Social Class in America

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Running head: Social Class in American Society

Social Class in American Society
March 28, 2011

Social Class in American Society
This paper discusses how the film People Like Us: Social Class in America and the book Tenth Edition Society: The Basics differentiate and how they relate to one another other. The book J.M. 2009. Tenth Edition Society: The Basics, date cited October 27, 2009. and the film. (Producer),& Kolker A.(Director).(2001). People Like Us: social class in America (Documentary Film). United States: WETA Washington D.C. in association with Independent Television Series(ITS). distinguish how social class works. They also discuss which people fall into particular classes in society. People in the film say who you grow up with, race, and how you treat people determines which class you fit into in society. It is a question to whether or not people can change what social class they are born into, too. The film also considers whether or not people who try and change their social status become judged by where they came from.

The first part in film is called “Bud or Bordeaux.”.(Producer),& Kolker A.(Director).(2001). People Like Us: Social Class in America(Documentary Film). United States: WETA Washington D.C. in association with Independent Television Series(ITS). This segment discusses being able to determine one’s social class by the type of groceries they purchase, such as bread. The higher a family’s income is, the less white bread they will eat. A family of lower class won’t buy the expensive groceries or even the healthier kind. A bread expert in the film says that Wonder Bread is nothing but starch and water. Then the film goes on to discuss the differences between low and middle class stores compared to upper class stores. Wal-mart is a low and middle class store because everything in the store can be readily identified whereas in an upper class store where the wealthier shop, the average person cannot easily identify everything in the store and where it is located. The upper class wanted to build a health food store, but the baby- boomers were against it. The baby-boomers were getting irate, saying it would be too expensive and even cursing. They would rather go buy food from the corporations with less healthy food and cheaper prices because it would mean they were saving money instead of spending more. Utimately it didn’t seem to matter what they thought because the city council voted 12 to 2 to let the co-op health food store be built. The text says, “in the United States, wealth is an important source of power. The small proportion of families that control most of the country’s wealth also has the ability to shape the agenda of the entire society.”(John J. Macionis, Chapter 8, 2009) [Alvarez, Kolker,2009]. If this is the case, that would explain why the baby-boomers’ opinions didn’t seem to matter to the city council and the rest of the public.

Ginnie Sayles shows us how the upper class acts and outlines several tips regarding how to move up in social class. First she shows tips on how far to stand from someone in the higher class. She taught a lady named Vesse Rhinehart from the middle class how to dress and stand to fit in with the higher class. Rhinehart had a difficult time trying to fit in even with all the tips she was given. This just allows us to believe that changing our social class may be more difficult that we may have thought. In the text it says upper-upper class, is sometimes called “blue bloods”, and includes less than 1 percent of the U.S. population. Membership is almost always the result of birth, as suggested by the old remark that the easiest way to become an upper-upper is to be born into one. (John J. Macionis, Chapter 8, 2009) [Alvarez, Kolker,2009].

The second part of the film is called “High and Low” this discusses high, middle and low class and provides examples of each. The high class story shows a group called the W.A.S.P. (White Anglo Saxon...
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