Political, social and geographic stratification in American society is obvious and can be viewed daily simply by walking down a city street or sitting in a restaurant. Being able to distinguish between the social position and available opportunities between differing groups of people in our society is easy. The division between classes as always been present, has always been strong and that fact and not going to change anytime soon.
The upper class only constitutes 5% of the total population but they’re like but they’re like a Crocodile Kelly or Birkin Bag, there are so few of them that their rarity becomes an aspirational phenomenon, yet just as most people will never own a Birkin Bag, they will never infiltrate the upper class American caste system.
These are people who have what is most often referred to as “old money” like the Hilton’s, money that has been passed down from generation to generation. These are not people who are wiling to hare their wealth or societal position so they interact with individuals of the same status as themselves to keep the people at the top to the smallest impenetrable amount as possible.
Yet the problem is not the fact that these people bed and wed amongst themselves, the problem is that the rest of the world or the rest of society isn’t given the opportunity to create the financial possibilities that this group of people can create for themselves and thus the financial and social exclusion of great people intensifies because social mobility in America is next to impossible. The movement of people from one class to the other is extremely difficult and does not occur often. The socio-economic barriers prevent movement from one group or class to the next.
It takes at least five or more generation for a family set within a particular social and financial class to minimize the disadvantages of their families. Do you have any idea how long five generations is? Whereas five generations used to be about the length of a century, these days it is still at least a hundred years, even more so if you want the members of each generation to be adults individuals in a position to educate themselves and work long enough to have some effect on their families class position.
This is an absolutely impossible situation. That’s why the rich get richer and the poor stays poor because it is so extremely difficult to infiltrate class systems. The fact of the matter is that instead of gradually finding their ways closer to one another, social classes are constantly and consistently driven apart because of the access of the upper class to greater opportunities. Take the presence of lower and middle class students in Ivy League academic institutions.
There are disproportionately more rich people at Harvard and Yale than there are poor, middle class or working class, not because the upper class is a more intelligent group of people but because more money means that you can go to a larger more recognized high school where of which colleges like Princeton or Harvard would take notice. It also means that even if middle or working class students are intelligent enough to attend, excel at and meet the criteria for entry to an Ivy League institution they are highly unlikely to be able to attend that institution because there won’t be available financing.
Money is what gives you access to opportunity in this country. If a public school system education was equivalent to that of a private school education in America and that education was still free, there would be a lot more poor people attending quality elementary and high school and proportionately there would be far more individuals from class below the upper class present in Ivy League institutions. Which would mean that these less financially comfortable individuals would get better jobs and make more money than their previous generations, thereby effectually initiating the closing of the gap between social classes.
Crimes of the Rich and Powerful You can see what types of advantages are afforded to people who are higher up on the social pyramid, the things that they can get away with because of the people they know or the connections they have is appalling. It becomes more and more obvious when you see cases where upper class individuals commit murders and receive country club prison sentences, if they go to prison at all! We live in a society where just about anyone with money can buy their way out of trouble, out of punishment, and out of prison time.
Another problem that I have with rich people committing crime in America is the fact that even if they do go to jailor prison that end up coming out of the ordeal more well off than they were going into it. You get people like O. J. Simpson writing books like, “I Didn’t do it…but if I had” and making millions. It is amazing how hard up America has gotten for ‘juicy celebrity gossip’, so hard up that they are actually willing to pay for stories written by or about “celebrities” like the Menendez Brothers killing their parents.
It never seems to occur to people in this country that murder is not something that should be glorified, nor should it be celebrated by making the murderer even more rich by way of buying their book! The upper class has become so widely discussed that they are almost to the point of being worshipped like Gods. It’s absolutely ridiculous. Even though they make up only a very minute portion of the world’s populace as a whole, everyone who is present in a social class beneath them is ostracized for their position and suppressed there with thought of increase.
