Social Stratification in the African American Community

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Social Stratification in the African American community has changed over the years. Social stratification is defined as a rigid subdivision of a society into a hierarchy of layers, differentiated on the basis of power, prestige, and wealth according to Webster’s dictionary. David Newman in Sociology Exploring the Architecture of Everyday Life describes stratification as a ranking system for groups of people that perpetuates unequal rewards and life chances in society. From slavery to the present, the African American community has been seen to have lower status compared to white people. Today, the stratification or hierarchy difference between whites and black are not really noticeable, but it is still present. However, during slavery, the difference in social stratification was noticeable. Whites dominated over the blacks and mulattoes (offspring of a white and black parent). The mulattoes were seen to have a higher stratification than an offspring of black ancestry. Because the mulattoes were related to the whites, they were able to obtain higher education and better occupations than blacks. For example, most slaves of a lighter skin tone worked in the houses and darker slaves worked in the fields. As the people of light skin tone had children, they were able to have advantages too. The advantages have led into the society of today. In this paper I will discuss how stratification has been affected in the African American community over time by skin tone to make mulattoes more privileged than dark skin blacks. Over the years, research shows that lighter African American have had a higher level of attainment, shaping there social and economic stratification. Many blacks of lighter skin tone have had an advantage... ... middle of paper ... ...e. The dividing of levels between blacks influence their social and economic status in the black community, overall allowing the light-skinned blacks to have an advantage over the darker blacks. These advantages by light-skinned blacks have been protested over time by darker blacks through many movements, such as black nationalism and civil rights movements. Even though there was a big separation between blacks and mulattoes, this separation started to disappear during the 1960s. There is some stratification between blacks still today. Research shows that there is stratification among blacks in cities around America. The stratification creates advantages for lighter blacks allowing them to obtain better jobs than the dark blacks achieve. So, in the end, skin tone does have a factor that is related to stratification affecting the African American community.
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