Race And Gender Essay

essay on race class gender

Race And Gender And Race

The idea of race and gender is an idea that has been socially constructed. Society has created roles for race and gender, they are determined by what society thinks is appropriate for the gender or race. Some people argue that certain behavior roles are based on gender where as others may believe that it is based on race. I will first discuss how in today’s society we promote to stop racism yet it is still happening everyday, and people are just blind to see it. Creating a role for race is racism,

Gender And Race And Gender

Gender and Race What is gender and how is it defined? Gender and its definition have been argued over for decades, by the religious, scientific and civilian community. Everyone has created their own definition and their opinion on how to define gender. From a nonscientific perspective, gender is defined by society, which is based on anatomy and basic aesthetics. Determining an individual’s gender based on their anatomy was the common practice in western society since the early 1950’s when television

The, Gender, And Race

Intersectionality is the practice (law) of looking at the overlap of a gender and race regarding an individual. In most practices before intersectionality it was common practice in law to group a gender together or an one race together in belief that they all had the same struggle and searched for the same outcome. Which was misguided and instead of handling one gender or race for instance (black people as a whole) looking at someone 's gender and race as a package (black women not just all women). This new practice

Race And Gender

Race, gender and class defines our experience. Studies have shown that, even though, these three aspects define who we are, they are interwoven. Each of these three aspects affects our decisions which could be either positive or negative. Class, race and gender as an individual is determined by our parents and If any of these changes, it would automatically change every aspect of the individual. I interviewed two individuals and we discussed race, class, gender and what effect each has on them

The, Race, And Gender

but rather the accident of birth and genetics chose for us before we were even ourselves. The choices I speak about here are the ways in which people deal with intersecting realms of class, race, and gender. Some say that we lose a part of ourselves when we attempt to change how people perceive our class or race, but can we truly change who we are? And do we lose a part of ourselves by trying to be something else? One could fit into a multitude of different labels, and they will have to adjust their

Race and Gender

color. Those who want to dismiss the notion of the social construction of race normally do so due to their inherent bias to attribute dysfunctional behavior in minority communities due to a racial makeup instead of addressing more systemic problems that plague these communities. Countless studies reveal that lower income people of all groups tend to follow the same negative trajectory. Racism is the belief that one race or culture is superior to another, regardless of biological evidence that

Race And Gender Differences In Race, Class And Race

What is race? Race is defined as a group of persons related by common descent or heredity (Dictionary). Many notice this as color of skin or where you were born. The differences in race, class, gender is what make the position of an individual in society. In our textbook race is defined as “a category of people who have been singled out as inferior or superior, often based on real or alleged physical characteristics such as skin color, hair texture, eye shape, or other subjectively selected attributes”

Race, Ethnicity, And Gender

Race, ethnicity, and gender has been a significant topic discussed throughout many years. However, it can has its negative cognectation because people feel superior to other people due to their race, ethnicity, social class and gender. There are many philosophical theories that relate to these discussion such as white gaze, one drop rule, and five faces of oppression. Moreover, these theories also applies to my ethnicity which is Dominican. Even though race is not a real concept, due to the fact

Essay On Race And Gender

1, To say that race and gender are socially constructs means that while both race and gender help shape the world in which we live, society can alter their meaning and significance. They have power because we give them power. Race is a social construct because, by definition, society can and does arbitrarily define it. For example, when American society forbidden interracial marriage (Conley 331), and determined an individual's race using the “one drop rule,” where someone is considered black if

Race And Gender Identity

Race and gender are enormously important to an individual and to society. Individuales use both of these to create their identity. Society uses both to put people into categories and give them statuses. These statuses dictate people's roles. Both of these factors can impact a person from the day they are born. Although they are separate factors, they are often treated similarly in terms of discrimination. No matter what, people find ways to discriminate against categories of both of these factors

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Gender, Race and Class Essay

Introduction, works cited.

This paper discusses three interrelated concepts of gender, race and class. The three concepts are said to be related because they are all socially constructed. The concepts are also institutionalized, meaning that they are entrenched in social systems and institutions such as organizations, schools and governments.

The three are therefore characterized by discrimination, inequality, prejudice and skewed distribution of resources and power. In a nutshell, men hold senior positions of leadership than women, the whites colonize the non whites, and the rich exploit the poor. The concepts are discussed below separately.

Gender refers to the social construction of the differences between males and females. For example, the belief that all men are brave and strong while all women are coward and weak. Sex is defined as the biological differences between men and women. For example, body anatomy.

While most or all males have beard, more muscular bodies and deep voices, most or all females do not have beard , have high pitched voices and are less muscular. Gender stereotypes are therefore the believes that people have towards males and females (Connel 72).

There are both implicit and explicit attitudes towards males and females. When we say that the attitudes are implicit, we mean that they are internalized in our thinking processes. For example, a teacher may select male students to represent a school in a math contest and select female students to represent it in the art subjects or in languages.

This may happen as a result of the belief that all males are good in mathematics while all females are good in easy subjects like the arts and languages. In professional context, a male doctor may be referred to as ‘the doctor’ while a female one may be referred to as ‘the woman doctor’ to imply that it is unusual for a female to be a doctor.

When we say the attitudes are explicit, we mean that the stereotypes may not be necessarily internalized, but are based on generalizations about males and females. For example, a firm may refuse to recruit females to work as guards because of the belief that females are not only weak, but are also prone to other forms of violence such as rape.

Both implicit and explicit attitudes towards gender stereotypes are sometimes correct but are not always true. For example, while it is correct that men are courageous and able to do tough subjects like mathematics, not all of them are able to perform well in mathematics.

In some cases females may outshine males in mathematics. For a person to confirm a certain stereotype, he or she must do a research on the same. While doing the research however, he or she must bear in mind that attitudes and behaviors keep on changing (Mora and Ruiz 34).

Gender stereotypes are related to ambivalent sexism, which is the coexistence of positive and negative attitudes towards a certain sex. Ambivalent sexism is understood by taking a closer look at some words and phrases which are used to describe females. For example, a female Chief Executive Officer (CEO) may be described as very cute, adorable and attractive.

Another example is the saying that men are incomplete without women. These are positive attitudes towards women. In leadership context, the female CEO may also be described as a ‘very good public relations agent’ while the male CEO may be described as a ‘very good leader’.

These ambivalent attitudes towards females are used by males to remain at the top of the hierarchy of power and leadership and place females at the bottom. While a phrase like ‘that female CEO is very cute, calm and attractive’ implies a positive attitude towards her, it can also imply that she can be too emotional to become a good leader.

Ambivalent sexism is therefore used mostly to propagate the inequalities between males and females especially in the pursuit of power and authority. This leads to the enactment of policies which do not adequately reflect the views and wishes of females in the society.

Race refers to the physical characteristics of people from different parts of the world. Such characteristics include skin color, dialect, eye color, type of hair and cultural practices. However, the skin color is the most common criteria for distinguishing people by race. We have various races such as the Whites, the Asians, the Jews and the Blacks.

Race contributes to the formation of two groups of people namely the dominant and the subordinate groups. A dominant group is defined as the most powerful group in a society. This group enjoys the highest social status and has access to unlimited privileges. A subordinate group refers to people who are singled out for unfair treatment due to their physical and social characteristics. This group is also subjected to various forms of discrimination by the dominant group. (Glenn 41).

