Born Lucky or Born Trapped: Class and Equality in America Everyday in America, every citizen faces the burdens and restrictions of the class structure. But America is known as the “Land of the Free,” so how can these restrictions and burdens exist? Unfortunately, Americans are not as free as we think, because we are as equal as we think. Due to the class structure, most Americans can no longer reach the “American Dream.” The issue is a lot easier to notice than you may think, and it is easier than you may think to do something about it. Because change is already occurring within America, and it’s not too hard to add to it. So, the question is, what can you do? Despite the evidence of equality, Americans still aren’t truly as equal as it would seem. People say that in America, legally everyone gets the same voting power in an election, and that we tell children in our society that they can be anything they want to be when they grow up. To a certain level, both of these things are true. An 18 year-old kid working for minimum wage at a cash register in a fast food joint gets one vote for his state senator, and a business executive from that fast food joint’s nearby corporate branch get’s one vote as well. The difference is that the business executive has money, which he can use to bribe the 18 year-old’s fellow employees to vote for a certain candidate, or to fund advertisements for that candidate, and “friends in high places” who can do the same. Anyone in the United States
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In Mantsios article “Class in America” he states that Americans hold beliefs that blind them to social classes, citizens in America have four myths they use to ensure talk about the classes never take place. America has the largest gap between rich and poor in the world, and the lower class has no means to an end they can’t afford health care or quality education. The upper class avoids talk about social class the most; wealthy people don’t want to admit that they are better off than others. While the lower class sees how much better off others are than them, but they still don’t like to label themselves. I agree with Mantsios that most Americans avoid talk about classes although I am not one of them. Also I
There is much debate about the issue of social class in the United States. There are arguments about whether social classes are distinctly separate or fluid, dependent upon one’s community or society as a whole, and if they are subjective or objective (Hughes and Jenkins). However, despite the debate surrounding social classes, it is still important to try to define them and analyze their effects, as they are such an important part of our identity and our opportunities in society. Although our society has tried to appear as though we have no classes, and it is becoming harder to tell what class someone is in by material goods, classes do still exist today (Scott and Leonhardt). The trend has been to divide the U.S. into four major
As a first generation child whose parents immigrated from another country, I was fortunate enough to receive excellent education and opportunities that was not offered to them. During that era, those privileges may have been difficult to obtain due to racial segregation, poor living circumstances, and/or lack of time and commitment due to work. As of today, these issues are no longer a major problem. Although, education has never been better and opportunities have been even more achievable, David Brooks argues that the upper/middle classes are preventing the lower class from “joining their ranks” because of the egocentric methods that modern day families now utilize to their advantage. In his New York Times editorial “How We Are Ruining America,” Brooks explains how we (as the upper/middle class) have been ruining America by preventing the lower class from receiving the same privileges. Brooks then elaborates his argument by giving several examples like: improved parent supervision and planning, zoning restrictions, cultural codes, and even gives a personal experience. Even though Brooks provided a substantial amount of evidence, he mostly utilizes his powerful tone and writing skills to support his argument.
“In 2011, at every education level, white workers were more likely than black workers to be in good job –one that pays at least $19 per hour, has health insurance, and has some kind of retirement plan” (Jones and Schmitt). The American Dream promises equal opportunity and acceptance for every citizen in America, but sometimes that does not seem to be true to people of an opposing race. Although some people claim that America still provides access to the American Dream due to all of the different opportunities that our government and schools offer, others believe there are some setbacks that can occur while trying to achieve one's goals; such as equality struggles within race and gender.
The readings examined how classism has negatively affected economics in the United States, how oppression manifests in taking financial advantage of groups of people who cannot advance financially, and systemic issues contributing to low wage and inability to move out of one’s social class. I was struck by the idea that most people in the United States are disadvantaged financially based on the way the country has set up its economic policies. From the beginning, black people have been oppressed by the inability to attain wealth, which continued through the end of WWII. I unnecessarily read a chapter speaking about financial companies targeting poor people, particularly people of color, with money schemes so they are losing their hard-earned money to fees and interest rates. This scheme continues to keep people in debt and living paycheck to paycheck. I related to the reading about college loans creating a paradox that students with degrees enter the workforce unable to find a job in their their field of study. Then the added paradox of not being able to find work making
Income Inequality in America is a problem that’s been going on for decades, and many feel that it hardly exists, the many people that feel that way are highly uneducated, and seem to not really care about this tremendous problem that in one’s eyes really has no end in the near future, in fact it has been gradually rising and one feels that it’s just not fair. Unfortunately, there’s not much that can be done, only of course if the poor class of people decide to actually educate themselves and get a higher education. One says poor class, simply because that’s how they’re classified. There are five types of levels that Americans are classified as, and they are: 1. Upper Class, 2. Upper Middle Class, 3. Middle Class, 4. Working Class, 5. Poor.
