Unlike some foreign cultures (e.g., India, etc.), there is not a formal social class structure in the United States. However, there are certainly distinctions made in some communities according to demographics such as: education, wealth, race, religion, and gender. How have you seen this in your own community? In your work place? How does this apply to Christians who are “all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal 3:28b, NIV)?
Although the United States lacks formal social class structures, other distinctions based on education, wealth, ethnicity, religion, and gender prevail in some communities. Distinctions based on education exist in the community, mainly being the widening gap in the achievement of higher education between students of color and the whites. The blacks lack the same educational opportunities as whites, meaning they are less likely to achieve higher educational levels. Some of the challenges that lead to the educational disparities include lower income levels, poor health, high incarceration rates, and low education levels of the parents. Distinctions based on wealth also exist along racial lines. The whites are generally wealthier compared to people of color. The whites hold more wealth compared to the African Americans and the Hispanic groups. Current research indicates that the gap in wealth between blacks and whites is still increasing. This is evident in the standards of living between whites and then blacks; where the blacks have lower standards of living.
Race distinctions still exist in the community, with African Americans being the most affected. Racial prejudice is a serious problem in the society today. In the recent past, cases of racially motivated violence by the police against the black community have been on the rise. These killings seem to be driven by racial stereotypes that associate the blacks with violence and crime. In my community, blacks face arbitrary arrests when they are suspected of engaging in criminal activities or possessing illegal items. This has increased tension between the black community and the police. The blacks live in perpetual fear of arrests even when they are not on the wrong. There have been cases of racial discrimination in the workplace, whereby blacks are given unequal opportunities as whites in terms of job application and awarding. Nonetheless, these cases are few since the law strictly calls for equal employment opportunities among all races.
Distinctions based on religion have been on the rise in the recent past; the driving force being the spate of terrorist attacks that the country has witnessed. Distinctions based on religion have mainly affected the Muslim community in the area. Muslim communities living in the area have been threatened with violence in the past. This makes the Muslim community live in perpetual fear of attacks. Distinctions based on gender are rife in the employment sector. There are employers who discriminate against women when providing job opportunities. Some introduce terms and conditions that discriminate against women in the workplace. For instance, most employers are not willing to give women paid leave when they proceed for maternity leave. Instead, some employers find reason to fire women who ask for maternity leave. Another area of contention is the wage gap between men and women. On average, men earn higher to women. This is discrimination based on gender.
Galatians 3:28b, NIV teaches that human beings are one in Christ. This means that as Christians, we should not discriminate others based on religion, gender, education, race, or on other basis. The Bible clearly discourages Christians from making distinctions. It recognizes that fundamental aspect regarding individual differences. Human beings cannot be entirely the same; they must have differences in opinion, lifestyle, race, ethnic background, and in other areas.