Loewen "The Land of Opportunity"

Topics: Social class, Working class, Middle class Pages: 3 (990 words) Published: March 19, 2013
22 January 2013
The effects of social class in America
James W. Loewen, essay “The Land of Opportunity,” discusses how many times Americans don’t know about social classes and the effects they have on society. Loewen argues that the common American people aren’t given equal opportunity in this day in age. He says that American history books have great influenced what we see about the class system because a great deal of history is often left out.

James Loewen begins “The Land of Opportunity” by saying that teenagers have their ears and eyes tuned into TV and radio which show privileged Americans, because of this teenagers and adults are comparing their own social status against that of their peers and then the community against other communities. He continues with the fact that many middle class high school students have no understanding about class structure and how over many decades it has changed. Loewen describes how he asked college freshman “why people are poor” and “why their families are well off?” shockingly most of the students answered that it is the peoples fault for not being successful, not taking into account that opportunity for people in the lower class are few and far between.

Later in the essay Loewen begins to discuss how high school history textbooks leave out many important parts of history, which could change the way the class system is seen. The authors of these American history books are bringing to light labor history, not showing that multinational companies are shipping their factories overseas limiting the work in the United States. James Loewen examined twelve history books to compare what was written and of those twelve six had no trace of social class or structure mentioned anywhere including the index.

The history books that Loewen examined showed that no one wants to talk about the lower classes because nowhere in these books are other classes mentioned. Of the books two included the middle class saying that America...
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