- What are the special challenges facing women of subordinate racial and ethnic groups?
Women of subordinate racial and ethnic groups face many challenges: they are held back from their jobs because of their gender, they earn less money compared to men, non-white women are dominated by white women and so on.
The so-called Matrix of Domination, introduced by Patricia Hill Collins, implies that women of subordinate racial or ethnic groups face not only the battle for the equality of women, but they also have to overcome other obstacles, specific for the subordinate groups they belong to.
To understand the Matrix of Domination, let us analyze challenges that African-American women, who do domestic work, face. On one hand, they face challenges common to all women. On the other, quite often they are also dominated by white women who employ them. Further still, many of them are forced into low-wage service jobs. It’s a well-known fact that service workers have the lowest median incomes compared with workers employed in other occupational categories. All in all, compared with some other subordinate groups, African-American women often face more challenges. This is the exact reason why the second wave of the feminist movement was unsuccessful, as it failed to embrace the diversity and different challenges that women of different racial and ethnic groups have to face.
Nonetheless, when these differences are reckoned with, as they are now, it can lead to important changes in society. In the past, men usually made more money for doing exactly the same job, while women were expected to do certain jobs. Nowadays, the roles of men and women are changing, but the bigger challenge arises: to carry these changes beyond certain groups. The fight for the equality continues.
- Do you think standardized tests are culturally biased and why?
There can’t be any doubt that standardized tests are biased. Whether or not they are biased culturally, it is the whole other question. And the correct answer to it is: “yes, they are; but they are working on that”.
The popular accusation is that such tests favor those whose culture and upbringing closely resemble the culture and upbringing of the test makers. Another valid concern is, whether the children with lower social and economic backgrounds can get a fair evaluation of their skills; and the problem lies not only in the quality of their education, but also in the format of the questions, in the language used, in the examples given. One simply should not feel uncomfortable just because a question is poorly worded or blatantly disrespectful towards cultural aspects that matter.
Obviously, there is a problem of what cultural aspects should be considered important and what – less so. It seems impossible to accommodate everyone’s taboos, because it would mean that test themselves are very far from reality. And students try to avoid things that have little in common with reality. During recent decades, the test themselves have undergone major changes. Nowadays, to be included in the test, a question needs to be analyzed by a lot of people, including psychologists and sociologists. Due to continuous revisions of popular tests, they become less and less culturally biased. Though, we can fail to eradicate it completely without harming the tests themselves.
In the end, the goal is to get a set of dry questions, with no cultural bias left in them. Although, will such questions be of any value whatsoever? Can they give you an honest assessment of one’s knowledge, of one’s intelligence? Besides, even if we make standardized test culturally unbiased, this will not make them less biased in other ways.
- Do race and ethnicity have any impact on American history?
It is important to remember that people of all races and ethnic backgrounds helped this country to become what it is.
In most countries, the issue of migration is a sensitive and a complex one. It is even more so when race and ethnicity are involved. However, migration holds an important place in the history of the United States. People came here looking for a better life; then, they ensured that everyone has equal rights to it.
Although the first reference to the immigration in the Constitution of the United States could be found in 1700s, a few laws during the next centuries were either clearly targeting different ethnic groups (like Asians in the XIX century) or aimed at expanding rights of people of a certain race. A law, passed by the Congress in 1800s, gave Whites the exclusive right for naturalization, and it was in full force till 1965.
The law was finally abolished as a result of the civil rights movement that was gaining strength. The XX century was marked by the fight for equality. The United States had come a long way since 1986, when the movement started. One of the most well-known events connected with the civil rights movement was the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. It is best remembered for Martin Luther King’s speech. The famous “I have a dream” was delivered by him in 1963, two years before the aforementioned law was abolished.
There is an important lesson from our history that we have to learn and obey. Whatever social or political changes we are going to see in the future, it is of crucial importance to ensure that everyone has equal rights in the United States. We owe it to our country, to the people who fought to establish it and the people who fought to give its every member a right to be happy.
- Compare and contrast two minority cultures in Metropolitan Detroit
Metropolitan Detroit is known as the most segregated of all metropolitan areas. Two of the biggest Detroit minorities are Mexicans and Arabs.
Mexicans came to Detroit looking for jobs. They stayed, because they faced less discrimination there. By 2000, almost 100,000 people lived in Mexicantown. Nowadays, it is the most diverse part of the town. Almost half of its population is Hispanic, which explains why there are fewer conflicts between Blacks and Whites. It is known for its restaurants and shops that have a positive impact on the local economy. There were lots of articles in newspapers all over the country, where people praised Mexicatown, the one of the few neighborhoods that is actually succeeding in the city. Some even called Mexicatown the most vital part of Detroit. Though, the majority of Mexicans are planning on moving elsewhere, preferably to the suburbs of the city.
Detroit is also a home to the largest population of Arab immigrants in America, with 200,000 Arabs living in the city area. They are trying to assimilate, but in their own way, creating the identity that is half "Arab" and half "American". They too are known for their restaurants and shops, but not exclusively. According to a 2007 WSU study, Arabs produce $7.7 billion annually in salaries and earnings. Although, there is a great diversity among them, which makes it hard to represent their interests. Nowadays, the fate of the city greatly depends on Arabs. The good thing is, you can often hear them saying that they believe in this city and do not plan to leave it.
Detroit had its fair share of clashes caused by ethnic hatred and the problem still remains. Nevertheless, there is a chance that Detroit will someday become a city that enjoys its diverse population and embraces it.