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“Race, Class, and Gender in the United States” by P. Rothenberg Report

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Abstract

This paper represents the discussion of the cases of race, class, and gender discrimination. This problem needs more evaluation because of its everyday emergence in the United States. Moreover, it is widely recognized, as important for the positive social development of American society. The scope of the review falls into the necessity of observation. The statements of Paola Rothenberg stimulate further discussion on probable ways of solutions. Thus, the main approach in the paper is implied to the survey of the author. The criticism of Rothenberg is placed, as primary in the discussion. Specifically for the United States, the problem of racial, gender, and class discrimination and segregation still become open. Therefore, it acquired features of social, economic, and political significance for Americans.

Introduction

The outlook on the problem of racism, sexism, and gender inequality in the United States presupposes perpetual struggle. In terms of constant conflicts on this basis people still confront points on misunderstanding in mutual relationships based on the superficial features of appearance. In this respect, the book by Paola Rothenberg is dedicated, first, to show the current situation in the country and, second, to evaluate the reasons for it at the contemporary stage of American national development. The author is intended to place the facts in the book to state the reality of time in terms of gender, race, and other patterns which are disputable in society and provide conflict consequences.

The review of the book is interesting in its multinational and multidimensional character. The stories gathered in it help better understand the significance of this social disaster for the American nation. Moreover, the book is concerned with contemporary social cuts in the United States. The features of biases and negative attitudinal framework being so spread within Americans are enclosed into the discussion of the book.

Review

Looking at the book from first sight, one may be put into the picture about the main ideas in it. In this respect, the title of the book fully indicates its reliability and straightforward character of it in terms of the contemporary social situation between minorities and the majority of the American nation. The author surveys such division of the society to make assumptions about further outcomes unless the problem is being changed since now.

The detailed description of the numerous cases, when intolerant confrontation of different ethnicities and genders appears, illuminates the depth of this social pit in which the US exists at the moment. Paola Rothenberg (2007) critically evaluates current achievements about the problem stating that aggressor-victim relations are still apparent for the American society:

At times, the “victim” has done so in response to the racism and/or sexism in the society to survive, but at other times movements made up of these “victims” have sought to redefine difference as part of a struggle for power and personhood (50).

In this respect, the author makes a direct remark that the negative effects in social affairs lead to the internal destruction of the nation. This argument is rather strong looking at the iterative nature of this theme throughout the collected readings. On the other hand, cross-cultural communication is identified to be the obstacle to the positive development of social affairs in the country. Growth of the national coloring in the country is observed by the author as the indicator for probable conflicts in the society. The situation deepens in its roots. The results are obvious, reasons are known, but the methods for the reduction of the issue’s effects are not invented and implemented yet. In this case, the author makes the tolerance and loyalty methods possible for every individual to get rid of constant biases and condemnation of the minorities from the side of a white majority.

In fact, the problem between a dominant group of Americans and those of the minor one is asserted almost in every reading in the book. This domination is also prescribed in terms of man-woman relationships. Furthermore, the author especially criticizes this feature in the society: “The idea of gender difference helps keep male dominance in place” (Rothenberg, 2007, p. 63). It is not surprising that this problem gave birth to the sexual harassment cases being viable in the workplace throughout the United States. Here the author keeps a strict eye on the logical chain of outcomes that are caused by racial and gender discrimination.

Sitaram & Prosser (1998) evaluate the nature of gender biases in their characteristic features of masculine spheres of mind and culture and feminine ones of body and nature. Thus, analyzing the many-faceted nature of the gender biases Rothenberg (2007) gives, in turn, a concrete alternative for the ruination of suchlike biases in individuals, namely education.

Being concerned in the prospects of educational approaches and the achievements of humankind in spheres of philosophy, history, biology, Americans will be able to estimate their blindness in respect toward allegedly right deeds and attitudes in the process of cross-cultural relationships. The role of the white majority in the US Rothenberg values as the primary for making rational decisions as of further development does not decline of the relations in the society:

In this candid look at social and academic realities, Rothenberg shares incidents from her own life and the lives of family and friends to show how privilege is constructed and to reveal the forces that make us unaware of it (University Press of Kansas, 2004, para. 2).

