Classism is considered to be promoted in the form of oppression or prejudice against people through their social class on the basis of higher or lower socioeconomic status; nowadays the notion ‘classism’ is a real issue being widely spread not only in the American society but throughout the world. It is necessary to underline the fact that the USA faced the problem of classism several centuries ago; the analysis of historical development relates this phenomenon to Whiskey Rebellion, when wealthy white men supported and controlled the Great Britain rebellion, or to the period when the vote was given only to property owners at the beginning of the 19th century. Nevertheless, nowadays this concept is considered to be analyzed on the basis of class welfare within the particular society, considering it to be the depth of the problem.
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Classism and class welfare analysis
The classism promotion within the USA should be explained through the factors influencing its development:
- Slavery and economic oppression suffered by ex-slaves;
- Land grabs;
- The promotion of immigrant labor during the period of industrialization;
- Causes connected with sharecropping, tenant-farming and farm mortgages. (Abramovitz, 2000)
People are aware of classist prejudices; nevertheless, no one has completely eradicated them from speech. It is necessary to underline the fact that our classism is based on disdain for religious people, big corporations’ employees, and patriotic people. The increase of social status and position in the society appeared to be the start for the promotion of prejudiced perception of other classes; it should be noted that there is no person of middle-class, who has never said insensitive things related to working-class toes. Though in most cases people try to defend themselves, saying ‘I did not mean that, they find themselves in the situation of apologizing or just laughing at themselves. The reduction of classism in modern society is to be concentrated on not keeping our mind out of trouble through avoiding working-class people angering; the basic aim is to become trustworthy and express less alienation of working-class people, working in the atmosphere of economic justice. According to Cecile Andrews, ‘Study Circle Democracy’, human welfare is to be aimed at classism reduction, ‘…to believe in democracy, you need to believe in the power of people to find answers to the problems they’re facing. You must commit to the idea that people have the wisdom they need. (Leondar-Wright, 2004)
The middle class, or as it is sometimes called, the ruling class, is considered to be perceived in society as an articulate and smart social group, dominating over the working class. Wealthy people internalize the attitudes and beliefs of the dominant society and try to play them against each other. It is necessary to underline the idea that internalized superiority is considered to be the justification of middle-class privileges; nowadays class welfare is defined through the status and possibility of personal contacts with the company’s employers; this domination gives an opportunity to get ‘legacy admissions’ to various higher institutions, perfect health care, inherited money, quality education and having the knowledge as to the power system operation in the society.
Social welfare is the background for gradual life quality improvement; nevertheless, it leads to the formation of a more sharp line between classes, economic, political and national. The cases of classism are openly promoted in the media and expressed by famous politicians and heads of huge corporations; for example, we may consider the words of Stephen Dempsey, who noted, ‘Of course I am going to be patronizing to workers, I am educated’. (Classist Comments, 2005) People are usually kept from considering the material holdings and privilege of comfortable and wealthier classes of modern society; it should be stressed that the current situation provides no time for the poor classes to make the analysis of salaries in multi-million dollars, or expense and retirement accounts of the higher classes; nevertheless, the elite would be unable to have the power and obtain all the wealth but for hard work of the low working class. The welfare and wealth of the owning class is the result of the masses’ efforts and labor; besides, the wealth is the cause of inheritance taxes’ failure to redistribute adequately the privileges and benefits for the few. Beneficial job positions are usually kept among the elite; political positions are characterized by disproportionate access promoted for the higher classes being able to buy them. (Burch, 2000) It is necessary to consider the words of Kathy Modigliani, who stated, that she ‘heard an African-American university president say that she could not support home-based childcare for low-income families because “we have to get those little children out of those neighborhoods.”’ (Classist Comments, 2005)
The depth of the classism problem does not lie in the worthiness or integrity of elite individuals keeping poor class poor; the reason is connected with deliberate acts and policies produced by wealthy classes, aimed at keeping adequate and privileged resources from the majority, and stigmatizing people for living in need, while the welfare of the elite is completely cloaked and disguised for the public’s sake and welfare. The nature of classism from the position of class welfare is based on the process of rejecting the existence of class discrimination on the basis of social and political structures, blaming the poor for their status. Such cases are frequently faced in our everyday life; thus, Jenny Levison shared her own experience, underlining the level of classism in modern society, ‘I ate out with a friend — someone proud to call herself a Massachusetts liberal — and the waitress got her order wrong. My friend said, “Well if she was smart, she wouldn’t be a waitress.’ (Classist Comments, 2005) It means that habitual communication and interpersonal relationships in public and private life are built on the principles of class differences and attempt to blame the social groups providing hard work for social welfare. (Burch, 2000)
The problem of classism is also connected with the fact that people live in silence and labeled, and damned environment, where speaking about the wealthy truth is considered to be risky and unpopular. It is necessary to unmask the intent of the called names, and labeling used against the majority, based on threats and fear. The welfare promotion in the US community and throughout the world is the indicator of economic and political stabilization; nevertheless, people are the stimulator of social order and, it is we, who are to be blamed, for the sharp classism promotion. (Burch, 2000)
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The analysis of classism’s role in modern society was based on the investigation of its real causes and current level promotion; it is necessary to stress that the paper researched the links between social welfare and classism sharpening, underlining the grave mistakes leading to the formation of class inequality.
Values alteration, observed since the previous centuries, resulted in the power of money and wealth, dominating over natural human ethics, norms, and standards; as a result, the elite lives in the wealthy environment created by the hard labor of the working class.
Abramovitz, M. (2000). Under attack, fighting back: Women and welfare in the United States. New York: Monthly Review Press.
Burch, H. (2000). Social welfare policy analysis and choices. Routledge.
Classist Comments. (2005). Class Matters. Web.
Leondar-Wright, B. (2004). Classism from our Mouths. Web.