The defining criteria in the formation of the two groups include race, ethnicity and skin color. Others include colonization, migration and annexation. In the United States, the dominant groups are characterized by skin color and ethnicity. Basically, the White Americans are classified as the dominant group.

Their ethnicities include British, Germans, Norwegians, Irish, French, the Dutch and Polish.They are categorized as the dominant group because they were the ones who played a major role in the attainment of American Independence form the Great Britain. They are also very rich, highly educated and enjoy a high social status. They also do white color jobs and always hold positions of leadership in political, social and economic spheres (Rothenberg 17).

The subordinate group comprise the African Americans, the Asian Americans, Latin Americans, Spanish and Jewish Americans. These are the people whose skin color is different from that of the White Americans. They are not as economically stable as the White Americans. In most cases, they do casual jobs especially in the plantations, factories, airlines and in the hospitality sector.

One example of how the two groups have an impact on each other is their economic relationship. The dominant group owns the means of production. As a result, it usually employs the subordinate group to do the casual jobs as the dominant group takes the leadership and management positions in various sectors of the economy.

Class refers to the social differentiation of people within a society depending on their social status, which is majorly determined by their economic status. People of low economic status usually belong to a low social class and vice versa. Karl Marx presented a two class model of society comprising the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. The bourgeoisie are few in number and they own capital for production. They are also rich, powerful, oppressors, exploiters and they always win elections in democratic countries

On the other hand, the proletariat are the workers, owners of labour and they are the majority in numbers but are powerless since they are oppressed and exploited by the rich and they always lose in elections in democratic nations. The proletariat can be described as a class in itself in the sense that they share same objectives and relationships to the means of production, that is, they are laboures who are paid in wages (Rank 13).

The two classes are always in conflict with each other because their interests are incompatible. While the bourgeoisie have the interests of maintaining the status quo which ensures their dominance, the proletariat are interested in changing the status quo which deprives them of good life.

However, the two classes are not aware of the nature of the circumstances which they live in but assume that the situations which they find themselves in are natural and nothing can be done to change them, a situation Karl Marx calls false class consciousness (Andersen and Taylor 26).

The concepts of gender, race and class are interrelated, meaning that they are all products of social constructions and are based on historical perspectives of discrimination, stereotyping and prejudice. They are also systems of power and control, manipulation and exploitation. While men dominate women, the whites dominate the non whites and the rich dominate the poor in the society.

The concepts are entrenched in our society and social institutions to the extent that we see them as normal. However, an objective analysis of the concepts shows that there are no fundamental differences between men and women, whites and non whites and the rich and the poor, meaning that if the playing ground was to be level, what a man can do can also be done by a woman, what a white man can do, a non white can also do and what can be done or achieved by a rich man can also be done or achieved by a poor man.

Andersen, Margaret, and H. Taylor. Sociology: Understanding a Diverse Society, Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 2002. Print.

Connel, Raewyn. Gender, Washington DC: Polity Press, 2009. Print.

Glenn, Nakano. Unequal Freedom: How Race and Gender Shaped American Citizenship and Labor, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2002. Print.

Mora, Ricardo, and C. Ruiz. Gender Segregation: From Birth to Occupation, Madrid: Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, 2000.Print.

Rank, Mark. One nation, underprivileged: why American poverty affects us all, New York: Oxford University Press, 2005.Print.

Rothenberg, Paula. Race, class, and gender in the United States , Walton: Mac higher publishers, 2009. Print.

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Essays on Race and Gender

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Relations of Gender and Color

Gender-based violence: effects and prevention methods, the issue of class and race in the us, the ideas of donald trump about gender & racial identity, let us write you an essay from scratch.

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Race Relations in "Master Harold and The Boys"

An analysis of slavery in ethnic notions, southpark and race: the power of an illusion, racial harmony in singapore, a study on the different opinions about human categorization based on physical traits and sexual orientation, get a personalized essay in under 3 hours.

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Evaluation of The Views of Eithne Luibheid and Nayan Shah on Race and Sexual Identity Regulations in America

The impact of race and gender on domestic and foreign policy, the main issues in ‘passing’ by nella larsen, the meaning of race and sexuality in ‘stranger intimacy’ by nayan shah, a bone detective report: determining the sex, race, and height of skeleton, interracial relationships in far from heaven, the sapphire, mammy, and jezebel: stereotypes of african american women in the modern media.

1. Altonji, J. G., & Blank, R. M. (1999). Race and gender in the labor market. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1573446399300390 Handbook of labor economics, 3, 3143-3259. 2. Sacks, K. B. (1989). Toward a unified theory of class, race, and gender. American Ethnologist, 16(3), 534-550. (https://www.jstor.org/stable/645273) 3. Stepan, N. L. (1986). Race and gender: The role of analogy in science. Isis, 77(2), 261-277. (https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/abs/10.1086/354130) 4. Weber, L. (1998). A conceptual framework for understanding race, class, gender, and sexuality. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 22(1), 13-32. (https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1471-6402.1998.tb00139.x) 5. McDermott, M. L. (1998). Race and gender cues in low-information elections. Political Research Quarterly, 51(4), 895-918. (https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/106591299805100403?journalCode=prqb) 6. Pratto, F., Korchmaros, J. D., & Hegarty, P. (2007). When race and gender go without saying. Social Cognition, 25(2), 221-247. (https://guilfordjournals.com/doi/abs/10.1521/soco.2007.25.2.221) 7. Fiske, J., & Hancock, B. H. (2016). Media matters: Race & gender in US politics. Routledge. (https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/mono/10.4324/9781315713618/media-matters-john-fiske-black-hawk-hancock) 8. Krieger, N. (1990). Racial and gender discrimination: risk factors for high blood pressure?. Social science & medicine, 30(12), 1273-1281. (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/027795369090307E) 9. Puhl, R. M., Andreyeva, T., & Brownell, K. D. (2008). Perceptions of weight discrimination: prevalence and comparison to race and gender discrimination in America. https://www.nature.com/articles/ijo200822 International journal of obesity, 32(6), 992-1000.

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essay on race class gender


Race, Class, and Gender

In Anderson and Collins’, chapter on “Why race, class, and gender still maters” encourage readers to think about the world in their framework of race, class, and gender. They argued that even though society has change and there is a wide range of diversity; race, class and gender still matters. Anderson and Collins stated, “Race, class, and gender matter because they remain the foundation for system of power and inequality that, despite our nation’s diversity, continue to be among the most significant social facts of peoples lives.” (Anderson and Collins, 2010) When I was a little girl, I never knew that people were classified in to groups such as race, class, gender. I knew there were people that had a different color of skin than my color of skin. I knew that there were rich people and poor people, and that there were girls and boys. I saw everyone as being human beings, as being the same and not classified as something. As I was growing up, I started to see the differences in classifications in groups. It was not because I just woke up knowing that there were different classifications, but because I was taught about them in school and society. Anderson and Collins stated, “Race, class and gender shape the experiences of all people in the United States. (2010) This means that experiences that we have gone through in life are formed from a race, class, and gender view. Being a low-income Hispanic person, I have had a bad experience when shopping in a predominately-white shopping center. I remember a time my aunts and I went to buy clothes at a shopping center in Utah. When we were at a store looking at the clothes we noticed that staff from the store was following us like if we were going to rob something. When ... ... middle of paper ... ... (2007) This case clearly demonstrated that there is no equality in the sentencing of female offenders and that women are being sentence more harshly than males. References Anderson, M.L., & Collins P.H. (2010). Race, Class, & Gender: An Anthology. Why Race, Class, and Gender Still Matter. 8th Edition. Belknap, J. (2007). The invisible women. 3rd ed. Belmont, CA: Thomson Higher Education. McIntosh, P. (1988). White Privilege, Color, and Crime. Roxbury Publishing Company, Los Angeles, CA Renzetti, C. (1999). The challenge to Feminism posed by Women’s use of violence in intimate relationships. Tavris, C. (1992). The Mismeasure of Woman : Why Women Are Not the Better Sex, Inferior or Opposite Sex. The 70-kilogram man and the pregnant person. Simon & Schuster. Tellis, K. Handout. California State University of los Angeles, CA, February 11, 2014.

