Class disparities have been in existence since the development of early social hierarchy. As a result, these disparities have percolated into the present-day setting, affecting people’s opportunities for advancing in society. Two interviews conducted with a member of an upper middle class and a representative of the working class have shown that the class distinctions in question have played a significant role in restricting access to education in the latter care and increasing them in the former. Despite the recent trends in the rise of the role of online education and the decline in the overpowering impact of academia, the restrictions that lower-class members experience when attempting at accessing higher education opportunities still shape their employment options, thus, locking lower-class citizens in a vicious cycle of economic underperformance and undiscovered potential.
The interview results have indicated that class has played a tremendous role in shaping the opportunities of the respondents. Particularly, the upper middle-class White man responding to the interview confirmed the lack of buses encountered on the path toward his success. In turn, the working-class woman of a Puerto-Rican background participating in the interview explained that she has been rejected several educational opportunities due to the absence of the needed resources and had to opt for cheaper courses as opposed to higher education.
In turn, the upper-middle-class male participant proved that his sociocultural background has helped him advance in his education and career due to the lowered social barriers observed in the academic and workplace settings. Namely, the respondent explained that he was favored at his college and in his workplace, typically perceived by his peers and superiors as a promising expert. The observed discrepancy in the perception of the interview participants indicates that their socioeconomic class has played a major role in their career and education (Manstead, 2018). Specifically, coming from a working-class, the female interview participant has been encouraged to accept a specific sociocultural role that revolved around her playing a specific restricted function within her family and community. Moreover, the lack of resources for exploring academic options has restricted her chances to gain a degree in higher education and, therefore, gain a chance at exploring better career opportunities.
Remarkably, the specified failure could be attributed not only to the economic constraints but also to the barriers that the respondent had encountered on a cultural level. Namely, her being female and her parents belonging to the working class, she had not received enough support from her family to pursue excellent academic opportunities, which further resulted in her selecting lower payment options. However, according to the respondent, even in low-paid jobs, she received fewer benefits than her male counterparts. The observed phenomenon sadly aligns with the current sociocultural and socioeconomic barriers, which block women’s way to career development (Manstead, 2018). Therefore, extending support that would allow the respondent to gain essential skills for opting for a better job would have assisted her in managing her career development more effectively.
Showing that the power of the social class hierarchy still has a tremendous effect on education opportunities and career chances despite the increasing role of online education with its large accessibility, the two interviews have proven the necessity to address class disparities concerning academic and employment opportunities. Additionally, variables such as race and gender have been quite significant in the identification of academic and employment-related opportunities, with White men proving to have a greater range of opportunities than women from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds.
Manstead, A. S. (2018). The psychology of social class: How socioeconomic status impacts thought, feelings, and behaviour. British Journal of Social Psychology, 57(2), 267-291. Web.
Appendix A: Interview Questions