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Associated privilages of social classes

Today, social status is regarded as one of the most pressing or mysterious issues facing people all over the world. Social class concerns and issues include a variety of social aspects such as gender, sex, race, parental status, marriage, educational history, regional and national origins. As a result, restricting the question of class to social control and economic strength is very limiting. A systematic or exclusive concept of a class should include the status that classes or individuals obtain in society as a result of their authority, wealth, and economic ability to initiate various changes in society. According to Landtman (37), social distance marks off the various classes in society, which involve differences in terms of professional distinctions and income levels, among others. Landtman points out that “References must also be made to the sense of status sustained by economic, political, or ecclesiastical power and by the distinctive modes of life, which draws class apart from class” (Landtman 37). The issues and challenges surrounding class are traced to several dimensions including the hierarchy of the dominant group “Haves” and the subordinated group “Have Nots” and the subordinated groups subjected to systemic oppression to strengthen and advantage the “Haves” and. In addition, there is the dogma, promise, and myth of individualism, especially in the American society.

The social class, a child, is exposed to determine who the child becomes in the future as it tends to shape up the character and attitude of the child. As a matter of fact, despite the parents’ efforts to ensure their children are successful and happy, social class contributes significantly in how this goal is eventually achieved. Being born in a middle-class family is likely to result in a lot of privileges or advantages over the folks in working-class and vice-versa. Such benefits include priorities in various developments in the society, much attention from the leaders and the lower class group, respect for opinions and views, among others. This research paper explores how social class contributes in having various privileges such as the ones mentioned above in the society.

The type of family plays a critical role in child’s development – children grow up to take after their families’ characters since most of the times they are guided and advised by the parents and the other family members. Middle-class parents tend to promote what would be accurately referred to as concerted cultivation – such parents enroll their children in institutions such as schools from where they have their children monitored while they organize and control most of the children’s activities (Shehan 410). Children attend such institutions from where they learn to reason and even develop various skills, which are deemed fit for the child’s personal growth and development. In the end, such children gain or develop ‘sense of entitlement’. Also, research shows that middle-class parents are always busy since apart from their tight schedules they have to assist their children to organize various activities including helping them homework, go on trips, attend games, and go to friends’ birthdays, among other events (Shehan 410-411). Therefore, such parents have to balance between the family life and job: prepare dinner, go shopping, oversee children’s cleanliness, and monitor homework.

On the other hand, parents from poor households or working-class majorly contribute significantly in accomplishing the natural growth – while they take care, love, and even set limits, for their children, such parents give the child a room for spontaneous growth. Whereas children from the middle-class are mostly exposed to organized activities, children from poor or working-class families are left to interact and play with siblings and cousins and even allowed to watch television. Since the parents employ directives rather than reasoning, children find it easy to negotiate various issues in life such as the institutional life, which may include the daily experiences at school since they have control over their leisure time (Rasmussen Jan, and Bob 191). Further, parents from poor and working-class families tend to be distrustful with any interactions between their children and institutions such as hospitals and schools – such parents have fear that professionals in the organizations mentioned above might end up ‘taking their children with them’. As a result, unlike children from middle-class, children from poor or working-class families do not have the privilege of entitlement but rather develop “a sense of constraint” (Rasmussen Jan, and Bob 192).

The approaches of natural growth accomplishment and concerted cultivation in poor or working-class families and middle-class families respectively have both weaknesses and strengths. For instance, children from poor and working-class families enjoy interacting with their families and siblings thus are not exhausted, and do not engage in vicious fights with their friends and siblings like children from middle-class. However, children born in middle-class families have the advantage of special attendance and monitor by their teachers following private arrangements between their parents and the teachers. Such children are empowered and exposed to a lot of valuable information than their counterparts and gain potential benefits in the job market. Poor children are not adequately exposed to such life skills hence do not have the necessary skills and knowledge as far as the job market is concerned.

Racism also plays a critical role in determining the different privileges that individuals are exposed to in the society. Privileges are always negotiated and to some extent rely on a given context, especially for ethnic and racial minorities, lesbians, disabled, gays, and women, among others. Liu (196) asserts that “What privilege that is gained from high income, for instance, is ameliorated by one’s race, gender, or sexual orientation.” Today, most of the neighborhoods where parents try to bring up their children are racially segregated. As a result parents, especially those whose origin are traced back to Africa such as the African American parents put efforts to ensure that their children are not negatively affected by the racially influenced environment – they take their children to institutions and churches that are likely to promote positive racial identities. However, in most cases, what eventually emerge in such attempts and plans is class than race. With the growing concerns over social differentiation through the different social classes, particular races tend to have privileges over others depending on the geographical location and the country of origin.

