wo Females Were Affected By TheAspects of Family, Class, Gender, and Race
The intent of this paper is to compare and contrast the ways in which
the identities, aspirations, and achievements of two upper class females were
affected by the aspects of family, class, gender, and particularly race. Race
will be particularly scrutinized because the individual interviewed, Alesha (or
Lee), is a female of Italian/Irish-French-German descent, whereas I am an
individual of Mexican/Chinese descent. There are certainly discernible
differences in the growth of an upper-class White female and the growth of a
minority female, and it is my purpose to dissect those differences and explicate
them in sociological terms, while touching upon how the issues of class and
gender also have an effect.
Lee was born into a family that was already very economically
established due to the fact that her parents had her relatively late in life.
She was born into a large family of three brothers and one sister, though all
were the children of her parents previous marriages, and the only one that lived
with her during the entire time that she lived with her parents was her sister,
who was ten years older than her, yet the closest in age. Thus it would seem
that her father had had considerable time to establish himself as the owner of
three supermarkets in New York. Her mother was a domestic engineer.
Lee’s family greatly values owning material things that are conducive to
comfort. This evident in the mansion in which they inhabit, and the luxuries,
such as the extravagant vacations taken and the numerous cars, and boats, they
I was born into a newly economically established family. I am the
youngest of two children, but was raised for the most part as an only child
because my brother was eight years older and lived with my father during most
of my youth, who left when I was very young. My mother was the sole supporter
of me, economically an emotionally, for most of my life, and the role hat he
played was very limited.
My family values saving money and only spending to impress others. This
is evident in that everything purchased by our family is very ornate and
extravagant, and usually to serve other people’s viewing purposes.
Lee’s family background was very influential on the shaping of her
identity. When she showed a serious interest in playing softball, her father
connected with her in this arena of her life, but when she began to show a lack
of interest, her father pressured her to continue. This drove her to keep
playing and thus it became a part of her identity, in that softball became
more than just a game, but part of who she was; it is as if she would not know
what to do if she was not playing, even though she does not necessarily enjoy it
all that much.
Lee’s identity in terms of how she views other ethnicities was also
influenced by family and also exposure to social forces. Lee’s mother and father
grew up in primarily white, middle class home environments in New York and
segregated from all other ethnicites. Lee herself lived most of her life in
predominantly all white neighborhoods, which were extremely high class. She
attended primarily all white high schools and had very limited contact with
minorities with the exception of a few Asians She rarely ventured out of her
mostly white environment and thus developed strong stereotypes about other
ethnicities based on familial influence in addition to things that she viewed
in the media, through books, and through entertainment propaganda.
I was also greatly influenced by family in the shaping of my identity.
My mother valued education and my performance in school was very important to
her. For many years, I took on the almost unrealistic, high expectations of my
mother and thus it became part of my identity to always be at the pinnacle of my
school. Later I discovered that not all knowledge comes from learning
institutions, that in order to be a more “educated” person, I should not take
school to the extremity that my mother had pushed me to, but explore other
facets of life as well.So, my mother’s exertion of pressure on me to well in
academic arenas caused me to eventually deviate from her wishes in order to
explore other areas that would thus become part of my identity.
My perceptions of other ethnicities that are part of my identity are
also largely influenced by family and environment. My parents grew up in lower
class homes in minority dominated inner city Los Angeles, and had far more
exposure to other minorities than whites. I was born into a primarily white
area, but only stayed for about the first eight years of my life.After that I
lived in an extremely culturally diverse area, and attended schools that were
very multicutural. Thus my experiences with such rich diversity made me open to
Lee’s aspirations in life consist of maintaining the same level of
comfort , as her parents have furnished for her her entire life except she
wishes to do this on her own. She is unsure of what avenue she would like to
pursue in school, but she is somewhat pondering into psychology. Her aspiration
for living an upper class life comes from her parents who have always given her
everything she desired, not to mention the fact that she has witnessed the
desires of everyone around her being satisfied, which consequently constructed
an image of how she should try to live. Her interest in psychology seems to
stem from her desire to understand people, being surrounded by her parents who
are controlled by money and who use money as a form communicating feelings. Her
limited understanding of minorities and the issues surrounding them coming from
such a segregated area and then being thrust into such a multicultural area, has
also caused her to question people.
My aspirations in life are to better the conditions of life of people,
particularly women, in perhaps a law aspect. This interest stems from the fact
that my parents, too, are controlled by money and tried to control me in the
same way, telling me that “possessions” will make for happiness, but through my
experiences with them in this regard, I have only found unhappiness.
This paper is an example of how the lives of two upperclass females of
different ethnicities are different, even though right now we are in the same
Category: Social Issues