I was born and raised in Brazil, where social stratification is easily identified. Even though I was born in an upper-middle class family, this did not prevent me from experiencing the negative effects that social stratification has on individuals. My parents got divorced when I was about 4 years-old, so I grew up in a household composed of only me and my mother. Although the situation has been changing over the past few years, this family structure in Brazil is still commonly looked down upon, since the country is predominantly patriarchal. So, because of this, my mother’s ability to raise me well was often questioned by the so called “superior” family households, which always bothered her.
I studied in private schools for my entire life, but this was only possible because I got financial aid due to my academic achievements and family socioeconomic status. This meant that I got a great education, but it also meant that I often didn’t have access to the same things my classmates did. Most of them were children of doctors, lawyers, engineers, and dentists, so they always had the newest electronics, the most expensive clothes, and the best memories about their trips abroad. While me, whose mother had an average job, did not have all of that. This, however, never bothered me because my mother always taught me that material values are just secondary, and that what really matters is your health and the people you love.
I have also experienced social stratification during my time living in the USA. During my senior year of high school, I was awarded a full scholarship for a year-long study abroad program in the United States. So, during the school year of 2015-2016, I lived with a host-family in the wealthy suburbs of Chicago and attended a predominantly white, upper-class high school. To me, the socioeconomic status of my host-family seemed a lot superior to my family’s socioeconomic status in Brazil. Unlike me and my mother, all four of them had travelled abroad multiple times and owned the latest iPhones. The interesting part is that my host-family did not necessarily consider themselves as the superior class because they used to compare themselves to the millionaire individuals in the same city they lived in. The fact that my view was different from my host-family’s view shows that social stratification is relative to the perspective individuals adopt about it.
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I grew up in a relatively small town just a few towns northeast of Evansville. I had never thought too muchabout social stratification. Although I supposive I have seen it almost everyday I just did not think about the term “social stratification.” At Boonville there are many different classes of people, most of which being middle class. I had never really understood what is considered “middle class” until I found a credible website stating the amount of annual income per household to be considered “middle class” for Indiana it is $50,000-$59,000. I have always known my parents are relatively wealthy but I was not sure if they were considered above the “middle class”, and they are significantly above. My Dad comes from a family of middle class and some higher class. He graduated high school and began working for our local powerplant at age 18 and has been workingthere for over 30 years. He achieved the position of being the Alcoa warehouse manager after several years. My moms side of the family are almost all around the middle class. There are several teachers and nurses or her side of the family. My mom Becky, just happens to work at the University of Evansville in the Chemistry department. I have been blessed enough to have anything I could possibly need. My parents have spoiled me my entire life. Throughout my education several people have called me “rich kid” and I never liked being considered a “rich kid”. Although the only people who ever called me “rich kid” were the people who knew my family or knew what I drive because I acted and looked like an average boy. My parents let me choose my first vehicle and I chose a 2002 Ford Mustang GT in like-new condition which I was called rich for. My dad soon after bought me my second vehicle which is a Ford Escape as a daily driver because I don’t drive the Mustang in rain, snow, or the cold. Although both of these cars together are valued around $30,000 most kids at my highschool got hand me down vehicles or had to buy their own. While that is a lot of money, it is relatively cheap compared to newer vehicle prices today. I always wore similar clothes to all the other boys in my class and typically never bought any of the expensive new iPhones, video games, or expensive computers that some of the other kids had. I was more interested in hunting and shooting and invested most of my money into firearms. At Boonville over the years I had friends who were upper class and friends who lived in poverty. I remember in elementary school if the child had a negative lunch balance the only thing he or she got to eat was a small container of peanut butter and a handful of saltine crackers. I realized how sad this was at a very young age and often bought other children who had a negative balance lunch. It has never made a difference to me who has a lot of money andwho doesn’t as long as they are decent people. At UE there are all different ranges of social classes. Everyday I park in the parking lot and I see a range of vehicles from expensive makers like Tesla and new trucks to rundown vehicles. I have been fortunate to have upper class parents but i had never put too much thought about how social stratification has affected my life. A major negative factor with being handed everything my wholelife is that it took me a much longer time to understand the value of money. I had never had to buy my own things and now that I do it is a bit of a struggle because I am not very good with finances because I never had to be. I never had to save all my paychecks for a car, gasoline, food, ect. so now that I am an adult it is difficult for me to manage my money.
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