SOCIOLOGICAL MEMOIR 5
Being an inquisitive young man living in the United States, Idecided to enquire from my uncle who helped raise me when I was youngabout the journey of my life. Being from the Middle East, I wascurious to know from my uncle how my family ended up in Ohio, UnitedStates. According to the interview I conducted with my 62 year olduncle, my family had to immigrate to the United States in search ofbetter economic opportunities, running away from war and violence, aswell a better life back in the 1960s. My uncle pointed out to me thatby the time my parents arrived to the United States, they could nothold any white collar jobs due to their race. Although my parents hadcollege education, they would only get jobs as casual workers in thetextile mills and industrial factories.
My uncle made it clear to me that the jobs held by foreigners orimmigrants have changed over the generations. This has beenattributed to the reduction of racism in the United States. My motherhas ever since served as a nurse while my father has also had anopportunity to serve in the army. The standard of living of my familyhas improved over time. Since the opportunities for better jobsbecame apparent, my family’s living standard has improved. It wasalso made clear to me that my family living standard started toimprove when access to social services such as health services wereextended to them regardless of race.
The role of women in the American society has also changeddrastically over the years. Women can now work and hold public andpolitical offices like men (Salaita, 2006). Women are no longer housewives and are considered to be equal to men. My uncle made it clearto me that my family members have been victims of racism asimmigrants in America. Lack of job opportunities, social services andother basic amenities were just but a few effects of racism. Myfamily participated in various demonstration that were seeking tooppose and bring to an end racism and oppression of other races andethnic groups in America.
Racism made my older siblings to have problems accessing education.There were very few chances made available for other races inAmerican colleges and universities. My family’s experience with theeducation system was that of discrimination and denial of learningopportunities. My uncle informed me that when my family arrived inthe United States, they were Muslims. However, this has changed sincethen and my family now practices Christianity.
When I was growing up in America, I realized that it there is adifference between how people share power, resources and how theyaccess various services. It was clear to me that there were varioussocial classes in the American society. My family has been one of themiddle class families. This has made my life a little difficult interms of accessing social amenities and schooling. My access tovarious services such as healthcare has been impeded by my socialclass in the society. There are instances in my life where I have hadto struggle to access health services, as well as educationopportunities in good schools. Being a citizen who has come from alowly social class to the middle social class, access to housing hasbeen a great challenge. There is a culture in the American societythat the first class citizens seem to have an easy time when seekinggovernment services.
My race has been an impediment to numerous chances and opportunitiesin my life. I have been a subject of prejudice and discrimination.Since the September, 2011 bombing, Arabs have been branded asterrorists. This has placed me as an Arab in a state of fear anddiscrimination. I have suffered the stereotyping as a result of anatural occurrence of being an Arab. My aspirations of succeeding inlife in the United States have been thwarted by this kind ofstereotyping. My race has also been of great influence in my searchfor government services. For instance, I have had great difficult inaccessing healthcare and job opportunities. Getting a chance in agood school as an Arab has also been a great challenge. In addition,I and my family have had difficulties trying to access decent housingbecause our race.
In my assessment, I believe that the experiences that I have hadwith my family are not faced by all Americans. The discrimination andprejudice seems to be subjected to races considered as foreign(Salaita, 2006). Such races include Africans, Asians among others. Myfamily and I only received the kind of treatment we got as a resultof our race. The experiences that my family has gone through are as aresult of social structural forces. The American society is dividedin terms of social classes (Salaita, 2006). Racism is also imminentalbeit at a smaller degree than the yester years. Despite the factthat am an Arab and share in the history of my family, I believe am aproduct of the social structure of the American society. The socialstructure forces have shaped me to who I am today. I have also had tomake some difficult choices in order to become who I am today. Thesocial forces in the American society has made me to always seemyself as a second class citizen who have to fight my way through inevery aspect.
Salaita, S. G. (2006). Anti-Arab racism in the USA: Where it comesfrom and what it means for politics today. London: Pluto Press.