The Impact Of Cultural Inequality In Society

1034 Words 4 Pages
This essay explores the impact of cultural messages in areas of inequality within our society. Particularly, how cultural messages contribute to the initiation, continued existence, and potential solutions for various social inequalities. To begin, it is imperative to understand the importance of culture in society, culture includes the language, beliefs, values, norms, behaviors, and material objects passed from each generation to the next. Specifically, culture includes: (1) material culture, or the tangible objects that distinguish a group of people from other groups of people, and (2) nonmaterial, or symbolic culture, which shapes a group’s way of thinking. Symbolic culture comprises of gestures, language, values, norms and sanctions. …show more content…
As mentioned in the course VoiceThread for this topic, "race" is a social category which serves as a basis for differential treatment and is socially constructed. Indeed, there is no biological difference between races. Likewise, "racism" is a system of advantage based on race, which includes beliefs and actions of individuals, cultural messages, institutional practices and policies. Thus, since race and racism are constructed, cultural messaging plays a large part in how this social issue is constructed and proliferated. For example, Moore’s article Racism in the English Language, speaks specifically about the impact that language (symbolic culture) has on society’s attitudes and thinking. He states, “Language not only expresses ideas and concepts but actually shades thought.” Additionally, he explains that color symbolism in “white” and “black” words and phrases have negative connotations yet are frequently used, often without thought. This is likely due to the usage in our language which has been passed down for generations and used so frequently that we simply don’t concisely think about what we are actually saying. The impact of this symbolic culture is that we often use the word “white” to describe something in a positive manner while in contrast, we use the word “black” to describe something in negative context. Moore’s examples included “telling a white lie”, which is a lie …show more content…
The VoiceThread mentions the fact that young people, single mothers, elderly and disabled make up the largest population of welfare recipients. However, the cultural messages we receive from our politics and media tend to portray welfare recipients in the news as being lazy or from urban areas. Consequently, this generates a perception among the general population that economic inequality is not something which affects the broad middle class and that the resolution lies in the accountability of the poor, not the society as a whole. Our American politics socialize us at an early age that “in America, if you work hard you will be handsomely rewarded”. In our Mantsios reading, Mantsios superbly describes how the media frames issues of inequality in a way which denigrates the poor and insulates the super-rich by choosing to highlight stories of "rags to riches" examples, though when reporting on the poor, the reporting fails to represent the majority of the population who are poor. Additionally, our politicians frequently use similar cultural messaging with the media as their vehicle, creating situations which incite anger and resentment towards the poor. "They routinely center on the Black urban population and focus on perceived personality or cultural traits that doom the poor…" "Census figures reveal that most of the poor are white, not Black or Hispanic, that they live in rural or suburban areas, not urban centers, and

Related Documents