I read this article abut the on of a tobacco heiress rigging her truck with pipe bombs to blow her up. He actually ended up blowing his mom, brother and sister, with both his mother and brother dying and his sister sustaining very severe burns. He was found guilty of the murders and attempted murder, true, but less than a year later the shelves of bookstores were lined with books he’d written and that had been written about the horrific attack on his family glorifying the fact that the had gruesomely murdered his mother and brother.
What kind of craziness is that!? What type of sane human beings can find glory in murder instead of finding fault in their fellow man committing murder…Americans who have learned to worship money over what is right and just. I don’t know who, but there was even someone “eloquent” (for lack of a more suitable title) enough to come up with the terms white collar and blue collar crime, but most people don’t even realize that this is a reference to social and economic position in reference to the bearing that it has on the criminal process.
White collar crimes, representative of the wearing of a white shirt as in beneath a suit jacket ( the attire of high level executives) is punishable, most often, by minimal security incarceration, probation terms, or community service. Blue collar crimes representative of the wearing of uniform shirts for jobs like garbage men or factory workers, auto workers, are most often referred to as the more violent crimes that come with attached prison sentences and maximum security incarceration.
The public as even placed an intellectual reference on the variance between crimes as if not understanding that this is increasing the division between classes. White collar crime has to be recognized as the more intellectual crimes like hacking, or embezzlement, whereas blue collar crimes have been classified as more dangerous, adrenaline power crimes requiring no intellectual capacity whatsoever, crimes like felonious assault, murder, or robbery. Things that you don’t’ have to figure anything out to do; you just have to harness enough aggression or hatred to be able to carry the act out. Gender and Crime
There is an immense division between gender and crime just like there is an immense division between race and crime. When it comes to gender and crime, men are considered the more aggressive beings so they are the ones expected to commit the majority of crimes that take place in society. Women are generally considered more gentle creatures making it al the more difficult to imagine them as serial killers, rapists or gun-touting robbers. Women are not expected to possess the capacity for violent crime, and it is with this thought that sentencing within the American Penal Code has become imbalanced in relation to men vs.
women and the committing of violent offenses. Many criminologists and criminological researchers have tried to pin down some type of concrete connection between gender and crime asserting that there must be some biological differences or inherent cultural difference that would bring about a difference between males and females that would somehow result in differences in the crime rates among each group. The strongest, or rather most popular theory is that men are by nature far more aggressive beings than their female counterparts. Is this true?
There is no way for us to know because the theory has neither been proven nor disproven. What we do know is that men are most often placed in the more dominant role in relationships so where there may be a man and woman engaging in criminal acts together like say a Bonnie and Clyde situation, the man will most often receive the credit due to the individual who initiated the act or came up with the plan to be executed. Which ties directly into the social representation of men as the more intelligent beings and women not being capable of rational mathematic thought. The theory sit ht women just don’t have it in them.
They don’t have it in them to be o calculating as to plan a murder or robbery and they don’t; possess the necessary level of adrenaline and aggression to carry out such acts. Nevermind the fact that women plan and carry out these acts every day al over the world, the majority is view is that men commit more crime, so to the public eye…men commit more crime, violent or otherwise, because even if a woman is put in the public eye as having committed a crime, most times you will find connections in the media trying to tie the acts of the woman to the influence of a man.
If a woman murders her husband the defense of the woman will of course begin by arguing elf-defense and if an argument for self-defense falls flat, the woman’s defense team will the begin to argue that it was the way that the man treated the woman that caused her to take his life, as if she had no other choice but to kill her husband or lover. Women have for so long been cast in the supporting roe of our society that the criminal justice system is having a bear of a time getting them out of that role and into the prison uniforms issued to them as a result of their actions.
Society wants the woman to pay the victim, and no matter what women’s liberation efforts or feminists may assert, once a crime has been committed, especially a violent crime involving a man or against a man, the woman starts to play that supportive ‘woe is me; take mercy on me – I’m the true victim here’ role to the very max and will ride that pony clear into the sunset it you let them. Race, Ethnicity and Crime
There is an immense division between race and crime just like there is an immense division between gender and crime. When it comes to gender and crime, men are considered the more aggressive beings so they are the ones expected to commit the majority of crimes that take lace in society. When it comes down to race, minorities are considered the lesser beings, more aggressive, less educated, and more likely to commit crimes against their fellowman.
