Race and Ethnicity in Society Essay

Race and Ethnicity in Society: The Changing Landscape by Elizabeth Higginbotham

The Fourth edition of text Race and Ethnicity in Society: The Changing Landscape by Elizabeth Higginbotham continues the series of a close examination of race and ethnicity in our society today with an aim to disseminate the structural organization of the two vices that plague our society. In a multi-racial and multi-ethnic society that exist today, it is critical that we examine these two aspects that are elements of our society. Racism and ethnicity have existed in the American society since its inception because American is the land of multiple races and ethnic groups. On this note, Elizabeth Higginbotham and Margret L. Anderson has comprehensively structured in various parts to cover in broad the social structures and an institutionalized analysis of the two (Higginbotham & Andersen, 2009). The seven themes cover a range of topics ranging from the social construction of racism in our society to the two ideologies and as part of the conclusion explore the two aspects in a context of change. Other theme includes the realities of racism and ethnicity in society, the effect of effects of the two to the five basic institutions of a household like Family life, Work, housing, healthcare, and education. In this essay, I will examine part V of the book and critically examine how the inequalities of race, social class, and gender intersect trying to determine whether or not the authors achieved a clear intersection of the three while also trying to establish a conceptual connection of the three chapters.

The intended purpose of this part is to try and show how racism, social class segregation, and gender bias collectively lead to inequalities in our society. The three forms of discrimination achieve a form inequality to all those subjected to them, and at some focal point, the three intersect. In a way, the three have a conceptual connection on the basis of the oppression depicted in the three chapters.

Chapter 18 is Patricia Hill’s article that envisions a new concept of understanding race class and gender and states the three as the categories of analysis and connection. By arguing that it is the relationship we have that influence social change hence if the landscape of racism and ethnicity is to change, then our relationships need to change (Higginbotham & Andersen, 2009).

Chapter 18 is written in Asian perspective and their existence in the American society. Applying a historical context, the chapter looks at the oppression of Asian Americans and its subsequent structural impact it has on the Asian community. The chapter illustrates how race class and gender are not parallel to each other but are intersection which directly relates to one another. As a result, the authors proves that in fact, the three are interrelated and interconnected.

Glass Escalator Effect

The last chapter of this part examines the glass escalator effect of the men who work in women professions facilitating their upward movement in the field. Based on Adia Harvey’s work asserts the underlying fact that indeed the combination of race and gender intersect to create the upward mobility. This racialized concept proves why race and gender connect to create gender-based inequality (Higginbotham & Andersen, 2009).

The three chapters exhibit similarities that create a general connection of the three fundamental concepts of inequality. The race is dominant in the three and plays a significant role in shaping class and gender-based inequalities. Patricia Hill establishes that relationship in the American society is forged based on race (Higginbotham & Andersen, 2009). It is evident that this fact, just like in chapter where the Asian community is alienated from other races. The oppressed and are not treated as an equal race. This has an indirect psychological effect where the Asian American community creates a segregation of their own. They identify the difference of social class status and gender to create inequalities. The fact that Asian Americans are oppressed consequently create an inward pressure into the community itself, and those in higher social classes transmit the same oppression to those of lower classes while the men discriminate their women. In the last chapter, although the focuses mainly on gender aspect which create glass escalator due to the ‘masculinity’ of the male gender. Race plays the role of an external effect. The three chapter establishes an interconnection that shows inequality is founded on discrimination based on race, class, and gender. The intersection point is the general inequality of those subjected to inequality based on the three aspects. Collective the three chapters create a paradigm of inequality that is dependent on discrimination based on the three parts. Each plays a significant role in the realization of inequality. In conclusion, the section comprehensively addresses the broad concept that this text seeks to address. If society has to create a new form of equality, then the relationships between the three aspects must be reinvented to accommodate interactions all races, social classes, and gender based on the principles of equality and mutual respect. Liberal ideas in the contemporary American society plays a significant role in changing the perception of race and ethnicity. It is important to note that inequality champions disintegration which consequently leads to division in society. The changing landscape should be founded on the substantial value of equality and fundamental freedoms as embodied in the American constitution.


Higginbotham, E. & Andersen, M. (2009). Race and ethnicity in society (1st ed., pp. 375 -439). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

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