Essay about Social Class in America

1524 Words May 20th, 2012 7 Pages
People Like Us: Social Class in America Film Review
America is a complex and diverse web of individuals marked by social stratification, a system by which a society ranks categories of people in a hierarchy (Macionis, 2011, p.204). The film People Like Us: Social Class in America discusses the class system, social stratification based on both birth and individual achievement, which the American people use to define others (Macionis, 2011, p.206). It explores the many variables that contribute to the determination of a person’s class; such as, ancestry, education, and money. Ancestry will be a main focus because it has such a strong influence on the class system of today. The film provided an informative and entertaining
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Ancestry and its Effect on Class Family ancestry is an important factor in determining social class. Both rich and poor are influenced by their family’s income, occupation, and education. This concept is illustrated in the film through speaking with members of the WASPS and in Tammy’s Story. It affectively shows how the family that one is born into can greatly influence their life that they are living.
The WASPS represent a group of individuals who are established high in society’s social hierarchy based on money, family name, and attitude (Alvarez & Kolker, 2001). These White Anglo-Saxon Protestants are part of the upper-upper class, which is less than 1 percent of the U.S. population (Macionis, 2011, p.223). Membership into this prestigious class can only be achieved through birth. The film depicted a man describing what a person in this class looks like and how they think. He said these people have a reputation to uphold and therefore act in a certain way based on the knowledge they have acquired throughout their lives. He said, “WASPS stand better, are nicer, more attractive, and more cultured” (Alvarez & Kolker, 2001). This idea shows he believes that the people within this social class are all around better people.
The WASPS have privileges unlike any other class in America. In the film,

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