The division of criminal acts has been made racial with violent acts allegedly deriving from a minority ethnic background and the lesser punished, more intellectual, non-violent acts allegedly coming from the more intellectually empowered, superior majority group. The issue over race and ethnicity as it relates to crime in the United States is an extremely controversial subject because of the perpetual implications of societal inferiority and position.
With the help of media coverage, publicists and spin doctors, America has bean perpetuating the idea that that poor people from minority backgrounds commit more crime than non-minorities from more economically affluent backgrounds, an assumption bearing absolutely no truth. Crime is not a result of racial or ethnic position; it is a result of personal decisions and the impending acts that follow those decisions. If minorities had more money to present themselves in a better light in the media when they were to commit crimes, the statistics would be far different and likely far more balanced.
One issue is the view of minorities vs. the majority in the committing of crime, but the other issue is the disproportionate sentencing attached to crimes against white and crimes against minorities. It is never presented to the public that the contemporary effects of racially disproportionate criminal enforcement and incarceration rates are the reasons why the minority races appear to commit more crime, or the fact that various factors present throughout history have influenced these numbers.
It again, often comes back to media portrayal. If you see a black man in the newspaper having committed a robbery against his neighborhood corner store, most people will read between the lines that it must have been a liquor store and he was stealing liquor. If you read in the same newspaper three days later that a white man was caught committing a robbery against his neighborhood corner store, you are more likely to think that it is either a mistake or that the man had stolen food to feed starving children. Why?
Because this is the spin that is often put on stories surrounding criminal acts in the media. Now imagine that these stories, although having been placed in the newspaper three days apart, are about the very same man and the very same store where the truth of the situation is that a very fair skinned African American man was in his neighborhood corner grocery store where he purchased food items to feed is starving family and inadvertently, by complete accident left the store not having paid for all of the goods that he acquired.
Would you think it a clerical mistake made by the cashier ringing up the groceries, or would you think that the black man pulled a quick-handed once over on the cashier when they weren’t paying full attention? The honest answer to that question is that you would likely think that he pulled the quick-handed once over, why? Because it’s all about presentation and implication; it is always implied that minorities (not at all specific to African Americans) or more prone to the committing of criminal acts that non-minorities. You never see the special interest pieces where minorities commit crimes because they had no other choice.
They committed a robbery because their children hadn’t eaten in days; but it is nothing to turn on the six o’clock news and find a non-minority accepting community donations after being caught stealing a loaf of bread to feed their hungry children. The hands of the media mold stories to fit stereotypes that effect criminology and until these stereotypes are removed from before the eyes of the populace, the criminal process will always be biased to some extent. Minorities will still be looked upon as committing more crimes, especially violent crimes, and non-minorities will still be looked upon as the even-tempered accident criminals.
Non-minorities even get lesser prison sentencing for committing crimes against minorities than minorities get for committing crimes against non-minorities because non-minorities are made out in the press to be the victim. Their just like the women when placed in an ethnic or racial context. They may be the ones committing the crime but it was somehow the victim of the crime that made them do it. References Bassiouni, M. Cherif. Crimes and the Criminal Process. Arab Law Quarterly, Vol. 12, No. 3 (1997), pp. 269-286 Covington, Jeanette.
Racial Classification in Criminology: The Reproduction of Racialized Crime. Sociological Forum, Vol. 10, No. 4, Special Issue: African Americas and Sociology: A Critical Analysis (December, 1995), pp. 547-568. Demuth, Stephen, and Steffensmeier, Darrell. The Impact of Gender and Race-Ethnicity in the Pretrial Release Process. Society for the Study of Social Problems, Vol. 51, No. 2 (May, 2004), pp. 222-242. Ferrell, Jeff. Cultural Criminology. Annual Review of Sociology, Vol. 25 (1999), pp. 395-418. Jones, Malcolm. Crimes of the Rich. The St. Petersburg Times. September 13, 1987.