Methodology and Research Methods


Inequality means people have unequal access to scarce and valued resources in society. My research project focus will be

on social inequality and the mechanisms behind social inequality that are heavily impacting the United States. The

discussion will be based on the concept of social inequality in terms of the effects of status, inequality based on

differences in esteem and respect, alongside those based on resources and power. Furthermore, focus will be directed on

how wealth, race, class, conflict and inequality impact families and overall human development. The research will in end

focus on providing a summary on how the aforementioned elements that lead to social inequality affect life changes. There

will also be some solutions on how overarching inequality in the United States can be reduced and how equality can become

a reality.
As will be demonstrated in the research race and color are aspects within our society that are strongly linked to racism.

The people of color have over the years been discriminated against in the United States based on their national origin,

religion, ethnicity or race. In this regard, discriminative practices against individuals and families significantly

impacts on the understanding of inequality in the society. It is imperative to note that people of color are part of the

minority groups in the United States. Furthermore, there is clear evidence that discrepancies in the society in line with

discrimination against people of color is highly explains why there is social inequality in the United States society.
Where did inequality come from? Why does it continue? Do we justify inequality? Can we eliminate inequality? How? Can we

make a society in which people are equal? How? My sociological approach will give me the methodological and theoretical

tools to begin to answer these questions. As will be demonstrated in the research both individual and family status

significantly impacts on the understanding of inequality in society. Status is highly based on disparities in American

society in relation to esteem and the respect demanded due to ones social position. Furthermore, there is clear evidence

that discrepancies in society in line with power and resource ownership, to a very great extent explains why there is

social inequality in the United States.
Family and human development are very important aspects as far as societal growth and development is concerned. It is

imperative to note that in this case, inequality is a major hindrance to societal development. Therefore, as will be

clearly demonstrated in the research negative influences on the family and overall human development is attributed to

discriminatory practices in terms of racial bias, class differences and conflict between different groups in the society

– specifically persons of color. In the United States society the whites continue to perpetuate racism against the

minority for various reasons. As will be explicated in the research the majority group is able to benefit from practicing

racism. For instance, in terms of the labor force, each job not taken by a Black person could be job that gets occupied

by a White person. There is inequality in the employment sector whereby priority is given to the white people. With

respect racism, there are different perspectives and views of how it influences social inequality. The minority groups in

the United States continue to suffer the effects of inequality and consider racism and discrimination as a major problem.

On the other hand, the white’s tend to perceive racism and inequality as not being a serious issue. Furthermore, groups

of people such as the Caucasians bare similar views as the whites and fail to consider discriminative practices on the

American societal system a problem. Weitzer and Tuch (2005) focus on,” What is the relationship between inequality and

economic development?” The ultimate truth is the community of the white people has the most to gain from the

discrimination of minority groups. Where there are large minority groups, there are high levels of discrimination to

occur based on the understanding that White populations stand to gain the most in those situations. This is a very

important point of concern in the research.
In conclusion, social life of individuals is dependent on the influence of the aforementioned factors identified. Over

the years, the issue of whether social inequality still exists in the American has been a source of great controversy.

There are views from the public that support that it still exists while others supports the opposite perspective. There

are different perspectives and views of how racism and discrimination against the people of color influences social

inequality. Social life of the people of color in the United States is dependent on the extent and degree to which racism

and discrimination is practiced. Over the years, the issue of whether social inequality still exists based on racism in

the American has been a source of great controversy. There are views from the public that support that it still exists

while others supports the opposite perspective. The American society continues to experience a major problem of social

inequality that needs to be dealt with. It is crucial to note that some of the ways through which social inequality may

be addressed is through the promotion of anti-racism campaigns as well as through government policies as far as the

equitable distribution of resources is concerned. Additionally, the anti-racism campaigns will aid in the creation of

awareness of the important of eliminating racists and discriminative practices in the society. This is because they

significantly contribute to social inequality thereby interfering with family and overall human development and the

society at large.

