My Experience and Reflective Paper About Race, Gender, and Class in the USA
Being an international student poses numerous challenges to the learner. Some of the problems include leaving home and family for a considerably long period of time and settling in a new environment, making new friends, interacting with new foods, and experiencing new cultures and religions. However, it is also a great learning opportunity. It makes the person understand and appreciate that life exists beyond his or her family, social class, culture, religion, and nation. Secondly, it expands the worldview of the student by nurturing critical thinking in him or her. Thirdly, it makes the learner become relative in his or her thoughts. Once a person changes from an absolutist to a relativist, he or she begins to understand the meaning of peaceful coexistence. Relativism goes a great mile to helping the person manage the culture shocks he or she may experience when he or she gets to other countries or communities.
As an international student, I had a number of difficulties settling in the United States. However, moving away from home has proven to be invaluable to my personal and professional developments. The period has been of great learning to me so much so that I count the challenges to be less significant. One of the classes that I attended has had me learn so much about the US and the globe has been the American dilemmas class. Overall, the class has expanded my critical thinking skills to world-class standards, particularly about the social issues that include gender, race, sexuality, and class. The lessons have had a significant influence on my values. On the same note, I can confidently admit that I have become a more informed citizen with the knowledge of the best actions to take as a nationalist and a change agent of the world.
Reflecting on the situation of my home country, I have to admit at the onset that the dilemmas that the US has been experiencing in terms of race, gender, sexuality, and social class are the very ailments from which my society is suffering. One can only imagine how worse off my country is in experiencing the issues negatively being that it is less developed than the US. Through the class, I can now clearly understand why the United Nations saw the need to develop the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to run between 2016 and 2030. One of the three broad goals of the SDGs is to put an end to any kind of discrimination, inequality, and inequity in the world. Gender, sexual, class, and racial inequalities and inequities have been singled out as the major factors that hinder developments in any social level and sector.
The origins of gender, sexual, racial, and class dilemmas are our cultural and religious socializations. Socialization makes us think that certain things are important to humanity than others. They include maleness, heterosexuality, being white, and belonging to an upper social class. Through the class, I understand that no one chooses which race or sex to which he or she should belong. However, the world treats us as if we made such choices out of our own volitions. No one also chooses to belong to a low class. Everyone is working to address poverty even though we did not begin at the same level. In the US, the males have dominated the social structures. The number of men outnumbers that of women in the workplace and politics. On the other hand, more women than men serve as unpaid laborers in their homes as cooks, cleaners, and housewives. Even in marriage, the US world treats the man as the head of the family while the woman and children serve subservient positions. Further, among the children, the male is more equal than the female. However, gender equality and equity demand that the man and woman be treated equally and equitably. The situation is similar to my country. In fact, a man who treats a woman as his equal is mocked.
Racism in the US should be abolished. The white Americans have no rights whatsoever to feel superior to the rest of Americans such as the black Americans, Native Americans, and Hispanic Americans. The African Americans have been bearing the brunt of racism in the US since America’s independence. By large, Americans live in different regions depending on their races. The quality of the schools, religious centers, leisure places, health centers among others depends on which race would use the facility. The white Americans receive more favors compared to the rest of the community. The black Americans are called demoralizing names. The injustice has made America experience internal conflicts such as the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement. Racism is a global phenomenon, where the whites treat other races as less human. For example, in the US, Muslims are treated harsher and associated with terrorism. In the global football, players such as Samuel Eto’o and Mario Balotelli have been insulted due to their skin color.
Sexual orientation is another American and global dilemmas. At least, the US courts appreciate that homosexuality, bisexuality, transsexuality, and queer sexes among others. However, a larger part of the US thinks that no sexual orientation beyond heterosexuality should exist. Such element of selfishness is a factor of our religious and cultural upbringing, which have refused to change. Hover, the class helped me understand that life does have to dance to my tunes. Everyone has to be allowed to exercise his or her rights in responsible and honorable manners.
Classism revolves around treating others as different-based on wealth and property ownership. The challenge with such categorization is that the provision of social services has changed considerably. The poor people live in the non-formal settlements having poorer and less staffed hospitals and schools compared to the rich people. On the same note, the high-class Americans seek social services the private sector while the poor scramble for the few dilapidated ones in their areas. The classism dilemma will continue to be a significant issue in the US with the heightening of capitalism.
Overall, the US and the world have to appreciate the diversities that exist in gender, sex, race, and class. We can hardly subscribe to the conventional ways of living because of everyone’s uniqueness. Therefore, the variations in sexuality need to be accepted and utilized responsibly. On the same note, we have no control over our gender and race. We can only accept it as such. No one is weakened because of being black, Muslim, or female. We remain equals. Lastly, no one can choose poverty over riches. Hardly anyone begs for fun. The rich must not treat the poor as lazy and under-deserving. While my beliefs in ending classism and racism have been cemented further, my values on gender and sexuality have been significantly changed. I now apply deeper critical thinking on social issues unlike before when I was a conventional thinker. The class has helped me redefine my values and expand my worldview. It has also shaped my cultural and religious relativisms.