As a matter of fact, majority of African Americans find it challenging to attain middle-class status because of racism. For instance, back in the 1960s before the Civil Rights Act, legal segregation and slavery barred Blacks from acquiring investments, property, or even working in various professional positions (Ford et al. 198). The implication is that since Blacks had their origin in Africa, as a race, they were looked down upon by the other races thus did not have privileges like the other groups. Since the middle-class is marked by factors such as home ownership, college education, white collar jobs, and mobility, most of the African Americans back then were categorized under poor or lower-class since they were not exposed to own resources to help them acquire the status of middle-class in the society. The access to privileges such as the ones mentioned above could only be attributed to inequality in the access to resources and systemic racism.

Geographic mobility is a key factor in attaining middle-class status. Both upper and middle-class status, especially along suburban residence, symbolizes the American affluent status dream. However, such affluence has no implications of advantages in the neighboring African-Americans (Friedman, Joseph, and Chris 155-156). Sharing resources is one of the barriers that has deprived most Africans the opportunity to progress like the other races. Unlike the Whites and other races, Blacks are known to share resources with the family members making it difficult to save enough money to cross to the middle-class. Prospering, therefore, calls for migration into regions that are likely to have adequate job opportunities. Most Africans had the privilege to move to the other areas in search of good jobs and housing opportunities– such movements significantly contributed in class mobility. Also important in class mobility is higher education. A college education is actually necessary to qualify for white collar jobs. In most cases, those coming from working-class or low-income families have the chance to change their status and attain middle-class status by going through higher education. Unlike, the middle-class families who enjoy the inheritance from their wealthy parents, children from poor and working-class families need to struggle to get college to enter administrative, managerial, or professional occupation.

Notably, parents have a lot of responsibilities in providing education to their children, and this is where social class plays a significant role in determining the several privileges, which a child is entitled to. At school, the child requires various basic needs that aid in the learning process. However, such needs cannot be provided by all parents equally due to the difference in income, race, and social class – children from middle or upper-class enjoy a lot of advantages over their counterparts. Bornstein & Robert maintain that “there is near universal agreement that higher socioeconomic status (SES) children have access to more of the resources needed to support their positive development than lower SES children” (Bornstein & Robert 1). Further, Bornstein & Robert has it that it is usually assumed that what parents provide including human and financial capital is significant in influencing the SES of children (Bornstein & Robert 1). Such benefits may include favorable reading environment, adequate learning materials, and attention, which are all necessary for knowledge acquisition. In the end, majority of the students from low-income families are not likely to perform well due to problems experienced both at school and at home. In extreme cases, children from working-class families lack necessities such as food thus tend to have low concentration in the classroom. The result is poor performance and hopelessness. Like, I had earlier mentioned, the type of school a child attends determines his/her overall behavior and skills since they are subjected to different learning environments. The assumption is that good schools with adequate structures and facilities will always offer a favorable learning environment to a child unlike those institutions with inadequate resources.

It is mostly believed that the primary pathway to good job opportunities is the achievement of high education that in turn leads to class and economic stability. Therefore, the type of job opportunities one is exposed to determines the level of privileges he/she attains in the society. Unfortunately, structural and institutional racism have resulted in high unemployment or underemployment rates among particular races such as Blacks despite their experiences and level of education (MarkF). Unlike the Whites, Blacks struggle to maintain their status to the extent of engaging in multiple jobs. They work hard, but their efforts are not rewarded fairly due to social class and racism. Whereas the experienced and educated counterparts from the other races live better lives, Blacks risk their financial stability and health to maintain and manage a comfortable lifestyle, especially for their children.

Social class determines the level of educational attainment. According to Mr. Bodin, children or students from middle-class families perform better compared to their counterparts from working-class families (Mr. Bodin). The society perceives education as a mechanism to attain better lifestyle and escape poverty. However, those coming from upper socioeconomic backgrounds have the upper hand in pursuing advanced degree compared to their peers from lower-class families. What remains crucial is to know how to access the system of education to attain the desired level. It is worth noting that social set up for the peers from lower-class families are likely to encounter problems trying to access the system due to lack of adequate information and support. While parents play a critical role in their children’s education, majority of the parents from lower-class families lack sufficient information and experience about further education and in some cases instill fear among their children who might have interest in pursuing further degrees.

