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Posted on September 12th, 2012, by

The textbook “Race, class and gender in the United States”¯ by Paula S. Rothberg focuses on problems of race, class and gender inequality in the US. The author reveals the fact that different types of inequality are closely intertwined in the US and discriminatory practices are unacceptable in the modern society. The author condemns apathy of Americans and appeal to them to start civil actions against any manifestation of discrimination and inequality in the US.

The problem of inequality affected the development of the American society throughout its history. However, in spite of consistent progress and anti-discriminatory laws, the problem of inequality persists even in the modern American society. In this respect, it is possible to refer to the textbook “Race, class and gender in the United States”¯ written by Paula S. Rothenberg, which reveals the full extent to which the inequality in different sphere of life of the modern society persists. The author collected diverse materials, from scientific researches to newspaper articles concerning inequality and its impact on the life of modern Americans. In addition, the book contains a lot of recent statistical information which helps reader to understand better the scope of inequality in the modern society. At the same time, the book does not just inform readers about the problem of class, gender and racial inequality that persist in the American society but also the textbook appeal readers to personal action to put the end to discriminatory practices which maintain the gap between Americans because of the difference in gender, race or social standing.

In actuality, the textbook focuses on three issues, which are particularly important in the modern American society and which relate directly to the problem of inequality: race, class, and gender inequality. In fact, the author focuses on each type of inequality and analyzes them in details but, at the same time, she attempts to show that the problem of inequality is larger than it seems to be. In other words, the author stands on the ground that the problem of racial inequality is not just the problem of the inequality between white and black Americans. Similarly, the problem of gender inequality is not just the problem of inequality between men and women as well as the problem of class inequality is not just a problem of rich and poor. Rothenberg attempts to show that the problem of inequality is a structural problem that affects the entire society, regardless of race, gender or social standing and each individual should be conscious of the fact that the inequality persists. The author assumes that the persisting inequality is a threat to the democratic society and the American society need to unite efforts of its members to tackle this problem and eliminate the inequality or, at least, close the gap between antagonistic groups within the modern society.

No wonder, while reading the textbook it is possible to trace close interrelationships between different forms of inequality. For instance, Rothenberg discusses the problem of racial inequality, which at first glance is just the problem of the relationship between whites, as the dominant racial group in the US, and blacks or non-whites, which are representatives of minorities in the US. The author agrees that this problem have persisted for decades and centuries and it is unresolved but, at the same time, Rothenberg argues that the racial inequality is closely intertwined with class inequality. To put it more precisely, she believes that the constant oppression of African Americans put them into a disadvantageous socioeconomic position compared to whites. As a result, being deprived of equal educational and job opportunities, African Americans were doomed to live in poverty, while white Americans could get the full advantage of their dominant position and practically total control over economy of the US as well as politics. At this point, it is worth mentioning the fact that the author develops the idea that the ruling elite of the US is still predominantly white and male, while all the other racial and gender groups have little opportunities to break through glass ceiling and other barriers the ruling elite raises to protect its interests and the dominant position. In this regard, the problem of gender inequality is also evident and this problem may be viewed as a problem of socioeconomic inequality in the position of men and women. Therefore, the class inequality is, in a way, crucial in the contemporary society.

In fact, it is hardly possible to argue with Rothenberg in regard to the persistent inequality and discrimination in terms of race, gender and class. The statistics presented in the textbook reveals clearly that different racial groups have different level of income. The same trend is typical for the gender inequality because women still have lower wages and fewer job opportunities compared to men. For instance, I can refer to the case of my friend, who was practically forced to abandon her job after the birth of her first child. In fact, she faced the problem of choice between her professional career and upraising of her child. As a result, she has got a part-time job and now she can spend more time with her child, but she has lost practically all chances to promote her career. Such cases are not rare in the modern society. At this point, it is possible to refer to the modern education system, where the gap between public schools and private schools is enormous.

However, you do not need to conduct an in-depth research to understand that the population of private schools is predominately white and it is comprised of representatives of the upper, upper-middle and probably middle class, while public schools are destined to lower and lower-middle class of the society and many public schools located in the inner city are mainly comprised of the non-white population. On reading the textbook and taking these facts from the real life, readers would hardly disagree with Rothenberg.

What makes this textbook really important is not the revelation of the persisting inequality or inequalities in the American society. In all probability, the most important message of the textbook is the author’s appeal to the audience that can be traced throughout the entire book. Rothenberg looks for ways to change the situation in the modern society. Obviously, she cannot afford the ongoing discrimination and inequality within the US population and she strives for changes in the American society. The materials she collected in her book illustrate that the current situation in the US is unbearable and absolutely unacceptable to any truly democratic society. On reading the textbook’s materials, readers grow conscious of the fact that they cannot ignore the problem of inequalities in the US anymore. The book is truly inspiring in regard to the struggle for changes and improvement of the situation in the American society. Throughout the textbook it is possible to trace the main message of the author ”“ it is necessary to start acting right now because it is through the action and active social position of every American citizen it will be possible to change the situation for better. Rothenberg condemns apathy of many Americans, who believe in the idea of diversity which is actively promoted in the modern society. The author reveals numerous fallacies of such policies and she promotes the idea of importance of changes through active social actions to eliminate inequalities in all spheres of life of the modern society.

Thus, taking into account all above mentioned, it is possible to conclude that the textbook “Race, class and gender in the United States”¯ by Paula S. Rothenberg is a remarkable book that reveals the inconvenient side of the life of the modern American society. The author reveals the persisting race, gender and class inequality and condemns the apathy of the majority of Americans. Instead, she refers to facts of severe discrimination and inequality which should be eliminated in a truly democratic society. Therefore, she appeals to civil action to eliminate the persistent inequality in the US society.

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