Class v. Race
Racial discrimination is widely touted as the core reason behind limiting opportunities available to minority groups. From Jim Crow laws of the past to affirmative action at universities, race is always the center of argument and conflict wherein groups feel that their skin color or heritage is the discerning factor in opportunity. However there has been a shift in today’s societies that hold economic advantage as the culprit behind limiting advances of peoples. These ideals hold that it is not race that limits and categorizes what is available to a person, but their economic standing and social class that determines the types of resources available to them.
In arguing that race is the reason that one can not gain access to higher academics, career advancements or everyday opportunities, one is saying that they are limited because of their skin color. Being African American or of Mexican heritage is the limiting factor that determines how one is treated by others, the social circles one is apart of and the overall opportunities one has in their lifetime. However true this may be, there are many people who feel that this is an outdated perception and that today, it is not race but class that is the discerning factor.
People who hold that it is class that characterizes one’s opportunities believe that socioeconomic status is the determining factor and not race. Being poor is an endless circle wherein one has limited choices and scarce opportunities. Wealth is what enables one to move upward socially, to go to elite universities and have career advancements. Regardless of racial background, if one has money, doors are opened and skin color becomes irrelevant.
Both race and class play a large part in the role one has within society and the amount of social mobility available to them. Race may be increasingly irrelevant, but class is becoming a more prominent discriminating factor as the distribution of wealth becomes more unbalanced between the lower class and the elite.