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Impact of Societal Issues on Life

Introduction

Contemporary society has issues that affect the individuality of a person. The range of issues of contemporary society includes migration and globalisation, social inequalities, gender or sexuality, family, race/ ethnicity and others. Among all these issues, the two major factors that prominently affect a person’s life include family and race/ethnicity (Moran and Bui, 2019). In this regard, this essay will analyse the impact of family and race/ethnicity by analysing the life of an individual. The person selected for this task is Barack Obama, the First Black President of the United States. Barack Obama has faced a series of issues and problems developed by the society on the basis of his race, family and ethnicity. Furthermore, the themes of this essay will be backed up by evidence in the form of studies and theories.

Race/Ethnicity

Race and ethnicity are found to be actively playing their part in the regulation of contemporary society. According to Moran and Bui (2019), a person’s physical characteristics are referred to as race which consists of eye color, bone structure, hair and skin tone. Fiske (2017) has claimed cultural factors are regarded as main factors of ethnicity that includes language, nationality, ancestry, regional culture etc. (Eeckhaut, 2020). An individual can acquire more than one ethnicity but when it comes to race a person can possess only one race even if it is mixed as claimed by Barack Obama (McAllister et al., 2018). Barack Obama is an African American who has faced a series of issues created by contemporary society based on his race and ethnicity. Barack Obama has parents from different races as his father is an African whereas his mother was an American. Therefore, Barack Obama claims himself as an African American (King, 2020). The differences based on race and ethnicity have also been highlighted by several social theorists among which Karl Marx is regarded as the father. Karl Marx has proposed the “Theory Of Conflict”, according to which the distribution of power and resources is unequal due to the unjust standards of contemporary society (Wehr, 2019). The inequalities in the society have given rise to conflicts between people as it influences their minds and personalities. In this regard, Sayed (2016) has argued that the main reason for the inequalities observed in the society with respect to politics and other broader fields is the social conflict based on race and ethnicity.

Similarly, Barack Obama had to face major social conflict while struggling for political power (Weiser, 2017). The main reason for his suffering was his race and ethnicity which has created hurdles for him as the people judge him on the basis of his race and ethnicity regardless of his abilities. It is the main reason he won the elections of the United States (US) with the majority of his black voters. However as per the “Interactionism Theory Of Race and Ethnicity”, race and ethnicity are the two important factors that define the identity of a person but at the same time, the symbol of race and ethnicity leads to racism (King, 2020). The interactionism theory has proposed that people judge a person on the basis of their assumptions related to his race and ethnicity. This concept has been supported by the statement of Barack Obama in which he stated that there is a difference between attitudes among whites in Northern states and Whites in Southern states about his presidency (O’Neal and Beckman, 2017). The reason is that the Whites in Southern states support the concept of “Birthers” according to which Barack Obama is not born in the US hence he does not hold the power to apply for the US presidency. Barack Obama’s former advisor David Axelrod has also stated that Obama has not only faced issues in his workplace (Wehr, 2019). But he has also experienced ferocity from the opposition and lack of respect as a result of racism in the contemporary society of the United States. Obama has also claimed that racial conflicts are not based on culture but genes (biological factors) as well. People who look different are also found to be suffering terrible oppression regardless of the same ethnicity. Donald Trump was also against Obamas’ presidency by believing the fact that Obama’s birth certificate is fake. However, lately, he shifted his statement after becoming the president of the United States. The social issues and hardships of Barack Obama are evident throughout his life, especially in his political career (Eeckhaut, 2020). Race and ethnicity have a major impact on the life of Barack Obama as a consequence of race and ethical issues of contemporary society.

Family

Society influences the life of a person not only on the basis of his race and ethnicity but also due to his family background. Hence, it has been analysed that a person’s life is prominently affected by the issues of contemporary society. As per the study of Stout et al (2017), a series of issues of contemporary society is associated with the family of the person. A major influence of the contemporary society on Barack Obama due to his family has been observed during his United States presidency (Fiske, 2017). There has always been a conflict between his beliefs, people have misconceptions about his religion due to his family. People have shown distrust in Barack Obama on the basis of his family background regardless of the fact that he was raised by three Christian parents. However, white Americans have a belief that Obama is a Muslim who possess the intention to protect the Muslim community. Whereas, Obama stood equal for every community without concerning religious differences. As per the study of Eeckhaut (2020), the characteristics, attitudes and behavior of an individual are based on the family background he belongs to. This concept of the social impact associated with the family has also been identified by Kelmen in his theory of “Social Influence Theory” (McAllister et al., 2018). Social influence theory has been proposed by Kelmen in 1958 that illustrated the interconnection between the family and issues of contemporary society that an individual has to face (Moran and Bui, 2019). According to social influence theory, an individual in a society is analysed on the basis of his behaviour, attitudes, actions that are believed to be acquired from the family. In this regard, Barack Obama has faced issues because of his family throughout his political career. There has been a conflict of beliefs related to his identity. The non-Muslims have the belief that Barack Obama is a Muslim analysing his family background and that his presidency is only to support the Muslim community.

