The American Dream

I would say I grew up in a lower middle class household. My mother a nurse and my father a small engine mechanic. There were some birthdays and Christmases that were better than others but overall my family was pretty well off. I was not spoiled by any means but I normally got what I wanted, within reason. We lived in a four bedroom house somewhere between rural and suburban. More suburb if I had to choose one. It was home and I would not have traded it for anything else. In high school I had this dream of playing football at a private college called Albion. I visited the college and the coaches really wanted me on the team. However, financially, the money just was not there. Government financial aid did not help out enough for me to attend this college and thus my dream was shattered. I was devastated at first but soon realized it was not the end of the world. I then applied to Lansing Community College and am excelling exponentially.

Everything in our society revolves around money and what socioeconomic status you belong. Statuses can be divided into a few categories based on income. Starting from the bottom it goes like this, lower class, working lower class, lower middle class, upper middle class and upper class. This structure of socioeconomic status has been adopted by many sociologist in recent years. There are any different concepts that contribute to socioeconomic status including, race, location and family type.

Race is probably the most influential aspect of socioeconomic status. In the United States some races have huge advantages and disadvantages. My family is white, both of my parents have Dutch and Irish backgrounds. The United States is 63.2% white by population, however, only 41.5% of the poor population are white (Soc. P.255). More than half of the population in the United States is white but less than half are below the poverty line. Just being born with a white background puts me in a pretty good spot as far as socioeconomic status is concerned. So is that it, as long as you are born into a white family you will be rich? This is simply not the case, these are only averages. There are other factors that contribute, like where you live.

Location is a very interesting concept to socioeconomic status. Where you live has a direct impact on socioeconomic status. The Deep South for example is at a very high disadvantage. South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona all fall in last place with an average of 17-22.2% of the population, in those states, below the poverty line (Soc. P.255). For my family we are sitting pretty well off in this category as well. Living in the great mid-west state of Michigan we experience only 13.3-15.1% of the population below the poverty line (Soc. P.255). Much less than the southern states. What causes this? Race? Location? Family type?

Family types varies across the board, from single dad to happily married couples. The type of family has an impact on socioeconomic status. Married couples have it the best and it makes sense. Two adults, two incomes combining to make one. My family was very well off in this category. My mom makes an average of about $50,000 a year and my dad about $32,00 combining for a total of about $82,000 a year. That is a lot more money than say a single mom or single dad could. But again there are exceptions all over.

The point is there are many different aspects and concepts that make up ones socioeconomic status. They all add up to the end product which is where you stand in the greater society. My family is sitting in a fairly good place for what we need. We have food on the table every night, clothes on our backs and a roof over our heads. We have all that we could hope for. I think I got ahead of my status when looking for colleges to attend, picking a private school was not the best case scenario. As far as my football dreams go, when one door closes another shall open. I am currently an assistant coach on my hometown’s middle school football team. Teaching the game of football to younger kids is way more enjoyable than playing, in my opinion. There is a lot that money can buy but it cannot buy you everything. “Money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as a driver” – Ayn Rand.

 — Dylon


Works cited:  Witt, Soc 3rd edition. Mcgraw Hill Education Inc. P. 236-263. New York, NY. 2014.

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