Social Stratification and Discrimination

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Noora Zuwayed Mr. Mark Sociology 11G 22nd of April 2013 3 Questions Essay * How does social stratification show opportunities/limitations for people for differing social classes? First of all, social stratification is defined as a system by which society ranks categories of people in a hierarchy. It’s the division of society into classes that have unequal amounts of wealth, power, and prestige. It’s made up from social classes. Social class is a general group in society having common economic, cultural, resources, or political status and share values, norms and a certain lifestyle.

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Social classes are generally having three broad classes: upper, middle, and lower, but in some countries there might only be an upper class and a lower class. People are divided into different groupings and their lives are structured according to these groupings. There are certain things that some people cannot do, simply because their position in life prevents them from being able to do them. People with wealth, power and prestige will be acknowledged in the upper class of the social stratification.

Middle class is a group that consists mostly of professionals and others with well-paying, respected occupations, but they don’t have wealth as much as the upper classers and nor they have as much direct access to power. In USA, the upper-lower class also called the working class. These people are vulnerable to disruptions in their income. Those social divisions lead to job limitation. For example people with prestige and power will preferred for jobs more then the powerless and with no prestige. * Why are people discriminated against?

Discrimination is treating people differently based on ethnicity, race, religion, or culture. Prejudice usually leads to discrimination. Ethnicity is a group identified by culture religious or national characteristics, and race is people sharing certain inherited physical characteristics that are considered important within a society. Prejudice is widely held negative attitudes toward a group and it’s individual members. Discrimination involves acting upon opinions by treating people unfairly. Discrimination akes many forms, including avoiding social contact with members of minority groups, denying them positions that carry authority, and blocking their access to the more exclusive neighborhoods. It can also involve such extremes as attacking or killing minority members. I think many people learn discrimination when they are children. They see the way the adults around them respond to those who are of a different race, religion, or sexual orientation, and they grow up never questioning those judgments. Even if they do come to question those fixed beliefs, it is very hard to overcome the worldview we learn as children.

Sometimes people start discriminating against a group of people after bad experiences with a few. For instance, discrimination against Muslims rose drastically after the events of 9/11, even though the majority of American Muslims are most definitely not terrorists and were as mortified as the rest of us by those events. * Where do you see evidence of social stratification and discrimination in POH? Pursuit to Happyness, set in 1981, is inspired by the real life story of underdog Chris Gardner, who rose from being homeless to become a stock market tycoon.

Smith is an inspired choice to play this come-from-behind hero. His natural charm and energy are perfect for playing the part of a natural born salesman who relies on likeability and get a move on to promote his products and himself. Chris Gardner has big dreams for him and his family but it doesn’t seem to come together for him. Chris has an opportunity to be a stock broker but first he has to go through a grueling internship which means no pay. Chris decides to do it but when his wife leaves and he is evicted, he has to take care of his son on his own.

So they find themselves sometimes living on the street and struggling to get by. But Chris is determined to make it. The movie a bit cowardly on the issue of discrimination, which must have played a bigger role in Gardner’s life than it does in this film. The film’s strategy is to drop some clever hints that there might be discrimination going on, but not enough to interfere with the basic American Dream message: the man teaching the internship tends to ask Gardner to fetch the coffee and donuts, therefore disturbing his work and I suppose slowing down his progress.

Gardner was very much affected by the social stratification. This social division is the main reason he was going through such devastating events. For example if Gardner wasn’t as poor as he was or as powerless as he was, he would never be treated less than the people around him or respected less. As the story goes on, they show how difficult for people with low pay and no income to live and to create a family. Gardner managed to complete his goal and become a multimillionaire, and at the end the movie shows how society response to people according to their prestige, wealth and power.

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