Measuring Diversity in a Social Enviroment
Dicrimination in work place far as Genders
Las Vegas: Income Disparity or Racial Segregation?
SOC2000 Cultural Diversity
U10a1 Measuring Diversity in a Social Environment
The city of Las Vegas is a globally known travel destination with the used catch phrase of, “What happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas,” as well as it is also known as “Sin City.” When most people think of Las Vegas, they picture the Las Vegas strip, which is a picturesque display of high-rise and high-status of beautiful embellished casino hotels. Splashed in-between these luxurious hotels are shopping high-end shopping malls, as well as the dive strip thrifty malls offering souvenirs. Neon lights also flash in attempt to attract the global visitor to spend their money at their show or seedy establishment. Another thought perspective is of the “old and original” Las Vegas strip, which is referred to as “down-town” by Las Vegas residents. This area is just a smaller version of the actual enormous strip area, and it provides is seedy locals, as well as many bars, casinos/hotel, zip lines, free concerts, etc. Anything that you want to do for a party-style vacation can happen here, as well as if you are into exploring hiking trails or spending the day on Lake Mead, you can.
Las Vegas is a city built and functioning on the money of the global tourists that it attracts, and since we are not yet in the technology age of complete automation for hospitability style job, it means that the locals are dependent upon people to keep it all running. People need to live in house, and like majority of humans, they have families that also live with them, to which they are referred to as the ‘Vegas locals.” Spanning out in all directions from the strip and downtown are little suburban communities that stop at the foothills of the surrounding mountains. The bowl of Las Vegas also houses some smaller casino/hotels in each community, as well as a military base, and for the children of these families that live here are schools, churches, supply stores, and many other human functionalities.
With the high level of attraction of the global visitors, one would assume that the people who work in this industry are also from more global and diverse background as well. Within any diverse society, you have the cultural categories, and the sociological perspective can apply to fully interacted and mix society that creates its own culture, or it can be a cultural divided society. Within cultural divided societies, there can be causation for the possibility of a minority or majority conflict of racial segregation. This paper is an analysis of the family living styles within the Las Vegas metro area on finding out if it is segregated at all and if it is, is it based on income disparity or on racial segregation?
Social Topic: Las Vegas Measurement in Diversity
Living in Las Vegas, you can observe at least one person from ten different cultural backgrounds, in one simple fifteen minute drive anywhere in the city. This city, like many cities around the globe, have a racial historical evolution story to share with all, you just have to pull back the layers to find it past what Las Vegas is best known for. Annelise Orleck in her contribution to the publication on learning from Las Vegas (2012), shared her memory of what she call “her racial Vegas” memory, “In April of 2011, I attended the opening of a new elementary school in one of the poorest areas of North Las Vegas. I walked into the bright, solar-powered Ruby Duncan Elementary School, named for the poor black migrant mother who led a movement that changed the lives of poor Nevadans and helped bring food aid and better medical care to poor families across the U.S. The halls were lined with the spirit of that movement. Around me sat the movement veterans – black and white women and me, now in their seventies and eighties. In front of us were the students of the Ruby Duncan Chorus representing a school that is thoroughly integrated – with one third African American, one third Hispanic, and one third white, and a few Asian and Native American children. Though half of the school’s students qualify for free lunches, each proudly bears the title, “Dreamkeeper””( Brents, Borer, Orleck, Zukin, & Wray, 2012, p.17).
An Urban Affairs Review publication (2012) highlights that currently in 2012, Las Vegas has a residential population right around two million, and that it could more than double by the year 2040. The city was founded originally as a tiny railroad stop in 1905, with the biggest noted growth after World War II, due to federal investments and casino resort development, as well as the development of the Hoover Dam (Dassopoulos, Baston, Fultrell, & Brents, 2012, p. 572-573). Ventura (2003) published a report on the changing population demographics of Las Vegas, which holds 70% of Nevada’s total population, to cite that a flood of northern retirees are flocking south to Las Vegas for the warmth and lower cost of living as compart to the north. Highlighting in the growth era of the 1990’s, Vegas has some of the highest numbers of open jobs to fill, which led to the urban sprawl towards the mountains. Henderson, one of the more economically positive suburbs were starting to be recognized as the new addition to the sun-belt with the mases flooding for the open jobs, and retirees flooding for the warmth of the sun (Ventura, 2003). The mass migration identified Las Vegas as the new melting pot city, as it not only brought many from the north, the booming job economy brought many from south of the border and many other states as well (Ventura, 2003).
