Everybody's Ethnic Enigma – Article Example

Everybodys Ethnic Enigma In every society, differences occur among individuals. Such differences may naturally occur or may be established out of people’s doing. Some natural differences in the global scene include sex, race, disability and sexual orientation. While the afore-mentioned differences are natural, individuals have different perceptions regarding such differences. This article will explore differences as described by Rosenblum and Travis and its applicability in McLeod’s “Everybody’s Ethnic Enigma”.
According to Rosenblum and Travis (2005), differences in American society are evident in the way people perceive sex, class, sexual orientation and race. According to the two authors, racial categories exist without regard to social processes. Instead, they are objective categories that exist in the real sense among individuals. The two authors also reveal that conceptions are devoid of meanings except those given them by observers. In other words, Rosenblum and Travis believe that difference is a creation rather than an intrinsic phenomenon. What this really means is that individuals make judgments based on their perspectives as opposed to their nature.
Differences are greatly emphasized by Jaliet Macleod’s biracial character nature in “Everybody’s Ethnic Enigma” (1976). The biracial character is perceived to be white as opposed to Asian by some, and her Asian roots are looked at with disappointment. From her experiences, it is almost clear that ethnicity is a factor that bears heavily on the way people are treated in America (and possibly other societies) in spite of the society claiming to be liberal. Upon discovering that she is not pure white, the man in the elevator is disappointed and admits that he thought that she was “one of us”. It is evident that people’s communications and experiences borrow a lot from their understanding of differences.
The aspect of privilege is very evident in “Experiencing Differences”. The privileged in society feel that they are entitled to certain things that others are not entitled to. They have a feeling that they should be rewarded, acknowledged and respected according to Rosenblum and Travis (1996). People who belong to privileged groups also believe that they deserve recognition and benefits for their statuses without really appreciating how such benefits are derived. In McLeod’s article, people derive status by belonging to one ethnic group and not the other. This is seen in the way the she is treated by those who would wish to believe that she is white and not Asian. She however has mastered the art of fitting into each group and manages to auger well with people of different ethnic backgrounds in different occasions.
In conclusion, differences many times occur naturally, and are perceived differently depending on the experiences and background of observers. Difference is the observer’s creation and not an intrinsic characteristic. People from privileged groups always feel like they should be treated in certain ways and that they deserve certain things.
Macleod J. (1976) Everybody’s Ethnic Enigma: Washington. Largo Publisher.
Rosenblum K & Travis T. (2005) The Meaning of Difference: American Constructions Of Race, Sex And Gender, Social Class, And Sexual Orientation. Mcgraw-hill.
Rosenblum, K. and Travis, T. (1996) ‘Experiencing difference’. New York: McGraw-Hill.