Social stratification is a system through which the society rankscategories of people in hierarchy or class. Such differences lead tosocial stratification a patterned social inequality based on threemajor premises power, prestige and property (Moffit, 2014). TheHispanics/Latinos from America form about 17% of the entire USpopulation and are classified as one of the most impoverished people.Five facts that can explain social stratification amongst Latino’sare the perception of poverty by the society as a trait and not areflection of individual differences. Latino’s have been viewed aspoor for many generations, a fundamental principle of stratification.Social stratification has been universal but can change and itinvolves inequality and beliefs. Latino’s have been classified asthe poorest community and consequently experience this.
The impoverished circumstances of the Latino’s are evident asdescribed by feeding America fact sheet. According to feedingAmerica, Latino’s are disproportionately affected by poverty,unemployment and food insecurity. They are more likely to receivefood aid than whites or non-Hispanic Americans. Most of them areunemployed and thus have no source of income. In 2012, researchrevealed that Latino’s were less likely to be employed by 9% ascompared to non-Hispanics and whites at 7%. Besides that, majorityLatino communities disproportionately represented the highest ratesof food insecurity. 10% of Latino population counties have thehighest rates of child food insecurity. Charitable food assistance ismore likely to be given to Latino’s than their Caucasian peers.Poverty amongst Latino’s is higher due to lower median income ascompared to their counterparts. About 9% Latino’s live in deeppoverty. Latino’s are less likely to receive SNAP benefits ascompared to 38% of the whites and non-Hispanic communities (Feedingfacts, 2014).
A person’s class or status greatly influences their life outcomes.It is likely to influence their health, culture and politics. Theimpact of class on health comes up as those belonging to a high classhave more opportunities to access the best health care facilities ascompared to those from the poor class. According to Dohan (2003),high-class individual’s have higher incomes thus can get the bestmedical treatment from the most lucrative and professional hospitalsin case they become sick. This raises their life expectancy andlowers the infant mortality of their children. Harvard researchrevealed that ranges of life expectancy varied depending on class.Whites had a higher life expectancy as compared to Latino’s due totheir ability to access the best health care. Higher statusindividuals are less likely to smoke weed, bhang or drink cheapliquor and are more conscious to their health diet. Poor Americans onthe other hand, are more likely to consume cheap processed foods,drink liquor and smoke increasing their health risks.
Class and politics go together and as income remains the keyindicator of class, high-class people are more likely to rubshoulders with politicians or prominent leaders. A good example ofthe upper class in America is the Kennedy family who made his fortuneand passed it to his generations. Kennedy was a prominent leader,like other US presidents and PM’s who have taken over. Politicalattitudes are also reflected through educational attainment andoccupation. Most high-class people have high occupations and educatetheir children to the highest university levels. Poor class peoplesuffer from unemployment and thus are unable to educate theirchildren thus limiting their opportunities to become influential inthe future.
The existence of class differences brought about class and culture.The rich have a certain culture in the form of the books, films,music, plays, games, interactions and way of doing things. They areclassy and termed as elegant while the poor are said to be lesscultured and cannot access some of the things that high-classsocieties have access to due to their low income.
Using the concept of ideology, we see poverty as a personal failingrather than a social problem due to several factors. Ideology is apatterned way of belief and everyone has a right to justify theirview. Poverty is a state of the mind that one can come from throughhard work. Famous philosophers like Karl Marx felt that ideas couldcontrol mental means of production. The elite for instance, have manyweapons at their disposal to keep the society and low class people incontrol. This supports the elite’s power and privilege showingthat the dominant or high class are viewed as important and theirideas valued and have been the ruling class in history. According toMonnier (2010), being poor is not lacking money but is being subjectto abuse, violence, humility, indignity and exploitation by thewealthy and powerful. Poverty subjects people to humiliation,helplessness, powerlessness, insecurity, denigration and fatalism ofbeing trapped into deep injustice.
There is a distinct difference between absolute and relative povertyin that absolute poverty is lack of one or more basic needs for longperiods of time thus endangering your life (Ravallion, 1998). Asopposed to relative poverty, absolute poverty means a lack of basicneeds including vital biological needs such as food, clothing, water,sanitation and basic housing. Relative poverty however is measuredrelative to others around them and is a condition where people lackminimum amount of income to maintain the average living societystandard.
More concern should be given to poverty at home than abroad becausewhen at home we can deal with poverty at the grass root level. Athome, people can come up with suitable solutions to eradicatepoverty. Those solutions if workable can be referred abroad to helpother poverty stricken people come out of their social state.
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Dohan, D. (2003). The price of poverty: Money, work, andculture in the Mexican-American barrio. Berkeley: University ofCalifornia Press.
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Feeding facts (2014).Latino hunger fact sheet, fromhttp://www.feedingamerica.org/hunger-in- america/impact-of-hunger/latino-hunger/latino-hunger-fact-sheet.html
Moffit, K. (2014). Social stratification:Definition, theories andexamples. Education portal, from http://education-portal.com/academy/lesson/social-stratification-definition-theories- examples.html#lesson
Monnier, C.(2010). “Basic concepts (Global stratification).”Poverty and development. Global sociology. From https://globalsociology.pbworks.com/w/page/14711159/Basic%20Concepts%20%28Glob al%20Stratification%29
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Ravallion, M., & International Bank for Reconstruction andDevelopment. (1998).Poverty lines in theory and practice.Washington, DC: The World Bank.
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