Based on living within the Las Vegas metro area myself for almost two years now, I hypothesized that “…Las Vegas may be different on racial bias due to the transient nature of this town compared to the majority of the U.S.Cities, and that segregation is mostly based on income disparity instead” (Lancaster, 2016, p. 2). I find this hypothesis intriguing, as if I prove this hypothesis correct, then the positive outcome of a city racially running in a collaborative existence could be an example for other cities to follow. Thus, if a positive outcome does come from this study, the causation for the cultural collaboration verses the cultural segregation would need to be studied through more intense research styles before identifying a roll out application to other U.S. cities. If this hypothesis is proven to be incorrect and the actual outcome is equal to the history and current standings of racial segregation within this country, then no further studies are needed in this area.
Initially, in my original proposal of hypothesis, I had felt that the two best data collections of observation and content analysis (Lancaster, 2016, p.3). The observation method of observing child play interaction within four different socioeconomic suburban areas, to which ended up being a challenge with my work and school schedule and the actual play times of children. I was unable to be able to predict a good time to find a group of children playing, and when I did, it seemed more to be children from the same families playing in the groups. As for the content analysis, the review of the local televised news seemed to be laden mostly with the constant political campaign race of the next president of this country with it being an election year. So I regrouped, and dug deeper and decided to shift the focus. For purposes of this report, the content analysis will be based on written news articles locally in Las Vegas, based on the perceived racial positive or negative reporting’s. The other form of content analysis is centered upon racial analysis of the local verses the national school system, applying the same style as proposed, looking at the suburbs by income.
Las Vegas is has a huge Hispanic population, and as noted by Ventura (2003), “the Census Bureau reports that the “Hispanic” population nationwide has grown over 60% to 35.3 million; in Nevada it grew 900% between 1980 and 2000 to somewhere between 350,000-400,000 people…The epicenter of growth are the cities of Las Vegas, where nearly one in four of the 478,000 residents are Latino and North Las Vegas, where more than one in three is Latino. In Clark County as a whole Latinos make up 22% (Note, in Henderson, which is in Clark County, they make up just about 10%) (p.103-104). The Las Vegas suburbs of Henderson and Summerlin are known to be the high income bracket areas, whereas North Las Vegas is known to house the lowest income brackets and have the highest crime incidents. Vesselinov & Le Foix (2012) analyzed three cities, with Las Vegas being one, on how the rising of the gated communicates has affect racial and income divide . Henderson and Summerlin are known to locals to have the higher levels of the gated-style communities, which is marketed to new migrators as a safer living from the local crime. One of the analysis breakdowns that Vesselinov & Le Foix (2012) highlight in Las Vegas, is the racial percentage in gated communities verses the percentage not in the gated communities, for the Gated communities, the highest percent is white (72.82%) (p.212). The other cultural groups are as follows, Latino (11.32%), Black (6.57%), Asian (5,64%), and Other (3.55%). In the non-gated communities, White still have the higher percentage, coming in at 59.67%, with next being Latino (22.97%), Black (8.95%), Asian (4.53%), and Other (3.78%).
The Las Vegas school system houses 262 public schools and 86 Private schools and 16 Charter schools. School systems nationwide are ranked on a system ranging from zero to one, with the number closer to one showing a high level of diversity, the state of Nevada has an average score of 0.47, whereas the national average is 0.30. The Las Vegas school system ranks more diverse than either the national or the state, coming in at 0.70, the overall percentage of the student body is 73% minority enrollment, with the majority of them being Hispanic. An interesting side note is that of the 16 public charter school, minority enrollment is at 51% with the majority of them as Hispanic and Black. However, of the 86 Private Schools, minority enrollment is only 17%, and they are not categorized as to which are the majority in the minority group, and notably so, Private Schools cost a lot of money to the parents. Looking at North Las Vegas schools (serving 43,996 students), which is the lower income and high crime suburb, their score of diversity is 0.67, with minority enrollment at 81% with them mostly being of Hispanic descent. Whereas, our more affluent suburban school system of Henderson (serving 42,760 students) came in with a score of 0.65, but only showing a 46% minority enrollment with the majority being Hispanic. Those last two examples do not seem correct to me, as in an analysis form, the percentages of minorities enrolled in comparison to the total student body and the racial ranking number, it seem that Henderson is reporting higher than they should be. At the college level, The University of Las Vegas (UNLV) is listed as the country’s most diverse school with the 24,000 student body containing 36% white, 25% Hispanic/Latino, 15% Asian, and 8% Blacks (Las Vegas Sun, 2015).
