Social Stratification in the United States essay sample

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Social Class

Although the United States has always been considered a country of equal opportunities, social stratification is evident here. According to the Random House Dictionary, social class is “a broad group in society having common economic, cultural, or political status” (n page).

At first glance, such definition does not imply the existence of social inequality, but a more thorough investigation of the issue suggests that division into classes is contrary to the ideal of equality, a major force shaping national mentality. To illustrate this assumption, Gilbert cites the survival statistics on the Titanic. In one of the largest shipwrecks in American history, 40 percent of those who lost their lives were first-class passengers, while 58 percent were second-class passengers, and 75 percent were holding the third-class tickets (Gilbert 2).

The relationship between social class and inequality is also illustrated by Gans. In his essay The Uses of Poverty: The Poor Pay All, the author suggests that divisions into classes creates conditions where individuals belonging to a higher class are able to exploit the people belonging to a lower class. Evidently, social inequality stemming from the existence of different social classes is an issue that needs to be addressed, so that it ensures “the fair, just and equitable distribution of public services and implementation of public policy; and the commitment to promote fairness, justice, and equity in the formation of public policy” (as cited in Wyatt-Nichol et al 188).

However, the achievement of this goal is complicated by the fact that Americans have a vague idea of social stratification in society and its effect on own life. To illustrate the veracity of this assertion, an interview was conducted with a lower class representative. When examining the interviewee’s attitude towards own social class and how it influences his life, the paper proves that social inequality stems from low individual public of social stratification, its effects on own life and opportunities, and strategies to address it.The interview with a 25-year-old M. started from learning about family background and whether it has influenced his personal one. To substantiate the discussion, it should be noted that in the United States, lower class consists of individuals who have low education, low income, and low status job.

According to Fry and Kochhar, experts at Pew Research Center, low-income individuals come from households whose annual income is less than $41,869. Although the interviewee refused to share information about his annual income, he willingly told about his family and how it influenced his life: "I grew up in a family of Latin American migrants. My father was a car washer, and my mother worked at the post office. They were very industrious people, and they raised two children, me and my sister Emilia who is now 28. I remember that my parents always told me that I had to study well to get a decent job. However, they could not pay for my college, and I started working at the age of sixteen. Now I work …

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