How diverse is your community? Can you see evidence that any group is being subordinated? What social construction categories (racial or otherwise) do you think are significant in your community?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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This answer will, of course, apply to my community which may not have any resemblance to your community.  You should think about your own community and try to determine whether any of what I say here can apply and can help you provide an answer that makes sense in your own context.

My community is diverse in some ways and not diverse in others.  I live in a small town in a very rural area.  In one sense, this town is very diverse in that there is a large Hispanic population (about 30%).  However, the town is not very diverse in that it has very small populations of other minorities.  There are very few Asians or African Americans.  There is not a very large non-Christian population.  Sexual minorities are not particularly visible in this very conservative community.

There are three main social constructions that I see as important in this community.  First, there is the divide between Hispanics and whites.  We have definitely defined these groups as being fundamentally different in some ways and we see this difference as something of a defining difference in our community.  Second, there are socially constructed differences among Hispanics.  We tend to differentiate between recent immigrants and assimilated Hispanics who may have been in the US for generations.  Finally, there is something of a socially constructed difference between “rednecks” or “trailer trash” and the more affluent and educated whites.

It is never easy to see true evidence of “subordination.”  It is clear that Hispanics (and particularly immigrant Hispanics) tend to be overrepresented in things like programs for at-risk kids and underrepresented in things like advanced classes.  It is also true that authority figures like teachers tend to be white.  However, it is hard to say for sure that these things result from subordination of Hispanics or if they are the result of other factors.

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