Social Inequality - Social Inequality It is plain and...

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Social InequalityIt is plain and simple. Inequality in our society is inevitable. Ever since the creation of so-ciety there has been an existence of unequal opportunities for different people and groups based on their position and statuses within it. The opportunities, rewards, benefits, wealth, etc. have then been stratified amongst the social hierarchy. Along with the unequal dispersement of pros-perity comes perceptions of the individuals that belong to certain positions within the social structure. These opinions become reiterated and engrained into the social structure making mo-bility within the frame work resistant. This concept is usually either unknown to an individual in society, or they have a misinterpretation of how unequally society is stratified. This error, or ab-sence in the understanding of social structure from members of our society can prevent progress in terms of social equality. The misconception that our society is equally stratified begins early on in life. For exam-ple, high school textbooks introduce America as it was during colonial times; A country with middle class people and middle class goals. Representing our country as a society with no class differences implies that it is a place of open opportunity that is built on an idea of upward mobil-ity. If these textbooks discussed the prevalent topic of inequality in our society then they could describe the changes in our class structure over time. Unfortunately, most history textbooks rarely mention terms such as "social class," "social stratification," "class structure," and "inequal-ity." A lack of education on these concepts allows students to be oblivious to the idea that social structure influences their beliefs and actions. No knowledge of social class and inequality is detrimental to not only the students, but the country as a whole. This uninformed perception of SOCIAL INEQUALITY1
social structure in the United States allows people to remain ignorant in their thoughts and ac-tions. Education on the topic of social class is vital because many argue, including James Loewen, that it is, "the single most important variable in society" (Loewen, 1995, 321). Through-out our entire lives it corresponds with nearly every other social characteristic of people. (Loewen, 1995).It is clear that the United States has taken colossal steps in terms of racial equality since times of slavery and the civil rights movement. Many Americans even claim that our country no longer has a problem with major and widespread racial discrimination. This common belief amongst white Americans is distorted. In fact, it is arguable that racial inequality will forever be inescapable in our society. This is due to systematic racism, defined as, "a system of oppression made up of many thousands of everyday acts of mistreatment of black Americans by white Americans" (Feagin, 2000, 357). Most white Americans think of racism as an extremity, in turn, isolating it to Ku Klux Klan type scenarios. When in all actuality racism is a system gradually

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