Sociological Concepts/Theories Applied
Assimilation is the racial application of historical application to the United States, as all immigrants eventually assimilate into the mainstream. In Vegas, it seems that with the extremely high Hispanic/Latino population, there is more of a convergence of all cultures here. From the social number in school, and even to the gated verses the non-gated communities, the Hispanics are in all levels of financial classes, and that the Black and the Asians are still racially segregated. This seems to be more Blacks than even Asian, if you look at the racial percent breakdown at UNLV, and notably UNLV became the first four-year college designated as a Hispanic-serving institution, as similar to the assimilation for higher education that the Blacks went through (Las Vegas Sun, 2015). However, it seem that the Jim crow era is still alive and centered up on the Black and that the Hispanic and Latino’s are getting more preferential treatment currently. UNLV’s Chief Diversity Officer stated, “As UNLV emerges as a top-tier national university, we need to be even more intentional in our focus on ensuring that these diverse students all experience the kind of success they are seeking by coming here” (Las Vegas Sun, 2015), in which applying that statement to the percentage breakdown and the higher percent of Hispanic population here than in other areas of the country, we can see the progress of the assimilation wheel here.
This assignment took me on a path that started with attempting to highlight Las Vegas as a positive cultural diversity integration example from what you can superficially view. However, start peeling the layers away and the Whites are still the dominate group, however Hispanics are falling in right behind them. Blacks, Asians and other cultural groupings seem to still be struggling for their piece of the pie, even here. My suggestion is definitely for the need of future research into the assimilation that is happening in Vegas with the Hispanics, and as to why the Blacks seem to be around in the community more than the education and housing numbers highlight. Is that because of the military base and the constant movement, or is it because our education system is still failing them and/or they are part of the underground sub-city of the homeless here in Las Vegas? I personally feel like I only touched the surface of the true racial make-up of the most tourist city of the Southwest U.S., and that by studying aother areas, we could find a lot more than any of us could know or image about this city in the middle of the sand.
Brents, B.G., Borer, M.I., Orleck, A., Zukin, S., & Wray, M. (2012) Learning from Las Vegas. Contexts, 11(1), 14-23. Doi: 10.1177/1536504212436481.
Dassopoulos, A., Baston, C.D., Fultrell, R., & Brents, B.G. (2012). Neighborhood Connections, Physical Disorder, and Neighborhood Satisfaction in Las Vegas. Urban Affairs Review, 48(4), 571-600. DOI: 10.1177/1078087411434904.
Fowler, D. C., Lauderdale, M. K., Goh, B. K., & Jingxue (Jessica) Yuan. (2012). Safety concerns of international shoppers in Las Vegas. International Journal of Culture, Tourism and Hospitality Research, 6(3), 238-249. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/17506181211246384.
Gallagher, C. A. (2012). Rethinking the color line: Reading in race and ethnicity (5th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill. ISBN: 9780078026638.
Healey, J. F., & O’Brien, E. (2015). Race, ethnicity, gender, & class: The sociology of group conflict and change (7th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. ISBN: 9781452275734
Lancaster, K. (2016). Cultural Diveristy Project Topic Selection & Data Collecions Proposal. Capella Univeristy. Assignment for SOC2000 Cultural Diversity Class.
Las Vegas Public Schools (Data Retrieved: 2016, March). Retrieved from: http://www.publicschoolsreview.com/nevada/las-vegas
Takahashi, P. (2012, November 25). ‘Teacher diversity gap” causes for concern in CCSD schools: Three of four teachers in minority-majority district are white. Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved from: http://lasvegassun.com/news/2012/nov/25/district-laggin/
Ventura, P. (2003). Learning From Globalization-Era Las Vegas. Southern Quarterly, 42(1), 97-112.
Vesselinov, E., & Le Goix, R. (2012). From picket fences to iron gates: Suburbanization and gated communities in Phoenix, Las Vegas, and Seattle. GeoJournal, 77(2), 203-222. Doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10708-009-9325-2.
Whitaker, I. (2015, September 9). UNLV ranks among most ethnically diverse schools in the nation. Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved from: http://lasvegassun.com/news/2015/sep/09/unlv-ranks-among-most-ethnically-diverse-schools-n/
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