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how anderson and collins encourage readers to think about the world in their framework of race, class, and gender.
  • Explains that they've had a bad experience when shopping in predominately-white shopping centers. some white people stay within their race, form relationships, and have close friendships with people from other cultures.
  • Analyzes how peggy mcintosh encourages readers to think about the world in the framework of race, class, and gender on a "white privilege" perspective.
  • Opines that belknap's opening chapter on "the emergence of gender in criminology" encourages readers to think about the world in the framework on a woman offender perspective.
  • Analyzes how travis illustrates two different approaches to gender equality, the "equal rights" approach and "women's rights".
  • Explains that there are many differences between the "equal rights" and "women's right" approach to gender equality.
  • Explains that the "exasperating ladies' room problem" was a study about women and men's public restrooms.
  • Opines that there are differences between males and females that cannot be changed. some studies that demonstrate this are medical studies regarding heart disease.
  • Opines that the medical field needs to consider and accept that there is a difference between men and women.
  • Explains that men tend to be more aggressive than women, while women are stereotyped as passive, and they are judged by their behaviors. women are more likely than men to use physical aggression in self-defense.
  • Analyzes how belknap illustrates that there is no equality in the sentencing of female offenders and that women are being sentenced more harshly than males.
  • Explains anderson, m.l., & collins, p.h. (2010). why race, class, and gender still matter.
  • Explains the challenge to feminism posed by women's use of violence in intimate relationships.
  • Explains tavris, c., the mismeasure of woman, and the 70-kilogram man and the pregnant person.

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Summary Of Schooltalk By Mica Pollock

In Schooltalk: Rethinking What We Say About - and to - Students Every Day, Mica Pollock provides readers with fact-based information to “flip the script” of the misrepresentation of students in the education setting. Pollock demonstrates how race, gender, and ethnic labels can be detrimental to student achievement. She, then, dives in to 600 years of myths regarding social race labels and how they continue to affect humans today. By correcting race, gender, and ethnicity label myths in our minds, we can effectively advocate for these students. To conclude the book, Pollock focuses on how to devise a plan to correct our own misconceptions and foster a supportive environment for diverse students. Throughout

Good Will Hunting and Bell Hooks' Keeping Close to Home

Fiske, R., & Cyrus, V. (2005). Experiencing Race, Class, and Gender in the United States: Fourth Edition. Boston: McGrawHill

Half the Sky: Perpetuating Stereotypes Contribution and the Oppression of Women

Kelly, Liz (1987) “The Continuum of Sexual Violence.” In: Women, Violence and Social Control, edited by J. Hanmer and M. Maynard. Atlantic Highlands: Humanities Press International: 46-60.

The Story Behind the Scars, The Other Side of Paradise: A Memoir

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Analysis Of Gang Leader For A Day

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Race, Class, and Gender: The Critical Race Theory

Race, Gender, and Social class are all common interests in our American Society since before the Civil Rights Movement until now and will continue to be. Many theories have been developed with the intent to analyze these concepts of human life, and genetics within the scope of society. Critical Race theory, a modern take on the subtle racism and discrimination in institutional society and our American law, is one of these theories that construct the ideas relating race, gender and social class to American society. All groups of people are affected by racism and discrimination throughout the United States. Arab Americans and the Sioux, Native American Indian group, are two groups I will analyze in relation to Critical Race theory.

Stereotypes in the Film The Matrix

Wolf, Naomi. The Beauty Myth. How Images of Beauty are Used Against Women. New York: William Morrow, 1991.

Domestic Violence Against Women in Canada

Intimate partner violence has been a significant issue for centuries in all countries. "Since 1974, nearly 2,600 spousal homicides have been recorded in Canada" (Bunge, 2002). Of these homicides, more than three-quarters have been against women. Although through feminism and the women's liberation movement, there has been a slight improvement in the incidences of violence against women, there has also been a drastic change in the perception of the issue by society. After reviewing the most recent literature on violence against women and victimization through intimate partners, it has become prevalent that there are now two crucial stances that are taken. The first position is that of the women being victimized as the main issue, including prevention, causes and incidences. The second position is that of women becoming more 'aggressive' and the issue of violence against both men and women. "Wife battering- the original problem constituted by the 1970s feminists- has morphed into 'domestic violence' and then into 'husband abuse'" (Minaker, 2006). This literature review will examine the background information on intimate partner violence including different arguments and perspectives, theories, and methodologies as well as discuss the major findings and future directions of research.

The Mexican American Family

Rothenberg, P. 1998. Race, Class, and Gender in the United States. New York: St. Martin's Press.

What Is Social Location Essay

In learning about different ways that we as a society categorize and divide people, it is essential to understand what about people it is that we feel the need to label and differentiate between. When a person is born into this world, there are certain statuses that they automatically obtain, called ascribed statuses (Henslin 98). These statuses determine each person’s social location in society. This includes gender, race, ethnicity, class, sexual orientation, and ability. Each person has their own unique social location, and is affected in a different way than the next person may be. As a white, queer, cisgender, middle class, female, in relatively good health, I have always been relatively privileged.

Cultural Autobiography Essay: My Personal Cultural Identity

One’s cultural identity consists of their race, gender, socioeconomic status, age, religion, and so on. Being aware of your own cultural identity is just as important as being aware of other’s. People’s cultural identity defines who they are, the privilege (or lack of privilege) they receive, and how society views them. It is important to understand that White individuals have more privileges than individuals of color. White individuals do not experience detriment and difficulties due specifically to their skin color and instead receive advantages. White privilege is defined as benefits that white individuals have that people of color do not (Kendall, 2012). The following walks through my personal cultural background, how it was shaped, defined, and developed, and limitations to my personal competencies.

Race and Ethnicity in America

Since the country’s beginning, race, gender, and class have been very important factors in a person’s experience in the United States of America. The meaning of race, gender differences, and the separation of class have changed over United States history. For many Americans, their perceptions of class and race and the degree to which gender affect people’s lives, often depends on what their race, gender, and class are, too. There are differences between the reality of America, what is represented as American reality in media, and the perceived reality of America. Americans as well as those looking at America from an outside perspective may have questions and confusions regarding what the real connections are to race, class, and gender are in America. The paper tries to clarify and explore how these issues connect and play out in real life.

The Difference Between Race And Race

Throughout the Race, Ethnicity, Class and Gender class, we discussed about race, ethnicity, class and gender and how they are involved in our lives today. I read different articles under each of the topics in the class, answered questions and discussed them in our follow-up class the week after. In each of our discussions, I’ve learned something new. Everywhere I go race, ethnicity, class and gender are all around me and there’s nothing I can do to change it, just accept it. Some people don’t know the difference between race and ethnicity, but I do. Race is biology and ethnicity is culture. Race is your physical appearance like what you look like such as skin color, your DNA, etc., and ethnicity is your language such as Spanish, Chinese, French, etc.

