In the last few chapters in my History textbook, I see some of the struggles of the major categories of American society, or social stratifications, liberated. Society can be divided up based on class, race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, age, religion, culture, status, and power. (You can probably think of a few more). Numerous incidents in America’s history were motivated by one or more of these socioeconomic divisions.
I AM WOAMN!!
Going into the 1970s, woman had begun to take on a different role. Still the primary caregiver, taking on more of the domestic work than male counterparts, but women started to be more than just that. In the 1960s, women had began to picket and protests, this rolled over into the 1970s. Women went to college more, and studied mathematics, engineering, law and sciences, as opposed to mostly education, English, social service, and nursing students before. Now, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research,there are more women going to college than men. Women were working more and began to demand equal pay. There is still a gap. Men tend to get paid twenty one percent more, on average, than equally qualified women doing the same work, but this gap has closed twenty percent since 1970. Before the 1970s, women could not get a credit card, a mortgage loan, birth control, or legal abortion. Women weren’t considered to have the right to refuse their husbands of sex, file for divorce, or report sexual harassment in the workplace. Women gained all of those rights in the 1970s, and went on in the eighties to contribute to the sexual revolution, yet simultaneously became conservative in the work place and in public. Women were done with the bell bottoms and colorful patterns of the seventies, and embraced European attire and designer accessories. Women in the 80s also took more interest in the financial and legal matters of the home, instead of leaving all of it to the husband, as in prior times. In the 1990s, women’s roles in politics began to change. Hilary Clinton took a lot on her plate as the First Lady, and was the first Former First Lady to continue to work a major position in politics after her husband’s term. Hilary Clinton was elected to the Senate in 2001, ran for Democratic Presidential Candidate in 2008, served as Secretary of State (a woman who didn’t want any ole’ secretary job) for four years, and is now running as a Democratic Presidential Candidate for the 2016 election.
The American Woman has come around full force. There are still some gaps, inequalities, and unequal distribution of domestic responsibilities, but a woman in 2015 can do anything she wants to do, with her life, her mind and her body. A woman can be anybody she wants to be. A woman can be born into any one specific social stratification and die in another.
BLACK POWER!! BROWN POWER!!
Minorities are another social stratification that have banded together to bridge some dangerous gaps. Civil rights acts had been passed in the 1950s and 1960s. In the 1970s enforcement of these acts became important, and more of a priority of our judicial system. Following The Civil Rights Movement, other minorities also exhibited pride in their ethnicity and native culture. It became more common for Americans to identify with their roots of their parents and grandparents homelands, rather than just blending in with the blurred line of being white. Movies and music explored and celebrated this pride. Movies like The Godfather, that chronicled the tale of strong Italian roots and culture, here in the U.S. Music like disco, rap, and hip hop were expressive outlets of African Americans, but also bought many people together, across color lines. Chicanas, Latinas, and Native Americans also proudly celebrated their roots. America started to show signs of the melting pot so many families had come here to be part of. Today, numerous people of diverse backgrounds have the freedom and platforms to honor their culture and the culture of the relatives that lived before them. There are specific months, and holidays, websites and social groups. Clubs and activities can be found on many high school and college campuses based on race, ethnicity, and culture. People of color have began to seek education and careers in math, science, technology, engineering, economics, and politics. People of all racial backgrounds are elected to political positions now. So much so, that for the last seven years, The United States of America has had its first black President in office. Minorities too, now live in a country where they can be born into any one socioeconomic classification, and die in another.