ethnic heroes and racial villains in american social science

Ethnic heroes and racial villains in American social science by Stephen Steinberg

The history of America and the concept of “American dream” elicit mixed reactions from different scholars. In his work, Stephen Steinberg offer an insight into the myths that have always misled people in defining success differences across race and ethnicity. The facts surrounding this book are overwhelming and form a logical sequence of institutional discrimination, social circumstances and the role of prior acquisition of industrial skill in giving other races advantage.

He emphasizes that myths are social constructs that die hard. However, his overriding message is that of a misconception that culture and ethnic traits determine economy prosperity of different ethnic groups in the United States. The superiority complex associated with the White majority and inferiority complex fashioned in the image of Blacks and other minority immigrants. The position of Steinberg is valid and relevant as noted in the history of slavery and skewed education opportunities against the African Americans in particular. The popular claim that success in America is an individual effort has practically not been realized. The factors such as locality, class conflict, and selective migration, economic and historical past has been effective in shaping observed inequality. Besides, such factors have helped in maintaining the pre-existing inequality thereby offering an explanation as to why specific racial groups have been successful in pursuing American dream than others.

The book is precise in its attempts to demystify justification for African American economic disadvantage while late immigrants such as the Jews made it.While the Jews immigrants had skills due to their industrial exposure in Europe, African Americans were slaves that were kept in constant mistreatment and the successive political regimes were absorbed into the social construct that effectively kept Blacks in poverty, ignorance and political underrepresentation.

Steinberg’s views on the myths of inequality are applicable in explaining the chronology of social, economic and political injustices that targeted specific races and led to their dim chances of prosperity.




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