The root of the sexism and racism in the working society is not the people, but the society itself. The structure of the work hierarchy that has been established since before are still actively rolling in this capitalist society and still has not been eliminated. Though I admitted that a lot of things have changed compared to the situation during 19th century, but the inequality between gender and races could still be seen nowadays. So, I wanted to share how did work hierarchy formed in the capitalist country, as United States.
Based on a journal by Joan Acker, “Is Capitalism Gendered and Racialized?”, capitalism was proved to be the reason of how the racism and sexism arose in the working society. He mentioned that capitalism “are deeply shaped through gender and race divisions of labor and power and through constructions of white masculinity.”
The first time industrial capitalism developed in United States, white males were dominating the industry while women were tending to their households unless there was unemployment, low wages or death of their husbands that made them working for a pay. Women would only benefited from their husband’s wealth, but they themselves were not the contributors to the economy. This situation has shown how the differences in earnings and wealth between men and women has existed in the capitalist society. Could you imagine that even though white women was struggling in their life, obviously the African American women had it worse since they were considered at the bottom of the wage hierarchy.
Certainly, there are reasons as to why the capitalists developed the wage hierarchy in the first place. First of all, it was because they wanted to protect their wages from the competition from others, women and also men from other races. They also believed that with the earning advantages of white men, they would improve their working conditions. The other reason for them to have wage differences and division of labor between all the groups was in order to gain profit and flexibility. The higher ups also wanted to prevent unionization among the workers, therefore splitting them up. Even though these were the reasons for the capitalists to dividing the wages and work positions during 19th century, unfortunately the culture has remained the same until today. I believe that it is time to change the structure of the society itself in order for everyone to have equal chances to improve their lives.
by Nur Kamilia Abdul Rani