October 26, 2011
Class in America 2003 By: Gregory Mantsios
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 2.3 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...