Social class is a set of concepts in the social sciences and political theory centered on models of social stratification in which people are grouped into a set of hierarchical social categories.(Jones, 2001) Social classes are constant part of modern society. As much as we would like to think that we live in the world of equal opportunities, everywhere we go, we will always see social differentiation. In some societies this class system is more rigid and one becomes a part of a particular class (caste) at birth with no possibility to belong to another cast throughout one’s life. This social structure is typical for India, for example. Other societies have a more flexible social structure where mobility between classes is possible and even…show more content… The essay “Civilize Them with a Stick”, written by Mary Crow Dog and Richard Erdoes, describes this type of oppression towards Native Americans in the US until the 1960s. No one asked their opinion on the way they wanted to educate their children: “...Gathered from the cabin, the wickiup, and the tepee, partly by cajolery and partly by threats, partly by bribery and partly by force, they are induced to live their kindred to enter these schools and take upon themselves the outward appearance of civilized life”.(Mary Crow Dog, 2004)
The American society has made a long way since those boarding schools for Native Americans, but even today in such a liberal environment as a university race and social class are sometimes used interchangeably. “When race becomes a stand-in for class, it creates conflict for students of color who are presumed to be from low-income families and for white students who are presumed not to be. We hear the terms “working-class whites” and “middle-class blacks,” but not the terms “middle-class whites” or “working-class blacks.””("Diversity & Democracy Volume 11, Number 3…show more content… Upward mobility between classes is seemingly easy. More so, we keep promoting racial equality and try to disassociate race and social class. However, even in countries such as the US, we still witness these phenomena on an everyday basis. Ivy League graduates generally produce Ivy League freshmen, while poverty still breeds more poverty. A good example of the latter is an essay of Jo Goodwin Parker “What is the Poverty”, where a life of a poor family is portrayed in detail. The writer was raised in poverty and had to quit high school because her classmates had been so cruel about her clothes and her smell.(Jo Goodwin Parker,2004) This led to inability to acquire a well paid job. She never had an opportunity to escape poverty. Consequently Goodwin’s three children were also born and raised in similar conditions.
Social classes affect more than just our wealth, in some cultures they would dictate one’s mating choices as well. In Persepolis by Marjane her father states that marriage is only acceptable within same social class(Satrapi, 2003). Moreover, according to the article in Tribune India, an intercaste marriage in India may even lead to the couple being slaughtered.("The Tribune, Chandigarh, India - Ludhiana Stories"). Our society is more flexible, interclass as well as interracial marriages are not uncommon in the US. However, statistically speaking, we unfortunately still prefer to stick with our own type.