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American Class Stratification

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Essay title: American Class Stratification

As American’s, we have been raised to believe that hard work will bring us success and happiness. The “ American Dream” embodies the ultimate goal of the people, a dream that is centered upon attaining financial success at any cost. As a result, our society has become obsessed with the notion and attainment of wealth. The mass media plays an instrumental role in perpetuating this idolization of affluence and distorted perceptions of economic class.

We have become the “ bling bling” generation, taught by the media to worship money, those who make a lot of it, and all the things it can buy. Wealth has always been an important element of American history, but it has grown to new levels, perpetuated through all forms of media and ruling our society’s consciousness. Many television shows center around the worship of money and are geared directly toward the impressionable younger generation who internalize these distortions and negatively affect their views toward themselves and society. Many of the most popular television shows on MTV, VH1 and other youth targeted networks, are centered completely on the exaltation of celebrities and their riches. MTV has taken it one step further with the extremely popular, “ Sweet 16,” a reality show about wealthy kids around the United States and their extravagant birthday parties. These kids are not celebrities or other larger than life public figures, they are just spoiled teens with wealthy parents, however they symbolize what many viewers will believe is the norm. This type of “ reality” show is geared directly towards young viewers, most of whom are from modest families who could never dream of affording a $200,000 birthday party, however this type of show will lead them to develop fictitious perceptions of social class and negative thoughts about their own place in society. Despite the false reality that is being pushed, these types of shows continue to thrive and have become some of the most popular on television. Their increasing popularity signifies the generally positive acceptance of these types of messages and causing society to develop a skewed view of wealth and social class within America.

As a result of distorted media exposure, the economic class structure of our country has become extremely polarized and harmful stereotypes that have arisen. The topic of wealth dominates in exposure and the poor are subsequently left in the dark. The unjust hand that the lower class has been dealt in this country is too depressing to sell magazines or draw high ratings. The poor people of this country

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