top-rated free essay

Social Class

By amandawildwood Feb 17, 2014 744 Words
There was a time in society when there were clear lines between the upper class, middle class, and the working (or lower class). Today, those lines are blurred more than they used to be. This is giving most Americans the false hope that class has disappeared and the playing field is finally level. Although in their article, Shadowy Lines That Still Divide, Janny Scott and David Leinhardt prove how untrue this belief is and then explain why this perception is possible to the naked eye.

The rich continue to enjoy the best in health care and education whereas the others remain far under privileged. This gives the rich a clear cut edge over others in the society. This is just one example in Scotts and Leinhardt’s article that they use to show that even though the lines between the classes has become blurred, that they are still there and are possibly larger than ever before. Scott and Leonhardt feel that it is wrong to think that the chances of class mobility have gone up in the present. According to them, it has been proved that the opportunities to climb the ladder of success for the middle and the working classes have considerably gone down in the recent times. The American dream is a myth in todays present world. Although, due to rags and riches idea which has been encouraged as true by the media, most American’s still believe this to be completely possible in todays society. Although, The mobility from rags to riches has become quite unthinkable and improbable. Scotts and Leinhardt’s even state that Horatio Alger’s (which made his name synonymous with rags to riches success) was a “second generation Harvard man.” This therefore proves that even the man that is known with rags to riches, had no personal connection with the matter.

It is thought of that education and success in school is still tightly linked to class. This still remains true. “Educated are winning in a rout…” Although, the education of ones parents also matters. Scotts and Leinhardt say, “Parents with money, education and connections cultivate in their children the habits that meritocracy rewards. When their children then succeed, their success is seen as earned.” This basically means that parents that are already successful, teach their children the keys to success and then set them up for it. As generations go on, the secrets to success continue to get passed on and continue to grow. Therefore, the higher-class families tend to stay high class. Scotts and Leinhardt compare the different attributes that are “handed to” individuals that are linked to class (such as education, income, occupation, and wealth) as a deck of cards. A child may get the same cards as his parents, but then pick up his own “aces” in the future. “‘Being born in the elite in the U.S gives you a constellation of privilege that very few people in the world have ever experienced,’ Professor Levine said. ‘Being born poor in the U.S gives you disadvantages unlike anything in Western Europe and Japan and Canada.’”

Some of the attributes that make the lines between class so blurred is alignments in politics have been jumbled, people in both parties rise to social issues, religion classes are scattered, and many people from different races have risen to positions of power. These are some things that have pulled over the eyes of America to make it seem that separation of classes is no more. Many Americans have simple faith in the country and the rags-to-riches aspect. They believe that the USA is all about the American dream and that the U.S is progressing, therefore, social classes are no more or less than they used to be. “The slicing of society’s pie is more unequal than it used to be, but most Americans have a bigger piece than they or their parents once did. They appear to accept the tradeoffs. Faith in mobility, after all, has been consciously woven into the nation self-image.”

Through all of this, it is important to remember that even though it is hard to accept that the idea of fixed class positions in society, that “blind optimism has its pitfalls” and that to progress, one must accept. While having faith in the American dream is positive, it must not cloud ones judgment. But “without confidence in the possibility of moving up, there would almost certainly be fewer success stories.”

Cite This Document

Related Documents

  • Social Class and Caroline House

    ...Caroline O’Kane Social class is often judged upon by the following criteria; money, possessions, and ranking. In our society today, so much of our life is focused on social ranking. There are those who actively try to climb the social ladder while there are others simply who seem to be at the highest status. In Westport, it seems that most...

    Read More
  • Pygmalion: Social Class and Liza

    ...Pygmalion – Themes Appearances and Reality Pygmalion examines this theme primarily through the character of Liza, and the issue of personal identity (as perceived by oneself or by others). Social roles in the Victorian era were viewed as natural and largely fixed: there was perceived to be something inherently, fundamentally unique abou...

    Read More
  • Feudalism: Social Class and National Government

    ...have today, we can see that feudalistic ideas play a key factor in our government’s guidelines. WE can take the social rankings during the medieval time period and the social rankings of today and show how similar they are. We can also take the highest level of both social rankings and show how they have the same ideas, and standards. Feudal...

    Read More
  • Neo-Marxist Contribution to Theories O Social Class Inequality

    ...Neo-Marxist have contributed to the continuing relevance of theories of social class inequality today? Social class inequality can be defined as the existence of socially created inequalities among and within classes. They can be attributed to various factors such as race, colour, ethnicity, gender, income, etc. It is arguable that inequalities...

    Read More
  • Class Evaluation

    ...To be honest, I think the class was organized just right even though it was a very fast course. It seemed like we covered a lot of ground in just few months. I feel like I got more out of this class than I have in some of the other classes I have spent entire semesters in. I also found it helpful that there was some variation in the assignments....

    Read More
  • The Effects of Racism and Social Class on the Individual and Society in Khaled Hosseini’s the Kite Runner.

    ...plays important roles in Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner. Author uses the racism to describe the characters and the culture represented in the stories. In The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini uses prejudice as a tool to tell this story of betrayal and redemption. This novel is set in Afghanistan and the ethnicity of the characters plays an essen...

    Read More
  • class size

    ...nation’s urban and lower-income suburban schools, too many of which are languishing at achievement levels far below those of middle-class and upper middle-class suburban schools,Of all the ideas for improving education, few are as simple or attractive as reducing the number of pupils per teacher. With its uncomplicated appeal and lack o...

    Read More
  • Social Status

    ...the importance of social status is a value that is represented in both texts. It is represented through a number of techniques which all reflect the changing contexts and values between Jane Austen’s time, and the 20th century. Social status was something that was important in the 19th century. People wouldn’t mix if they weren’t of the sa...

    Read More

Discover the Best Free Essays on StudyMode

Conquer writer's block once and for all.

High Quality Essays

Our library contains thousands of carefully selected free research papers and essays.

Popular Topics

No matter the topic you're researching, chances are we have it covered.