U.S. History Race, Class, Gender, and Oppression
Quotes • “Oppression can only survive through silence.” • “He who allows oppression shares the crime.”
What is oppression? • Oppression is the experience of repeated, widespread, systemic injustice. • Oppression may be extreme and violent or… • It may be “civilized” or “structural”… oppression is a part of everyday life and not questioned by the oppressed. • When we refer to oppression, we are usually talking about large groups of people that share a similar characteristic(s).
Throughout the history of the United States, people have been oppressed based on a variety of things • We will focus primarily on race, class, and gender.
Race • Refers to the categorization of people into groups based on inheritable characteristics (skin color, cranial structure, facial features, or hair texture) • The concept of race is controversial…it is not natural or scientific but constructed by humans.
Social Class • Class refers to the different levels of a society (social stratification) • Rich vs. Poor, Powerful vs. Powerless, Oppressor vs. Oppressed, Capitalists vs. Workers • There are many different class models (i.e. upper, middle, lower class)
American Social Class • Upper Americans • Upper-upper class; (ca. 1%) Old money stemming from inherited wealth. $1,673,215/year. • Lower-upper class; (ca. 1%) Top professionals [and] senior corporate executives. $251,000/year. • Upper-middle class; (ca. 19%) "Professional and Managerial" class, it consists of "Middle professionals and managers" with a college and often graduate degrees. $114,000-$183,000/year • Middle Americans • Middle-class; (ca. 31%) This class consists of “lower-level managers; small-business owners; lower-status professionals (accountants, teachers); sales and clerical" workers. Middle class persons had a high school and college education. $30,000 - $60,000/year • Working class; (ca. 35%) This class consists of "Higher blue collar (craftsman, truck drivers); lowest-paid sales and clerical" workers. $23,000 - $45,000/year. • Lower Americans (ca. 13%) • Semipoor; This class had a partial high school education and consisted of "Unskilled labor and service" workers. $14,000 - $18,000/year. • The bottom; Those who are "Often unemployed" or rely on welfare payments. These individuals typically lack a high school education.$14,000/year.
Gender • Typically refers to a persons biological sex (male or female) • Gender can also refer to socially constructed roles, behaviors, and activities that a society considers acceptable for men and women. • Gender Identity- the gender that a person identifies themselves as.