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The city of Detroit is a city that has witnessed a drastic metamorphosis over the last 50 to 60 years. This metamorphosis has seen the city of Detroit change from a central industrial hub to a city that is on the verge of filing for bankruptcy. This drastic economic change has had a detrimental effect on the society of Detroit and the composition of this society. This has affected all the scopes of Detroit city and the Detroit society at large (Farley, Danziger, Holzer, 2002).
The effects of this drastic change had left many Detroiters poorer than they were before the collapse of the industrial system that many cities in the United States of America envied. The race and ethnicity of the city of Detroit is largely influenced by the economic state of the Detroiters and the city at large. The city of Detroit’s race and ethnicity composition varies greatly from the city to the suburbs, as well (Zenk, 2004).
The city of Detroit has always been marred by a barrage of racial discrimination challenges. In the past, Detroit was a city in which people lived in apartheid-like conditions. The inhabitants of Detroit were not allowed to mingle and live freely, in spite of the racial diversity that the city had. The city of Detroit was always separated, leaving the white community and the black community leading completely different lives. Many of the whites that lived in Detroit lived in the suburbs, where they enjoyed good housing and proper amenities that catered to their needs.
On the other hand, many black inhabitants of Detroit lived miserable lives in run-down neighborhoods where even the basic needs were considered luxuries. The racial disparity of Detroit was so much that housing developers were not allowed to put up housing projects (intended for the white community) in proximity to black neighborhoods that were considered unsafe and unfit for human inhabitation. One of the highlights that confirmed this racial disparity between the whites and the blacks of Detroit is the erection of a half-a-mile-long wall by a housing developer in the 1940s. This wall was erected to separate a black neighborhood from a potentially white neighborhood.
At the time, the city of Detroit was largely African-American with the white community based in the suburbs (Zenk, 2004). The blacks were mainly involved in doing menial work such as being maids, construction workers, as well as factory workers. The booming factory business in the city of Detroit was responsible for the large racial disparity between whites and blacks. The many blacks formed the majority of the casual laborers at the factories while the few whites formed the management staff at the factories, with very few being casual laborers (Farley, Danziger, Holzer, 2002).
This left the white community richer than the black community hence it was able to afford good housing in the suburbs. The black community lived in poverty and was forced to reside in the run-down areas of Detroit. The movement of factories form the core of the urban areas to the suburbs provided an opportunity for the white community to follow, but the black community was restricted from moving to the suburbs and ended up remaining in the urban core of Detroit. This played a central role in the segregation and disparity witnessed between the black and white communities in the following years, culminating in the 1967 Detroit riot that was also called the 12th street riot.
The city of Detroit has also realized change in its composition over the years. It was common place to have the white community living in the suburbs and the black community living in the urban core, but this practice is shifting. Over the past few years, Detroit has been a center of change with the white community moving into the urban core of Detroit whilst the black community moves more into the suburbs. A survey of the population census of 2010 shows that more black households are moving into the suburbs and the white community is moving into the city (Quickfacts.census.gov, 2013).
This change is evidence of the changing attitudes of both the black and white communities in Detroit. The city of Detroit is largely black and experiences very high levels of poverty. Ironically, north of the city of Detroit is the county of Oakland, that is largely white and, the richest county in the state. These two neighborhoods contrast the economic status of Detroit and that of Oakland.
The city of Detroit has also evolved from a city that comprised white and black communities to one that also comprises the Hispanic community, the Native American and Alaskan community, as well as the Asian community. The black population forms 81% of the city of Detroit while the white population forms a meager 10% of the city of Detroit inhabitants (Quickfacts.census.gov, 2013). The Hispanic community claims 7% of the population and the remaining communities comprise a meager 2% (Quickfacts.census.gov, 2013). The diversity of Detroit continues to grow with each passing day as testament to the changes that Detroit continues to witness in its political, social and economic landscapes.
The city of Detroit is a diverse city that houses many races. The racial divide of Detroit skews in favor of the African –American community, although there are a number of other races in the city of Detroit (Farley, Danziger, Holzer, 2002). The city of Detroit has the white community forming the vast majority of the professional body. Many of the white inhabitants of Detroit are well educated and take up managerial positions in most of the companies in Detroit.
