Opinion paper on is America an Equal Opportunity Society.

Essay by kandy988University, Bachelor'sA-, October 2002

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Is America an Equal Opportunity Society?

According to Webster's dictionary equal opportunity is defined as one who does not "discriminate against a person because of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, physical or mental handicap, or age" (Webster's dictionary, 2002). America's reputation is known as the "land of equal opportunity" but I believe it has failed to completely stand up to its reputation (Sawhill, 1998). In this paper, I will argue that, due to a person's education, family and class, race, and gender complete equal opportunity cannot be achieved.

In Jay Macleod's School and the Reproduction of Social Class, he takes two brothers who believe in achievement ideology or in other words, equal opportunity and shows what hindered them form achieving equal opportunity. He believes that, according to Bourdieu, the lack of cultural capital or resources in their lives hinders them obtaining equal opportunity. If a lower class person's manners, norms, dress, linguistics, and interactions are different from that of the schools than the school devalues the student and rewards those with more cultural capital (Macleod, 1995).

William Chambliss studied two divisions of kids, the Roughnecks and the Saints. The Roughnecks were primarily lower class and poor, as where the Saints were upper to middle class and rich. Both divisions of kids had the same rate of delinquency. He found that teachers, parents, community and police treated both divisions differently. The Roughnecks had lower cultural, economic, and social capital. Due to this, the Roughnecks were perceived to be bad kids and trouble makers. The Saints were seen as good kids that were just sowing their wild oats. Even though the kids were equal in delinquency, the Saints were never in trouble (Chambliss, 1973).

Judy Olian also, does not believe that there is equal opportunity especially when you look...