On the other hand, students from middle-class are acquainted with enough information and support to further their education – their parents have prior experience and knowledge on advanced degrees including access to scholarships and student loans. The issue of social class also leads to contrasting views between the two different student groups once they enroll in the colleges for further education. For instance, in most cases, the working class or students coming from lower-class families consider themselves not a best fit for college education unlike the students from more privileged backgrounds. The less privileged usually develop the fear of failure to complete education and the pressure of having to work to pay for their school fees. On the contrary, the peers from affluent backgrounds perceive education differently since they do not have financial pressures.

Social class subjects students to the challenge of negotiating dual functions or roles in the society. On attaining higher education, lower-class graduates are prone to identity conflict – in as much as they attach a lot of significance to the educational knowledge and experience attained, the less privileged students remain stuck to the family origin and value their cultures. Unfortunately, the conflict of identity may result in a lot of contradictions that are likely to destroy the connection between the graduates and their origin. By virtue of the degrees attained, such students automatically fall in the same category as the graduates with more affluent backgrounds. However, the two groups of graduates have differing values as the more privileged are perceived as being aloof – the feature that leads to the isolation from the lower-class people.

In politics, social class is a great determinant as politicians shift their focus to particular groups or class in the society. According to (De Prabir 121), social class is one of the major determinants of voters’ political preference. For instance, in the United States and Britain, it has been observed that policy issues cannot influence voters. Politicians look for numbers during political campaigns and concentrating on specific social classes or groups in the community is an advantage in attracting more votes. The fight for votes for a particular class in the society attracts attention, which is necessary for addressing the needs and problems of the group. For instance, politicians will divert their focus towards the lower-class families, which are in most cases are the majority in the society. Having the attention of leaders in the society is an advantage or privilege to the social class – there are huge promises such as development programs, which are beneficial. At the same time, one can easily advocate for his/her class to politicians without the worry of being judged as fighting for personal interests such as handouts. On the other hand, the upper social class people usually have a feeling that their group is comprised of ‘better people’ thus they are superior to any other group in the society. As such, the social class earns respect from the society members and even enjoys the attention from other people.

Also, important is the privilege of moving or migrating into specific neighborhoods safely and comfortably. Belonging to a social class implies staying with a particular group in the society, where you share most of the resources and characteristics. As a result, one feels at home living with people whom he/she understand well and have similar behaviors. Interaction is critical in the social life of any human being for personal growth and development. Therefore, having identified your social class gives one the privilege of staying in a particular environment and even participates in different activities in which other groups in the society cannot participate in due to lack of information, experience, or just not feeling comfortable with the nature of activities or lifestyle. Such environments are suitable for living since they offer favorable conditions, which one is used to. The exposure to unfriendly neighborhood only results in various challenges and sacrifice to survive.

Conclusion

Being born in a social class comes with different privileges in the society. Social class arises in the community due to the different lifestyle that individuals or groups are exposed to in the society. Therefore, people of different social class live different lifestyles. Race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status of the parents, school one attended, the neighborhood one lives ion, and gender, among others, determine social class. In brief, social class cuts across several dimensions and people of a particular social class enjoy unique privileges. It is because of the existing social classes in the society that children are brought up differently both at home and even at school. The way a child from a poor or working-class family is nurtured is completely different from that of his/her counterpart from a middle-class family. Therefore, the two types of children enjoy unique privileges from resources to molding of behavior. It is for the same reason that when children eventually grow up, they explore different disciplines and are exposed to different life skills depending on their early exposure. Such exposure to unique or special activities, behaviors, attitude, interests, and material things, is what constitutes the privileges as discussed in this research paper.

Bibliography

Bornstein, Marc H. & Robert H. Bradley. Socioeconomic Status, Parenting , And Child Development. London: Routledge, 2014. Print.

The secondary source explores research relating to linkages among socioeconomic status child development, and parenting. The information on the connection between SES and children’s lives remains relevant in exploring the topic of social class and the associated privileges.

De Prabir K. Comparative Politics, (n.d). Pearson Education India. Print.

The book that was edited by De Prabir explores comparative politics in its popularity to gain significance in academic research. The piece covers various issues in comparative politics, constitutionalism and constitutions, an organization of governments, electoral systems, and political dynamics, and politics in various countries including China, Russia, United States, Nigeria, and England.

Ford, Lynne E. et al. American Government and politics Today: No Separate Policy Chapters Version, 2015-2016 Edition (with MindTap Political Science Printed Access Card). New York, NY: Cengage Learning, 2015. Print.

The book is famous for its modern, unbiased and balanced coverage of economic, social, political, constitutional, and governmental structures as well as their processes. The informed contained in the secondary source is useful to students in making informed choices, promotes students’ participation in different issues and decision-making.