However, many of the black inhabitants form the basis of many companies in terms of labor (Quickfacts.census.gov, 2013). They occupy a vast majority of the lower employment levels such s janitors, cleaners, parking meter attendants and community workers. They share these opportunities with the Hispanic and Native American communities. The Asian community is primarily engaged in business, with many Asians being self-employed (Quickfacts.census.gov, 2013).
The social standing of the inhabitants of Detroit is a replica of the financial status of the city of Detroit. However, this social standing is directly proportional to the living conditions of the inhabitants of Detroit. Many individuals living in the suburbs of Detroit form the middle class of the city of Detroit (Zenk, 2004). The inhabitants of the urban core of Detroit form the lower classes of Detroit. This is evident in the living condition that these two groups of individuals experience. The professions that many of these individuals hold also contribute to the social levels that these individuals have. It is also noteworthy that the jobs that many of these individuals hold may have been influenced by their race and ethnicity, making Detroit a discriminate city.
The city of Detroit continues to face a web of challenges in its quest to re-define itself and re-establish itself as an industrial powerhouse (Farley, Danziger, Holzer, 2002). It is very sad that the challenge of racial and ethnic division is still a challenge that looks the city of Detroit right in the face.
Farley, R., Danziger, S., & Holzer, H. J. (2002). Detroit divided. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.
Zenk, S. N. (2004). Neighborhood racial composition, neighborhood poverty, and food access in metropolitan Detroit: Geographic information systems and spatial analysis.
Quickfacts.census.gov (2013). Detroit (city) QuickFacts from the US Census Bureau.
The race-conflict approach is a theory that is meant at achieving equality between individuals of different races and ethnical categories, without raising conflict. The human race is comprised of individuals of different racial and ethnical backgrounds. The diversity in people often causes there to be conflicts and inequality within the different groups. Human relations have been based on the difference between diverse groups. Therefore, the differences between the groups cause some individuals to classify themselves as different from others. The result of such actions is that some certain groups feel superior and such groups despise other groups. The difference between an ethnic community and a race is that a race consists of individuals with the same physical characteristics. An ethnic group, on the other hand, refers to individuals with the same cultural traits.
Multiculturalism, on the other hand, refers to the collection of different cultures in a unified society. A multicultural society comprises of cultures from all the ethnic groups in the society, without one culture being dominant than the other. Multiculturalism is aimed at preserving the cultures of the different ethnic groups, in order for each group to have a culture they can relate to. Multiculturalism also aims at teaching the different ethnic groups to learn, respect, accept and understand the cultures of other groups. A multicultural society focuses on making the different groups embrace interaction and communication. The focus on interaction and communication brings about understanding, peace and harmony in the society.
The United States culture is a combination of different cultures that have been borrowed or assimilated from different ethnic groups present in the nation. The United States culture is in most cases referred to as the Western culture, due to the geographical position of the nation. Western culture is a combination of many ethnic divides, with strong Latin and African influences and some part of Asian influence. Western culture is the result of the ethnic diversity caused by the mass immigration of individuals in the late 19th and 20th century. The Western culture is often viewed as a strong religious group, with major Christianity traits. However, Christianity is not the only religion popular in the States and the diversity in culture makes the nation one of the most religious nations.
One of the major American values is individuality, and children are encouraged to depend on themselves from an early age. Americans also respect their privacy and tend to prefer spending time alone. Another American value is that no one is superior to the other; therefore, individuals have the same rights. Americans are encouraged to use their time wisely, and a waste of time is considered as losing money. Another value of American culture is informality, and this is why it is not a big deal for a student to go to school dressed in casual wear. There is also the belief that for one to achieve their goals and ambitions in the future, they have to change to make it possible. One admiring value about the American culture is that individuals are encouraged to solve their problems without the need of a mediator.
Social-conflict approach shows that conflict is the result of inequality among different individuals in the groups. Therefore, the inequality brings about tension, which results in conflict and change. In most cases, the people who cause conflict and change in the society are those who feel that they are being despised or avoided because they do not have wealth or certain traits. Therefore, such individuals or groups feel despised and as minors in the society; the groups might decide to violent activities and conflict. Counterculture refers to a culture that has norms of beliefs that differs from those of the mainstream society. Counterculture is meant to bring out ideas that are not agreed upon by the mainstream society and may cause changes in the culture.
