Utilizing Monopoly to Illustrate Race and Gender Discrimination





Utilizing Monopoly to Illustrate Race and Gender Discrimination

Pedagogical games, in overview, are utilized to challenge personal presumptions concerning the manner in which the world operates. Most of these competitive games, for instance, tend to focus more on fairness. Interestingly, this asserts that the society is balanced and that personal endeavor or talent constitutes the main factor in the attainment of success. Therefore, in such pastimes, groups experience equal treatment, which creates an opportunity for winning for the best participants. In this respect, the game of monopoly has been utilized to challenge the assumptions encompassing race/ethnicity and gender. By utilizing an appropriately structured simulation, the game has provided an essence of the legacy of race and gender discrimination within the American society. Furthermore, the correlation between the game and sociology presents two concepts, which are imperative in understanding the issues of race and gender within society: these comprise social stratification and sociological imagination.

The game of monopoly, in this case, is founded upon the presumption curtailing the Equality of Opportunity. As such, throughout the game, certain themes were noted based on how the competition was structured. These subjects mainly constituted race and gender. In this respect, the players who were red (indicating minorities) had specific rules meant to illustrate the manner in which the society in America works. Similarly, female players also possessed certain rules, which limited them from gaining opportunities such as money and property in comparison to their male counterparts. During the game, it became notable that most of the players engaged in the competition differently among each other. Foremost, the red players were unable to purchase property further prompting their disinterest and exasperation with the game’s rules. Additionally, female players were frustrated at the low amount of money ($150) they received. Moreover, the respective players did not take risks by not “rolling a 9”.   

Even though the game seemed to be unfair, the aim of it was to show the reality of racial and gender discrimination in the contemporary society. Hence, in order to illustrate the themes of racial and gender disparities, the rules surrounding monopoly were broken. The importance of changing the rules of the game was to depict institutional discrimination based on gender and race. For instance, women who passed “Go” were allowed to collect $150, which was $50 short of the money collected by their male counterparts if they passed this particular position. In relation to the issue of racial prejudice, for example, minorities (red players) were restricted from purchasing red, green, and blue properties. In addition, the only properties that they could purchase were purple and orange. Both illustrations reflect the inequality of opportunity within the broader society due to the racial and sexual disposition of individuals.

Based on the themes illustrated from the game, the main concepts that are evident constitute sociological imagination and social stratification. In the article, The Sociological Imagination and Social Responsibility, Hironimus-Wendt, and Wallace focus on the respective concept and its significance in providing students with an experiential view of the manner in which society operates. Additionally, students achieve a complete view of sociological imagination, which constitutes social responsibility, when they become capable of having encounters that confront their pre-existent worldviews and therefore, enable them to perceive the sociological concepts taught in the classroom (Hironimus-Wendt and Wallace 77). Alternately, Bottero, in her article, Social Inequality and Interaction, looks at social stratification in terms of inequality. For her, individuals group themselves in terms of social distinctions, which further limit them from interactions and gaining opportunities for social mobility (Bottero 815).

In conclusion, the utilization of monopoly in class provides learners with a stronger sense of the reality of society. By changing the rules of the game, themes of race and gender being evident further illustrating the inequality of opportunity that lies within the society due to the disposition of a person based on both physical aspects. In a broader sense, the articles provided regarding the concepts of sociological imagination and social stratification relate considerably with the game and the themes it exhibits. Through utilization of this pedagogical game, sociological imagination is illustrated due to the manner in which the game challenges the views of the students on social equality. To this end, the illustration of racial and gender discrimination depict the classification of individuals within the society based on race and gender distinctions.  

Works Cited

Bottero, Wendy. “Social Inequality and Interaction.” Sociology Compass 1.2 (2007): 814-831. Print.

Hironimus-Wendt, Robert J., and Lora E. Wallace. “The Sociological Imagination and Social Responsibility.” Teaching Sociology 37.1 (2009): 76-88. Print.

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