Community Cultural Wealth Theory Examples

“An array of knowledges, skills, abilities and contacts possessed and used by Communities of Color to survive and resist racism and other forms of oppression” encompasses the main idea of Community Cultural Wealth. It is vital to understand that students will step foot into the classroom with a variety of cultures zipped up in their backpacks, and it is our job as educators to make sure that equality is instilled/taught in our classrooms. The second a student feels a sense of discrimination, whether from ourselves or their fellow classmate(s), is when the safe and comforting environment of the classroom begins to diminish. Here I will discuss just how important it is to see the differences amongst students as an advantage

Race And Race: The Preconceptions Of Race

Race as a “…social and historical idea, not biological” (Palaita, Lecture 1/25/18), only works because according to Social Construction Theory, “…these categories work because our complacency allows us to presume that the identities are natural and a group’s social status relies on biology, rather than social/cultural circumstances” (Palaita, Lecture 1/25/18). Our unwillingness to challenge these identities has allowed these categories to be used to determine who will be on the advantageous side of the inequality we face here in the United States. If we no longer accepted these conditions, and change the way social groups are viewed and treated, we may create a new norm and close the inequality gap between social

More about Race, Class, and Gender

Related topics.

Essay On Race And Gender Inequality

essay on race class gender

Show More Race and gender are important to everyone because it represents a person identity in the society. Race is a concept to identify different types of human bodies and gender is something that represent the physical differences between male and female in the society. There are many different types of race and gender social issues in the society. In society, people still need to face race and gender problems in their life. In this paper, I will focus the social problems of how race and gender cause and affect people in the society. Race and gender inequality still insist in today’s social world. According to Omi and Winant, race is seen in racial formation. Ration formation created by the racial classification, live, alteration, and destruction of the social and the historical process. (Omi and Winant 349). Racial projects is central in the racial formation of Omi and Winant. Racial projects are central to Omi and Winant of racial formation. Omi and Winant state that there is macro-social level in racial projects. Macro-social level focus in social structure such as race (Omi and Winant 352). One of the factor of racial formation is Chinese-American identity. Many Chinese-American face race identity in United States . In my personal experience, I face race identity in United States. My parents immigrated to United States many years ago. I was born in America. At the age of 7, my parents took me and moved to Hong Kong. I have been raised in Hong Kong for many years. I consider and identify myself as Chinese. I came back to America a few years ago. Some people identify me as Chinese-American instead of Chinese. Therefore, I realize …show more content… There is injustice for the people who suffer gender and race social problems. In my opinion, media is a useful communication tool for people to share and discuss about these issues to the public. It is a good way to let more people know about this

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  • Published: 17 January 2011

Race, gender, class, and sexual orientation: intersecting axes of inequality and self-rated health in Canada

  • Gerry Veenstra 1  

International Journal for Equity in Health volume  10 , Article number:  3 ( 2011 ) Cite this article

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Intersectionality theory, a way of understanding social inequalities by race, gender, class, and sexuality that emphasizes their mutually constitutive natures, possesses potential to uncover and explicate previously unknown health inequalities. In this paper, the intersectionality principles of "directionality," "simultaneity," "multiplicativity," and "multiple jeopardy" are applied to inequalities in self-rated health by race, gender, class, and sexual orientation in a Canadian sample.

The Canadian Community Health Survey 2.1 (N = 90,310) provided nationally representative data that enabled binary logistic regression modeling on fair/poor self-rated health in two analytical stages. The additive stage involved regressing self-rated health on race, gender, class, and sexual orientation singly and then as a set. The intersectional stage involved consideration of two-way and three-way interaction terms between the inequality variables added to the full additive model created in the previous stage.

From an additive perspective, poor self-rated health outcomes were reported by respondents claiming Aboriginal, Asian, or South Asian affiliations, lower class respondents, and bisexual respondents. However, each axis of inequality interacted significantly with at least one other: multiple jeopardy pertained to poor homosexuals and to South Asian women who were at unexpectedly high risks of fair/poor self-rated health and mitigating effects were experienced by poor women and by poor Asian Canadians who were less likely than expected to report fair/poor health.


Although a variety of intersections between race, gender, class, and sexual orientation were associated with especially high risks of fair/poor self-rated health, they were not all consistent with the predictions of intersectionality theory. I conclude that an intersectionality theory well suited for explicating health inequalities in Canada should be capable of accommodating axis intersections of multiple kinds and qualities.

Sizeable health inequalities by race [ 1 , 2 ], gender [ 3 , 4 ] and class [ 5 ] have been recorded in Canada. Consistent with traditional sociological understandings of social inequality, these axes of inequality have for the most part been considered individually, with researchers only considering potential interconnectedness when investigating whether class mediates associations between race and health or gender and health. Whether class influences health differently for visible minority Canadians and White Canadians or race influences health differently for men and women, for example, has not yet been investigated. When statistical interactions such as these have received analytical attention - for example, whether class influences health differently for Canadian men and women [ 3 ] - they have not been adequately theorized. Intersectionality theory, an influential theoretical tradition inspired by the feminist and antiracist traditions, demands that inequalities by race, gender, and class (and sexuality as well) be considered in tandem rather than distinctly. This is because these fundamental axes of inequality in contemporary societies are considered to be intrinsically entwined; they mutually constitute and reinforce one another and as such cannot be disentangled from one another. Intersectionality theory presents a new way of understanding social inequalities that possesses potential to uncover and explicate previously unknown health inequalities. This paper describes the results of an original empirical investigation of the degree to which the self-rated health of Canadians varies by race, gender, class, and/or sexual orientation in ways that are consistent with predictions of intersectionality theory. The remainder of this background section describes some of the central principles of this theoretical tradition followed by a description of the analytical strategy used to apply these principles in an empirical investigation of inequalities in self-rated health in Canada.

Intersectionality theory

In the forward to a recent book on new theories and methods for studying race, class, and gender, Lynn Weber [ 6 ] describes how American women of color in the 1970s and early 1980s, many from working class backgrounds, came to critique the patriarchy tradition within gender studies for privileging gender over race and class (and subsequently critiqued the stratification tradition for privileging class over gender and race, etc.). They argued that these axes of inequality are in fact analytically inseparable, and that "the multidimensionality and interconnected nature of race, class, and gender hierarchies were especially visible to those who faced oppression along more than one dimension of inequality" [6:xii]. These scholars envisioned axes of inequality pertaining to gender, race, and class that intersect with one another, i.e., that are interlocked, dependent upon one another, and mutually constituted [ 7 ]. Power relationships along the lines of gender, race, and class were thought to be mutually defining and mutually reinforcing rather than analytically distinct systems of oppression, together forming a "matrix of domination" [ 8 ]. By the mid-1980s, lesbians of color had bridged the gap between gay and lesbian studies and the growing body of race, gender, and class research that had to that point ignored heterosexism [ 6 ], and axes of inequality pertaining to national origin, citizenship status, religion, disability, and age also received some attention. The contributions of these various scholars gave rise to what is now known as "intersectionality theory." Landry [ 9 ] notes, however, that intersectionality theory does not provide a set of propositions that together form an explanation; rather, intersectionality theory currently consists of a loose set of principles or assumptions that are being applied and tested by many researchers in a variety of contexts.

