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Racial Gender Inequality in the United States

Introduction

Human beings are said to be complex beings whose behaviors are influenced by many factors, among them the surrounding environment and their origins. Understanding how human beings behave is important as it helps in dealing and handling them under various circumstances. The study of how human beings behave, the society in which they live, as well as their origin, organization, development, and networks, is referred to as sociology (Allan 145).

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In a bid to study sociology, many theories have been developed by various sociologists and scholars explaining different circumstances that influence the life and behavior of people. These theories can collectively be referred to as social theories. Social theories are theoretical frameworks that have empirical evidence that can be used in the study of social phenomena and interpret it. The theories are used by sociologists and social scientists. Social theories relate to the many historical debates that have happened in the past and had valid, as well as reliable methodologies such as positivism and anti-positivism. These theories can be scientific or descriptive, but some are usually objective.

One of the major social theories is about the issue of gender inequality. This issue of gender inequality has been highly featured in the United States of America presidential debates that have dominated the country in recent times. The debate has especially heated up because one of the presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton, is a lady seeking to become the first-ever U.S. woman president. Racial inequality has also been common in the country, and it is an issue that has also been a major focus following several utterances by Donald Trump, the Republican candidate, on racism. This paper will focus on how this issue is perpetuated and resolved. The discussion will be centered on the works of one of the sociologists of recent times, Kenneth Allen, in the book titled, “A premier in social and sociological theory”.

The United States Racial Gender Inequality

As the presidential elections in the United States draw near, some issues have dominated the debate. One of the major issues that have also been dominant in the last two presidential elections is the economic condition of the country. In the forthcoming elections, which are barely one year to go, the economic issue is among the seven major election issues, which include environment and science, criminal justice, health care, privacy, and data security, education, as well as religious and social justice.

The main focus of this paper is the last issue, which is the issue of religion and social justice. Over the past years, the United States has been a hub of racism and gender-related issues. The country has many ethnic and racial groups, who are residents or visitors. There has been a long history of white Americans discriminating against the rest of the Americans, who include the Africans, Asians, and Islamic, as well as Hispanic people.

Race

According to Allen, racism has been a major problem that affects nations in the areas of development and social interactions. Racism is manifested where one race discriminates another. In most cases, the race that is discriminated against is usually the minority. This has been the case in the United States, where the whites, who are the dominant race, tend to discriminate against the rest of the races. In doing so, they deny the other races access to their rights.

African Americans have been the main victims of this vice by often being accused of crimes and being denied access to many public resources. The issue of race has been muted for quite some time following the accession to power of President Barrack Obama, who is the first black president of the United States of America. The issue, however, seemed to have resurfaced with the Republican presidential aspirant Donald Trump being highly critical of the minority races.

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The United States of America experiences double consciousness as stated by Kenneth Allen in his book. Double consciousness is a term that was first coined by an American, W. E. B. Du Bois, who was referring to the oppression of African Americans (Allan 189). The term has since been used in various situations that display social inequality, including the oppression of women in society. The issue has come to the limelight in the recent presidential debate in the United States.

Donald Trump has been accused of being racially discriminative, especially to Africans and Muslims. Trump has not been short of controversies in his campaigns, often spitting words that have provoked different reactions among the Americans. Some of his words have been directed to particular religious groups that live in the U.S. Recently he stated that he will not allow Muslims in the country if he gets elected to be the President of the United States (Crilly par. 1).

Trump used very strong words that affected the Muslims in the country and provoked reactions from entire America. In his view, Trump refers to Muslims as terrorists. He feels that they have been responsible for the many terrorist attacks that have been directed to various countries across the world, including the U.S. itself. In defending his sentiments, Trump said that this move would not be aimed at isolating the Muslims, but improving the security of the United States. He says that the country is out of control of its security and accuses Muslims of being responsible.

The words used by Trump were not highly criticized by most people. The people who perpetrate terrorist attacks are just a few among the many Muslims, who reside in the United States (Crilly par. 2). People felt that it was wrong to victimize all Muslims as most of them are innocent and are also affected by the insecurity the same way the rest of the Americans are affected. It is not fair to associate over one million Muslims in the country with a few terrorist organizations. Trump has been heavily criticized for his words and his hatred towards the Muslims. Instead of victimizing all the Muslims, the country should find ways of dealing with the specific insecurity problems.

Also, Trump has made negative utterances that have been directed to Africans living in the United States, terming them as primitive and uncivilized. He has gone on to state that African nations need second colonization and that he will deport them once he is elected the next president of the United States of America. This has been an issue that has attracted so many reactions from different people who feel that Trump has been unfairly harsh not only to the people who his words are directed to but also to America as a nation.

Trump’s stand has been contrary to the position of the Democrat presidential aspirant, Hillary Clinton, who believes that America should be an all-inclusive nation where all ethnic groups, races, and religious groups should be given equal opportunities and access to public resources. According to Clinton, it is the role of the U.S. government to take all precautionary measures that will ensure security for the nation rather than accuse particular races of the vices. According to Allen, the term double consciousness can be a useful theoretical framework that can be applied in the bid to understand the social divisions that have hit the United States of America. The racial conflicts are experienced at both group and individual level. It is the issue of double consciousness that has highly influenced the behaviors of African Americans (Allan 190).