Ses, 2013 “How Racist Are You? – Jane Elliott’s Blue Eyes/Brown Eyes Exercise” Retrieved from

Weitzer, R., & Tuch, S.A. (2005). Racially biased policing: determinants of citizen perceptions. Social Forces, 83(3),

Hunter, M. (2007). The persistent problem of colorism: Skin Tone, Status, and inequality.Sociology Compass, 237-254.
The research gives concentrates on the experiences of the Latinos, Americans, and the Asian Americans concerning the

issues of skin color. It demonstrates how the light skinned people have clear advantages in areas such as education,

income, housing, and the marriage market. In fact, people who are dark skinned are considered to be ethnically legitimate

as compared to those who are light skinned. The research has drawn a lot from the already existing literature, citing

various instances on how color hierarchy has developed in the country during slavery and afterwards and how the

domination rewarded those who have emulated whiteness ideologically, culturally, aesthetically, and economically. There

are also several instances where the colored people have been interviewees e.g. a dark skinned African American testifies

how inferiority complex has dominated their world as a result of color. The study finds out that colorism is a subset of

racial discrimination. It is a manifestation of the racial discrimination tendencies which communicates the broader

meaning and status of the race in the United States. The more the structure of white racism continues to be intact,

colorism continues to operate. The article relates to the study as it talks about the impact of color on the self-esteem

the affected groups. It draws more insight on the light skinned people have more privileges than the dark skinned people.

As much as the American society seems to have made a tremendous step in building an inclusive society; the government

still has a long way to go in eliminating skin color stratification.
Kenworthy, L., & Smeeding, T. (2013). The growing inequalities and their impacts in the United States. Country report of

the United States, 1-19.
The researcher focuses on the changes in inequalities in wealth, income, earnings, and education over time, and their

political, social, and the cultural impacts. The research has greatly relied on the secondary data from 1970/80 to

2010/2011 for the United States. It is evident that most of the well-known forces that drove the United States to the top

of the rich countries -inequality still continue. The findings of the research are that the trend in inequality in the

United States has always been high. Most of the middle class in the country believe that their children will be

economically worse off than they are. Some of the forces behind inequality in the country include income disparities and

poverty which has risen, with a very high level of joblessness as well. There is need for more research on how the

distribution has fared beyond the growth in the very top shares, and the outcomes and drivers resulting from these

changes and how some specific groups have been affected such as the families with children versus the elderly.
O’Connell, H. A. (2012). The Impact of Slavery on Racial Inequality in Poverty in the U.S. South. Social Forces, 90(3),

The research concentrates on the impact of slavery on racial inequality in poverty in the contemporary United States. The

research advances the literature on racial inequality and legacy of slavery by considering the slavery’s relationship and

the inequality in poverty. The analysis of United States Census data is done using spatial and regression data analysis

techniques. The research found that the slave concentration is related to the contemporary black-white inequality in

poverty, independent of the current economic and demographic conditions, racial threat, and the rationalized wealth

disparities. The research suggests the importance of slavery in shaping the existing United States racial inequality

patterns. Racial inequalities continue to persist in the country despite the improvements in the racial minorities’

economic and social standings. As much as the racial minorities face favorable legal conditions, the differences in their

economic and social success by race remain. The research upholds the fact that inequality is a reality in the United

States, and it is deep-rooted, making it harder to be fully eliminated. However, there is a need for the future research

to study legacy’s relationships with the racial inequality among the social outcomes besides poverty and the other

minority collectives as related to the whites.
Neckerman, K. M., & Torche, F. (2007). Inequality: Causes and Consequences. Annual Review of Sociology, 33335-357.
The research attempts to understand the inequality causes and consequences in the United States and globally. It provides

an update of research on the patterns and causes of inequalities in the United States, including the inequality of

wealth, earnings, and opportunity. The research used a multi-level method and data from the United States Census to

analyze the distribution of amenities and incomes differentials among the African American, native and foreign-born

Latino men, relative to the whites in 186 United States metropolitan areas. Questionnaires were also distributed to get

the views from a sample of each group. Most of the subjects attributed the inequalities to racial factors that are to

some extent still reflected in the institutions and imbalance in the distribution of opportunities and incomes.

