Fluidity In American Society

Improved Essays
The Myth of Fluidity in American Society Horowitz characterizes the United States as the antithesis of a ‘severely divided society’, instead labeling it “fluid society that [has] long contained groups whose descendants have blended into the general population” (Horowitz 20). However, though divisions may not be as readily observable as they are in severely divided societies plagued by ethnic conflict, the characterization of the United States as a “fluid society” is irrevocably false (Horowitz 20). For minority groups, ethnic boundaries feel far from “fluid” (Horowitz 20); conversely, they are exceedingly aware of the “immeasurable” disparity between themselves and white Americans (Douglass). Contrary to Horowitz’s characterization of American …show more content…
political power and economic resources) between ethnic groups has always been unequal (Horowitz 18). Furthermore, members of minority groups have historically possessed significantly less economic and political power than white Americans (Horowitz 18; Coates). This is a direct result of discriminatory government policies regarding meant to maintain the advantage of the white majority. In terms of distribution of “material goods” in America, ethnic boundaries are far from “fluid” (Horowitz 18, 20; Coates). As Coates points out, even today, “white households, on average, hold seven times as much wealth as black household,” and black college graduates are nearly as likely to be unemployed as white high school graduates (Coates). Even wealthy African-American families are more likely to live in “disadvantaged neighborhoods” than poor white families (Coates). This illustrates that in regards to material power, the position of ethnic minorities is far from “fluid.” On the contrary, there is a tremendous wealth gap between white Americans and black Americans. This gap was created and perpetuated by discriminatory policies enacted by the white majority, from the abhorrent practice of slavery to Jim Crow …show more content…
By contrast, “ethnic identity provides clear lines” for the allocation of both “important material and nonmaterial goods” (Horowitz 18). Government policies have resulted in tremendous economic inequality between black Americans and white Americans, illustrating that the economic position of minorities is anything but “fluid” (Horowitz 20, Coates). Moreover, minorities have been excluded from politics due to discriminatory laws and long-standing racism. While people of color have finally gained access to political institutions, this has provoked backlash from the white majority and is entirely dependent on their presentation of a “moderate face” (Horowitz 33). Ultimately, in order to improve the position of ethnic minorities in the US, it is necessary to acknowledge that progress and the absence of ethnic conflict do not mean that the country is not divided. The improvement in the position of minorities has had a tremendously positive impact on American society, but these positions are not yet “fluid;” there is still work to be done in order to live up to the equality promised to all citizens (Horowitz

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