In the film, Brookings Fellow Richards explores the question of opportunity and inequality in the United States of America using models known as Legos. He provides an in-depth explanation about the chances of success for the American population at the bottom of the economic ladder making it to the top. From the film, it is apparent that income inequality influences the society today. People who are born from lower socio-economic classes are likely to stay in those positions throughout their life if they are not exposed to opportunities that can make them grow. Poor parents are unable to invest in education for the development of their children and this reduces chances for their children’s success. On the other hand, wealthier parents tend to be more educated and thus invest in their children’s development, which translates to their children’s success.
Mobility signifies movement, transition or change from one place to another or from one position to the other. Furthermore, change can be considered as value free, in that, it may either be for a good or bad reason. Therefore, social mobility would entail people or a person that occupies a high rank moves to another position or social status. In the movie, three major variables that influence social mobility as noted by Brookings Fellow Richards include income, level of education, and race. Regarding income, there is correlation between the income of parents and their children. It is reasonable to say that wealthier parents tend to provide not only material items to their children but also vital insights that may help their children to create wealth. For instance, most of the wealthy parents are more educated, hence, they are likely to pass this attribute to their children by investing in their children’s development. In retrospect, children will attain a lasting success.
Secondly, education can make a difference to people who are in lower income families. Adults who earn college degrees are less likely to stay in the lowest income quintile because they are employed and earn good income. Poor people who do not complete high school tend to remain stuck at the bottom compared to wealthy children who do not complete high school level. However, when it comes to tertiary education in the United States, the money that parents possess is much more important than academic potential. Reports indicate that children who perform well from low socioeconomic positions normally end up completing their bachelor’s degree with the lowest performing children from high socio economic backgrounds. Thirdly, Brookings Fellow Richards asserts that individuals who are born from Black families in the United States find it hard to penetrate through the socioeconomic ladder. Majority of the Black Americans remain in the lower quintile with less chances of success compared to their White counterparts who have fair chances of making it to the top.
I believe that these variables tend to affect our society in a big way. However, I still hold the view that education in our current society does not influence the future wealth of a person. Many studies show that people who dropped out of school went ahead to transform the world that we live in. Additionally, the rapid integration among communities has minimized cases of racial discrimination at the workplace in the United States. Many Black Americans are working in high profile offices as executives and directors. I would recommend that merit be given more focus as opposed to race and individual upbringing. Equal opportunities should be the norm in America regardless of age, race, and gender.
Is America Dreaming? Understanding Social Mobility [Video file]. (2014, August 19). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?reload=9&v=t2XFh_tD2RA