Founded upon analyses of relations of power in general and inspired by theories of racism, patriarchy, classism, and heterosexism in particular, in American intersectionality discourse the disadvantaged groups along the inequality axes of race, gender, class, and sexual orientation are assumed to be visible minorities from various backgrounds (especially African Americans), women, members of the lower and working classes, and gays, lesbians, and bisexuals. These comprise implicit intersectionality assumptions of "directionality."

Intersectionality theorists argue that our identities based on race, gender, class, and sexuality accompany us in every social interaction [ 7 ]. The principle of "simultaneity" maintains that all of the axes and their corresponding identities should be incorporated into social analyses.

"Race, class and gender may all structure a situation but may not be equally visible and/or important in people's self-definitions... This recognition that one category may have salience over another for a given time and place does not minimize the theoretical importance of assuming that race, class and gender as categories of analysis structure all relationships" [7:560-1].

That is, while some axes and identities may be more pertinent to a specific social context or outcome than are others, simultaneity implies that a social researcher should never discard an axis of inequality before investigating its potential relevance for the problem at hand.

Intersections between axes are thought to create complex social locations that are more central to the nature of social experiences than are any of the axes of inequality considered singly.

"People experience race, class, gender and sexuality differently depending upon their social location in the structures of race, class, gender and sexuality. For example, people of the same race will experience race differently depending upon their location in the class structure as working class, professional managerial class or unemployed; in the gender structure as female or male; and in structures of sexuality as heterosexual, homosexual or bisexual" [10:326-7].

Thus "multiplicativity" should supplant additivity [ 10 ]. Racism x sexism x classism x sexism should replace racism + sexism + classism + sexism [ 11 , 12 ]. A lower-class Black lesbian is necessarily all of these things, and their mutual manifestation represents a unique state of being and a unique set of social experiences and structural constraints.

"Race, class, gender and sexuality are not reducible to individual attributes to be measured and assessed for their separate contribution in explaining social outcomes, an approach that Elizabeth Spelman calls "pop-bead metaphysics," where a woman's identity consists of the sum of parts neatly divisible from one another. The matrix of domination seeks to account for the multiple ways that women experience themselves as gendered, raced, classed and sexualized" [10:327].

Experiences of gender are racialized, sexualized, and classed; experiences of class are gendered, racialized, and sexualized, etc.

From the abovementioned principles of directionality, simultaneity, and multiplicativity arise new versions of double jeopardy and triple jeopardy, renamed "multiple jeopardy" by Deborah King [ 11 ], wherein disadvantaged identities experienced in tandem are seen to result in inordinate, i.e., even more than additive, amounts of disadvantage. Thus complex social locations comprised of disadvantaged identities held in tandem are thought to lead to multiplicative disadvantage; that is, combinations of these identities are thought to have an aggravating rather than a simply cumulative or mitigating effect. In addition, because of the relational nature of intersectional theories, some complex locations, such as the one inhabited by wealthy heterosexual White men, in turn experience multiplicative advantage.

Despite the immense popularity of intersectionality theory in humanities and social sciences circles and the large and growing body of intersectionality research that includes applications of both qualitative and quantitative methodologies, very little quantitative research has explicitly applied intersectionality theory to health outcomes. However, many health determinants researchers have unintentionally addressed simultaneity and multiplicativity by identifying two-way statistical interactions between axes of inequality in regression modeling. In Canada, Zheng Wu and colleagues [ 2 ] identified interactions between race and socioeconomic status for depression. In the United States, Ostrove and colleagues [ 13 ] identified interactions between socioeconomic status and race as predictors of self-rated health and depression, Nomagushi [ 14 ] found interactions between race and gender on the effect of marital dissolution on depression, and Read and Gorman [ 15 ] determined that the gender gap in health differs widely by racial/ethnic group. But only a few quantitative studies have explicitly studied illness states associated with complex social positions arising from intersections between three axes of inequality [ 16 – 19 ], none of them Canadian, and no studies have studied intersections between all four of the primary axes of inequality of intersectionality theory. Given the seeming complicity of all of race [ 2 , 20 – 23 ], gender [ 3 , 4 , 24 ], class [ 5 , 25 – 29 ], and sexual orientation [ 30 – 33 ] in North American health inequalities, this lack of attention to health inequalities that accrue to multiple combinations of inequality identities represents an important gap in the health determinants literature.

Analytical strategy

Modeling the main effects of inequality identities (additivity) and then statistical interactions between them (multiplicativity) in multivariate regression models on health can establish whether two-way or three-way statistical interactions (intersections) between axes of inequality contribute to explaining variability in health above and beyond the additive approach to health inequalities that currently dominates health determinants research. This paper uses a two-stage analytical strategy, the first additive and the second multiplicative, applied to a large representative survey dataset from Canada in order to investigate health outcomes associated with intersections between race, gender, class, and sexual orientation.

First, the strength and direction of the main effects in additive regression models such as Race + Gender + Class + Sexual Orientation = Health addresses the principles of simultaneity and directionality. Simultaneity suggests that all four identities will make significant contributions to these models before and/or after controlling for one another while directionality implies that non-Whites, women, lower-class people, and non-heterosexuals will manifest the poorer health outcomes.

Second, simultaneity and multiplicativity imply that the inequality identities should interact meaningfully with one another as predictors of health, that is, statistical interactions between the inequality variables of race, gender, class, and sexual orientation should manifest significant effects above and beyond their main effects in the abovementioned additive models. The existence of interactions speaks to multiplicativity. The qualities of the interactions themselves speak to multiple jeopardy and directionality. At least three multiplicative scenarios are possible for a given statistical interaction: 1. two or more axes of inequality manifest directions of some kind or other in additive models and then display an aggravating effect in the interaction between them, 2. two or more axes manifest given directions in additive models and then display a mitigating effect in their interaction, and 3. an interaction manifests itself between two or more axes but not all of the axes display independent effects in additive models. Aggravating effects support the assumption of multiple jeopardy and reinforce the directionality identified in the additive models whereas non-aggravating effects run contrary to the assumption of multiple jeopardy and complicate directionality. Finally, contributions to predicted variability in the models address multiplicativity by providing an indication of the "value added" of the statistical interactions; comparisons of R 2 values between regression models with and without the cross-product terms can be used to assess the magnitude of their contributions to explaining variability in health above and beyond the contributions of the main effects.

Survey sample

The Canadian Community Health Survey 2.1 dataset was collected by Statistics Canada in 2003. The target population for this cross-sectional survey was all persons 12 years of age and older residing in Canada, excluding individuals living on Indian Reserves and on Crown Lands, institutional residents, fulltime members of the Canadian Armed Forces, and residents of some remote regions. Sampling considered province or territory and health region of residence and applied three sampling frames (a multistage stratified cluster design in an area frame, a list frame of telephone numbers, and a random digit dialing frame) to select the sample of households. One person was chosen randomly from each household to complete the survey. A total of 134,072 usable responses were obtained, representing a national response rate of 80.7%. Final person estimation weights were provided by Statistics Canada.

This investigation focuses on survey respondents who were aged 25 and older at the time of the survey. Table 1 describes socio-demographic characteristics of this sample of 109,967 respondents. The logistic regression models were applied to the 90,310 respondents with valid information for the age, race, gender, education, household income, sexual orientation, and self-rated health variables. Household income (N = 15,481) and sexual orientation (N = 7,676) were the main contributors to the loss of cases from listwise deletion. In comparison with the working sample, the sample of missing cases was older, poorer, and less educated on average and contained proportionately more widows, non-Whites, and adult immigrants to Canada.

