Down to Earth Sociology Book Review

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Downto Earth Sociology Book Review

Downto Earth Sociology Book Review

WouldYou Hire an Ex-Convict?

In Devah Pager’s book, the author conducts research on the negativeeffects of incarceration of black and whites and unemployment afterlife in jail. First, the title itself is a question asking if thereare possibilities of an ex-convict to secure a job opportunity.Therefore, the title is relevant to the study the author conducts.However, Devah indulges to a racial prejudice perspective. Hecompares the probabilities of the white and the black to secure a jobafter incarceration. The study finds that people who had previouscriminal record were not likely to secure jobs because the majorityof the employers viewed them with contempt.

Devah`s review is appropriate because his respondents were bothblacks and whites, a choice that makes the study credible as hehypothesizes that criminal record and racial prejudice contribute tosocial disparities. The issue of racial discrimination in the UnitedStates is still prevalent where the blacks are the most discriminatedeven in seeking employment. According to statistics, most of theincarcerated people are the black youths because a significant numberof them drop out of high school due to a miserable family life.

Out of the population that is set free after serving a jail term, afew of them get employed because people have the mentality thatex-convicts are ‘evil’ people who can hardly perform. However,there are a few employers who think ex-convicts can do their bestbecause they fear going back to prison or reverting to the life ofheinous crime. A criminal record for both the whites and the blackreduce opportunities for employment, a situation that makesex-convicts to return to criminal life and subsequently to detention.

The study found that majority of the employers preferred white jobapplicants to black applicants with the same qualifications. Worseenough, the frequency of the callbacks for the whites who hadprevious criminal records was higher than the rate of the callbacksmade to blacks who had no criminal record. It is a clear sign thatracial discrimination still plays a dominant role in socialinequalities in the United States. The number of the whites whoreceived callbacks from employers was significantly large, more thantwice the number of the blacks who applied for the same job with samequalifications. Therefore, despite facing hardship afterincarceration, the blacks battle employment hurdle on racial divides.It means that few number of whites are unemployed compared to theblacks. Additionally, the blacks are likely to experience recidivismbecause the environment outside jail is not favorable for theirdevelopment that they end up doing the same crime.

One would agree with the author that just like there are crimepolicies there need to be policies that help ex-convicts to live alife that develops them and make them productive in the society. Inas much as the criminal justice system is performing to ensurecriminals are out of the community for correction, life after jailshould also be a major focus for everyone. The author indirectlysuggests that people need to change their negative perception of theex-convicts and give them a chance to develop by offering them jobs.

ShowingMy Color

In “Showing My Color,” the author narrates her life as a blackchild, growing in a racially prejudiced American society. There wasclear segregation between the blacks and the whites. Most of thepublic facilities such as swimming pool were not meant for theblacks. The whites barred the blacks from accessing them. The authornarrates how she was not aware of the term segregation when she firstheard it her older relatives. At some time when she was young, thenarrator wishes she was white so that she could access the facilitiesthat were limited to the whites only.

The narrator, from birth, depicts herself as free from prejudice. Sheassociates with whites and does not mind about the color. However,the account of racial discrimination exists among many where theblacks are perceived as bad and the white as good. The narrator growswith the view that America is a nation with diverse races and thatrace should not be the basis for discrimination. Her parents are,however, harbored by the belief that blacks should have their way oflife, different from the whites.

At some time, the narrator buys her father a land in an area that ispredominantly inhabited by the whites. Therefore, she attempts toruin the racial barrier between generations and make her dadintegrate and socialize with the white. She informs the reader thatthe old generation could have been biased on racial grounds, butchildren raised from such prejudiced families should not allow therecurrence of the same. The narrator cites Rev Martin Luther King’sdream that the Americans would not be judged by the color of theirskin but by their character. However, the narrator suggests thatparents have a bigger role in shunning racial prejudice so that thenext generation can lead a life of integration and socialization asAmericans.

Despite education that has been offered to children, disparitiesstill exist in schools. The whites are always good, and when peopleof color try to be good, they are said to be trying to be white.Furthermore, despite the growth of middle-class black and whites inAmerica, the two cannot live together because they still have theingrained belief that the whites and blacks cannot associate. Thenarrator believes that the current generation has an obligation tochange the status of racial prejudice by making all efforts possibleto prevent sowing the seed of racial prejudice to children.