Power Matters By Brenda Allen

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(1) Class According to Brenda Allen in the chapter “Power Matters,” she mentions that there dominant ideologies of identity that “reflect perspectives and experiences of ruling groups, whose members construct and circulate beliefs that will most benefit them.” We live in a country where there are dominant ideologies of organizational hierarchy, which “arranges job positions in a stratified structure, with power flowing from the top down.” This exemplifies the ideology of domination, which is a belief system in America that the “superior should rule over the inferior” (32). This ideology is so embedded into our system that most people believe it is natural. The American society we live in values patriarchy, white supremacy, heteronormativity, and a specific culture of wealth and poverty; any identity that falls outside of these dominant ideologies is marginalized and placed in the lower strata of social power. Allen supports her claims about hierarchies and power dynamics in her chapter “Social Class Matters.” She dives into the structures of society by examining power and social class in various contexts. In this chapter, she explains that people are categorized according to themes of class difference and struggle. Social class is associated with the relationship between power and the distribution of resources. Because this stratification system of social class is one of the biggest predictors of school achievement, social identity plays a large role in the social reproduction of inequality in the education system. (2) Race In her book The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, Michelle Alexander states that we still use our criminal justice system to “label people of color ‘criminals’ and then engage i... ... middle of paper ... ...understanding how social inequality is reproduced in the classroom and in school. Collins further talks about economic, cultural, and specifically linguistic reproduction. linguistic capital is a more specific form of capital. It refers to the role of language and class in social reproduction. This concept was originally coined by Basil Bernstein, who argued that “the experience of work process reinforces kinds of family role relations, themselves realized as discursive identities that are carried by ‘elaborated’ and ‘restricted’ codes” (39). We saw this in the 1960s; poor African Americans performed inadequately in school because they were culturally or linguistically deprived. Not only is race a determining factor in the social reproduction of inequality, but it is a combination of how facets of our identity intersect with changing values and norms of our society.
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