Dr. Linda Kim
October 30, 2018
Division Between Class
Throughout time there has been multiple occasions people have been divided, whether it be due to their class, race, or gender. But the biggest thing that has caused an overall division has been due to race. Race is the biggest divider between a population because of its possible lack of understanding how cultures work. The lack of understanding the true reasons why people go to the United States, which is due to seeking a better life for themselves and their family. Women particularly have a different situation, as most women struggle to be successful and struggle in their work or school environment. Julie Bettie in her book, Women without Class, brings up topics that relate to women that are White and Mexican American on how their gender and class can affect their future. There are many hidden injuries of class and gender, causing it to make students believe that they may not have a future due to their gender and race.
The reality of many things is that Mexican-American girls have parents who immigrated from the United States. Many of which made that decision to give their family a better life and opportunities. Students who live in circumstances like this are more likely to be living in low economic homes, which could give them a lesser opportunity to seek a higher education. These types of situations pertain to Mexican-American children of immigrants.
Immigrants search for better opportunities to receive a higher wage and a place where they can have less physical labor. But in most cases that is not possible for immigrants as they do not have a citizenship, not having a citizenship can make companies determine the wage they earn (Bettie). That issue can be an ongoing issue for many immigrants as it gives the families a difficult time to make ends meet when trying to provide for a family.
Many of those families are constricted to what they can do and are forced to seek extra jobs. This type of situation limits many of the children in the family, as it gives them a lower possibility of being able to afford going to college. When students have in their mind that there is not much of an opportunity for them to attend college and pursue their career, many of them opt to also working to help provide for their family. The cultural difference can cause for there be a change in attitude with those who surround them at school. The battles there have been to make everything equal for everyone, is still something that is causing conflict amongst schools and students.
Bettie mentions in her book on page 60, that there are foundations within a “girl culture”. Those foundations are either a “non-prep” group, most commonly known as “Las Chicas” and as a “prep” group, and they are known as the middle-class performers. Las Chicas could be identified in Mexican-American groups of girls and the Prep group could be identified in White groups of students. The differences between the groups is that each have their own level of feminine standards, there standards were based on their class and could easily be identified between the groups.
For example; at a high school it students could easily identify who the popular group was because there were all in a crowd surrounded by jocks and cheerleaders. As well as being able to identify the “Emo” group, as they were always in an isolated area of campus, wearing dark colored clothing, hair in their face and headphones in their ears.
The color of the clothing and makeup would signify whether they were an adolescent or an adult. If they would wear light to no makeup, they corresponded to middle class girls. If they wore dark, heavy makeup they linked to the working-class girls. Bettie also compares other groups in the ladder other than the preps, one in particular being the smokers or burnouts. The smokers were “At the bottom of the peer hierarchy among white students…” (102). The smokers demonstrated levels of resentment towards those who belonged to the prep group. The levels were just about the same level of resentment that Las Chicas had towards the prep group.
As time passes there will continue to be occasions that will cause division amongst people, it be people in different races, classes, and genders. A possible reason for that division can be due to race, as it is something that not many people support or understand. People will constantly struggle being understood. Regardless of the gender and class of a person, there will always be differences on how people react and treat one another. There will always be conflict with how people make themselves look like for everyone else.
Bettie, Julie. Women without Class: Girls, Race and Identity. University of California Press, 2014.