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Social Class

Throughout all of the documentary “People Like Us� I was amazed at the lack of my own knowledge and conviction with class in the United States. I knew it existed but I never have seen it blatantly laid out before me. I guess one could say that I am an ignorant middle class individual—just like all the rest. I probably wouldn’t put up much of an argument against that. In Gregory Mantsios article “Social Class�, he talks about how the poor really do stay invisible in the United States. Also, how any portrayals of them are through the eyes of white middle class media (89). Mantsios makes a great argument about how media as an apparatus forms the social consciousness about class. Poor, lower class people are portrayed as a problem to the society—driving up taxes to pay for welfare programs, bugging people on the street for money and alcoholics/druggies. Media highly influences people and people’s views on other individuals. Which leads me to my observation of our class when we watched the documentary.
I could not help but noticed how certain comments and laughter were made when certain types of people were portrayed in the documentary. I am not talking about when there were random interviews with people giving quick judgments about other people of class—that was quite appalling and so harsh that I laughed at the people’s ignorance too. What I am talking about is when we saw the poor-working class individuals at their festival games of some sorts. There were judgments being made when we watched them being interviewed and watching them partaking in spiting contest or bobbing for pig’s feet. I do not believe anyone was mean heartedly making fun of those people—far from that. What I do think happened was a reaction that we as “middle class, educated� people are taught to do. The classes’ reaction represents a greater parallel to how class differences are socially constructed in the States.
‘We’ are taught that it is the lower class fault for being poor. That ‘they’ didn’t work hard enough to work their way up to the middle class. ‘We’ are taught to think that the poor are a burden to the society. ‘We’ are taught to think that the poor will always be with us and they will have to be, if we continue to live in a capitalist society. Marxist theory touches on this idea that says: without the exploitation of the working class, the middle to upper class would not have what they have (money). The exploitation of the many rewards the few at the top. I believe it is important to expose these systematic ways in which people are exploited for the good of a few.