Last Updated 17 Nov 2022

Class in America and Social Problems

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Since the founding of the United States, the government has played a central role in ensuring social well-being of individuals. It has been the duty of the government to uphold life and ensure a happy life for all. Sometimes successive governments have failed to provide for their citizens and especially those from poor communities. In such a case, people have been forced to decide on the course of their life, making survival only for the fittest. Those with means will find it easy to maneuver while people with no opportunity get to suffer. There have been endless myths about the American Dream, which is just a coverup to make Americans believe they can achieve anything! Gregory Mantsios, in his passage from “Class In America” the author states “Americans mistakenly hold a set of beliefs that obscure the reality of class differences and their impact on people’s lives.” Americans have been misled for centuries that everyone has equal opportunity and an equal shot at success.

In “Class In America” the author Gregory Mantsios says “the gap between the rich and the poor in the United States is greater, the poor are getting poorer in the United States and have farther to go to get out of poverty.” Those in the lower class have been proven to have lower test scores, in a Study by Richard De Lone he discovered that “the higher the social class, the higher the grades.” One factor to this could be that those who come from lower class families are constantly surrounded by careless, underpaid, educators. Public schools may not provide the same education that a paid private school (which are typically attended by higher/middle-class) may have. Society today cannot be termed to have an equal opportunity to everyone. Not everyone in America that has equal shot. There are several factors that come into play as far as success is considered, these factors tend to increase or decrease the chances of succeeding. A statement that all people are not inherently born superior has been widely used, however, such notion and statement have failed in elaboration the environment those people have been born into among another factor that may derail one's success.

In “Class In America” the author Gregory Mantsios, “now it seems most Americans have become class warriors, or at least worriers.” Most lower-income families make barely enough money to pay life’s expenses, just gliding by with just enough to live off of until next payday. Barbara Ehrenreich examines this closely in her article “Serving In Florida”, the journalist takes on a series of low-paying jobs and tempts to pay for real-life expenses; she even goes as far as to live in a trailer park. Both Authors highlight on the evidence that it’s not possible to live off a lower-income. People who have been born in the wealthy community, get to have a good startup, the child is already ahead in the race, he or she has everything working from him and in this case chance of even becoming richer are high. This means an individual whether born in the rich or poor family will progress according to the environment and their attitude to life, it is therefore not very true to believe that people born poor in the U.S. have a fair shot at success in life. These people need to be accorded the right environment and opportunities that will help them make something out of their life.

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The legal framework in the US allows people to make choices in life, whether they will make positive or negative choices will depend on their attitude and perception of life altogether. Challenges facing the Americans have resulted from people who have chosen not to make a wise decision in life. “Perception of life and its opportunities will influence the decision made, regardless of ethnicity or economic status of an individual”. People who have decided not to educate their children have already sealed the destiny of their children and no matter how many opportunities American will present these click of people will still not see any benefits from them. In a hypothetical situation, a young boy who grows up in the projects has a mother who does drugs, and is not neutering will probably end up on the streets. Primary motivator in life comes from the parent expectation on their children; however, this expectation must also be in line with what these parents are doing to help these children live to their expectations. A parent will lack motivation in life due to the numerous challenges they are facing, in such case, they will not be able to mitigate their children to performing better in life. There are those who will have high expectations on their children but based on their social status they are unable to facilitate their children into living up to their expectations. Parenting is an important factor when it comes to utilizing opportunities in life, there is little doubt that there is a huge difference between how parenting in the poor and wealthy community.

According to the study by, Broderick & Patricia, Individualism is another factor that comes into play, once one start comparing themselves with an individual from a different social status, high chance are he or she will lose. It is not about being born poor or rich but having zeal and determination to run his or her race. Broderick & Patricia in their article The Journal of Social Psychology state that “Poor people tend to spend a lot of their time looking at the opportunity they do not have in life”, however, they need to focus on the opportunity they have no matter how small it is.” While it is true that being born wealthy is a good start, it is also true that being poor does not mean all doors to success have been closed. It is clear that succeeding in life is not an automatic thing. There are several factors that will determine the direction of life. Though it is sought to establish whether all people born poor in the U.S. have a fair shot at success in life, it is clear that it is not being born poor or rich that will determine success in life. One of the key factors is the environment, the perception of poverty and life in general and the kind of parenting one will receive. These are the factors that will determine whether people from all social status in the US will succeed in life. Government input in however very important in helping some of these people born in poor families access quality life. The reality is that not everyone has equal opportunity and an equal shot at success.

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