Survey measures

Survey respondents were asked the following question: "People living in Canada come from many different cultural and racial backgrounds. Are you: White? Chinese? South Asian (e.g., East Indian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan)? Black? Filipino? Latin American? Southeast Asian (e.g., Cambodian, Indonesian, Laotian, Vietnamese)? Arab? West Asian (e.g., Afghan, Iranian)? Japanese? Korean? Aboriginal (North American Indian, Métis or Inuit)? Other - specify." The interviewer was instructed to read all of the possible responses and record all of them that applied. Due to small sample sizes for some responses this variable was recoded as follows: Aboriginal, Asian (combining the Chinese, Korean and Japanese categories), Black, South Asian, and White, as well as a residual category created by combining the remaining categories, including the original "other" category, into a single un-interpretable category labeled "other."

Highest educational attainment and household income were used to assess class standing. Statistics Canada asked a series of survey questions pertaining to educational attainment to generate the education variable described in Table 1 . To assess household income, respondents were asked: "What is your best estimate of the total income, before taxes and deductions, of all household members from all sources in the past 12 months?" Follow-up questions determined the range within which their household income fell for those respondents unable or unwilling to provide a precise dollar value.

Sexual orientation was assessed as follows: "Do you consider yourself to be: Heterosexual? (sexual relations with people of the opposite sex); Homosexual, that is lesbian or gay? (sexual relations with people your own sex); Bisexual? (sexual relations with people of both sexes)" Approximately 0.6% of women and 0.5% of men self-reported as bisexual and 0.7% of women and 1.2% of men self-reported as homosexual, values that are slightly lower than numbers reported by similar studies in the United States [ 32 ], Australia [ 34 ], and the Netherlands [ 35 ] where approximately 2-3% of the general population reported being homosexual or bisexual.

Global self-rated health, a variable known to encompass both physical and mental well-being and to reliably predict other, more objective, measures of health [ 36 ] as well as mortality [ 37 ], was assessed as follows: "I'll start with a few questions about your health in general. In general, would you say your health is: Excellent? Very good? Good? Fair? Poor?"

Regression modeling

Self-rated health was dichotomized so that fair and poor responses were contrasted with good, very good, and excellent responses and binary logistic regression modeling was then used to predict fair/poor health. Each nominal independent variable in a regression model was treated as a set of dummy variables with one (missing) dummy variable serving as the reference. Because the N for a reference category should be large in order to provide a stable reference point, "White" was assigned the reference category for race and "heterosexual" was assigned the reference category for sexual orientation. In addition, "male" was assigned the reference category for gender and "postgraduate degree" was assigned the reference category for education. This strategy facilitated ready interpretation of how the other identities fare relative to what are generally considered the more privileged identities in Canadian society. Nagelkerke pseudo R 2 , a rough measure of the proportion of variability explained by a logistic regression model, was presented for each additive model.

Introducing cross-product terms to hierarchically well-ordered models is a common approach to investigating statistical interactions in the context of logistic regression [ 38 ]. Alpha was set at 0.05 with regards to the contributions of main effect terms in additive logistic regression models but at 0.10 for the interaction terms because of the lesser power of tests of significance for interactions in general (some of the variation in the dependent variable explained by the interaction may be already captured by the main effect test, measurement error in the individual factors becomes compounded in an interaction term, etc.).

The logistic regression models were implemented in SPSS 15.0. Because the sampling design for the CCHS 2.1 was complex, the 500 bootstrapping weights and BOOTVAR program created for the CCHS 2.1 by Statistics Canada were used to generate more reliable variance estimates and thus more reliable tests of significance and confidence intervals for individual variables within regression models. Due to the limitations of BOOTVAR, results from omnibus tests of significance for categorical variables and interaction terms comprised of sets of dummy variables and Model Chi-square tests of significance for logistic regression models in their entirety could not be generated.

Additive models

Table 2 describes the key features of a set of additive binary logistic regression models on self-rated health. With regards to race, Table 2 indicates that Aboriginals, Asians, and South Asians were significantly more likely than Whites to report fair/poor self-rated health. The women of the sample were slightly more likely than the men to report fair or poor self-rated health, controlling for age, but upon additionally controlling for the other inequality variables gender was not significantly related to self-rated health. Educational attainment and household income were both significantly associated with self-rated health, in the expected directions, before and after controlling for the other variables. Finally, self-identified bisexual respondents were more likely than heterosexuals to report fair or poor self-rated health, holding age constant, although the association weakened to the point of non-significance after controlling for the other inequality variables. The decline in effect size for Aboriginal identity compared to White identity from Model I to Model V was mostly due to differences in education and income whereas the declines in effect sizes for female compared to male identity and bisexual orientation compared to heterosexual orientation were primarily due to differences in income (results not shown).

Comparisons of odds ratios and Nagelkerke R 2 values indicate that education and income followed by race were the strongest predictors of self-rated health. Education and income were also implicated in some of the "hidden" explained variability in the regression models (results not shown). Regarding the overall contributions of the main effects to predicted variability in health, as a set the five inequality variables produced an increase in Nagelkerke R 2 of 0.061 over the regression model on self-rated health containing age alone.

In summary, the additive models of Table 2 described poorer health outcomes for bisexual respondents, non-White respondents, and respondents of lower class standing. The health effects of gender were minimal and the health scores of homosexuals did not differ significantly from those of heterosexuals. Class was the strongest distinct predictor of health of the four axes of inequality. With regards to the principle of simultaneity, these results suggest that sexual orientation, race, and class are especially relevant intersectionality axes of inequality in this national context, with directions that point to the negative health experiences of bisexuals, members of lower classes, and Canadians claiming Aboriginal, Asian, or South Asian identities in particular.

Multiplicative models

Two-way and three-way interactions between the five inequality variables were individually added to the final additive model of Table 2 . Interactions that included education and income, the two indicators of class, were not considered. Insufficiently large cell sizes precluded investigation of the two-way interaction between race and sexual orientation and the three-way cross-product terms that included sexual orientation and necessitated use of a dichotomized version of education (has a university degree or not) in the two-way and three-way interactions that included education and race. Table 3 contains odds ratios and p-values for the statistically significant interactions. Figure 1 depicts predicted probabilities for statistically significant interactions; the probabilities labeled "additive" were generated from additive models that did not contain any interaction terms and the probabilities labeled "multiplicative" were generated from models that additionally contained the interaction terms of interest. These visual depictions of predicted probabilities aid in determining whether aggravating effects (multiplicative advantage or disadvantage) or non-aggravating effects (such as mitigating effects) pertained to the multiplicative scenarios.

figure 1

Predicted Probabilities of Fair/Poor Self-rated Health . A: Income by gender; B: Income by sexual orientation; C: Income by race; D: Race by gender.

Neither of the three-way interactions had a statistically significant effect on self-rated health. However, each of gender, race, and sexual orientation manifested significant two-way interactions with class and gender interacted significantly with race (Table 3 ). Consider first the interaction between gender and income. Table 3 indicates that income manifested a stronger association with self-rated health among men (OR = 0.439) than among women (OR = 0.502) and that the ratio of the two odds ratios differed significantly from 1 (p = .011). Figure 1A depicts additive predicted probabilities of 0.305 for the poorest women, 0.295 for the poorest men, 0.066 for the richest women and 0.063 for the richest men. These predicted probabilities reflect the weak gender effect and strong income effect evident in the final additive model of Table 2 . The plot also contains predicted probabilities from a multiplicative model incorporating the interaction between gender and income. Here we see that the predicted probability of fair/poor health among the poorest women (0.286) was somewhat lower than we would expect from an additive perspective. The interaction between gender and income on self-rated health therefore represents a mitigating effect for lower-class women.

