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Class. A term that has been around for a long time in America. In the past things were clear and many Americans acknowledged a simple three-tier model divided into three main classes that includes the upper class, the middle class, and the working class. Nowadays, social class in America is a debatable topic, having several opposing definitions and even disagreements about its existence. The main question that arises is whether the American society still remains class oriented or the society is heading towards classlessness and meritocracy.
Not everyone in United States has the same chances of success. This is because society is stratified into social classes and people are hierarchically ranked in a social class structure. There is inequality in American society, with some people attaining higher status and standards of living than others. Scott and Leonhardt argue that that the opportunities of class mobility have not changed in the present. According to them, the new studies of mobility have proven that chances to climb the ladder of success for the middle and the lower classes are far less that people believed. The mobility from working classes to upper classes has become quite unlikely and impracticable. The American dream is a myth and its core meaning is blurred for the present generation.
As the “American dream” implies, the society in United States is meritocratic and class is based on achievement and self-success. Being part of a specific social class is based on career and educational accomplishments. In Scott and Leonhardt’s article, one of the key components to meritocracy is education. American society is well known to give money to their children’s schools. The wealthier the parents are, the greater are advantages of their children compared to their peers. Although the parent’s education is an important factor in a child’s achievement, money and wealth is a significant influence as well. There is a correlation between family income and children’s school performance. Another factor that impacts meritocracy is family stability. Better educated couples tend to build and teach values into children at an early age, playing a major role in academic and professional success. America’s elite is creating kids to be worthy of the status, success and wealth they inherit, while those with no education must depend on other means of career advancements. However, even though elite families numerous advantages compared to lower classes of society, America has the credence that new comers can enter the elite as long as they have creativity, persistence, and talent.
All three classes: upper, middle and working classes, have become highly diverse in lifestyle, wealth, culture that the American society is going towards classlessness. Despite the fact that the concept of class is fading, sociologists argue that inequalities in all areas of life indicate that the class levels are present in our modern society. The rich continues to access the best in health care and schooling though the others remain under privileged. This gives the wealthy families a favorable cut edge over other classes in the American society. Even though modernization, technological change and globalization have improved and upgraded the life standards of current generation, it has certainly not ended the social class distinction. Diversity of all sorts has made these social groups so large and complex that any statement regarding a social class should be understood as a comprehensive generalization. Class differences in health are spreading as well. Nowadays, Americans in the upper class lives longer and healthier than middle class, who live healthier than those at the bottom. It seems that class plays a vital role in defining the lives of the American people.
In conclusion, although different studies and researches suggest different theories about class in America, it is clear that class is an inevitable factor in the lives and society of the Americans. It has been and it will be a main component in the advancement and education of the U.S society.
We can now say that the social class situation in modern America is highly complex and quite misleading. It cannot be judged or evaluated on the basis of outdated and traditional concepts of class division. It is more than clear that the lines that separate society may be shadowy or obscure nowadays but their role in the society is stronger than ever. Only it has become a bit difficult to interpret by society.
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