Ascribed status means the social position of a person in society given at birth. Statuses that are ascribed to a person cannot be changed. Examples of ascribed status include gender, age, race, and ethnicity.
Status is a social position in society, and in everyday use, it means “prestige.” Status is a part of people’s social identity and helps define their relationship with others. Every individual maintains many different statuses at any given time. They affect people’s life and their interaction with others.
Social statuses can be classified under two forms: ascribed and achieved status. In some situations, people have no control over the statuses they hold, and these are called ascribed statuses. Ascribes statuses are given to people at birth or taken by them on a non-voluntary basis, so they do not change during a lifetime. Ascribed status usually refers to gender, race, and ethnicity.
For example, there is a girl, Anna, that has many statuses, which can be represented in a brief description of her life. She is an African American female born in an upper-middle-class family.
Anna graduated from Yale with honors and got a job at a prestigious company in Washington. She is also a wife to Mark and a mother of their four children. The ascribed statuses that Anna attained include African American and a female. Others belong to achieved statuses.
Moreover, racial identity is another example of ascribed status. Being a black man is an ascribed status in the sense that it is impossible to change the color of the skin and the physiological characteristics of the body associated with it. However, for example, black people from South Africa and Cuba have different social statuses.
In Cuba, a black man is a representative of the indigenous population, who has equal rights with other racial groups. In South America, black people are the majority of the community. Nevertheless, they have been subjected to political and social discrimination during the apartheid period.