Culture in Today’s Society
CULTURE IN TODAY’S SOCIETY 7
Culturein Today’s Society
Theconcept of social structure forms the basis of sociologicalendeavour definitely, the examination of the structured inequalityis the fundamental nature of “sociological imagination."Gender, race, and class are the foundation stones of stratificationand determine the access to social responsibility, defines socialinequality, shapes an individual’s identity and provides a neutralground where individuals can form movements to resist gender, classand racial discrimination. Therefore, class, gender and race are anindispensable part of an individual and either impact positively ornegatively in almost every aspect of the life of an individual(Grusky, 2001). These three aspects are common in workplaces, atschool, in homes and person’s private life. Therefore, this paperwill look at two different interviews conducted on two individualsbased on these three aspects. Interview questions revolved aroundtheir education, jobs, as well as past relationships that were allaffected by socioeconomic class, perceived gender roles and racerelations. Although the two individuals were affected differently, itis evident that they were affected to a certain extent.
Myfirst interviewee refers to Mr.1, a 50 year old, white, divorced,investment banker with four children. He was born and raised in awhite suburban area in Texas and was not around many people of otherraces, and was not raised up in a racist environment. Being male, Mr1 was expected to play football by his father during his high schoolcareer to make him believe that, after high school, his collegecareer in football was the only path to take. The interview describesan example of patriarchy, gender roles and performance, as well associalization by illustrating how much issues they had on Mr 1choices in life. After Mr 1 graduates from high school and looks fora job, the results of male and gender privilege positively positionshim at an advantage. Mr 1 disclosed that being a male is what mostprobably got him his first job because he had graduated with a girlwho was looking for the same job, but was not given the job despiteher excellent class performance. Besides, while still young andworking at his new job, Mr 1 started to take seriously the issue ofdating. He followed the social norms of education, job, house, wifeand kids, and only dated people who had the same goals as him.
Therefore,I asked him, “Would you pick a pretty suburb girl with upper middleclass parents?” Mr 1 replied with a smile, stating that he feltworth and right to date with what he was familiar with. Thus, thesocio-economic class was a key factor to Mr 1 dating life. Moreover,when Mr 1 was asked if he wound date the same girl as mentioned abovebut from African American, he shrunk and said that he was not againstinterracial, black people dating, but he could not imagine ithappening. I confirmed my hypothesis that the class was not the onlyfactor in Mr 1 dating life since he finally married a girl fromanother investment bank. Mr 1 wife did accredit to the gender role ofstaying home as a house wife, and they both continued working evenafter marriage, of which Mr 1 felt it was right.
Thesecond interviewee whom I will name as Ms. 2, proved to be the mostvocal among the two interviewees. She was a white woman, widowed andshe stayed at home. Ms. 2 was born and brought up in the upper middleclass in Dallas, and had two sisters and a brother. During herchildhood, she was greatly affected by her gender at home and school.Ms. 2 and her sisters attended a Mission school, which was a girl’sschool. Similarly, her brother went to a Catholic school comprisingof all the boys. Ms. 2 and her sisters were obedient to their parentsand followed all the rules. However, her parents used to punish themheavily for interacting with their peers, especially from theopposite sex as they feared that their moral would be affected. Onthe other hand, her brother was not punished after interacting withhis peers even from the opposite sex. As a result of peer pressure,her brother got involved in bad company and was expelled from school.Nonetheless, her parents did what they could to find another schoolfor him so as to continue with his studies. However, throughperseverance and determination Ms. 2 successfully graduated from highschool and joined a middle level college, but she disregarded all thegender customs enforced to her during her upbringing after joiningthe college. She considered taking a year off from her normal studiesand travel across the world.
However, she was torn between education and touring. Thus, she soughta piece of advice from an adviser who recommended that she need toconcentrate on her education first and wait for an appropriate timeto explore the world. Ms.2 case was analogous to Mr. 1 case in thefact that, although race affected their lives differently in one wayor another, the racial impact was dissimilar among the twointerviewees. Ms. 2 got married to a wealthy Caucasian man from apoor background and had never received any formal education whetherat college or university. After getting to know more about thedeceased husband of Mrs. 2, I considered it interesting if got achance to interview him. I arrived at a slight conclusion concerninggender, class and racial discrimination. However, I realized that, ofall the three form of discrimination, an individual has anopportunity to only change one form-class.
Benefitsof using interviews
Ityields a high significance of returns as more information can becollected using interviews, as opposed to using other methods ofcollecting data. The interviewer can get extra information from therespondents that might be relevant to the research. It can becheaply modified to provide the potential of the individuals beinginterviewed to respond to the questions. Mostly, the interviewer isflexible to change the language so as to provide that of theinterviewee. For instance, he or she can use simple language that therespondents can understand as opposed to using other methods(Watzlawik & Born, 2007). Besides, it is a good technique ofgathering information concerning sensitive and complex topics. Inthose topics that the interviewee is not aware or does notunderstand, the interviewer has the freedom to first explain thattopic to the interviewee so that the latter can be able to respondaccordingly.
Similarly, it needs a perfect sample of the entire population. Whenusing this method the interviewer requires the response of a givensample of individuals in that targeted pollution. With theseresponses, the interviewer can be able to generalize an entirepopulation. Data collected with this method is more precise andrelevant to the research compared to other methods. The techniqueprovides a more relaxed environment for collecting information(Watzlawik & Born, 2007). The association between the intervieweeand the interviewer creates a serene atmosphere where the two have achance to associate and share information.
Limitationsof using interviews
Theprocess is time-intensive as more time is wasted in travelling to thelocation where the interviewee is and also in asking questions. It isalso costly as one must incur the cost of travelling gadgets ofrecording and storing the information acquired from the respondentssuch as laptop and miscellaneous costs such as lunch. Besides, themethod requires high skills as the interviewer must be well equippedwith the skills of approaching the respondents, computer skills andskills of gathering relevant information from the respondents. Inaddition, the method requires extra energy. The interviewer must beready in advance to walk in areas where vehicles cannot access, inspending hours in convincing and winning the interviewees so as torespond accordingly. The interview process is prone to be bias whenselecting the individuals to respond to the questions and in askingthe questions. The disadvantage of generalizing wider populations isthat, the interviewer gathers information from a small sample in agiven population, and the response from the sample is cannot begeneralized to be the response of the entire population (Watzlawik &Born, 2007).
Theinterviews provided an avenue in regard to race, class and genderdiscrimination. Of the three forms, the class and how it affectssomeone’s life is the only thing that one can change. However,dedication and hard work are not adequately enough to change theclass person is born and raised. Unluckily, this is not the case forgender and race though they are socially constructed in the society.They result is that, gender and racial discrimination still exists inour society even when there are no supporting reasons for it.Following Mr 1 response to whether or not he wound date a black womanof his similar socio-economic status, Mr 1 was neutral andnon-offensive to the reason he had thought of. It demonstrates wherediscrimination of race, class and gender is present in the currentdays. Although they continue to have a strong effect aspect of ourlives, it is not by force as it previously happened. Therefore, therehas been as social progress in American through the election ofAfrican American president, a testimony to what the future canachieve.
Grusky,D. B. (2001). Socialstratification: Class, race, and gender in sociological perspective.Boulder, Colo: Westview Press.
Watzlawik,M., & Born, A. (2007).Capturing identity: Quantitative and qualitative methods.Lanham: University Press of America.