Sociologists can advance this research by bringing discipline-based expertise to bear on the political and organizational

economy of the labor markets and firms, which are the major pathways through which inequality has an effect, and the

political, social, and cultural contingencies that are likely to modify this effect.

Hunter, M. (2007). The persistent problem of colorism: Skin Tone, Status, and inequality.Sociology Compass, 237-254.
Kenworthy, L., & Smeeding, T. (2013). The growing inequalities and their impacts in the United States. Country report of

the United States, 1-19.
Neckerman, K. M., & Torche, F. (2007). Inequality: Causes and Consequences. Annual Review of Sociology, 33335-357.
O’Connell, H. A. (2012). The Impact of Slavery on Racial Inequality in Poverty in the U.S. South. Social Forces, 90(3),

Social inequality refers to ways in which individuals are categorized differently in regards to access to social

opportunities. It entails differences in income, proximity to power, and status within societies. Colorism is a form of

discrimination or prejudice that is based on skin color. People who are light skinned are often treated favorably than

those with dark skin. Colorism is a constant problem among people of Color in the United States. Colourism, also known as

color stratification facilitates privileges to light-skinned people over dark-skinned people in areas such as housing,

education, income, and marriage (Hunter 2007). Such social inequalities have negative effects on human development,

particularly child development. Children who have experienced discrimination in their childhood are likely to experience

both mental and psychological problems.
Wealth accumulation and income disparities also perpetuate inequalities in the society. As people accumulate wealth, they

can acquire the ability to access privileged opportunities such as housing, education, and health. The United States and

the United Kingdom have the highest level of income inequality among the rich OECD countries. The two countries have also

experienced a sharp increase in disparities in recent times. In the 2000s, 10 percent of the population held two-thirds

of the total wealth while 90 percent of the population held only one-third. In the United States, racial discrimination

is a major factor that promotes inequality. Racial inequality persists in the contemporary United States despite progress

in civil rights legislation (O’Connell 2012).
Mechanisms of inequality
Social inequality occurs when groups experience unequal social treatment based on gender, ethnicity, social status and

other characteristics. Social inequality can result from social discrimination in which systems of discrimination create

dominant groups that have different levels of access to services and goods. Such groups may possess different levels of

power. Institutional racism may exist in the society’s laws, customs, and institutions. Policies of institutions such as

banks, the media, and schools that affect the economic well-being of families also affect children’s development. Such

policies may include lending practices, educational practices, and restrictions. Exposure to such institutional racial

discrimination can lead to high levels of stress that are related to poor health outcomes in the society (Sanders-Philips

and Walker 2009).
Race-based barriers continue to hinder the achievement of shared values among Americans. Research indicates that the

reduction of poverty does not necessarily translate into racial inequality. Similarly, rising economic tides do not also

necessarily reach low-income people. For instance, in 2000, after a period of economic prosperity, the poverty rate among

Latinos and African Americans was 2.6 times higher than for White Americans. Later, when the economy slowed down between

