Communication & diversity
1. Choose one social identity group: race, gender, sexuality or ability. Explain how that group has been socially constructed throughout history and how the social construction has led to marginalization.
Gender differences have been an important part of society formation as well as division of labor from ancient times. The social class system has had a great impact on societies and their formation. Philosophers and thinkers have tried to analyze various elements of these classes and inequality system in the society and this has led to the marginalization of women as the fairer and weaker sex. Gender discrimination has always been an integral part of human history. The World War II is an extremely important event in American history. It represents the various elements of economics, politics and American culture at large. Gender differences were clear and significant in the period after the American Civil War where slavery was widely practiced (Lloyd, 1993).
a. Describe the narratives (stories, conversations, policies in place) that have emerged and note the corresponding historical time points (i. e. decade, era) in which they were popular. What social factors and conditions led to the emergence of these narratives? Men and women, though have certain common characteristics are eventually very different. They have a different physical structure, psychological and emotional constructs. They are very different in terms of expression and thought. Moreover they also tend to have different tastes and preferences and approach to handle things as well as problem solving.
Gender differences have been noticed in terms of differences in way of thinking as well as differences in power and strength areas as well as emotions and expression. So it becomes essential to consider their perspectives while evaluating the novel ” Beloved”.
In the novel, ” Beloved”, which explains the Vietnam War and situations relating to it, there is an instance where in a man might have tried to find ways in which his children could survive, for a mother, it was crucial that her children led a life that was free from pain and slavery. In this context her act of killing her children cannot be considered as completely wrong. There is an important element of emotion involved in each of these elements of the novel (Habibis & Walter, 2009). b. List and describe three explicit ways (i. e. formal processes such as policies and laws) that the social constructions were enacted. How did this result in discrimination or marginalization? Please designate each explicit way by numbering them in your paragraph. No bullet points.
Women not being allowed in politics, no rights including voting rights to women and denial of civil rights to women are three explicit ways that the social constructions were enacted.
Each country has the right to get the best leader to lead the country. So, women should also get an equal chance to compete to become a leader. If they are not given the right participate in politics, the country is not allowing some valuable talents to come to the fore. Women were not given chance to participate for elections stating the reasons that the women are meant to play their natural role of being a nurturer and the women are emotionally weak and incapable to handle stress of politics. This led to discrimination as there was nothing to prove that women should be weaker and their talents will be less.
No voting rights lead to discrimination because women also need moral, educational and humane legislation. Also, women are expected to abide by laws. So, it is important that women have a voice in what they have to follow (Why women should vote, n. d.). Not allowing to vote will lead to discrimination against women.
Previously, in 1800s, women were treated as second-class citizens. Through suffrage and feminist movements in the 1800s and 1900s, women today have been able to get quality rights legally. It is based on women’s humanity that women should be given equal rights and the civil rights. Also, women’s experiences are different from the men’s, they will be able to recognize their needs better than that of the male counterparts. This is why denying civil rights can amount to discrimination.
2. Thoroughly explain the concept of race as a floating signifier according to Stuart Hall. Be sure to address how race as a floating signifier is different from the socio-historical perspectives of religion, anthropology and biology we have used to construct it in the past.
The term ‘ Race’ attempts to differentiate people based on their origin. This may be influenced by the ethnicity or geographical location to which a person belongs. This classification does help one understand Racism develops as a socially constructed ideology as a result of slavery where in the Blacks were treated as slaves. The African race became synonymous with a lower race after colonization and slavery. The Anglo-American culture has a history of savagery where in people treated each other, especially women and children very cruelly. In this way the concept of race has a lot of significance as it helps relate to the social and cultural characteristics of a particular race (Kydland & Prescott, 2007).
It is power and knowledge that is wrongly used to create racial discrimination and representation. The social classifications and racial categorizations are found in the records of history. Racism has been a reality across the globe. In understanding of the world history, understanding the different races, racism and racial discriminations is important. For ages, race has been explained and understood using religious justifications, anthropological justifications, and scientific justifications (Jally, 1997). Religion is considered as the authority of truth and knowledge. So, during the exploration age, race was first attempted to be understood in religious terms in order to gain an insight of why the categorization existed and tried to justify the existence of race. But this approach failed to justify successfully. The question turned towards the nature of these people. Anthropological justification was used to develop an understanding. But it failed. Then people turned to science to justify race. Study of biology and genetics could not prove existence of race (Jally, 1997).
Stuart Hall explains that the concept of race is a floating signifier mainly because the concept just refers to the origin of people and it does not point to any actual object. Race, as a concept does not indicate demeanor or belittlement or even superiority (Kydland & Prescott, 2007). Racism has been wrongly justified and institutionalized as provision of a better life to the African Americans. Race, as a concept should not be used to characterize people as good or bad, superior or inferior, poor or rich or any other dimension. It is a floating signifier and people of different races develop over a period of time, they change, experience development and cultural influence as well. So, it is wrong to use race as a concept to stereotype anyone or cause any form of prejudice (Kydland & Prescott, 2007).
The concept of race is not constant or stable. It is subject to changes and so it does become a floating signifier to a great extent. This can be exemplified by the incidents of slavery and savagery having begun as a result of the historical belief that skin colour, gender and ethnicities played an important role in case of deciding human superiority in older times. But this does not hold good any more (Kydland & Prescott, 2007). Some of the crucial moments in the history of racism was when slavery was practiced in a full-fledged manner, where in slaves were openly traded in the market and the African race was symbolized as slavery. Moreover, an imaginary national border was constructed among dark skinned people and white skinned people. But slavery is not legal anymore and banned to be practiced anywhere in the world. In this way, as changes occur and recognizing the dynamism of the concept of race, it becomes essential to consider it to be a floating signifier (D’Arista, 2009).
