Social injustice is an idea relating to injustice or unfairness of a society in the divisions of its rewards and burdens or other incidental inequalities. Social injustices are caused by various barriers that hinder full social justice. Social injustice is distinct from justice in law that may not or may be considered being moral in practice. Some of social injustices include prejudice, racism, classism, ageism, stereotyping, oppression and sexism among others. This paper will discuss classism as one of the social injustices and how it divides people socially.
Classism can be described as discrimination or prejudice on the basis of individual’s social class. Classism includes an individual’s behaviors and attitude, systems of practice and policies that are set to be advantageous to the upper class at the expense of lower class. Classism can also include behaviors and attitudes of discrimination and prejudice by members of lower classes towards the members of the higher class. There are several disagreements over what degree the modern industrialized society is economically stratified into classes. Classism can be broken down into various categories. These categories are cultural, institutional or personal classism. There are also terms associated with classism such as little men, white trash, little people, bludgers, or the unwashed masses. Other disagreements arise over matters of understanding like, whether negative treatment is as a result of prejudice against certain classes or whether the behaviors are rational reactions to actions of individuals being so treated. Defining one’s social class can be the determinant of his or her awareness of it.
There are four identifiable social classes in various societies. They are lower class, working class, middle class, and high class.
The lower class
This class is typified by poverty, unemployment and homelessness among others. Few individuals from this class have finished high school. They experience poor medical care, inadequate housing and food. They also do not have adequate safety, decent clothing and vocational training. Individuals from lower class are stigmatized by the media by being referred to as the underclass. The poor people from the lower class are inaccurately characterized as welfare mothers who abuse systems by having many babies, and welfare fathers who cannot work, criminals, drug abusers, and societal trash.
The working class
Individuals from the working class are minimally educated and do manual work in society. In their work, they enjoy little or no prestige at all. Examples of unskilled workers in this class are dishwashers, maids, cashiers, and waitress. They are usually underpaid with little or no opportunity for career development and advancement. Individuals from this class are also known as the working poor. Examples of skilled labor in this class are carpenters, electricians and plumbers among others. They are also known as blue collar workers. They may make higher amount of money than workers in the middle class such as teachers, secretaries and computers technicians. Their jobs are physically taxing and in most cases dangerous.
The middle class
They are referred to as sandwich class. Members of this group have more money than those below them in the social ladder. This class can be divided into two depending on education, wealth and prestige. Lower middle class is made up of less educated individuals with lower incomes such as the small business owners, managers, secretaries and teachers among others. Upper middle class is comprised of highly educated people and, professionals with high incomes. They include lawyers, doctors, stockbrokers and CEOs of large companies.
The upper class
This is the highest class in the social ladder. In the United States, this class comprises of 1-3 % of the population. This class has a lot of control on a nation’s wealth. The upper class has two categories. The lower-upper class comprise of individuals with money made from business ventures and investments among others. The upper-upper class comprises of aristocratic and high-society families. They are extremely wealthy individuals who live off their income from inherited riches. Upper-upper class is more enjoyable and prestigious than lower-upper class. The two categories of upper class are extraordinarily rich. They have more money than they can spend thereby leaving them with much leisure time used for calculating various interests. They send their kids to finest schools, visit expensive social clubs and live in the neighborhood that are exclusive.
There have been social conflicts as a result of social classes. This is the antagonism or tensions that exist in a society as a result of competing social-economic interests among individuals from different classes. The social conflicts affect mostly people from the lower classes. There are several forms of class conflicts in society. They include direct violence like wars fought for cheap labor and resources or indirect violence such as starvation, death from poverty and unsafe working conditions among others. Conflicts between social classes can be open such as a lockout aimed at eliminating labor unions.
Political leaders in society can change social classes through enacting laws that fight this social injustice. Politics in any society can be used to change the lifestyle of that society. Religious leaders also have a role to play in fighting this social injustice. Since they interact with many people each day, they can preach against social classes. The other groups of people who can help to fight social classes are teachers. Since teachers provide knowledge to students, they should teach the young generation on the negative effects of social classes. Students spend most of their times with their teachers hence; it is easy to learn about social classes. Lastly, every member of society has the capability of fighting social classes. There are several needs for addressing the issue of social classes. One of them is on education. For society to attain equitable education for its members, social classes should be abolished. As seen above, those who come from social classes that are high, they give their children the best education. The other concern for addressing the issue of social classes is on the provision of quality Medicare to all members of society. Everyone is entitled to the right to life hence should be allowed to access quality medical services. The last concern is on the overall development of the society. It is evident that those who are poor continues getting poor every day while the rich continues being rich.
There are various songs and movies that address or illustrate how social classes in the society divide people socially. There is a song known as another day in paradise that tries to illustrate social classes. The song was performed by an artist known as Phil Collins and, it is among many others that illustrate this social injustice. In this song, insensitivity of individuals towards poverty is also illustrated. There is a lady in this song who calls out for help from a man in the street. The lady tries to explain to the man that it is cold and, she has nowhere to sleep. The man who she is talking to is rich and belongs to a different social class. The man walks on ignoring the lady and does not look back. The man pretends that he is not hearing anything from the lady and starts whistling. From the song, the man feels embarrassed being in that street. Poor people are treated as having a low social class from this song.