Not the Same

 

I am an African American Woman, and this status was ascribed to me because my parents are African American so I took on their race; however, this does not limit the things I can do. One of the greatest things I have come to believe about living and growing up in the United State is that social status in the US is primarily achieved.  A person can be rich one day and within a blink of an eye be poor the next.  Another, way of looking at it is that your family may not have a lot of money, yet if you work really hard then  you, yourself may have a lot of money one day.  It is up to the individual to determine how his or her life will turn out. This gives me great hope that I can still make a great impression on the world through my achieved status; by helping my race work in a positive way. With that same view, sometime the struggle can get hard because contrary to what some people believe, working hard does not always get a person what they want. A man that does not work does not eat is an old saying or that people that do not have anything must be lazy. Yet, I have seen a man leave his home before sunrise and not return home until midnight doing hard labor work just to feed his family and still not have enough money to pay all of his bills. Many people say that everyone living in the United States are afforded the same opportunities in life. This couldn’t be further from the truth. People are often given opportunities and all people are not given the same chances (opportunities). A child growing up in the Projects of North Memphis will not be given the same opportunities as a child growing up in the suburbs of Collierville. Thetwo children will not even receive the same quality of education. Social status is often what determines what social clubs and social arenas a person will belong to. Rich people tend to socialize with other rich people; often giving each other’s children opportunities that the maid’s (poor) children will not get. Poor people tend to hang with other poor people. Often dreaming of a way out, they work hard with the hope one day they will own a home or one day their children will go to college.

Children learn from their environment and the live what they learn. Children from a well off background learn to network and meet the right people because it is often said, “It’s not WHAT you know but WHO you know”. Children from a background stricken by poverty often learn to hustle or play the lottery with the hopes of hitting it big. Besides who are poor people going to network with, they are all poor and have nothing. I have seen people in the projects spend their last $2 on a lottery ticket, these people don’t have a gambling problem (well maybe), theyjust want a way out. People with a high social status teach their children how to manage checkbooks and the importance of good credit. On the lower end of the spectrum, they often don’t have a checkbook to manage(paychecks are loaded to a pay-card) and their credit is already a mess from just simply trying to survive (getting title loans or payday loans). Wealthy people often encourage their children to marry a certain young man or young woman from a certain family because of thatfamily’s social status. This is because last names and social prestige mean a lot in the upper class. Think about it, have you ever seen a rich father encourage his daughter to go to the projects and find a husband, no!! On the other hand, some parents living in the projects don’t encourage marriage at all, not because it is a bad thing but because the Welfare department says if you have a husband they can’t help you even if you really need it,especially if the husband is working (even though he is not making enough to pay the bills and buy food). Rich people help their children complete and send in college applications and financial aid applications. They sit down and discuss what colleges their children want to attend and why they want to attend them. On the flip side of things, how can a single mother from the projects help her child fill out applications that she has never seen or even heard of? How can she discuss what colleges to go to when she doesn’t know the names of any colleges (other than The University of Memphis)? Rich people travel and get the opportunity to see many different places. Poor people are often stuck in one place their whole life. The world to them (poor people) is only as big as what they see, and that’s not much. I could go on and on, but I think you get my point. All Americans are not given the same opportunities.

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