Some would say that America is a wonderful place to live with great opportunities to have a taste of the good life, but is it really that great? Or is it that easy to achieve this so called good life? I believe that it can be reached and everyone does have the opportunity to but there isn’t a fair chance for everyone. What are the effects of social class on peoples chance to succeed in America? A question that I did not have a general answer for at the beginning of this essay until researched cleared it up a bit. The levels of social class, lower, middle, and upper, are mostly determined by wealth and education, power, and your geography. The lower class is made up of poor people that live in run down regions, middle class is the people that have a descent income and live in moderate to nice suburbs, and the upper class are the ones that make more money than both classes and live in very nice areas and have good jobs. Race is another thing that comes in to play when we talk about social class and where everyone stands.
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Wealth plays a huge role in where you stand in the fight for social class; more money, higher the class obviously. I guess this coagulates with what kind of job you have which also ties back to the level of education that you’ve received. 32.9% of African-Americans are living below the poverty line which means their average yearly income is below $20,000, now if you compare this to the percent of them that have had at least a college level education you see that it’s a direct connection. Those who can’t afford higher education beyond high school stay in the lower class not able to move up in the scale of society. So is it their fault that they can’t further themselves and obtain more wealth, some may argue that they can but you can’t deny the fact that it’s much harder for them than those that can. Obtaining wealth is the key to moving from a lower class to either the middle or higher class in society, besides getting a job or winning the lottery this in near impossible especially for those who can’t find a well-paying job because of the lack of qualifications.
Average income of working Americans is around $50,000 which is somewhere in the middle class or working class. But if we look at a government such as China’s communist rule, all the wealth is distributed amongst everyone erasing the idea of social class. No one is more rich than the next guy is normal living. Obviously those that work in the government will have more than normal citizens. But we get the just of the idea that communism gets rid of the concept. Another role that’s key to social class is power, those of power in the U.S. are mostly in the middle to lower-upper class. Gaining power or recognition is probably just as hard as trying to gain with. Again you need the qualifications to do such a thing as well. Power is somewhat similar to that of wealth taking the routes and needing the same criteria to reach your goals of power and wealth. In America a lot of the powerful people are the business owners of major companies. Using their wealth and power they stay in the middle and upper class while the lower class still struggles with the same problems as trying to gain wealth.
Majority of the big banks are the bases to running America. So the owners of these banks and corporations are the ones with power. But instead of taxing the superrich banks like Bank of America the government turns to taking cuts out of everyday citizens to cover up the banks and major corporations’ mishaps. Do you think that the person who owns a small time shoe store has any say in anything? Of course not, because they are not labeled or recognized as corporations that has power more so labeling them in the lower class. Again when we compare this to that of China’s communist rule it’s a bit more similar where the power is all in the government and barely any is given to the people sustaining the power to those of importance and upper class. But in China the people have no say in anything no one goes to them for political decisions or any decision for that matter which makes it different from the power players in America. To take a little different approach the idea of equality is somewhat of an illusion given off by the government.
But America forsaking what the For Fathers built this nation on tends to stray away from this so called equality. It has become more and more unequal has social classes began to get recognized and solidified. But the social class is not yet so signified that outsiders realize what’s going on. Foreigners have this general sense that America is full of equality and generally miss the concept of social classes and the inequality it brings. And as embarrassing and uncomfortable it is for most people to discuss and talk about, let them speak to someone unfamiliar and you’ll quickly see that people in America do understand that social class is a bridge to inequality. China doesn’t struggle with problem because the government makes it a notice that you know the levels of power as well as you can plainly see which regions are which. They have no illusion of the perfect equality when there isn’t one; the communist rule overpowers everything and one to keep this illusion at bay. Being of much difference from how the U.S. tries to put on fronts and hide things in its media web.
There are many poor regions throughout all of the United States, but there are also various regions of wealth and middle classed people. But whatever region you are living in is a key placement for your social class and where you stand. Obviously if you live in the middle of the Bronx where the crime right is sky high, and all the buildings are barely standing, you’re not going to be placed in the upper class. But those people that stay in these regions described above are going to reflect all the qualifications from above to be placed in this lower class. The upper class will be wealthy, live in nice regions, and be of some importance or have some sort of power to their name. All the middle class placements will be below them and of course the lower class will be at the bottom in the worse regions, living below the poverty line. Now comparing this to China and its communism the majority of people live in run down regions even though most of all of them are pretty much equal on the totem pole.
But this is mostly in part of the mass population and them having no space for everyone forcing many areas to be over-crowded and run down. This essay was not to knock the idea of social class or give props to that of China’s communist rule, but to show the effects that social classes have on America and its people. I would argue that given social class may bring about inequality, it is a very important part of making the United States economy grow and sustain its well-developed state. Every government and rule has its flaws and holes, and no government will be perfect and satisfy everyone but trying to maintain equality amongst people is a very important aspect of living in my opinion. Things such as social class ruin this aspect even though it is of much importance to a good nation such as America. Being limited in my knowledge of the subject, I tried my best to make valid points a clear analysis of how social class does affect Americans’ and their ability to move up and succeed in the struggle for upper class living and
reach the so-called American Dream.
Works Cited Page
United States Census Bureau. (2007). Data on poverty. In American Community Survey. Accessed 4/18/2009 at http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/STTable?_bm=y&-geo_id=01000US&-qr_name=ACS_2007_3YR_G00_S1701&-ds_name=ACS_2007_3YR_G00_. Corcoran, M. Rags to rags: Poverty and mobility in the United States. Annual Review of Sociology. (1995) 21:237-267. Association for Psychological Science. “Social class as culture.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 August 2011. .