Stuart Hall implies that race is not a constant concept and cannot be used to stereotype under any circumstances. It should not be used to form biases. It should be understood that the concept of race is dynamic and so it should not be used as a basis to decide superiority. Not considering race as a floating signifier led to causing racism which simultaneously resulted in slavery and savagery which is absolute prejudice. The slavery system further intensified the problems related to colonies (Kydland & Prescott, 2007). It is important to consider the role of race as neutral in society and not give it excess importance. Race should not be a reason for conflict of any form since it is a floating signifier (Kydland & Prescott, 2007).
In reality there is nothing as precious as freedom and human rights. These were taken away from some people in the form of slavery. This led to the belief that the Anglo American culture is barbaric and this belief still has an impact in spite of there being a change and progress in this culture. Though racism existed as a historical belief, racism and slavery both developed simultaneously and it has become extremely important for society to be better aware of the damage that has been caused due to not considering race as a floating signifier. Only then would it be possible to ensure human rights, equality and justice to all human beings (Kydland & Prescott, 2007).
4. Define and compare the medical model of disability and the social model of disability. Use examples (textbook, assigned readings or personal /public) to illustrate your points.
Researchers have studied a number of disabilities over the past decade. The two most researched models are medical model of disability and the social model of disability.
The medical model of disability identifies disability that affects only the individual who physically has the disability. It does not affect or concern anyone else (The social and medical model of disability, 2007). For instance, if a sloping walkway is unavailable at the school and a disabled student using a wheelchair is unable to go upstairs because of the steps, according to medical model of disability the problem is occurring because of the wheel chair and not because of the steps. On the other hand, the social model of disability would identify that the steps as the main cause of the issue. The steps are acting as barriers or obstacles. The social model of disability identifies that it is not the individual but the society that makes a disabled person more helpless and disable because of the society which develops infrastructure for the general people who are not disabled. The disabled people fail to come into consideration when infrastructure is developed in a society. Researchers have agreed that a lot of initiatives can be taken by the government and other authorities responsible for infrastructure development to mitigate or eliminate these disabling barriers. So, the social model puts the onus and responsibility of addressing these issues on the society and not on the disabled person (The social and medical model of disability, 2007).
Some of the examples of medical model of disability are as below. In an inclusive classroom, where both general students and students with special need are attending lectures, if the lecturer distributes a case study written in fort size 11 or 12, the visually impaired students attending the lecture will not be able to read the case study as they will need a larger font size to be able to read. As a result they will fail to participate in the case study discussion. Again, there may be instances of dyslexic students who take more time to understand the lecture than the other students. In such cases, if the lecturer refuses to help such students will additional time either before or after the lecture, the dyslexic students will fail to cope up with the pace of teaching and will gradually be left behind the others. Also, often sports events are organized in which a disabled person using wheel chair will not be able to participate. In all these kinds of situations, the medical model of disability states that all these types of situations, the difficulties are associated to the disability of the individual. So, it is the disabled individual who has to bear the difficulties and make an extra effort to try and cope with these difficulties. The medical model also points out that it is the disabled individual’s responsibility to ensure that no one else faces an inconvenience because of that individual’s disability.
In contrast, the social model of disability is an more inclusive approach. The social model proposes that it is the responsibility of the people of the society to proactively make efforts to ensure that equality is maintained with the disabled person and the disabled person is not discriminated. Efforts in terms of time and money needs to be invested in order to make adjustments to the existing systems and infrastructures and ensure that the disabled individual is not excluded. The social model states that it is the responsibility of the organizer of the institute to make the necessary arrangements to mitigate the hindrances that the disabled individual may face (Shakespeare & Watson, 2002). Some of the examples of social model of disability are as below. In case, visually impaired students are present in the classroom, it is the responsibility of the lecturer to meet the student before lecture and print the case study in larger fonts after consulting with the student. Again, in case of presence of dyslexic students in the class, it is the responsibility of the lecturer to meet the student before the lecture and brief him about what is going to be taught in the lecture. This will help them to get a better understanding of what is scheduled to be taught. The lecturer can provide the key terminologies to the dyslexic student and explain him the structure of the lecture for the convenience of the student. Also, in any event being organized, it is the responsibility of the organizer to ensure that the disable individuals can access the venue. Thus social responsibility asserts the fact that the special needs of a disabled individual should be respected and the disable person should accommodated and included in different social settings (The social and medical model of disability, 2007).
Habibis, J. & Walter, S. (2009). Classical approach to division of labour, USA, PH
Jally, S. (1997). Stuart Hall Race — the Floating Signifier. Media Education Foundation. Retrieved from https://www. msu. edu/course/ams/280/hall3. html
Kydland, F. E. & Prescott, E. C. (2007). Rules Rather than Discretion: The Inconsistency of cultures”, Journal of culture, 85 (3), pp. 473-492.
Lloyd, (1993), The Man of Reason: ‘Male’ and ‘Female’, UK, Routledge
The social and medical model of disability. (2007). University of Leicerter. Retrieved from http://www2. le. ac. uk/offices/ssds/accessability/staff/accessabilitytutors/information-for-accessability-tutors/the-social-and-medical-model-of-disability
Shakespeare, T. & Watson, N. (2002). The social model of disability: an outdated ideology? Research in Social Science and Disability, 2, pp. 9-28 Retrieved from http://disability-studies. leeds. ac. uk/files/library/Shakespeare-social-model-of-disability. pdf
Why women should vote. (n. d.). Library of Congress. Retrieved from http://www. loc. gov/teachers/classroommaterials/presentationsandactivities/presentations/timeline/progress/suffrage/whyvote. html