In contradiction to this, the Muslim community has believed that Barack Obama is a non-muslim and he would act unjustly to the Muslim community to show his loyalty towards the white American culture (McAllister et al., 2018). These contradicting beliefs created negativity among people for Barack Obama due to his family background.  According to O’Neal and Beckman (2017), the family is involved in the brought up of an individual that makes up the mind of a person. By considering this fact, people have criticized and opposed the presidency of Barack Obama as they thought he will act according to the values taught by his family. Muslims believed being a Christian he would favor the white Americans (King, 2020). Whereas the non-Muslims thought that being a Muslim his presidency will be biased for the white Americans. As per the study of Weiser (2017), issues in contemporary society are developed on the basis of family background which can be controlled through effective and positive actions. Barack Obama has faced significant issues during his political career as he was considered as a biased politician before he became the president of the United States. Besides, to reduce the influence of society on his political career on the basis of him, family, Barack Obama developed equal relations with all the communities regardless of their race, ethnicity and culture (Wehr, 2019). For this purpose, Barack Obama has contributed to the wellbeing of Christian communities without distancing himself from the Muslim community (Almås et al., 2017). In contradiction to this, his efforts for the public was remarkable due to which he became the second most powerful and influential personality of the world. 

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Conclusion

By analysing the pieces of evidence illustrated in this essay it has been identified that a person’s life is prominently affected by the issues of contemporary society. This impact was evident in the life of Barack Obama, especially during his political career. Moreover, it has been examined that the main reason for his suffering was his race and ethnicity which has created hurdles for him as the people judge him on the basis of his race and ethnicity regardless of his abilities. Moreover, the main reason for his victory in the elections of the United States (US) was based on the majority of his black voters. In addition to it, there has always been a conflict between his beliefs, people have misconceptions about his religion due to his family. To conclude, the impact created on an individual’s life due to the influence of society can be controlled with appropriate efforts. As in the case of Barack Obama, his dedication towards people made him the second most influential personality in the world.


References

Almås, I., Cappelen, A.W., Salvanes, K.G., Sørensen, E.Ø. and Tungodden, B., 2017. Fairness and family background. Politics, Philosophy & Economics, 16(2), pp.117-131.

Eeckhaut, M.C., 2020. Intersecting Inequalities: Education, Race/Ethnicity, and Sterilization. Journal of Family Issues, p.0192513X19900529.

Fiske, S.T., 2017. Prejudices in cultural contexts: Shared stereotypes (gender, age) versus variable stereotypes (race, ethnicity, religion). Perspectives on psychological science, 12(5), pp.791-799.

King, J., Ribeiro, S.L., Callahan, C. and Robinson, T., 2020. Representing race: the race spectrum subjectivity of diversity in society. Ethnic and Racial Studies, pp.1-18.

McAllister, C.P., Ellen III, B.P. and Ferris, G.R., 2018. Social influence opportunity recognition, evaluation, and capitalization: Increased theoretical specification through political skill’s dimensional dynamics. Journal of Management, 44(5), pp.1926-1952.

Moran, R.E. and Bui, M.N., 2019. Race, ethnicity, and telecommunications policy issues of access and representation: Centering communities of color and their concerns. Telecommunications Policy, 43(5), pp.461-473.

O’Neal, E.N. and Beckman, L.O., 2017. Intersections of race, ethnicity, and gender: Reframing knowledge surrounding barriers to social services among Latina intimate partner violence victims. Violence against women, 23(5), pp.643-665.

Sayed, S.E., Piquero, A.R., Schubert, C.A., Mulvey, E.P., Pitzer, L. and Piquero, N.L., 2016. Assessing the mental health/offending relationship across race/ethnicity in a sample of serious adolescent offenders. Criminal Justice Policy Review, 27(3), pp.265-301.

Stout, C.T., Kretschmer, K. and Ruppanner, L., 2017. Gender linked fate, race/ethnicity, and the marriage gap in American politics. Political Research Quarterly, 70(3), pp.509-522.

Wehr, P., 2019. Conflict regulation. Routledge.

Weiser, D.A., Weigel, D.J., Lalasz, C.B. and Evans, W.P., 2017. Family background and propensity to engage in infidelity. Journal of Family Issues, 38(15), pp.2083-2101.

 

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