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Is America an Equal Opportunity Society According to Websters 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 Websters dictionary 2002 Americas 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 persons education family and class race and gender complete equal opportunity cannot be achieved In Jay Macleods 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 persons 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 at gender Olian 2001 The common belief is that men have higher paying jobs because they have more education and because men and women have different
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