Homework Writing Help on Social Construction of Gender and Race

Social Construction of Gender and Race:

How it has affected everyday life, life chances, and aspirations.


A society is a system that is organized by people with various characteristics and patterns of relationships (Cole, 2006). The commonest outstanding character in the society is gender, which distinguishes people as either male or female. However, the social set up is vast with persons differing in skin and color and language. Ethnicity or race, therefore, comes in whereby there are whites, Asians, and blacks. Talk about religion, culture, wealth and economy; they are other factors encompassing race and gender (Cole, 2006). However, how do these social elements affect a person’s everyday life, their life chances, and aspirations?

The social constituents affect in a great deal the lives of people whereby they can shape or make it more difficult. For instance, gender is now not only a biological distinction but also a socially distinguishing factor that is giving different roles to a boy and girl child. Males are always considered aggressive compared to tender and relatively passive females, hence conventional roles that concur with their perceived traits. Racial difference has been the ground for discrimination and separation between people with various skin colors. In addition, wealth affects the societal structure by creating strata in regard to various living standards and incomes (Cole, 2006).

To bring to light the effects of social construction elements, this study looks at the vintage life of Puerto Rican, Esmeralda Santiago. In her book, ‘When I Was Puerto Rican’, she elaborates how her family especially the mother faces difficulties due to gender inequality and race. This text, therefore, discusses particularly the effect of ethnicity and gender inequality and how they affect lives and aspirations of people.

Esmeralda Santiago’s Autobiography, ‘When I Was Puerto Rican’

The plot

The story in this book revolves majorly around Esmeralda and her mother, Ramona. Esmeralda is the eldest of the growing family that is interrupted as early as when she is only 5 years. The mother would part ways with her father, Pablo after suspecting him of infidelity. Ramona then takes the sole responsibility of the kids by working at a local factory with the help of young Esmeralda at home since she cannot work and take care of the children at the same time (Santiago & Santiago, 1994).

Things, however, fall apart when her younger brother, Raymond is involved in a gruesome bicycle accident in the hands of her cousin, Jenny. The accident is a total mess to the boy and worse is the fact that he may not recuperate in the hands of local doctors. Ramona resolves to take him to New York, United States to avoid possible amputation with the hope he will get the best medical care there. Challenges surround Ramona especially due to her language and skin color. She, however, manages to come back for the other kids to take them along to New York to settle and school there (Santiago & Santiago, 1994). In New York, life was not easy either and Esmeralda feels nostalgic about life as a Puerto Rican (Santiago & Santiago, 1994).

Ethnicity issue surrounding Esmeralda and her mother

            Esmeralda’s native country is Puerto Rico which is a ‘Negros’ country with most people having a black origin. She has a dark complexion even to recognition by her family who called her ‘Negi’ as a nickname. This affects her both in the States and her own country where people pour scorn on her for being black and this affects her education and welfare.

Ramona, her mother, is another victim who faces discrimination as she goes to seek medical attention for her boy in New York. She is referred to as a Negro there and her poor English language competence makes it worse hence facing a lot of difficulties in obtaining services and fending for her family (Santiago & Santiago, 1994).

Gender and gender inequality in regard to Esmeralda and Ramona

It is evident from the narration in the book that females are overlooked. There is neglect of Ramona by Pablo who she suspects to be in another affair thus the reason for their divorce. Ramona has to do everything on her own to make ends meet and provide for her children. She undergoes a lot to defy the odds i.e. working in the factory and still look after the young children at home with virtually no help from Pablo (Santiago & Santiago, 1994).

Esmeralda is another victim of gender issues as she is all alone at home when her mother seeks a living. She oversees the welfare of her siblings and still takes responsibility. In fact she is wronged for letting her little brother go cycling yet the blame is in her cousin, Jenny who defies her refusal to let Raymond go for the ride that would turn grisly. These women suffer mentally and psychologically because of their gender (Santiago & Santiago, 1994).

Concluding Statement

Racism and gender inequality can adversely affect an individual. What one aspired to be or do may never come forth with these factors lurking around them. However, Esmerelda defies obstacles to further education with the pressure and encouragement from her mother, who has endured a lot in life. People are born with important sex and race (Cole, 2006). The society, however, comes in to subject people to stereotypes especially through media and unrealistic cultures. The society ought to accept human beings as they are as with nature so that everyone can be seen as equal regardless of their sex or skin.


Cole, M. (2006). Education, equality and human rights: Issues of gender, ‘race’, sexuality, disability and social class. London: New York.

Santiago, E., & Santiago, E. (1994). When I was Puerto Rican. New York: Vintage Books.