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Blue Collar Blues or White Collar Glory?

Uploaded by KyraDean on Oct 29, 2002

I think that in America today, there are distinct, yet illusional, social classes and the media’s exercised power of creating and destroying these classes in our minds is becoming more and more evident. The “make-believe” media leads us to believe that these are individual classes in the American caste system, and that most of us belong to the middle class. The well-known all-inclusive “middle class” is one that has been predominately created by the media, and the media presents the middle class as the majority of people in society. In the way presented by the media, there are distinct differences between the low-income “working class”, professional “middle class”, and powerful and wealthy “upper class”. On a personal level, I know that I have always thought that my family and friends were all on the same middle class level. Bus according to Barbara Ehrenreich’s definition of the working class, not all of my thoughts were correct. Ehrenreich states in argument, “The middle class, so defined, amounts to no more than 20 percent of the U.S. population” (73). The media makes us think we all belong to the middle class, whether we realistically are or not. Class bias definitely exists in the media, no questions about it.

I support Michael Parenti’s argument in his essay about the improper portrayal of the lower-middle class blue-collar workers. He says, “Other studies find that blue collar…workers compose sixty-seven percent of the U.S. work force, but only ten percent of television characters” (70). Parenti says, “Generally, workers are portrayed as good-natured…more funny and friendly than middle-class professionals, but also more foolish, less competent, less educated, less attractive, and less able to act as leaders” (71). To Ehrenreich, the stereotype of the hard-hat bigot lies with this middle perception that the working class is uneducated, moronic, inarticulate and crass (74). These stereotypes surfaced in the 1950s in television shows with the “laughable buffoon” like Ralph Kramden in “The Honeymooners” and reaffirmed later in 1971 with the loud-mouthed views of Archie Bunker in “All in the Family” (Parenti 71).

In her essay, “Working-Class Heroes No More,” Ehrenreich discussed the attention given to American blue=collar workers in the media. Her main point is that the working class is disappearing from the minds of the American middle class, leaving everyone with the impression that if they are not poverty-stricken, then they belong to the middle class. She discussed the circumstances of...

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Uploaded by:   KyraDean

Date:   10/29/2002

Category:   Social Issues

Length:   7 pages (1,640 words)

Views:   2424

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