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Social Class in America

It is acknowledged that social and economic imbalance is a matter of global concern. This modern world is contaminated with so many problems, most of which owe origin to social segregation often called social class. For simplicity, socioeconomic status, abbreviated as SES, comprises both, social and economic orientation of a particular person. The parameters used in evaluating someone’s social level are educational status, earnings, and occupation. However, other minor factors include effects on psychology, external links, and wealth.

According to his research study, Gregory Mantsios, in his article “Class in America”, concluded that “a more just society will require a radical redistribution of wealth and power in an attempt to narrow down the gap in income, wealth and privilege.” He went ahead and advocated for changes to be implemented in the society to eradicate the existence of social classes. To the contrary, the wealthy feel that although this is ideal, there are many moral, political, financial, and other factors that would make these changes unrealistic. This is a tight argument. Both, Gregory and the wealthy are right. On this account, examination of various issues on the matter to see which argument holds more weight (Mantsios 67).

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Though most people are reluctant to discuss social classes, especially in the United States, he bravely studied different classes. Social classes are categorized into three, namely low, middle, and high. His suggestion showed that the class someone belongs to affects his or her life, performance at school, future, and the kind of occupation. With positivism, Gregory is pushing for reforms, which might facilitate equal acquisition of resources and privileges as an act of endearment. Why should some pupils get good education and social amenities at the expense of the rest?

Starting with life, Gregory strongly believed that the kind of life that one lives is a clear reflection of his or her social class. For instance, the low social class people live their lives differently compared to high class guys who go to cinemas, picnics, and so on. Truly even the type of foods the high class eats is different from the undernourished low class. Gregory asserts that people must be given enough exposure to available opportunities from young age lest their potential will not be fully realized. It is so sad to notice that without a university degree one cannot get a job that pays him or her well. If reforms are made to the financial sector the income gap can be reduced. A good example is Denmark, where the salaries of all public workers are harmonized such that the income earned by a senior officer differs by a small margin from the one earned by a secretary. Due to these reforms Denmark is mainly composed of middle class families that can comfortably support their children. Each political administration unit must be allowed to run independently with full force to narrow this gap in power (Mantios 90).

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He also stated that the success at school by a student is determined by his or her social class. Pupils from low social class have the demerit of failing their exams and dropping out of school due to financial constraints. Gregory used real statistics from Richard De Lone, a researcher, to support his argument. Richard had analyzed the academic college results of more than five hundred thousand students and found out that the high social class students performed better than the low class ones. Why? It’s because teachers of low class students had primitive lecturing methods. The latter were not given time to get concept right but directed by teachers “do this, do that, subtract this from that, and ….” Besides, sociology tutorials were carried out in an amorphous manner on the ground that the students were not allowed to read the available textbooks but copied notes from the board. This crippled the mental ability of those ambitious students. I think these students must be taught step by step to understand what they are doing just like in the schools of the upper social classes. Only reforms in education can achieve this by encouraging teachers to be patient with students and allow them to exhaust all academic resources like textbooks.

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Social class configures your future by defining the kind of job you will do. Be it blue collar or white collar, the list is endless. This depends on the quality of schooling and environmental factors. Looking at Myths and Realities, as covered in “Class in America”, Gregory Mantsios reveals that people in the U.S. overlook the issue of social classes and are never willing to discuss it, despite having the knowledge of its disastrous effects on Americans. He really pities the infants given birth to in the low class society that they have a bad commencement socially, medically, educationally, mentally etc., in comparison to those from more stable families.

Capitalist policies are another suppressor to the disadvantaged. Capitalism means that the ownership and control of business is privatized in an attempt to generate more profit to suit the ambitions of the owners at the expense of the community. The USA is a rich nation, but still the low class citizens spend sleepless nights doing low pay jobs to cater for their insurance covers, while all German and Swiss citizens are entitled to the same by the government (Fussell 1992).

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Jean Anyon has an article entitled “From Social Class and Hidden Curriculum Work”, and her argument is based on the fact that schools in the public sector, especially in integrated social set up, give rise to exposure to experiences in education and other curriculum activities differently. She selected five schools randomly. Then the corresponding social classes were assigned to each. She noticed that the schools from the rich families nurtured high profile graduates who knew how to face challenges in life. They were professionals in the making, e.g. doctors, engineers, lawyers etc. They occupied the most lucrative positions in the society, whereas those from humble background had no merits. From the five schools the first two were from the bottom class from families, which used to do low pay jobs (less than $12000) that required mostly unskilled or semiskilled laborers like security officers and automobile mechanics. Women served as barmaids, waitresses. Seventy percent of them had no employment. This class carried a third of the entire USA population (Anyon 102).

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The middle class school was third with various social classes in co-existence. Here a mixture of skilled workers, e.g. plumbers, technicians, and accountants, who represented two-fifths of total U.S. population, earned $13000-$25000. The fourth school comprised 90% of white students whose parents were professionals, for example, engineers, pathologists, and advocates. It reflected 7% of living in the USA with an income domain of $40000-$80000. Lastly, the number five school had families with income of $100000-$500000. The occupations of parents: top officials in multinational corporations based on the U.S. companies like AT&T, RCA, plus some other top organizations. The scores in academic papers of students were amazing in such schools (Carlson 77).

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Michael Moore is another radical in social imbalance issues. In his essay “Idiot Nation”, he ridicules politicians who have prioritized the U.S. budget to buy military equipments to fight its “enemies” and forgotten that about forty million Americans are illiterate. This is because the citizens ignorantly vote for leaders who are ideally incompetent and can not lay down education standards to protect the future of children. The classes are flooded with students who receive poor education from the discouraged teachers. Moreover, the learning environment is unconducive. Imagine, in the 2000-2001 opening year, some schools in New York City started without head teachers. These were not one or two, but 163 schools. Moreover, 165 out of 1100 public schools forced teachers to come out of classes and help in cleaning on the ground that there were no full-time cleaners. Most libraries in the USA were filled with very old books from previous decades. Surely, why are mayors, governors, senators in the U.S. office if they can not fix this simple problem?

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There is a reason why the wealthy are not convinced by the above arguments. There are a number of factors in the moral, political, and financial arenas that render the changes impossible. On the issue of morality the students from low class are believed to have been exposed to many vices: drug abuse, violence, and indecent language, which the wealthy fear could be transmitted to their kids. This blame rests on parents who don’t give their children moral education (Moore 2004).

For radicalism to prosper there must be rational political leadership. The U.S. citizens must read so many government related items to understand how the politicians behave to avoid electing wrong leaders who have no purpose for them. Budget on education must go up to facilitate schooling in the public sector. Teachers must be motivated at all cost. Lastly, financial issues present another challenge. A poor American cannot take his kids to a good private school. Or rather a wealthy man cannot take his son to a school defined by leaking roofs and incompetent teachers (Weir 88).

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Like any other argument lessons were learnt. If financial, political, and moral issues are taken care of collectively by all stakeholders then radical redistribution of wealth and power shall be achieved reasonably. The argument championed by Gregory Mantsios, Michael Moore, and Jean Anyon holds true. Let’s not allow social classes to orient our fate. The radical reforms are important; however, for them to take effect positively the complaints from the wealthy must be given both ears. Collective responsibility by parents, government, teachers, and the students ought to be observed. The students must have the will to succeed in life.

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