2001 and 2003, the poverty rate for blacks and Latinos increased dramatically than it did for Whites. Research further

indicates that Poor people of color are more likely to live in high-poverty neighborhoods than whites. In 1960, for

instance, low-income Latino communities were three times as likely as were low-income white people to stay in

high-poverty neighborhoods but were 5.7 times as likely in 2000 (Jenkins 2007).
Although racial discrimination has declined in recent times, research indicates that candidates with similar

qualifications for housing or jobs enjoy significantly different opportunities depending on their race. Research has

established that white job applicants are more likely to receive favorable consideration than African Americans or Asian

and Arab Americans. In further research conducted, it was established that people of color receive little information

about housing from real-estate agents than their fellow whites, and in most cases are denied housing in predominantly

white neighborhoods. Consequently, it can be deduced that people of color face barriers in accessing good schools,

housing or jobs (Jenkins 2007).
Impact of inequality on human development
Research has established that there is a relationship between family income and school outcomes as demonstrated by the

effect on college enrollment. Social inequalities in housing, income and other factors significantly contribute to

physical and mental disparities for children of color in the United States (O’Connell 2012). There are several theories

that try to explain the impact of racial discrimination and inequalities in the society. According to the Ecological

theory, the relationship between a child and the environment should be evaluated to understand development. Evaluating

the impact of racial discrimination is critical in understanding the health outcomes among children of color

(Sanders-Philips and Walker 2009).On the other hand, the racial inequality and social integration theory is concerned

with the psychological pathways through which racial discrimination experiences impact on the physical and mental health.

Anomie, a condition characterized by perceptions of lack of control over life outcomes and feelings of hopelessness

develop when children perceive contradictions between the lack of opportunities in their lives and the opportunities

available in the society at large (Sanders-philips and Walker 2009).
Research has established that since exposure to racial discrimination is related to low levels of empathy, perceptions of

justice, and moral development, children who are exposed to racial discrimination are unlikely to develop perceptions of

empathy and moral justice that are critical in preventing violent behaviors in their adulthood. The childhood stage is a

critical period in the development of a child because it is a period in which a child develops social relationships and

realities, perceptions of self, and a feeling of mastery over life outcomes. Exposing a child to discrimination at this

stage of development can diminish the child’s feeling of worth, self-control and instead cultivate the mistrust of

others. In addition, children are more vulnerable to effects of racial discrimination since they do not understand the

source of the negative or harsh treatment that their parents receive from the society. Such experience reinforces the

feeling of powerlessness, injustice, and victimization that may contribute to violent behavior by the child in future

(Sanders-Philips and Walker 2009).
Origin of Inequality
The origin of inequality in the United States is largely historical. However, since inequality also entails differences

in economic well-being, current and past economic policies also contribute to inequality. Such economic policies and

racial prejudices create disadvantaged groups of people who go on to pass their status from one generation to another.

Consequently, inequality at a particular time affects the inequality of another generation. Inequality in wealth in the

upper segment of the population has a long-term effect as the rich can pass over their accumulated wealth to the next

generation. The development of inequality can also occur as a result of education attainment. Children from low-income

communities are likely to get less education and consequently will have a low income in their adult life. It could also

occur as a result of a political process. Low-income communities might lack the necessary political voice to advocate for

their well-being (Neckerman and Torche 2007). According to the social stratification theory, social stratification

entails the social, cultural, and political processes that result in a hierarchy of groups within the society. As a

result of social stratification, black Americans tend to have a low social status that has developed as a result of a

long history of legal segregation. The social position of a group in the society can expose it to discrimination that may

lead to stress. High-stress levels can affect the health of the group, either directly or indirectly (Sanders-Philips and

Walker 2009).
Historical and modern factors continue to hinder communities of color from accessing economic opportunities necessary for

their upward mobility in the United States. In New Orleans, for instance, and in many other cities, low-income Blacks

were concentrated in low-cost neighborhoods in 1960s. So, when the Hurricane Katrina struck, it was the African Americans

who were more at risk. Such historical legacy has only served to increase poverty levels in the United States. In the

case of Native Americans, poverty has been as a result of failure by the federal government to account for billions of

dollars it was supposed to hold in trust for the Native Americans. In addition, breach of treaties and a history of war

have contributed to their economic status (Jenkins 2007). Despite court battles that have established the culpability of

the federal government, there have been little initiatives to correct such past mistakes. According to the social

stratification theory, social stratification persists for generations in a society. For instance in the United states

there are groups of people that have access to greater status, wealth, and power than other groups of people. The racial

discrimination that has persisted in the United Sates for many generations is a characteristic of social stratification

