Throughout my life, I have been greatly influenced by the social class I was born into and my race, but in vary different ways. I haven’t always been conscious of how these two factors have shaped my life, but I now realize that although they seem very personal and unique to myself, they are actually larger societal forces that affect me. While the social class I came from has been an obstacle for me to overcome, my race has actually benefited me by providing me with social and educational benefits.
I would say that my social class has affected my life the most. Neither of my parents attended college, so growing up I’ve watched them both work hard but struggle to make enough money to provide for me and my three older siblings. My parents divorced around the time that the economy started going into a recession, so my mother began working multiple jobs at a local factory and waitressing on the side to make up for the loss of my father’s income. Because of the downturn in the economy, my mother struggled to find places that were hiring and jobs that paid above minimum wage. I really connected to the reading, “Nickel-And-Dimed” because Ehrenreich’s experience resembled my mother’s struggles to pay bills while only earning minimum wage. The author addresses the common misconception that people earning minimum wage must spend their money unwisely to be so poor, by noting that she only bought essentials and still couldn’t manage. My family avoided spending money on unnecessary things like the author, but unlike Ehrenreich, my mother couldn’t quit when things got hard because being in the bottom of the lower middle class was a reality for us, not just a temporary experiment
My mother’s financial s...
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...that African Americans are rejected for home mortgages and charged higher interest rates more frequently than their white counterparts. This also applies for other loans, such as car loans, as we saw in videos during discussion. Being white, I can expect that my loan requests will be fairly reviewed, and if I were to get declined, it wouldn’t be due to my race.
Whether we are aware of how our social class and race affect us or not, these factors are continuously working together to shape the way we view things and how others treat us. The privileges associated with being white help me to reduce the disadvantage of coming from a low social class, however they reinforce the social inequality and wealth disparities that exist among different races. Now that I am more mindful of these unearned privileges, I can attempt to use my privilege to reduce these inequalities.
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