Transmission of Inequality Discussion

forum: What is the role of culture in the transmission of inequality and injustice from the past? Give an example.

please read chapter 3 and the article below and then answer the forum question above and reply to a one classmate’s response.

classmate 1: The textbook defines culture as “the set of beliefs, knowledge, practices, and material objects that are meaningful to a group of people and shared from generation to generation” (68). When the beliefs, objects, practices, and knowledge are based on and reinforced by systems of oppression, the oppression continues and becomes synonymous with the dominant culture. For example, harmful stereotypes still exist in our culture, and even if they aren’t explicitly stated, we act on them in implicit ways. In the United States, we see a lot of ethnocentrism. We assume that our cultural products such as food, language, and more are the standard, or “normal.” This creates Americans as the “in-group” and people from different countries as the “out-group.” For example, in my Media Studies class, we read about the cultural impact of the typewriter, and how the design was really only made for languages with an alphabetic system. A language like Chinese, which has symbols and characters, isn’t able to make use of that. Various models of the Chinese typewriter have been created, but the cultural loss is that we cannot make sense of it without comparing it to our “standard”, or the American version. This is just one example of how cultural objects are really only thought of in terms of the dominant culture.

classmate 2: Before I learned more about culture and what it meant, I always believed culture was a thing which consisted of religious and spiritual beliefs. I had no idea how deep the meaning of the word “culture” itself was. After learning more about culture and seeing how culture does play a role in the transmission of inequality and injustice from the past, it made me think of American society and American culture as a whole. What does American culture consist of and how does it affect us as individuals and as a society? Do some people within society get affected more than others such as colored people and women? A perfect example is the history of the U.S. when it comes to inequality and injustice against women. Within the text Living Sociologically, we learn about dominant cultures and subcultures. The part that stood out to me the most was when in the text it touched on how the dominant culture in the U.S. has historically been that of white heterosexual men that are educated, wealthy, and are involved in business and profession. This is a perfect example of how culture plays a role in the transmission of inequality and injustice from the past.

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