There has always been a type social structure in almost every modern civilization. People live by these social institutions. It determines interactions, behavior, and values. Social structures also distinguish who holds power and authority among the society, who does the menial work or gruesome labor, and who is cherished, appreciated or idolized. In Eldridge Cleaver’s novel, “Soul on Ice”, four types of people are distinguished as the social order. They occupy the societal structure as described by Cleaver and all have a well defined role in their society.
The four groups include: the Omnipotent Administrator, the Ultra Feminine, the Supermasculine Menial, and the Amazon. Each of these groups has a clear and significant role in Cleaver’s idea of this societal structure. The omnipotent administrator is the first and highest social class that Cleaver describes. They represent Caucasian men in America. An omnipotent is one with great or unlimited authority or power. They are almighty or supreme, as God. In Cleaver’s mind, and in most of American history, white men are the figure of authority.
They decide what is right and wrong, what is fair or just, and who is worthy of anything. They use the mind, or their intelligence to take charge. For example, white men took over Africans and forced them into slavery. On the plantations, the overseer or the master was the supreme authority and no one did anything without their consent. They managed everything and kept the order in society by making, carrying out and enforcing laws. For example, there were laws that prevented slaves from being educated because then they could use their mind, and that would challenge the social norm.
Beneath the omnipotent administrator is the Ultra Feminine. White women are characterized as the Ultra Feminine. They were appreciated by the white man, desired by the black man and envied by the black women. In the societal structure, the white women were precious, weak and helpless, but also classy. They passed everyone’s standards of beauty and femininity and used their image to get through in society. They were elite and according to Cleaver “the goddess of the pedestal”(218). The third group in Cleaver’s societal structure is the Supermasculine Menial. This is the group for black men in America.
They lacked intelligence and were deprived of education by the omnipotent administrator. They were the athletes and laborers Black men were forced to rely on their strength and use their body. They were considered lowly and were degraded. The Menial had little skill and was not appreciated at all. Finally in the societal structure is the black woman, described as the Amazon. In contrast to white women, the black women were considered subfeminine. They were tough, hardworking and self reliant, and don’t embody the standard of beauty. The amazons were forced to use both their body and their mind to survive in the society.
Considering it before the 1960s and 70s, I would agree with Cleaver’s societal structure in a way. I believed that back then the white men were the omnipotent administrator. They regulated the country because they were the ones allowed as presidents, politicians, lawyers, and doctors. They held the powerful and prominent jobs in society and were more educated. I also think that the amazons had to fend for themselves; they were forced to be self reliant because that was the only way for them to survive in the tough society. Considering it today though, I would disagree with Cleaver’s societal structure.