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Social Stratification and Social Mobility in United States

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Social stratification ranks of society are as follows: lower class, working class, middle class and upper class and these tiers are based on factors like wealth, income, race, education and power. The same resources, schools, best neighborhoods and life chances that are available to the upper class are not available to the middle and lower classes. Some believe social stratification is necessary for the functioning and stability of a society.

One organization wanted to change that fact. The top 1 percent of Americans now has more than twice as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent. The 1 percent of Americans is experiencing some economic reckoning due to wealth inequality but will federal minimum wage help or expanding the earned income tax credit. Will create a basic universal income as a solution or is it better to have less government intervention? Rodney Foxworth, executive director of the Business Alliance for Local Living Economics, (better know as Balle), is tackling these questions. Their mission is to create local economies that work for all, highlighting the stories, of people and communities that are bringing the new economy to life. The object is to create relationships locally to stir away from the fact that important decisions can be made in New York and London that affects the lives of people in Mississippi and rural Oklahoma. That’s a problem, so localism is the goal.

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The Balle organization is focused on the discrimination against people of color in urban areas, indigenous people and poor rural American, by our capitalist United States, in their attempt to buy homes or start a small business. With the main goal of enhancing the lives of those discriminated against locally, a foundation which was founded in 2014 called the Local Economy Foundation Circle, have encouraged philanthropic leaders along with $8 billion in resources to rethink how they operate. The Balle Group is fighting for the rights of people regardless of their race, color, social background or creed and focusing on Equal Employment Opportunities. Creating the opportunity for rural and urban communities to start a small business, extending the initial intention of Affirmative Action, which recognizes that not all racial groups and other minorities begin equally with the majority group, and therefore need assistance to achieve upward social mobility.

Racial profiling exists even for those who find themselves in the upper class of social stratification. Black athletes have been fighting for over 100 years for social change and their fights have caused them to experience a great personal expense, lost careers, alienation from their fellow Americans and incarceration. Since the kneeling during the National Anthem and the blatant disrespect for the President who referred to the players as “sons of bitches” and the brutal beating of NFL players, things don’t seem to be getting better.

A case has been brought against two Georgia police officers in May of 2018 due to a former NFL player being brutally beaten in December of 2017. The police officers were responding to an aggressive driving complaint given by two white drivers. The suspect explained to police officers that he was following the white complainants due to racial slurs projected at him and he wanted to get their license plate information to file a complaint. The suspect was approached in a parking lot by the two officers grabbed, handcuffed, thrown to the ground while hitting his head and choked until he was unconscious. This case has become a focus due to a video that was posted of the brutal beating. Since the incident, only one office has been put on administrative leave and the other officer was fired.

More than 50 percent of black athletes are pulled over by police than whites and being part of the “10 percent of Americans who own 69% of the nation’s wealth”, their race and skin color still makes a significant difference. These incidents are found amongst black communities no matter their social class. Traffic stops have become a main focal point regarding discrimination on race, the fatal decisions of police officers and the inequality in America. There is an estimate of 20 million black drivers involved in a police traffic stop in the United States. Blacks and Hispanics are left frightened and humiliated, although they are law-abiding citizens, police still see them as criminals. “Minority groups are often prejudged, and it usually manifests in the form of racism”. This form of prejudged racism is related to prejudices in stereotyping.

The United States do not guarantee paid maternity leave. Tomlinson, a pregnant Walmart worker experienced that first hand. She was asked to apply for unpaid leave from her job after receiving a note from her doctor suggesting that she refrain from heavy lifting. She states that others have come to work with lifting restrictions and given other assignments temporarily and wondered why she was told that she was a liability. The treatment from her employer was a form of pregnancy discrimination that is gender specific since only women can get pregnant. “In 1978, Congress passed a Pregnancy Discrimination Act. This mad discrimination based on pregnancy – and childbirth-related medical conditions illegal”.

There are 22 states which have these laws granting pregnant women the right to reasonable job accommodations, and over 31,000 pregnancy discrimination charges filed since 2015. Women from all economic and social background are being discriminated against due to pregnancy. “6 percent of low-wage workers have access to paid maternity leave”, and this percentage is made up of mostly black and Latina women. A comparison of a man needing to leave work because of severe nausea from chemotherapy is looked at as the cost of hiring humans, but if a woman must leave work because of severe nausea due to pregnancy, she is seen as demanding special treatment. In preindustrial times, women’s activities and opportunities were limited due to their childbearing state and they were confined to their homes. I feel today women are still experiencing the same treatment of gender inequality by being asked to render their current position, accept unpaid leave and be confined to their homes.

The media plays such a huge part in exemplifying each one of these events because they present a misrepresentation and distorted version of race, culture, and gender. Women are still being portrayed as weak and inferior to men, men a being excused from their unpresidential behavior and black are still being discriminated against and the media feeds off this type of race, gender, and social inequality daily. The facts are presented in ways that are captivating and push the audience to choose a side, just based on the information given. We become prejudice and judgmental. Business begin to use the information from the media to decide who they’re going to hire or give that small business loan to, companies follow the opinion of the government and take away the financial stability of a women just because she is pregnant and black men are constant targets of racial biases because the media continues to report on the officers that are getting away with these heinous crimes. I have experienced racial bias in my neighborhood, gender bias at work and social stratification in my own church. I have had to go home with protestors on my route shouting racial slurs just because I was black, and we had a black president in the oval office. I’ve been overlooked for a job just because I was a woman and didn’t fit the profile of the company and me and my husband haven’t been able to pastor a church because we were labeled as “bougie”. Being black automatically put us in the “middle class”, and was told that we will not be hired, because my husband made it very clear that we were financially stable and our desire to pastor a church was not for financial gain. They didn’t feel we fit the social class they were looking for. I don’t see thing changing anytime soon, because the more we draw attention to the racial issues, it seems the worse it gets.

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