The marked change for the worse in risk of fair/poor health from the additive model to the multiplicative model for poor homosexuals depicted in Figure 1B is an aggravating effect in the form of multiplicative disadvantage experienced by poor homosexuals. The self-rated health of Asians was much less influenced by income than was the self-rated health of Whites; in particular, the risk of self-rated health depicted in Figure 1C was much lower than expected for the poorest Asians, a mitigating effect. Finally, South Asian women were more likely than White women to report fair/poor self-rated health while South Asian men were no more likely than White men to do so (Table 3 ). The increase in risk of fair/poor self-rated health among South Asian women from the additive model to the multiplicative model depicted in Figure 1D seemingly represents a case of multiplicative disadvantage experienced by South Asian women.

Adding all of the two-way cross-product terms to the final model of Table 2 produced an increase of 0.007 in the Nagelkerke R 2 . Two-way interactions between the four axes of inequality therefore contributed less than one percent predicted variability in self-rated health.

In summary, each of the four axes of inequality interacted significantly with at least one other, suggesting that all four axes belong to the pantheon of intersectionality axes of inequality that contribute to health inequalities in Canada. The only instances of multiplicative disadvantage pertained to poor homosexuals and to South Asian women who were at an especially high risk of fair/poor self-rated health. Mitigating effects pertained to lower class women and to poorer Asians who were less likely to report fair/poor health than expected. Lastly, the multiplicative models contributed relatively little to overall predicted variability in self-rated health over and above the contribution of the full additive model.

From the perspective of intersectionality theory, by focusing on a subset of the inequality identities or by treating multiple axes of inequality as distinct rather than intersected processes, a social researcher is in danger of misunderstanding the nature of social experiences and identities manifested in specific contexts and thus in danger of producing results and interpretations that are as misleading as they are incomplete. If this is true then much of the literature on health effects of inequalities pertaining to race, gender, class, and/or sexual orientation is incomplete, and some of it may even be misleading.

The Canadian Community Health Survey dataset is especially well suited to investigating the applicability of intersectionality theory to health disparities in Canada. It is the first and only Statistics Canada survey dataset to assess sexual orientation, distinguishing between bisexuals, homosexuals, and heterosexuals, and unlike most Canadian survey datasets it is large enough to produce a multi-category measure of race. The analysis described herein is therefore unique by virtue of its consideration of intersections between all four key inequality axes of intersectionality theory, its consideration of bisexual identities as well as homosexual and heterosexual identities, and its consideration of racialized identities such as Aboriginal, Asian, and South Asian as well as Black and White. In addition, the application of central principles of intersectionality theory to Canada, close neighbor to the United States, can contribute to future speculation about the portability of intersectionality assumptions across borders. Cross-contextual comparisons are essential in light of the fact that institutionalized race relations, gender relations, etc. are historically and contextually specific [ 39 ]. However, several important limitations of the study require acknowledgment. The validity of the sexual orientation survey question is of some concern. The small percentage of people who chose a non-heterosexual orientation in general suggests that many survey respondents may have been unwilling to reveal a historically stigmatized identity to interviewers. The especially small percentages of people reporting a non-heterosexual orientation in several of the non-White groups speaks to cultural differences in professing stigmatized non-heterosexual orientations, a knotty measurement problem for any study that seeks to investigate intersections between sexual orientation and race. Lastly, by virtue of excluding Indian Reserves from the sampling process the survey sample does not represent on-reserve Aboriginal people in Canada who are known to have even poorer health than off-reserve Aboriginal Canadians [ 40 ].

The intersectionality principle of simultaneity maintains that all four axes of inequality should be considered in an analysis while the principle of multiplicativity maintains that intersections between axes should overshadow or supplant the individual axes themselves in their effects. Although we carry our identities into every social situation, not all of them are necessarily salient in or relevant to a particular encounter [ 7 ]. Even so, race, gender, class, and sexual orientation all manifested independent relationships with health at the additive stage of my analysis and each of the four axes intersected meaningfully with at least one other axis, suggesting that all four of these intersectionality axes of inequality were operative for better or for worse in many of the social situations encountered by survey respondents in their everyday lives. In short, the principles of simultaneity and multiplicativity founded upon the inequality foursome of race, gender, class, and sexual orientation appear to be relevant for disparities in health in Canada.

The intersectionality assumption of multiple jeopardy maintains that meaningful intersections manifest multiplicative - inordinate amounts of - disadvantage or advantage. While two intersections were to indeed to the further detriment of certain complex social locations, i.e., of poor homosexuals and South Asian women, two demonstrated a mitigating quality for certain complex locations, i.e., for lower class women and poor Asian Canadians. Many other possible interactions were not large or statistically significant. It therefore appears that, with regards to self-rated health in Canada at least, multiple jeopardy can be more or less than (or most often simply equal to) cumulative double or triple jeopardy. This multiplicity of multiplicative possibilities demands a kind of conceptual fluidity that is not accommodated by the principle of multiple jeopardy as it is depicted it in the introduction to this paper.

Bart Landry [ 9 ] argues that while the notion of oppression is useful and undoubtedly reflects real experiences, for intersectionality theory to realize its full potential in social research it must accommodate more neutral experiences of differences or variations in experiences across social locations that are not inherently oppressive. The plight of poor homosexuals may indeed reflect a multiple jeopardy that accrues at the intersection of the oppressive forces of heterosexism and capitalism. However, the interaction between gender and race reported here suggests that certain characteristics of South Asian communities are detrimental for the health of women and beneficial for the health of men. If patriarchal gender relations within South Asian families are culpable [ 41 ] then inequality by gender is clearly a factor here but race relations perhaps are not. The interaction between gender and class in turn points to the particularly heavy penalty paid by lower class men; here class inequality among men [ 24 ] may be more pertinent than gender relations between men and women. These provocative findings point to the importance of applying to health disparities in Canada a version or understanding of intersectionality theory that can accommodate intersections of different kinds and qualities.

The theory of "invisible intersectionality" has this potential. Valerie Purdie-Vaughns and Richard Eibach [ 42 ] argue that people with multiple subordinate-group identities who do not fit the prototypes of their constituent groups are "marginal members of marginal groups" who are relegated to positions of "acute social invisibility." While there are certainly disadvantages to holding multiple subordinate-group identities, they argue that there can be advantages to social invisibility in that marginal members of marginal groups may be able to elude the more active forms of oppression which are directed at "prototypical" members of marginal groups. The multiplicity of multiplicative possibilities described in my analyses begs for further investigation from an intersectional invisibility perspective. For example, characteristics of workplaces and occupations, health behaviors, residential segregation, experiences with systemic, institutional, and interpersonal discrimination, adherence to different norms of masculinity and femininity, and encounters with the health care system may identify advantages and disadvantages adhering to various complex social locations and explicate varying risks of poor health in Canada by intersecting axes of inequality. However, acknowledging with Weber and Parra-Medina [ 43 ] that intersectionality theory should focus on the social construction of complex identities in specific times and places and that survey data cannot explicate the ways in which relations of power operate in individual lives, some of these explanations may be amenable to investigation by way of survey research but others undoubtedly require other modes of investigation. Ethnographic investigation spanning interpersonal relations and institutional/structural arrangements may also be needed to substantiate and explicate the results described here.

