Class in America
Avoidance of speaking about classes is something that most Americans practice. Most people refer to race, ethnic group, or geographic location. Sometimes people refer to identifying themselves through their employer.
Americans are aware of class differences but the terminology seems to have been removed from popular culture. Our society is intrigued by the rich and famous. They are not rich, because we seem to be poor. Social commentators try to obscure the class structure and deny exploitation. What influences from class differences impact people’s lives?
There are four myths in the United States. The first myth is that the United States is a classless society. Classes mean nothing in today’s society. We are equal in the eyes of the law, and health care and education is provided regardless of economic standing or classes. The second myth is that we are a middle-class nation. We are a consumer society. The third myth is that we are all becoming richer. The global economy has brought previous prosperity to most Americans. The fourth myth is that everyone has an equal chance to succeed.
In America, anyone can become a millionaire; it is just being in the right place at the right time. These myths bring up many questions of class differences and their changes. The wealthiest one percent of Americans own over one-third of all consumer durables. Three-quarters of one percent of the adult population earn more than $1 million dollars annually. Prosperity is alive but this abundance is in contrast to poverty that is prevalent in the U. S. One in eight Americans live below the poverty line. Among the poor, there are over 2. million homeless. One in every five children under the age of six lives in poverty. One third of the American population lives at one extreme or the other. The level of inequality in the U. S. is getting higher. According to the census data, the gap between the rich and the poor in the U. S. is the highest since 1947 when the government began collecting data. Four out of five households saw their net worth fall between 1992 and the year 2000.
The U. S. population occupy opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to wealth. Government tax olicies and the weakening of labor unions have led to these inequalities between the rich and the poor. The dress-down environment has made it harder and harder to tell the difference in income levels. Life style is another factor to consider. Differences in class is also determined by whether you live in the same city, how motivated you are, how hard you work, and whether you are black or white. Lower-class standing is related to higher rates of infant mortality, arthritis, disabilities mental illness and heart disease, just to name a few.
It is also a fact that the lower one’s class standing the higher the death rate. The lower your class standing, the more difficult it is to secure housing for yourself. It is also known that the higher the standard of living for children, the higher grade probability. Test scores still correlate with family income. It is also known that there is a positive correlation between class and educational achievement. Students with families from the upper-class are twice as likely to get training beyond high school. The odds of getting into college have improved for the bottom quarter of the population in the U.
S. But, the chances of completing the education have deteriorated. Leaps from rags to riches are extremely rare. Equal opportunities are not a norm for all Americans. Inheritance laws ensure a larger portion of success in the offspring of the wealthy in the U. S. People do not choose to be poor. They are found to have limited opportunities due to being denied through our social and economic system. Gender and racial domination is another factor to consider. Women are affected by sexism no matter what profession they choose. Women face discrimination and male domination.
Women and minority races are dealing with institutional forces that hold them down because of gender and the color of their skin. Women and minorities are differentiated along class lines. Men, whether they are black or white, have privileges because they are men in our sexist society. Poverty varies between race and gender. Female and nonwhite increase chances of poverty in our society. There are many determining factors that cross class boundaries in the U. S. Race, ethnic groups, or geographic locations are just a few factors that affect classes in our society.
There seems to be a decreasing number of middle-class Americans. More and more people are either rich or poor. Do these class differences have an impact on the way we live? Does every American have an equal opportunity to succeed? The contrast between rich and poor is becoming sharper and sharper. One third of the American population lives at one spectrum or the other. Net worth is falling in our American economy. Enormous differences are occurring in our economic standings of our citizens. With all this being said, America has the best dressed poverty in the world.
This is due to mass marketing and shifts in the nation’s economy. Dress-down environments also contribute to this fact. Life style, motivation, skin color, and education have big factors in how we Americans live. Sexism has a great impact on women in our society. Where is it all going to end? There was a time in my lifetime that between my husband and me we didn’t make $20,000. People can change their situations if they have the motivation and education to do so. Doing the same thing day to day and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity.
I have worked all my life and have come across many different sexism situations. This includes sexual harassment. The middle-class my family once was has deteriorated due to our government. Housing levels have fallen yet prices seem to increase every year. Jobs have been sent overseas. Jobs have been lost and more people are out of work now than ever before. American lives are constantly changing but these changes have not been good changes over the past decade. Jobs need to be brought back to America and foreign trade needs to be addressed. We need to bring back our middle America.