Thinking About Race, Class, and Gender

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Thinking About Race, Class, and Gender

According to Naomi Zack a social class “is a group in society that has a distinctive

status and experience, economically, politically and socially”. I believe that a social class

is just another way to categorize the people that live within society. It is also another way

to create boundaries between people and to create a illusion that everyone is not created

equal. These boundaries pull the people in our society apart, in a way it is like a cold war

within our social system.

Speaking about social class is a touchy subject for many, never the less it is one that

has to be brought to light. There are many different opinions and thoughts about the

divisions of social classes and what constitutes a specific class. Personally I don’t see

how someone can define what another person is; only that person can define themselves.

Unfortunately our social class system is that of unfairness, for there to be rich there must

be the poor.

I believe the poor are there due to the system, our social system is set up in a way that

there has to be winners and losers to keep the sides balanced. The rich get rich off the

labors of the poor, and the poor are poor because the rich exploit the Poor’s weakness,

which is the lack of power. Many people see the poor as the uptime of our culture, most

say that they are poor because they have no respect for our society or they want to be lazy

and take advantage of the system by collecting welfare. Although in some cases this is

true, for the most part the poor were just born into it, or their life was created by

unfortunate decisions from corporations like General motors. Take Flint, Michigan for

example; they were the home for the general motors company. They pretty much created

that city and supported most of the people there. About ten years ago when General

Motors had the bright idea of moving sects of the company to Mexico to take advantage

of the cheap labor there they left the people of Flint out to dry. They literally drove about

20% of the population there into poverty. Even today there they have one of the highest

unemployment rates in the country. The moral of the story is that, most of the poor are

there due to the decisions of corporations and how our system was set up. It’s like the

poor and rich have a symbiotic relationship, the rich feed off the poor for wealth and the

poor feed off the rich to stay alive. Then you got the people, who just prefer to be poor,

some want to stay out of the system and live day by day and some just are happy with the

way they are.

The most unfortunate victims of this social system are the children, they have no

choice to where they are born and brought up. Childhood development is greatly affected

by the social class they are brought up in. Children need certain developmental stimuli

and certain factors like:” basic hygiene, time and space to play, preparation for adult life,

adequate nutrition, adequate medical care, adult attention, and above all, physical safety”

(Croop, 2005) to grow into a healthy adult. Many of the poverty stricken children do not

posses these factors.

One example of poverty stricken children is from Alex Kotlowitz book “There Are

No Children Here”. In this book Kotlowitz observed two children Lafeyette and Pharaoh

Rivers from a housing complex in inner city Chicago. Within his book Kotlowitz

described the harsh living conditions that these and many other children live with in

America. On page xi of the preface Kotlowitz said “By the time they enter adolescence,

they have contended with more terror than most of us confront in a lifetime.” This is truly

disturbing, imagine a seven year old having to see friends die from gunshots and to have

them grow up with despair all around them. These children grow up way before their

time, the things...
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