From an additive, non-intersectional perspective, poor self-rated health outcomes were reported by respondents claiming Aboriginal, Asian, or South Asian affiliations, lower class respondents, and bisexual respondents. However, from an intersectional perspective, each axis of inequality interacted significantly with at least one other: multiple jeopardy pertained to poor homosexuals and (possibly) South Asian women who were at an unexpectedly high risk of fair/poor self-rated health and mitigating effects were experienced by poor women and by poor Asians who were less likely than expected to report fair/poor health. I conclude from these varied results that the intersectionality theory best suited for explicating health inequalities in Canada should be theoretically capable of accommodating axis intersections of multiple kinds and qualities.

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Gerry Veenstra is financially supported by a Senior Scholar career investigator award from the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (2007-2012). Access to the master file of the Canadian Community Health Survey 2.1 was facilitated by the Canadian Initiative on Social Statistics which is jointly administered by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and Statistics Canada. Special thanks go to Lee Grenon and Cheryl Fu at Statistics Canada's Research Data Centre at UBC and to the Vancouver chapter of the Schiesse Club. Cheryl Hon helped to review and summarize the Canadian health determinants literatures pertaining to race, gender, class, and sexual orientation.

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Veenstra, G. Race, gender, class, and sexual orientation: intersecting axes of inequality and self-rated health in Canada. Int J Equity Health 10 , 3 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1186/1475-9276-10-3

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Neil Shenvi – Apologetics

Christian apologetics from a homeschooling theoretical chemist

A Long Review of Race, Class, and Gender – Part 1


Part 1 – The Good Part 2 – The Bad Part 3 – The Ugly Part 4 – Critical Theory and Christianity Part 5 – Why Does it Matter?

Race, Class, and Gender is a 500+ page anthology of essays, excerpts from books, and journal articles. The contents of this book are not bound together by a single topic, but by a broad philosophical perspective known as ‘critical theory’. While the authors come from very different backgrounds, what unites them is a common set of basic assumptions about the nature of reality. Because I consider this book to be the most important work I’ve read in the last three years, I’m going to divide my review into five sections.

Part 1 – the good:

– Because critical theory emphasizes ‘experience’ over ‘argument,’ this volume draws heavily on a wealth of experiences. We hear many voices, each telling their own story. I particularly appreciated Karen Russell’s essay on the terrible racism that she faced in Boston where her father Bill Russell played for the Celtics, Leanita Mclain’s essay on the difficulty of being a middle class black woman, Bob Cole’s account of being an academician from a coal-mining background, Nancy Daio’s interview with Asian housing advocate Chang Jok Lee, and Roberta Praeger’s horrifying experience with incest and subsequent life as a single mother on welfare.

– A few essays provided quantitative data and many more provided historical or cultural background. For example, a (brief) overview of economic disparities between blacks and whites, and men and women, was provided by Robert Blauner’s “The Ambiguities of Racial Change” and Edna Bnoacich’s “Inequality in America.” Michael Messner’s article on “Masculinities and Athletic Careers” also included fascinating interviews with male athletes, focusing on how their view of sports shaped their identities as men. Several authors offered first-hand perspectives on their own cultures: Chicano, Filipino, Asian America, Jewish, etc…

– The book is astonishingly current. Many of these essays read as if they had been ripped from the front page of yesterday’s Huffington Post; yet this book was published in 1992! Terms like “white privilege”, “ableism”, and “systemic racism,” which entered our popular, cultural lexicon only a few years ago (do a Google Trends search), were introduced by critical theorists into academia decades ago.  Someone (Nietzsche?) once observed that the obscure philosophies of ivory-tower intellectuals in one era are the culture’s unquestioned dogmas fifty years later. That’s what we’re seeing in this book, 20 years ahead of schedule.

– Perhaps the greatest contribution of this volume was to put the authors’ sentiments in print. I don’t know whether their views are broadly representative of anthropology, sociology, and Gender Studies departments across the country (I suspect that they are). But whether they are or not, seeing them articulate their beliefs and attitudes explicitly and clearly was eye-opening. These are primary sources. If we want to know what people believe and how they view the world, it’s almost always better to listen to their own words, rather than consulting secondary sources. For that reason, this book is exceptionally valuable.

Next: Part 2 – The Bad

See all content on critical theory here .

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Gender Inequality Essay


500+ Words Essay on Gender Inequality

For many years, the dominant gender has been men while women were the minority. It was mostly because men earned the money and women looked after the house and children. Similarly, they didn’t have any rights as well. However, as time passed by, things started changing slowly. Nonetheless, they are far from perfect. Gender inequality remains a serious issue in today’s time. Thus, this gender inequality essay will highlight its impact and how we can fight against it.

gender inequality essay

  About Gender Inequality Essay

Gender inequality refers to the unequal and biased treatment of individuals on the basis of their gender. This inequality happens because of socially constructed gender roles. It happens when an individual of a specific gender is given different or disadvantageous treatment in comparison to a person of the other gender in the same circumstance.

Get the huge list of more than 500 Essay Topics and Ideas

Impact of Gender Inequality

The biggest problem we’re facing is that a lot of people still see gender inequality as a women’s issue. However, by gender, we refer to all genders including male, female, transgender and others.

When we empower all genders especially the marginalized ones, they can lead their lives freely. Moreover, gender inequality results in not letting people speak their minds. Ultimately, it hampers their future and compromises it.

History is proof that fighting gender inequality has resulted in stable and safe societies. Due to gender inequality, we have a gender pay gap. Similarly, it also exposes certain genders to violence and discrimination.

In addition, they also get objectified and receive socioeconomic inequality. All of this ultimately results in severe anxiety, depression and even low self-esteem. Therefore, we must all recognize that gender inequality harms genders of all kinds. We must work collectively to stop these long-lasting consequences and this gender inequality essay will tell you how.

How to Fight Gender Inequality

Gender inequality is an old-age issue that won’t resolve within a few days. Similarly, achieving the goal of equality is also not going to be an easy one. We must start by breaking it down and allow it time to go away.

Firstly, we must focus on eradicating this problem through education. In other words, we must teach our young ones to counter gender stereotypes from their childhood.

Similarly, it is essential to ensure that they hold on to the very same beliefs till they turn old. We must show them how sports are not gender-biased.

Further, we must promote equality in the fields of labour. For instance, some people believe that women cannot do certain jobs like men. However, that is not the case. We can also get celebrities on board to promote and implant the idea of equality in people’s brains.

All in all, humanity needs men and women to continue. Thus, inequality will get us nowhere. To conclude the gender inequality essay, we need to get rid of the old-age traditions and mentality. We must teach everyone, especially the boys all about equality and respect. It requires quite a lot of work but it is possible. We can work together and achieve equal respect and opportunities for all genders alike.

FAQ of Gender Inequality Essay

Question 1: What is gender inequality?

Answer 1: Gender inequality refers to the unequal and biased treatment of individuals on the basis of their gender. This inequality happens because of socially constructed gender roles. It happens when an individual of a specific gender is given different or disadvantageous treatment in comparison to a person of the other gender in the same circumstance.

Question 2: How does gender inequality impact us?

Answer 2:  The gender inequality essay tells us that gender inequality impacts us badly. It takes away opportunities from deserving people. Moreover, it results in discriminatory behaviour towards people of a certain gender. Finally, it also puts people of a certain gender in dangerous situations.


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