Social class in America is a subject which always has and always will continue to affect our daily lives. The video “People like us: Social Class in America” offered several depictions of class in the U.S.. The video’s depictions ranged in accuracy in terms of its definition of social classes. However the video itself caused me to realize the great affect social class has on my life as well as the lives of those around me. Classism in the United States is a very big, yet silent prejudice that is continually causing many problems in our society.
I have always been affected by the evils of classism in my life. The most brilliant example this, is public schooling. The public school system, especially here in White Plains, provides a mock “real world” in my eyes. Because White Plains’ schooling is so diverse, it is the perfect habitat for viewing how various classes interact with each other. Some of the observations I’ve made during my years as a pupil in this wonderful, equal opportunity, educational system are as follows: The more well off students always get off. Because of their much concerned and well-to-do parents the worst kid could do the worst thing and always get away with it. However, I find it very interesting that a ragged, dirt smudged Hispanic boy can do that very same thing and end up having to get sent home; causing his mother to take off of her twelve hour minimum wage job to stay at home with him. All the while not knowing what is going on because of the simple fact that she couldn’t speak English. Thank god for mom’s and dad’s . . . . money and image.
Another issue that greatly affected my life was how class determined social circles. All throughout my schooling I have seen friends come and go. Even at the early age of seven, it was evident who was richer than whom; solely based on the gifts I received at birthday parties. The kids who gave the cool presents where the rich kids. Those were the kids who never invited you to their parties. They just invited the kids just like them. Those “rich kids” have held their titles all through high school. They have evolved though; they are now referred to as the “preps” I find in amusing to see just how many groups of students or cliques have remained throughout secondary schooling. Each one of these groups is constantly fighting to be noticed, or not noticed in some cases. Every one of them, as subtle as it may be, knows where the other stands in their eyes.
The video “People like us: Social Class in America” depictions’ were very accurate in that they provided a wide spectrum of viewing for the uneducated eye. The video allowed anyone to realize how people in different classes than his or her own are perceived. The video did an especially good job on defining what social class is as well as exhibiting what social classes exist on the high school level. “People like us…” showed the varying social classes which exist in any high school such as the Geeks, the Jocks, the Preppy girls and boys, the loud Hispanic girls, the loud Black girls, the abrasive and dangerous Black and Hispanic boys, the Goths, the Artsy kids, the Theatre types, the Smart Asians; the list could go on and on.
The video hit the nail right on the head. High School is just a conglomeration of cliques who want nothing do with the other based on the unwritten rules of high school hierarchy. It was a real shock to see what some of the students had to say about the others. Some of the comments a particular girl made about “the kids not like us”, referring to herself, left my mouth gaping wide open. The one thing I noticed above all was that the less sheltered students were a lot more open to others than the ones who had been given everything their entire lives.
I believe the video was a good model as to the various characteristics assigned to various classes throughout the world. Class exists in any environment, whether it is school, the workplace, or any social gathering; there will always exist some form of prejudice based on your class. The people on the top of the class ladder create a mold in which they expect all others to follow. Anyone who doesn’t is automatically dubbed an outcast because he or she is different. This is especially true of people of a different race. There is almost a direct relationship between race and class.
Ones race almost seems to hold down ones class. You can ask any black or latino well off family how their neighbors truly view them, and you will be shocked. One can be just as rich as the man next to him, but he will always be dubbed rich…for a black man, or rich…for a latino. It is a fact among real estate agents that when a minority family moves into an all white neighborhood the actual market value of the surrounding homes drops severely. Why is that? It is because race has a direct relationship with class. Class can only bring you so far.
In conclusion, Classism is an ever-present prejudice that most all of us face in our everyday lives. We see it in our schools, places of work as well as ordinary nights out. Classism in the United States is a very big, yet silent prejudice that is continually causing many problems in our society, especially in the ranks of our youth. Videos like “People like us: Social Class in America” allow us to see classism through lense of the youth of America, informing us of the problems put forth this prejudice. Only by realizing the problem can we step forth and attempt to resolve it.