Friday, January 20, 2017


Every society is “‘socially stratified.”  Broadly viewed, the term goes beyond socioeconomic status, and includes status and other feature.  In the context here, this means that some categories of people are in control and are seen as superior to other categories of people.  Social stratifications includes hierarchies in which some categories of people are devalued and other are favored.  Some categories are entitled to control what others do.  Examples are India today with its caste system and South Africa under apartheid and blacks in the South under slavery and Jim Crow laws.

Hierarchies and stratification are justified by those who are advantaged.  It is in their interest to continue the status quo.  The status quo will be justified by a variety of arguments, including religious ones.  Even many in the disfavored categories accept their inferiority.  The hierarchy becomes, over time, a central feature of the society.  However, hierarchies are often challenged and those who benefit from it will often fight change.  Change does not come easy for some people, especially those with vested interests in the status quo.  With regard to blacks and whites in America, the term ‘white rage’ is used to describe the motivation for white supremacy and white resistance to measures to help the poor, who are disproportionately poor minorities. See, e.g.,

Starting with Supreme Court decisions and federal civil rights laws, many whites, especially in the South resisted the challenges to white supremacy with hatred, if not violence.  This was especially noticeable with regard to desegregating public schools.

Another example is male domination over females. This has a long history in the U.S.and most, if not all countries.  Wives were viewed as the property of their husbands.  Women were seen as unfilt for many occupations.  They were forbidden to vote. Women were expected to marry and become sex and baby machines, maids, cooks and  for their husbands, and nannys for the man’s children.  Men were especially concerned about the sexuality of women.  Miscegenation was outlawed. Years ago, if a black man in the South was even suspected of raping a white woman, he would be lynched as soon aspossible. You can see this in the social structure in very conservative Jewish and Muslim cultures.  Men wanted to control the sexuality and reproduction of their wives.  This is one of the reasons, but not the only reason,  for opposition to abortion.  It gives women control of their fertility. The sexual double-standard allowed men to be promiscuous but women were not allowed.

Conservatives, who usually vote Republican value tradition and order and dislike change.  They are generally opposed changes in hierarchical relationships, on either the legal or social level. (e.g. opposition to abortion, equal rights for women constitutional amendment, voting rights laws which protect minorities, affirmative action).  Liberals tend to be more sympathetic to the ‘underdog’ and more likely to support legal changes to benefit ‘underdogs.’” 

Many suspect that one of the reasons for the Trump victory was that white working class people felt that the democrats were more interested in helping minorities, LJGBT’s etc., than white working class people.  In America, many white people view themselves as the better segment of the population and they become uneasy when their dominance is in jeopardy.

Results from a recent poll suggest this mechanism is at work.
“To be a woman in the United States is to feel unequal, despite great strides in gender equality, according to a wide-ranging poll about gender in postelection America released Tuesday. It’s catcalls on the street, disrespect at work and unbalanced responsibilities at home. For girls, it’s being taught, more than boys, to aspire to marriage, and for women, it’s watching positions of power go to men.
Men, however, don’t necessarily see it that way.
Those are some of the findings from the poll, by PerryUndem, a nonpartisan research and polling firm whose biggest clients are foundations. It surveyed 1,302 adults in December via the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago’s AmeriSpeak panel. . . .
Eighty-two percent of women said sexism was a problem in society today, and 41 percent of women said they had felt unequal because of their gender.
Men underestimated the sexism felt by the women in their lives, the survey found. And while most respondents agreed it’s a better time to be a man than a woman in our society, only Republican men thought it was a better time to be a woman than a man.”
Republican men seem to see it differently. Just over half thought it was a good time to be a woman, while only 41 percent of them thought it was a good time to be a man.
Donald J. Trump’s rhetoric has appealed to people who feel this way. At his victory rally in Cincinnati last month, he said about women: “I hate to tell you men, generally speaking, they’re better than you are. Now, if I said it the other way around, I’d be in big trouble.” . .
Dennis Halaszynski, 81, is a retired police captain in McKeesport, Pa., and a registered Democrat who voted for Mr. Trump. “It’s easier being a woman today than it is a man,” he said in an interview. “The white man is a low person on the totem pole. Everybody else is above the white man.”

It’s hard to tell how many people agree with Dennis, and how many voted for Trump. The emergence of the al-right was probably motivated by this thinking.  White supremacists and white nationalist would probably agree.

Although race and gender are not the only issues.  Religion and ethnicity are also factors.  White, Protestant residents of the U.S. were appalled at the influx of Catholic Irish starting in the 1830's. 

See the full article at



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