It is because of the personal experience the author can adequately share the point of the discussion on race, gender, and conflict inside the domain of American multiculturalism and sphere of straightforward provision of communication with afterward results. Perry (2003) supports the vision by Rothenberg noting that the “oppressive meaning of difference” is the indicator for prioritizing some form of identity over others by social systems.

Rothenberg describes several cases when the unfair and unequal directives of the official representing the majority in the authoritative organs negatively influenced the destinies of people just because of their ethnic belonging. Even here the discussion about the problem touches upon the higher echelons of power. Still, the author insists on the reformation of social relations from the top of society. It is effective due to the possible effect after such transformations in society. However, the author makes only some glimpses on this piece of the discussion leaning more to the problem as it is among Americans.

Making sense of race the author correlates the view of the reader on the historical reasoning for this huge problem. However, more attention is caught on the features of the real struggle for rights. Minor groups of people representing particular ethnic, cultural, or economic interests are constantly oppressed by the majority in the United States. The thing is that the real development of the relations contradicts the previously adopted standards and prescription for the American democracy and its spread inside the country and abroad as well. The reliability of such thought provides the dead-end for further critical observation of the current social and political situation in the country. The point is that people do not even recognize that through discriminative intentions they destruct the identity toward genuine postulates for the American nation.

Thus, discrimination is observed in the book from the sides of family and workplace relationships. This survey by Rothenberg is special for its straightforward underlining of the possible deaths in society. In turn, violence reflects violence, and this fatal circle cannot be stopped utilizing personal hatred and impatience. Pascale (2007) is united with Rothenberg in the idea that such struggle does not exclude the possibility of physically deadly assaults based on discrimination.

Rothenberg (2007) is also highly intended to admit that the relations between individuals and groups of them are at risk of further collapse in greater scopes. It is since the problem remains to be unanswered, and solely governmental prospects on the decisions about it are not enough. More rational and somehow persistent measurement or programs should be involved in the educational establishments. The author admits that the risk is inevitable until the discrimination is stopped at the initial level among new generations of Americans. This is why Rothenberg poses personal responsibility, as the impulse for Americans to be aware of the danger in which they are willingly encouraged.

Throughout the seventies and after Rothenberg realized the significance of gender, racial roles, and the place of a family from her position as an activist and educator in the sphere of social relations. This is why the whole composition of the book props up against a somehow historical background of the author herself. This feature makes sense of the full understanding of the problem in the United States included in the book. Furthermore, taking into account that Rothenberg still struggles for gaining the ideal place and atmosphere for the provision of communication between different ethnical communities, it is vital to admit that she feels that the situation will soon come up to a logical and rational conclusion. The thing is that it is not clear what will be the end of this discussion: positive or negative.

Conclusion

The book by Paola Rothenberg Race, class, and gender in the United States is the peculiar demonstration of the social inequality maintained and still provided in the American society. The author deals with the ethnic and gender aspects to further evaluate the nature of the social conflict in the United States and its probable outcomes in the long-term perspective. The book is scheduled in the form of readings collected by the author to detect the problem and to estimate it from different foreshortenings. Thus, the actuality and seriousness of the problems raised in the book are to be read by every American, so as not to lead the society of the country to the internal collapse.

Reference

Pascale, C. M. (2007). Making sense of race, class, and gender: commonsense, power, and privilege in the United States. Bocaraton, FL: CRC Press.

Perry, B. (2003). Hate and bias crime: a reader. London: Routledge.

Rothenberg, P. S. (2007). Race, class, and gender in the United States (7th ed.). New York: Worth Publishers.

Sitaram, K. S. & Prosser, M. H. (1998). Civic discourse: multiculturalism, cultural diversity, and global communication. Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing Group.

University Press of Kansas. (2007). Invisible Privilege: A Memoir About Race, Class, and Gender 2007. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas.

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