(Boeles 2010).
Though slavery was eradicated one and half a century ago, its legacy has affected educational inequality and continues to

impact society. By the time slavery was abolished, African American slaves had no exposure to formal education. Their

descendants also completed only a few years of schooling. In addition, they only accessed racially segregated schools in

which education was inferior (O’Connell 2012).The combination of lack of education and the inferior education for those

who accessed it has led to persistent income and wage gaps. Consequently, slavery is still associated with current levels

of income inequality. Former slave counties are still unequal in the modern age. They also tend to have a higher rate of

poverty and racial inequality. It is clear that many forms of inequality in the United States are inherited from

historical events and continue to grow in the present day America (Bertocchi and Dimico 2010).
Americans tend to blame the plight of poverty on poor people themselves. They feel that poor people have contributed to

their economic woes. In one of the studies about anti-poverty countermeasures, most Americans tend to support individual

solutions as opposed to societal solutions. Most of the American respondents felt that the poor people of color should

get themselves jobs. The media has also created the mentality that the image of welfare recipients is blacks, despite the

fact that research indicates that people of color are not often the majority beneficiaries. As a result, people of color

are portrayed as dependent (Jenkins 2007).
Removing racial barriers and the solutions to inequality
The current antitrust legislation and tax structures can prevent the accumulation of wealth witnessed a century ago. Tax

policies should be used to reduce the widening gap between the rich and the poor. The government should consider taxing

the rich more than the average tax for the general population. Reducing accumulation of wealth within sections of the

population is critical in preventing inequalities in the society (O’Connell 2012). Removing racial barriers require

concerted efforts from all the stakeholders in the society. It calls for the change of attitudes towards racial

discrimination. There is the need to address race-based barriers by enforcing antidiscrimination policies and ensuring

that there is equal access to opportunities for everyone. Civil rights efforts should be directed towards stopping social

exclusion in the society. A critical step is to reduce financial barriers to college education by increasing grants to

low-income students. Colleges should also consider socioeconomic and racial background in their enrollments so that they

promote a diverse student fraternity (Jenkins 2007).
Education is critical in reducing inequality. There is need to reform public education in order to make it more

affordable, well distributed and improve its quality. Rich children attend private schools where education is of high

standards. On the other hand, poor children attend public schools where quality may be low compared to the private

schools. The workers should also be empowered at the workplace so that they can articulate their issues effectively.

Historically, workers were able to negotiate for better terms with their employers through unions. However, union

membership is on the decline and the ordinary worker no longer has a voice to articulate issues. It seems that

corporations have managed to silence employees by eliminating unions. The government should intervene to ensure that

workers are not exploited. The government should institute policies that safeguard the welfare of employees and foster

social mobility.

Bertocchi,G. and Dimico, A.( 2010). The historical roots of inequality. Retrieved from:
Boeles, D.H. (2010). An Integrated Theory of Social Stratification. Retrieved From:
Jenkins, A. (2007). Inequality, Race, and Remedy. Retrieved from:
Hunter, M. (2007). The persistent problem of colorism: Skin Tone, Status, and inequality.
Sociology Compass, 237-254.
Neckerman, K. M. and Torche,F.(2007).Inequality: Causes and Consequences. Retrieved
O’Connell, H. A. (2012). The Impact of Slavery on Racial Inequality in Poverty in the U.S.
South, Social Forces, 90(3), 713-734.
Sanders-philips,K. and Walker, D.(2009). Social Inequality and Racial Discrimination: Risk
Factors for Health Disparities in Children of Color. Pediatrics, Vol 124 176-186.
Place this order with us and get 18% discount now! to earn your discount enter this code: summer17 If you need assistance chat with us now by clicking the live chat button.