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We’ve all heard the phrase worrying how America was constructed on opportunity, providing anybody and everybody the opportunity to succeed; that individuals can increase from the shanty towns and leave poverty with absolutely nothing more than a concept and a will. Media preys upon success stories such as these. For instance, one might hear on the news how a homeless male started with only the t-shirt off his back worked his method to the top. Or possibly there’s a story in People Magazine on how a small company in a little town developed into an around the world market leader.
But are all of these stories providing a false sense of truth?
Gregory Mantsios, a highly regarded college director and editor, wrote an essay in 2006 titled Class in America, which separates truth from fiction when it comes to economic chance in the United States. He discuss four common misconceptions relating to social classes in the U.S., along with offering evidence for seven truths otherwise.
The author’s function is to bring to light a new appearance at how the economic spectrum actually works in America.
The misconceptions Mantsios explains originated from incorrect perceptions that the average person does not pick to challenge. These ideas are popular and hardly questioned. Social classes today are recognized as being somewhat old made or a distant memory. However, does this idea still are true? Mantsios explains facts taken from studies that reveal the specific opposite. According to Mantsios, America has the largest range in income level distribution compared to any other developed nation (308 ).
He states, “Sixty percent of the American population holds less than 6 percent of the nation’s wealth” (308 ). He utilizes these two stats, as well as many others, to make it tough to argue that classes don’t exist.
Mantsios continues to flirt with the notion of nonexistent social classes, by questioning the statement regarding every American having the same opportunity to succeed at birth. Judging by the rules of the Constitution, this theory holds true; however, the article written by Mantsios continually attempts to separate theory from reality and takes this myth into question next. Does every American baby have a chance to one day make it big? Absolutely. Will every child have the same access to education, health care, inheritance, and business networks? No, and that is the point trying to be proven by him. According to Mantsios, the children raised with rich parents attend better schools, inherit more assets, and receive more opportunities to succeed than the children raised with parents in the middle or lower classes (314-316). Mantsios’ article succeeds in contradicting popular beliefs, but in addition to that provides statements about the true reality of class in America.
The article provides realities to a reader gives them a better idea about how to “revers[e] the current trends that further polarize us as a people and adapt policies and practices that narrow the gaps in income, wealth and privilege” (317). According to Mantsios race and gender also play a distinct role in the separation of the classes. Surveys have discovered that while white males have a 1 in 10 chance of being poor, black females look at 1 in 3 (317). Again this relates back to the idea of inequality in a seemingly equal country.
Mantsios’ article is an eye opener to the truth behind the American class system. There is clear evidence that supports Mantsios claims, the existence of social and economic classes, the reality of the middle class not having as much power as once thought, economic opportunity and health determined by upbringing, and the impact of race and gender in a nation that prides itself on equality. “We mistakenly hold a set of beliefs that obscure the reality of class differences and their impact on people’s lives” (306).
Mantsios, Gregory. “Class in America.” Rereading America. 8 Ed. Colombo, Gary. Cullen, Robert. Lisle, Bonnie. Boston: Beford/St. Martin’s, 2010. 304 – 319. Print. jhuper
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