Friedman, Samantha, Joseph Gibbons, and Chris Galvan. "Declining segregation through the lens of neighborhood quality: Does middle-class and affluent status bring equality?." Social science research 46 (2014): 155-168.

The article explores implications of the upper and middle-class status to the neighboring Blacks. The piece looks into data gathered by American Housing Survey in 2009 to examine various neighborhood conditions and the impacts of the American middle-or upper-class affluent status on such neighborhoods.

Landtman, Gunnar. The Origin Of The Inequality Of The Social Classes. London: Routledge, 2015. Print.

The piece The Origin of the Inequality of the Social Classes is a presentation of ethnological research towards establishing how inequality and rank have been formed in different societies. In particular, the study emphasizes the various recent changes regarding aboriginal cultures especially the Kiwai Papuans. The information is relevant for the study of Anthropology and Sociology.

Liu, William M. Social Class and Classism in the Helping Professions: Research, Theory, and Practice. Thousand Oaks: SAGE, 2011. Print.

The piece is based on research and theory on the effects of social class and classism on the mental health. The author provides an original/initial framework of Social Class Worldview Model that is aimed at exploring people’s subjective and individual life experiences.

MarkF. “Rep. Frederica Wilson First Cites ‘Racism’ To Explain Black Unemployment.” Media Research Center TV, Aug 22, 2011. Video. < http://www.mrctv.org/videos/rep-frederica-wilson-first-cites-racism-explain-black-unemployment>

In the video is Frederica Wilson’s cites racism as one of the causes of high unemployment rates among Blacks. According to Wilson, no one including the President by then (President Obama) should not be blamed for the situation, but rather it is necessary to look for proper measures to curb the problem.

Mr. Bodin. “A Summary of Social Class & Educational Attainment in Sociology”, Mar, 2015. YouTube. < https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Myo-NN0qIMI>

The video uploaded by Mr. Bodin summarizes the influence of social class in attaining education, especially in regards to sociology. The narrator explains different concepts including language codes, cultural deprivation, material deprivation, cultural capital, labeling theory and self-fulfilling prophecy, among others.

Rasmussen, Annette, Jan Gustafsson, and Bob Jeffrey. Performativity in Education: An International Collection of Ethnographic Research on Learners' Experiences. , 2014. Print.

The international collection has its primary focus on the student experiences aged between four and adulthood from seven countries including England, Sweden, the USA, Germany, Denmark, Ireland, and Australia. It explores how students are affected by performativity, creation of tensions, and strategies in managing performative contexts.

Shehan, Constance L. The Wiley Blackwell encyclopedia of family studies. Hoboken: Wiley Blackwell, 2016. Print.

The book is a comprehensive presentation of processes, main interdisciplinary collection concepts, and trends that are relevant to studying family patterns and families worldwide.

Works Cited

Bornstein, Marc H. & Robert H. Bradley. Socioeconomic Status, Parenting , And Child Development. London: Routledge, 2014. Print.

De Prabir K. Comparative Politics, (n.d). Pearson Education India. Print.

Ford, Lynne E. et al. American Government and politics Today: No Separate Policy Chapters Version, 2015-2016 Edition (with MindTap Political Science Printed Access Card). New York, NY: Cengage Learning, 2015. Print.

Friedman, Samantha, Joseph Gibbons, and Chris Galvan. "Declining segregation through the lens of neighborhood quality: Does middle-class and affluent status bring equality?." Social science research 46 (2014): 155-168.

Landtman, Gunnar. The Origin Of The Inequality Of The Social Classes. London: Routledge, 2015. Print.

Liu, William M. Social Class and Classism in the Helping Professions: Research, Theory, and Practice. Thousand Oaks: SAGE, 2011. Print.

MarkF. “Rep. Frederica Wilson First Cites ‘Racism’ To Explain Black Unemployment.” Media Research Center TV, Aug 22, 2011. Video. < http://www.mrctv.org/videos/rep-frederica-wilson-first-cites-racism-explain-black-unemployment>

Mr. Bodin. “A Summary of Social Class & Educational Attainment in Sociology”, Mar, 2015. YouTube. < https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Myo-NN0qIMI>

Rasmussen, Annette, Jan Gustafsson, and Bob Jeffrey. Performativity in Education: An International Collection of Ethnographic Research on Learners' Experiences. , 2014. Print.

Shehan, Constance L. The Wiley Blackwell encyclopedia of family studies. Hoboken: Wiley Blackwell, 2016. Print.

August 18, 2021

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