The American Society itself is a society that comprises of both social-conflict approach and counterculture. For a long time, the American Society has been curved as a society that favors the white race as a superior race compared to other races in the nation. The culture has resulted in the discrimination of African-Americans or whites, Asians, and Latinos. However, over the years the culture has been developed to accept people of other races and treat them in the same way Whites are treated. It is quite sad that in this century, there are still some individuals that treat Blacks and other races as minorities in the society. Therefore, with such conditions being set in the society, Blacks and the other races feel obliged to prove that they are not a minority in the society.
Structural function focuses on the use of idealism and a culture to promote stability and solidarity. The approach of structural function is aimed at looking at the organization of the society as a whole, and the evolvement of the society and its cultures. The structural function approach looks at the society from the view of social functions and social structure. Structural function also looks into elements in the society like norms, traditions, customs and institutions. Structural-function approach is compared the members of the society to body organs. Therefore, members of the society just like body parts are supposed to make sure the body, society is functioning as a whole. Members of the society are supposed to be responsible for their actions for they have an impact on the whole community.
In a way, the structural function approach has a positive impact on the operation of the society as a whole. The cooperation of all the members of the society ensures that the society runs like one organization with a common goal. The structural function approach can be compared to giving members of a company or organization different goals according to their abilities. However, all the workers despite the different goals need to be aware of the common goal of the organization and put it into consideration. The structural function approach focuses broadly on social structures, and this defines the society as a whole.
Currently in the world, gender differences exist in almost every arena of social interaction. From the beginning of the life of a human being, birth, gender differences are in existence up to the death of an individual. In some cases, gender expectation may begin even before birth, with the parents buying clothes of a certain color, expecting a certain gender of the child. There is a difference between sex and gender, and most people seem to have no idea of the difference. Sex refers to the biological identity of an individual while gender refers the socially acquired expectations that come with being either male or female. The media has not avoided being caught up in the gender issues in their communication (Wharton, 2011, 215). The media has been the victim of trying to portray one message, but instead the reception is the exact opposite. The cultural origin of gender is very apparent when one is looking at the other cultures. For example, the American Society and the Western culture in overall, individuals tend to think of femininity and masculinity in dichotomous terms. In other cultures, this idea is challenged, and individuals seem to have less distinct views of femininity and masculinity.
There are a couple of sociological theories of gender that the media can use to deliver their message in a clear way without bringing confusion. Feminist theories address issues in gender, and there is the belief that every individual should be free to grow their talents and develop their personal interests. Therefore, the society needs to remove the barriers that avoid the individuals from growing their talents. There are a couple of gender issues that have been going on in the societies in the world, without leaving out the American society. One of the issues is the oppression and objectification of women. Women have been the subject of oppression for decades now, despite the trend reducing. Women are denied some job positions because there is a culture that such jobs are only befitting for males. The objectification of women is another issue that has been in the open for quite long (Wharton, 2011, 229). The United States media is a representation of the society and how it favors gender inequality. This is evident through printing, television, music and advertisements. The mainstream media is at the top of promoting gender inequality, with the idea of hetero-masculinity showing that men are dominant over women.
For example, examples of such films are superhero films, in which most of the superheroes are male. There are very few superheroes who are women, showing that men are the dominant culture. The media teaches that men are ultra-masculine by depicting them as physically strong and violent. Beer commercials are an example of advertisements that show men are an ultra-masculine gender. Therefore, it is common for men to oppress other men in case they fail to conform to the idea of men being ultra-masculine (Wharton, 2011, 200). The media is also an instrument of the objectification of women, and it is common to be compared with objects that can be owned. Research shows that the objectification of women in the media has some serious repercussions on the society as a whole. The context of advertisements is the perfect example that the media facilitates gender inequality. The image created by the media is not advisable especially because of the image it portrays on the young. When a child is about the age of five years, they already know that the man is the dominant sex while the woman is the lesser sex.
Wharton, Amy S. The Sociology of Gender: An Introduction to Theory and Research. Chichester, West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012. Print.
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