Social classes have been in existence since time in memorial. The lower, middle and upper social class issue will always be very controversial and very little can be done to merge these groups of the society. These classifications have been studied to great depths by social scientists who even subdivide them into smaller groups with similar characteristics like occupation. However, these stratifications can be generalized on the grounds of power, whereby the powerful in the society are the elite, and they make decisions on behalf of everybody in the society.
Social stratifications force people to live completely different life styles. This paper explores the experiences and challenges faced by the middle class citizens giving personal experiences of an individual who has lived trying to adapt and fit in the class she has worked hard for her entire life. She describes living in Pike as living in a holler and which has made her lose self confidence. Della Mae Justice sees life from two different perspectives, Lewin, 18.
Unlike the upper class, the lower social class is characterized by insufficiency in basic needs like food and housing. Many children even end up in foster care just like Ms. Justice did. This is the most dreadful experience affecting their lives even after leaving foster care. Statistics prove that these children do not succeed in education. They leave these care systems unprepared to face independence and with little or no skills to work. It is alarming that in the about thirty two thousand children leaving foster care yearly, only about sixteen thousand complete high school. The other half drop out to join the Americas labor market group with the highest unemployment rate. It is drawing attention to see that even with the government providing necessary financial assistance for Post-secondary courses, only one fifth of those who qualify to join really join. This signifies how numerous the barriers for these children are to get proper education.
Lack of education has been the reason why most people in the lower social class spend their entire life there; there also exist high chances for their children to spend their entire life in the same class. However, a few through hard work and government sponsored education make it out of the lower class and join the middle class which is associated with high achieving, educated and employed citizens. Thanks to the Foster care independence Act of 1999 as well as other programs like the Seita Scholars program of the Western Michigan University (WMU) that make sure that young people leaving foster care have a chance of getting higher education. Through hard work thousands have made it through college and university attaining degrees in various fields and proper employment. These people join the middle social class they highly coveted their entire childhood but find it hard to fit.
It takes more than a good employment and money to switch from one social class to another. This transition requires so much that it can only be completed in the next generations. These two classes are distinguished not only by the economic differences but also the social cultural differences like the food served in both homes and parties, places people visit for recreation and vacation, types of cars they drive, the kind of clothes they wear, size of their houses and so forth. Ms. Justice remembers lower class life style as one without so much of choices. Not like the middle class colleagues and neighbors who seem so at ease with everything. They talk freely and do not care much about what others think of them. This is directly opposite for Della Justice as she has developed a habit of trying to check if people are really following what she is saying, (22). This depicts how conscious she is with every little thing surrounding her. Everything she does, she tries to be just like a middle class citizen and minor details matters to her.
Her first experience in the middle class life style was in her cousin’s home Joe. Joe and his wife Virginia lived in a nice home with a swimming pool in the well off Pikeville. She transferred from her school, and neighbored to live with Joe. This made her feel as though she lived in a palace. She describes her octagonal bedroom which she knew it would have been shared by all the siblings if she were in her parents’ home.
The greatest challenge at this point was the right thing to do. She never knew the right clothes to wear for different occasions. She recalls going to a restaurant and ordering a club sandwich but when it was served with tooth picks at the ends, she got confused and scared to embarrass herself by making the wrong move. Just because she did not how to eat it, she had to lie that she was unwell and starved with the delicious sandwich in front of her, 33.Della lived her life in fear which made her an introvert. She never socialized much and this left her plenty of time for studies.
As a guardian, She tried being like the other middle class parents in bring up her half-brother’s children. In this class, parents really try to bring up children in an active manner where they are involved in all their activities. They would spare time to have PTA meetings and follow up on their children’s performance and preferences in career. They give their children the best in terms of materials and love. Ms Justice explains how she helped her niece with a project. She talks of how they bought the materials and helped her come up with the best Navajo Hogan project. Both children were nudged to talk about their school and social life in general; which made them open. It also enabled them to freely talk about their problems. They would discuss their friends and what they feel about issues discussed in school like drug abuse.
The middle class rearing of children is totally different from the upper class style. The upper social class parents seem to be so absorbed in their work and careers for their children. These parents are basically never there for their kids. They would employ workers to take care of their meals, laundry, tuition and health while they travel all around the world for business and leadership related issues. These children are trained to fear authority figures and not to question directives. On the contrary, middle class parenting helps children clearly express their feelings, rather than going behind the backs of the authority.
It takes so much effort for an individual to shift from lower class to the middle class. Just like Ms. Justice explains, one life time is not enough to learn and adapt to all the details of the middle class. We have to try to our best and leave the rest for children to pick up. These social stratifications are so significant that they dictate our personalities as well as our destinies.