From Race to Class


Interesting point by Paul Krugman in the Times over the weekend:

“Yet if King could see America now, I believe that he would be disappointed, and feel that his work was nowhere near done. He dreamed of a nation in which his children “will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” But what we actually became is a nation that judges people not by the color of their skin — or at least not as much as in the past — but by the size of their paychecks. And in America, more than in most other wealthy nations, the size of your paycheck is strongly correlated with the size of your father’s paycheck.”

For the most part, I agree with Krugman’s argument. Aside from a couple slurs I experienced at Penn by non-students, I can’t really think of anytime in my life where I felt I was being judged negatively because of my color. Though racism (even reverse-racism) most definitely exists, I don’t doubt the issue of race in America has become increasingly a non-issue. In contrast, I absolutely believe that America is already a society based on class. I liken the shift from race to class as an issue to the saying, “Birds of a feather flock together.” Whereas in the past color defined the feather, today that feather is defined by our education and work.

Social Mobility in America


Earlier this past week, I came across this article from The Times about the increasing difficulty of social mobility in America. It goes on to cite that when compared to the other countries in the West, family background has a huge impact on how likely an individual in the States moves up, down, or remains at the same economic level as their parents.

Obviously, this problem isn’t new. As the occupy movement demonstrates, it’s pretty clear America has a growing inequality problem. I certainly agree that an unequal society means unequal opportunities. It might be more difficult to “rise up,” but I don’t think it’s certainly impossible. Regardless of increasing disparity and economic background, I think social mobility, like every other goal, is really dependent on an individual’s determination and perseverance to achieve.