Free «Race, Class, Language and Culture» Essay Sample

The concept of race, class, culture and language has preoccupied many anthropological, sociological and ethnic related studies. The main issue associated with this concept is the establishment of a clear cut division that exists between them. Some thinkers have argued that all this aspects represents one phenomenon while others argue that they are single entities each representing a totally different phenomenon independent of the other. Despite these assertions, the relationships between the concepts of culture, race, language and class cannot be ignored. To some extent this concepts are interrelated and each name represent a phenomenon that is either a characteristic of the other or a phenomenon that has been founded by the other.

To begin with the concept of race has been seen to represent the color of various people which categorizes people into various races (Child Development Training Consortium, 2008). These categories which some thinkers have called social constructs have led to identities created about those grouped together as people of a particular race. Among the most striking characteristic of the identities that have been created on the concept of race is that of culture. Culture which refers to the complex whole that determines the mannerism of man therefore is a subset of race, an indication that race and culture are closely related concepts. This means that each race has its own unique culture which follows that a culture can be used to describe a race just like a race can be used to describe a culture.

Culture is predominantly characterized by a language (Kuper & Duster, 2005). Every culture has its unique language that defines the culture in question. This therefore shows that a group of people that speaks a certain specific language ascribe to an identified and specified culture. This therefore shows that culture and language are not mutually exclusive of each other as no concept can exist independent of the other (Howard and Kane, 2001). As far as class is concerned, the concept is an important element in formation of cultures. Although class entails putting people on an economic scale for analysis and later deciding the class they belong to, most classes also share a similar culture. When a class shares a common culture, it means that the class shares a similar language and thus can easily be grouped together as people of the same culture. This therefore show that the identified concept refer, to some extent, to the same issue.

They are overlapping concepts also in that one concept can be used to mean another concept. A good example would be the mention of African Americans. Wherever such a term is mentioned, the concept of race comes into ones picture while at the same time one gets the concept of a unique language used by this people. Since this language is the most dominant sign of a deep rooted culture, one gets to visualize a culture that has been associated with this group of people such as the black popular culture. Similarly, one can get to view the issue of class as most of the members of this ascribed group are poorly financially endowed and thus they are in a specific economic class.

When critically analyzed, the concept of culture, race language and class can refer to different concepts. Culture represents the mannerism of people, the type of food people eat, the language they speak, the value of relationships that they maintain among other issues (Kuper & Duster, 2005). When this view of culture is taken, one therefore can argue that in America there are many subcultures whose members are from different races.

The concept of race is more of a genetic issue as well as a social construct based on skin color and lineage. The concept of lineage is overemphasized as opposed to skin color when people are classified as members of a certain lineage. Class on the other hand is a method of social stratification based on economic endowment while language is a tool of communication which can be used by various groups of people regardless of race. The concepts therefore are somehow different even though in popular media they can be used to refer to the same thing.


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