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The Growing Gap Between Economic Classes

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FC: The Growing Gap Between Economic Classes | By Group 2: Amy Stradone Kiera Smith Nicole Williams Austin Rycroft

1: Society today faces all different types of issues that affect every aspect of life. One issue that has come to the forefront of sociological thought and argument in recent years is the widening gap between the upper and lower social and economical classes. As the wealthiest country in the world we also have the largest gap between the rich and the poor and this gap continues to grow at a rate greater than ever before. Each sociological perspective whether it is conflict, functionalist, interactionist, or feminist has their own argument and perspective on why this issue is present and how to fix it.

2: In general, the conflict perspective of sociological thought tends to theorize that social problems in society today are the result of one over powering “group” or “class” that uses their strength to impose their will and keep a smaller and weaker group down for the stronger groups benefit. When applying the conflict perspective to the issue in discussion it seems apparent that there is a valid connection. This gap between social and economical classes can be seen as a direct result of the wealthy using their power, influence, and resources to create greater personal gain while also keeping the poor and even middle classes stagnant and unable to advance themselves in any way. The consequences of these actions are the continued widening of the gap between the upper classes of society and the lower. As the gap continues to grow the strong continue to take advantage of the weak and the cycle continues. It seems as if the strong use their power to create this barrier between themselves and the rest of the world and thus when the strong have the ability to make that barrier larger they do it. In order to fix this I do not believe that there must be more regulation per say but moreover I think that there should be better regulation that helps keep the vulnerable from being taken advantage and creates a society where the ability to move up the social and economical ladder is not just a long shot but solid possibility.

3: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1111/67935.html , AP Photo, Date Unknown, Title Unknown | ://www.economist.com/node/7055911 Photographer Unknown, Date Unknown, No Title

4: Some feminists believe that sex is not the only thing that lends to the inequalities of women in social class. They believe that race, age, disabilities, and other things are also responsible for women’s lower class status. This is known as intersectionality. This thought alone was a conflict for those women of color and the working class women. . One author, Mary Ann Weathers, states that women spends all their time “liberating” men that that they can’t free themselves. Kimberle’ Williams Crenshaw, author of “Age, Race, Sex, and Class”, also talks about intersectionality. She emphasizes class and race but she also focuses on the role men must play in the feminist movement. She adds that women are the only ones responsible for feminism and feminism only creates a bigger gap between the sexes. It is believed that the only way to win this battle is to work with the men who support the fight against sexism.

5: "Poor Woman", photographer unkown, date unkown dreamstime.com | "Michelle Obama" photographer unknown, date unknown people.com

6: The interactionist perspective on the issue at hand, theorizes that differences and divides in social classes, are represented in society through symbols and meanings that reproduce social inequality. This perspective defines wealth and poverty as a persistent state, in turn interactionist believe that once someone is wealthy or poor, their morals and values reflect in so many ways. This contributes to the public’s negative perception of welfare and its recipients, for example. Although government assistance with welfare is so huge in our country, most Americans don't know a welfare recipient personally, therefore their views are shaped from the media, such as television, radio, and newspapers, which more times than not, is portraying these individuals in a negative light. This contributes to the ever growing divide in the social classes, and gives the wealthy a reason to continue ignoring the issue and maintain their negative attitude and gives the poor a negative view of the wealthy. Therefore, both parties are at a standstill disagreement. Interactionist believe that each social class, wither that be rich, poor, or in between, have a specific set of norms and values. This is where the stereotypes begin to come into play, which again is represented in symbols that the media and often times, uneducated individuals create. Unfortunately, this has become a war of this perception of deserving versus undeserving. We as individuals in today's society need to come together and realize that this comes down to the issue of power and control, take that realization and begin to help and empower one another, rather than criticize and ignore.

7: "Homeless Teen" Date Uknown Photographer Uknown http://ncfy.acf.hhs.gov/tools/exchange/serving-youth-economic-downturn/youth-homelessness | "Not Equal Sign" No Phtographer Date Uknown https://www.drugfreeactionalliance.org/july-enews-2012

8: The functionalist perspective believes that the economic inequalities faced by society are important for society to function as a whole. They believe that everyone in society cannot be equal. If they were, it would create drastic dysfunction. This is one of the many reasons why the there is a growing gap between the social classes. There is the belief that everyone has a “position” in society and should stick to it so that society can function successfully. Poverty is a necessary part of our society. Functionalists believe that everyone must play the role in order for things to run smoothly. For example, if poverty did not exist, it would create problems for everyone. One way would be less jobs for those who are not in poverty. The gap between the different classes will never disappear. It will always be there. It is there to create a social structure. Why some may suffer than others, it is necessary for society to have these gaps between the economic classes. Those who are striving, would not be able to do so without those in the classes beneath them. Society values those who are more educated or has a meaningful job. The gaps between the social class is created by this. Doctors are in a completely different economic class than a drug-user on the street. Society rewards this by helping them achieve a higher economic class. If it weren't for these gaps, everyone would be equal, and society would not be able to function in the manner that it does today.

9: "Rich Doctor" Photographer unknown,Date unknown http://medicalcollage.blogspot.com/2011/09/more-doctors-nurses-surgeons-needed-in.html | "Homeless" Photographer Unknown, Date Unkown TodayPublication.com

10: In conclusion, the growing gap between social classes is at an all-time high, however, that doesn’t mean that all hope is lost. Although the functionalist, feminist, interactionist, and conflict perspectives differ in so many ways, it’s apparent that they all have the same goal in mind. This goal is to acknowledge that this is a growing issue, and collaborate different ideas, which may not fix the issue, but at least begin to bring awareness and solutions to the table. Education and information, on not only this issue, but the many issues that society faces today can go a long way.

11: "Women Toasting" Photographer uknown, date unknown, dexknows.com | "Homeless mother & Child" Date unknown, photographer uknown, theatlantic.com

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  • By: Amy S.
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