To achieve the American Dream, one must work hard and have the dedication to be successful. There are myths relating to this dream leaving lower class members to wonder if the dream exists for them. People in lower class are told if they want to be successful they must put in hard work and true effort. Once they do, they see that they are remaining in the same position they started in. In “Class of America-2012,” Gregory Mantsios states the ideas of class in the US and explains them. One myth addressed in this selection is, “Everyone has an equal chance to succeed. Success in the United States requires no more than hard work, sacrifice, and perseverance: ‘In America, anyone can become a billionaire; it’s just a matter of being in the right
The book called They Say I say with Readings contains multiple articles. However, chapter nineteen focuses on the American Dream. Chapter nineteen, “What’s Up with the American Dream?” indicates how the article will be focusing on the American Dream. The American Dream changes over the course of time as the income inequality widens between the higher and lower class. Few events occurred that affected the income, which led to a growing gap between the different classes. The income of a person depends on the education that a person possesses, which can affect one’s income. Consequently, causing inequality between the different classes. People believe the American Dream changes over time as situations and circumstances vary. Health care is affected by the income inequality because different choices of insurances and doctors are available to those with specific incomes. The impact of the Income Inequality on the American Dream by the gap increasing between higher and lower class, education, interpretation of the American Dream over time, health care, and gender roles. Various authors from chapter nineteen and others from different resources focus on how income inequality affects the American Dream.
The American Dream is not a function of ability and achievement, but a dying illusion. America is not truly the land of the free, but an ignorant classist society. Gregory Clark, an economics professor at the University of California, Davis, stated that “America has no higher rate of social mobility than medieval England or pre-industrial Sweden … That’s the most difficult part of talking about social mobility - it 's shattering people 's dreams” (qtd. in Evans). The United States has an incredibly outdated economic system that does not allow disadvantaged citizens opportunities regardless of how hard they work. People get stuck in their social status and are not able to stray out of it, which affects their further generations. Additionally, immigrants coming to America in hopes of prosperity are likely to have even less luck than immigrants of the pass and widen the gap of social inequality. Clark continues to state, “The truth is that the American Dream was always an illusion. Blindly pursuing
An inequality in society, economy, wealth distribution, and political corruption and the influence in cooperation of government led to
America historically owns the reputation of being the land of opportunity, and for generations immigrants have fled to the United States to experience the freedom and equality our government lays claim to. At the root of this reputation is the American Dream, the belief that with hard work anyone can succeed based solely on his or her merits. While definitions of success vary, the American Dream defines it as the ability to become a "self-made man," thereby rising to a more-than-comfortable state of living. The American Dream is believed to be blind to race, sex, or socio-economic status and at a first glance, seems to be almost Utopian. Conversely, repeated examples and statistics of the lower-classes, those continually facing the harsh
Here, in the United States, the “American Dream,” is a popular belief. There is a strong relationship between hard work and success. In this perfect scenario, those who put in multiple hours are on the road to success and can move up the social ladder. Thus stating, one could be thrust into the lowest of the social status, and with some hard work, one can elevate into the world of the social elite. As a demonstration to this global view of the United States, immigrants from all over the globe have made the excursion to the “land of opportunity” in beliefs of better education, employment, government, communities, religious freedom, and lives for not only themselves but the generations that come pursuing behind them. All of this survives based on a game of social stratification – a diagram on how to successfully obtain the American dream. This observation of social class is based on many mechanisms, some of which is bestowed to people at birth, and not rewarded for hard work and dedication. The class system at play in the United States has become incredibly complex – it no longer has the fundamental class values of our forefathers. Those trying to move up in the social ladder of America are often caught replication the actions of the rich and famous, but this alone cannot make them part of the higher social class. Some think that there are simple rules to follow to climb higher into another social class ladder, but there is more to being upper class than just talking the talk or having the right identity.One way to look at class is the model developed by Janny Scott and David Leonhardt's article, “Shadowy Lines That Still Divide,” in The New York Times. They assert that “one way to think of a person’s position in society is to imagine a hand of cards. Everyone is dealt four cards, one from each suit: education, income, occupation and wealth, the four commonly used criteria for gauging class” (Scott and Leonhardt 27). While being sure on these four criteria, a basic understanding of a person’s predicted class can be made. While this model works fine for providing an elementary level of perception, it must be recognized that a person could rate well on this scale and still be in a different class than those
The American Dream has always been a driving force in the lives of Americans. It has become a foundation of ideals and hopes for any American or immigrant. Specifically, one of the ideals that always exist is the dream of America free of class distinction. Every American hopes for a society where every person has the opportunity to be whomever he or she desire. Another ideal in the American dream is the drive to improve the quality of life. As one’s idea of the American Dream gets closer and closer, often times political and social ideals of America cause their American Dream to take a turn for the worst.
Social class is defined as 'people having the same social or economic status' (Wordnet). In contemporary American society, social class is based on the amount of money and property you have and also prestige. Prestige is given to a person through the line of work or the family that they come from. For example, upper-upper class member Jennifer Lopez reeks of prestige not only because she has millions of dollars in her bank account, but she has very expensive luxuries, cars, and houses.
Over the past few decades, the “American Dream” vision has been quickly vanishing as a result of the increasing troubles and weakening of the middle class. It has lost the view of being the most successful and wealthy middle class in the world, while the middle classes in other countries are excelling in earning higher middle and lower class incomes. The issue of the declining wealth of the middle class explains a huge problem in the United States’ future prosperity and well being for the citizens and the country. There are many issues that affect the success of the middle and lower classes, such as structural differences in the economy, culture, and government. The gap between the middle and high classes is increasing specifically. The United States has the image of giving people life and prosperity, but inequality is increasing significantly due to issues in education, decrease in taxation among the upper class, and decrease of middle class power in the democracy, while other ideas and mechanisms can be take from other nations.