African Americans always try to act in ways that will help them survive in the harsh environment, given that the African Americans are viewed as a minority group. Some have tried to adapt to the westernized way of living while others find it hard to survive. They always fight their way to survival. This is an issue that is likely to dominate much of the country, especially if the Republican presidential candidate, Trump, emerges as the winner in the 2016 polls. Trump’s presidency might raise cases of insecurity as the minority races will be fighting for their survival.

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Gender

Gender has been an issue in the history of the United States as women have been denied top priorities in the societies for a long time. For instance, the top positions in the government and major organizations have been dominated by men. Women have been viewed as a weak gender; hence, they are not given the responsibility to hold high offices (Coday par. 1). The debate on gender inequality has heated up in the current presidential debate and could be one of the factors that will determine the person who will win the upcoming elections.

Clinton recently launched a “Women with Clinton” campaign. As per the Democrats, it is the high time that the United States gets a female president. The Democrats say that it has been an embarrassing fact that very few women have been offered a chance to serve in the upper-level politics. Clinton, in one of the Democrats’ presidential debates, stated that she has experienced mammoth support of women through donations. These women want a change in the male dominance in the United States political arena. She said, “I have hundreds of thousands of donors most of them small, and I’m very proud that for her first time a majority of my donors are women” (Coday par. 2).

Among the issues that Clinton is promising to address regarding gender inequality is the funding for Planned Parenthood, the endorsement of the Equality Act, gender identity, as well as sex and sexual orientation issues.

YWCA, an organization that has worked for over a century trying to eliminate the vice of racism, social injustice, and gender inequality, has been pushing for more consideration of these issues in the presidential debate (YWCA USA par. 1). Before the presidential debate held in February, Dara Richardson, who is the CEO of the organization, released a statement that urged for a change of tone in matters relating to women and race discussions. In his statement, Richardson said:

“It is time to elevate the dialogue in our country when it comes to women and people of color. The 2016 presidential campaign has seen these as touchstone issues, and some candidates have proposed policies and made statements that would worsen current inequities. We need candidates and elected officials to create, champion, and sign into law real policy solutions that address racial and gender inequality in the United States” (YWCA USA par. 1).

Gender inequality refers to the treatment of people unequally based on their gender. Gender inequality is said to stem from distinctions that could either be socially constructed or empirically grounded (Allan 162). Most scholars agree that men have been the dominant gender in nearly all societies. Women, on the other hand, have been subordinate. The position of men in families has been one of the main reasons why women have been subordinated in most societies.

Men and women are unequal in families, which forms the basis for gender inequality in society. In other words, this is the fundamental position of gender imbalance structures; it has been the main reason why women are never given top positions in the society and the government institutions (Allan 165). From a family set up, women are always seen as second fiddle to men. This perspective is perpetuated even in national leadership.

The issue of double consciousness can also be applicable in the case of women being treated as unequal to men. Women acquire particular behaviors in their bid to edge out male dominance in society. In the United States presidential race, women are committed to supporting their own and fighting for their rights. In one of her speeches, Clinton stated that women’s rights are not lesser than human rights and that human rights are equal to women’s rights.

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The debate of women and their rights has not featured a lot in the campaigns of the Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. Trump has focused on other issues instead of gender issues. The other presidential candidate who contributed to the debate is the Republican’s Carly Fiorina, although she is no longer in the race. Her sentiments were in line with those of Clinton as she believed that women should be empowered and given equal opportunities as men both in governmental and political institutions.

Conclusion

Race and gender inequality are among the issues that have been dominant in the United States for quite a long period. Racism has especially been a major problem of concern for years. It is an issue that continues to feature even in the politics of today. Each of the presidential candidates who are seeking to clinch the top job in the upcoming presidential elections has their agenda for race and gender. While Donald Trump seems to be highly racial with his utterances, the Democrat candidate has been coy on the matter.

On the other hand, Clinton is highly focused on the gender issue while Trump has been quiet on the same issue. This will be among the other agendas that are likely to influence the outcome of the next election. Kenneth Allen has addressed the issues of gender and racial inequality in most of his social works. He has explained the major sources of these inequalities and suggested some things that can be adopted in the bid to solve the problems. If applied, the theories of Allen on social and sociological matters could be effective in addressing the inequality problems in the U.S.

Works Cited

Allan, Kenneth. A Primer in Social and Sociological Theory: Toward a Sociology of Citizenship. Los Angeles: SAGE/Pine Forge, 2011. Print.

Coday, Emily. “Gender Inequality in the Presidential Race.Liberal America, 2015.

Crilly, Rob. “Donald Trump on Muslims: ‘They’re Not Coming to this Country if I’m President’.The Telegraph, 2015.

YWCA USA. “Candidates to Present Real Policy Solutions for Racial and Gender Equality.PR Newswire, 2016.

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