The book, “Race, Nation, Class: Ambiguous Identities,” by Etienne Bali Bar and Immanuel Wallerstein discusses the persistence of racial, national, and class divisions across the globe. I was just as surprised to realize that segregation continues to exist in the 21st century despite the analysis and elimination of such phenomena over the last few decades. I think it is in man’s nature to group themselves according to similar characteristics. The behavior would probably explain why Caucasians or African Americans prefer to stay within the same neighborhoods. Contemporary racism, as said by Etienne and Wallerstein, is characterized by formal manifestations that are integrated into government institutions as well as the core areas of the economy. For instance, I have noticed that in the United States, the incarceration statistics for African Americans has risen steadily in the last ten years compared to any other race. The pattern in question clearly exhibits significant racial undertones.
I think that it would be better to say that racism has evolved instead of asserting that it has ended. In the past, the phenomenon manifested itself in the form of explicit segregation. However, as these forms of classification were prohibited, members that benefited from racism shifted their focus to the economic sector. In the future, they will create new obstacles that can maintain their favorable position. I have always been intrigued by the relationship between class struggles and economic progress. I find that upward social mobility tends to be proportionate to economic growth. In the process, they produce barriers that restrict people that do not possess the resources needed from realizing the same benefits. Therefore, neo-racism is characterized by divisions across commercial lines rather than ethnic ones. In the current state, people of different races occupy the upper class based on their financial strength.
The second reading, “Gender and Nation,” by Nira Yuval‐Davis introduced an element of sex in the process of forming a state. She argued that it was necessary to harmonize the gender conflict first to establish a stable nation. I agreed with her arguments because development has been fuelled by the concerted effort of both men and women, especially in Western Europe and North America. I have not stumbled across research assessing the relationship between gender and nation. However, I have to agree with her stand that women have been neglected for an extended period and their absence is being felt. The issue is prevalent even though they occupy an almost similar percentage to men globally. In hindsight, I think that any nation will progress at a faster rate when they include women in the strategy for development and growth.
I also think that citizenship implies unity of ideology and direction. To that extent, integration can only be achieved when women are included. As far as the inclusion debate is concerned, gender discrimination has always existed, yet it has never been discussed at length and with the same severity as racial segregation. More focus needs to be awarded to this form of exclusion as it hurts the society and by extension, the nation. It is also essential to consider the implications that incorporation approaches can impose on the position of any economy regardless of the discourses encompassing issues such as ethnicity. In conclusion, both readings and the lectures rewarded me with vital information on the state of race and gender in the world.