Throughout United States history, power of the upper class has been maintained by assigning “different” people a lower, less desirable, place in society, predisposing them to social inequalities. Social stratification creates a system of social classes in which people born into a specific class have different “life chances” (Macionis 28). These classes are somewhat maintained by the fact that people tend to “take care of their own,” meaning that members of the upper class generally favor other members of the upper class and offer opportunities for advancement in society to those they feel most similar to (Doran). People from lower socioeconomic classes generally experience less life opportunity, have increased poverty and therefore have increased health issues, increased crime, decreased education, and decreased job opportunities (Macionis 38-39) These people are also often politically alienated, and therefore also lack the appropriate government influences to change their current status (Macionis 39).
The class system ranks people by their economic position (Larkin, 2015). In America, we use the class system. There are many things that influence what class you are in. These include family, job, education, race, and gender. While family does play a role in which class you are in, it is not the most significant influence. The most significant things are education and job. If someone was born into a lower class, they have a greater change of moving to a higher position in a society and in some of the other social stratification systems. This system allows for the greatest amount of social mobility (Larkin, 2015). A person can move up in this system, as well as down. Someone might move down in the class system because they lost their job and no longer make the same amount of money they did before. There are negatives to this stratification system as well. The class system can be marked by unequal access to goods, services, and life options for its
America has always seen as the symbolic ideal country of prosperity and equality. This is the reason why people come to America hoping to become successful, but in matter of fact we all have an equal plan field to be successful is not entirely true. For there are social boundaries that keep use limited based upon our own status. Whether we are born of a low class or of a high class the possibility of economic mobility in a sense are predetermined by two factors of social class and success together they both affecting one’s another opportunity of success. In order to achieve success, we must know that it is made up of two main concepts and they are fortune and position. But when a person is limited by their class prohibiting them to achieve success, the point of trying is meaningless. However, there is a way to break the construct that keep groups stuck in the lower-class and is through education. Education gives more opportunities for success to the individuals and since education is very important, culture and the government should focus more directly upon this to reach economic stability. Class standing directly affects economic success in America by limiting a person’s chance of success however; one can overcome by focusing more upon education and culture.
Mantsios believes that Americans do not like to talk about the different classes, whether it is about the upper, middles or lower class. He outlines four myths that are widely held about class in the United States. Myth one the united states is fundamentally a classless society, myth two we are, essentially a middle class nation. Most Americans have achieved relative affluence in what is widely recognized as a consumer society. Myth three we are all getting richer. Each generation propels itself to greater economic well-being. And myth four, everyone has an equal chance to succeed. Requires no more than hard work sacrifice and perseverance (Mantsios).
However, despite this lack of class politics, the US continues to experience some of the most exacerbated income and wealth inequalities in the industrialized world, with the gap between the rich and the poor growing over the past thirty years. In addition, the proportion of the population living in poverty, according to official figures, is at around 14-16 percent (McKay, op. cit. :27). This raises the question as to the nature of class in the United States, and as to how the US class structure (if one exists) is reflected in mainstream politics.
The signs that people are in this class is that they live in sub-standard housing or being homeless. Another sign is that they have been on public benefits like welfare, public housing, or even using charity to help meet the basic living needs. Also they don’t have or insufficient health care, food and many other requirements to survive. Another point is that the low income or poor class people will have to go through involuntary moves and frequent chaos and disruption of life. If the people making $20,000 or less they are in the lower class.
Class in the American Culture is based on economic and social differences, and it remains a powerful force in American life and has come to play a greater role in today’s society. American culture classified social classes as three different levels, the higher class which is classified as the wealthier and have the most money and a certain lifestyles and clothes. The middle class more like the businesses, people who have a reasonable income. And the last class is the low class which are the working class people. Those in the upper middle classes enjoy better health and live longer than those in the middle classes, who live longer and better than those at the bottom. That 's because money, good jobs and connections help the better-off get the best medical care. People in the upper class also maintain a certain lifestyle and sometimes different clothing lifestyle than the ones in the lower classes.
Social class has a large effect on the lifestyles of all Americans. But what does it really mean to be a part of the lower, middle or upper class? These divisions of social class are defined by aspects such as family income and lifestyle; however, education plays a large role in determining ones social class. That does not mean that it will determine success in ones life but to interpret, many people with a further education usually have a higher income as well. Those of the upper class have higher standards for education and career aspirations in contrast to those of the lower and middle class. Besides the differentiation of aspirations of the individuals of each social class, it is also used to determine who will go to college, depending on who can afford it or have no other priorities that can get in the way.
The social class system was designed to categorize individuals into different groups, such as upper, middle, and lower class. Of course, the idea of the social class system is something that is viewed differently by every single person. America is typically known for “The American Dream,” however achieving this dream is much easier said than done, especially for anyone outside of the upper class. I was raised in a two parent household, with my mother being the one with a career while my father dropped out of high school and is self-employed. However, I would label myself as lower middle class based off of the neighborhoods I have lived in, the way I was raised, and the type of jobs my parents have.
In January 2013 a prominent national US newspaper quoted former Secretary of State, Condolezza Rice, “It doesn’t matter where you come from, but where you are going.” However, In “The Land of Opportunity,” James Loewen discusses how significant inequality is in America. The social class that you are born into will influence your outlook on social class and will also be the social class you stay in (Loewen, 1995. 322). Your social class will determine the opportunities available for you including health, fitness, nutrition, education, SAT scores, medical resources and more (Loewen, 1995. 321-322). Loewen also proposes that the education system in America does not incorporate a proper analysis of our social class (Loewen, 1995. 323). It is necessary for students to be realistic about social inequality because it is linked with history. As students, we are socialized from an early age to believe in the American Dream through media and our loved ones. We were raised to believe our merit determines our success. In reality race and ethnicity, class, and gender play vital roles in determining where an individual ends up in life. The following articles raise inconvenient facts that go against the American Dream.
People Like Us: Social Class in America. Dir. Louis Alvarez and Andy Kolker. Center for
In his essay “Land of Opportunity” James W. Loewen details the ignorance that most American students have towards class structure. He bemoans the fact that most textbooks completely ignore the issue of class, and when it does it is usually only mentions middle class in order to make the point that America is a “middle class country. This is particularly grievous to Loewen because he believes, “Social class is probably the single most important variable in society. From womb to tomb, it correlates with almost all other social characteristics of people that we can measure.” Loewen simply believes that social class usually determine the paths that a person will take in life. (Loewen 203)
Growing up in The United States, people are given this idea of an American Dream. Almost every child is raised to believe they can become and do anything they want to do, if one works hard enough. However, a majority of people believe that there is a separation of class in American society. Gregory Mantsios author of “Class in America-2009” believes that Americans do not exchange thoughts about class division, although most of people are placed in their own set cluster of wealth. Also political officials are trying to get followers by trying to try to appeal to the bulk of the population, or the middle class, in order to get more supporters. An interesting myth that Mantsios makes in his essay is how Americans don’t have equal opportunities.
In Mantsios’ “Class in America” he provides us with four myths about the United States. In one of these myths the idea is brought up that the United States is, at its core, a classless society. It is also states that whether rich or poor, everyone is equal in the eyes of the law. The myth also states that health care and education are provided to everyone regardless of their financial stability. This idea about a classless society is exactly what Mantsios claims it to be, a myth. It is untrue to state that everyone is equal in the eyes of the law, and to believe that whatever differences exist in financial standing are insignificant. There are clear distinctions between different groups of people depending on their economic and social standing.