.” (Desmond 2016, 156).
The financial pay rate fluctuates based on race, gender, education, and experience. Women of color are paid less regardless of their expertise. As a result, women of color experience glass ceilings. Glass ceilings prevents individuals from moving up in their career. Although, people may believe they are moving into higher position, white men dominate the highest positions; therefore, they only get promoted to specific positions. Glass ceilings continue to exist because of the people dominating those positions. A person of color is most likely to move into a higher position if their supervisor shares the same race. We continue to want to help “ our own”. By “ our own”, I mean people who have our similiar race/ ethnicity. White men, want to continue their legacy by allowing their own to take over higher positions. Although they may promote a person of color, it does not conclude that racism does not exist. That is a Tokenistic Fallacy.
Discrimination is defined as the unjust treatment of people or things of different categories such as race, class, or gender. People are willing to tolerate discrimination, and low wages to provide for their family. “ All they wanted was to save enough money to put plumbing in their house in Mexico and start a business there” (Eitzen and Harding 2009, 117). Latinos, African American and Native Americans have the highest percentage of poverty due to underemployment or unemployment.
A Stigma is an attribution that socially disvalues and disgraces one’s identity. Stigmas essentially defines who someone is or should be. The social structure of our society normalizes discrimination and inequality. Categories such as race, class, and gender affects individuals workforce. This is a challenge for minorities to overcome those barriers and defeat a possible job opportunity.
Most people obtain research for this topic through qualitative research approaches. Most information is obtained through interviews, and field research. Although research continues to demonstrate how social structures such as race, class and gender contribute to one’s greater opportunities. In this case the workforce is a powerful institutional power structure that affects individuals way of living. In America, people must work to be able to survive. With many social structures impeding the success of certain races, class, and genders it remains people in poverty levels. I was not surprised by the information I found through this research. Given that I am a Latina women I experience these inequalities first hand. I am a first generation women who will be graduating from university, but I am also a minority, and a woman.
I obtain three major social structures. These inequalities are my aspirations to pursue higher education such as my doctorates. The reason being is that regardless of me having Bachelors injustices will continue to be in place until, people of color dominate the positions of power. I currently work for an afterschool program. Many program directors are hispanics, but the CEO is white. This is a perfect example of glass ceiling as discussed in our text.