Personal Narrative: My Experience With Social Class

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With regards to my own experiences with social class, I recall times from my own childhood. I grew up in a college town full of highly educated people. Most of the children I grew up with came from very affluent families who lived in very lavish, costly homes. My parents did not have the educational background or financial means to provide the lavish life that most of my friends were living. As younger children, my mother always did a good job of providing for our needs. Other than the outward differences of the home I lived in (which was nice, but modest), or the cars we drove, I was unaware of the differences, those became more apparent as I grew older. Most of my friends took family vacations at least twice every year that involved flying…show more content…
So many people in the American society live paycheck to paycheck and are one financial catastrophe away from financial ruin. In my own experience, after my husband’s employer continually embezzled from employees and clients, we found ourselves in a terrifying position. Jobless, penniless, and entrenched in mountains of subsequent debt, we were acquainted with the terror many American’s face while struggling to keep food on the table and a roof over our family. Just as the chapter 9 in our textbook describes, Aaron and his wife quickly realized that their income was “no longer sufficient to meet their needs,” (Openstax Intro to Sociology, 2015), we found ourselves in the same position. During my husband’s search for a new job, he began doing all he could to keep food on the table. He participated in tree removal, a laughable wage for hard physical labor. In desperation, I took a full time babysitting job looking after two very difficult little girls for a measly $250 a week. Looking back, although the situation was terrible and trying, we cannot wish it away. The situation taught us what mattered. There were so many things my family took for granted. The situation opened our eyes to the trials and suffering of many people in our society and allowed us to develop compassion, love, and understanding. Now, as we think back to our own struggles, it is much easier to reach out…show more content…
She acknowledges her advantage in the experiment being an English speaking white woman looking for jobs in a desperate labor market in 1998-2000, although she asserts that she does not feel that it helped her get the jobs given the employers’ inclination to hire just about anyone (Ehrenreich, B, 2001). It is possible that due to her deliberate choices of location and types of jobs she sought, that she had an advantage over other applicants. She mentions that she decided against New York City or L.A. because most applicants would either be black, or white women with heavy accents; she felt she would have stuck out like a sore thumb and most likely would have experienced some discrimination. In such locations, if she had been a single black mother, for example, she likely would have had a successful pursuit. For the purposes of Ehrenreich’s study, she had done her homework regarding the types of people she would be up against, which seemed to shape her experience. She was aware of the possibilities of discrimination based on certain areas, which also shaped her choice of
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