The American dream is to say everyone has the equal opportunity to achieve success. This idea is represented everywhere in US through the media and education. So that every American believes that they all have equal rights and equal chance to succeed. However, the fact is that class exists all the time. Diana Kendall’s essay, Framing Class, Vicarious Living, and Conspicuous Consumption, talks that the media helps people to shape their perception. The media represents the wonderful life of upper class and shows that everyone has equal opportunity to be upper class, the successful people. But Kendall argues that what the media shows is not the truth and inequality does exist in today’s society. The same argument about social inequality is claimed by Gregory Mantsios. Class in America- 2006, written by Mantsios, argues against the general myths in America that everyone has equal rights. He says class does exist in American and the gap between different classes is getting larger and larger. Both articles analysis real social class in America. The American dream is everyone has equal opportunity to get success. People all believe this idea and try to work hard to achieve their goals.
The media in US helps us to shape this perception about equal rights that “Large through marketing and advertising, television promoted the myth of the classes society, offering on one hand images of an American dream fulfilled wherein any and every one can become rich and on the other suggesting that lived experience of this lack of class hierarchy was expressed by our equal right to purchase anything we could afford” (Kendall 332). The US TV shows such as American dream is about how a normal low class or middle class person becomes a pop star and a rich one. And many TV programs display many brands, which make people think it is common for everyone to purchase luxury clothes. What media show us is that society is lack of class and everyone has equal rights. However, in the society, not everyone has the same opportunity to achieve success. Mantsios claims, “the difference in class determines where they live, who their friends are, how well they are educated, what they do for a living, and what they come to expect from life” (312). This means inequality obviously exists in the society and some people is sure to have better education, better living status, and more chances to have a wonderful future. For example, a person who was burn in a upper class family goes to a private high school, which provide him larger possibility to apply for an lvy League. And then he will get a better education and a higher point to begin his work.
Finally he can get a satisfied salary and lifestyle. On the contrast, one from a lower class family can’t afford the fee of university and he can’t get a good education. So he can only find a job with low income. The media let people believe society is equal but the unequal reality will make people feel frustrated. The social inequality contains many factors such as economic aspect and races and it’s very hard to change this situation. Rich people are getting richer and richer whereas poor people are getting poorer and poorer. Rich people can enjoy better social service such as better medical services. Also racism and sexism affect social class. “In other words, being female and being nonwhite are attributes in our society that increase the chances of poverty and of lower-class standing” (Mantisios 317). People show prejudice to a female when employ a job because they may think a female has worse physical property than a male. So generally a female may have less opportunity than a male. And white people always get a prior consideration in an employment. These prejudices about class are rooted in people’s mind. Although there is no reason that the likelihood of being working class is related to race and gender, people still regard such class as the norms to treat others. The issues caused by class can’t be improved at all. According to Kendall, “Between 1991 and 2001, the income of the top one-fifth of U.S. families increased by 31 percent; during the same period, the income of the bottom one-fifth of families increased by only 10 percent” (338).
From these data, we can see the people with most wealth have more money and the poorest people are getting less money. The gap between the rich and the poor is larger and larger. Since the offspring from a rich family are highly educated, they can inherit their parent’s career and the family wealth can last from generation to generation. Further more, rich people spend money on investment, which creates more money. However, the poor families have very low income, which can merely support their living expenses and children’s education fee. Thus they have no extra money to invest and their income cannot get better. Both of the quotes talk about class issues and these issues caused by differences of income, racism and sexism influence and tough to change.