Income Growth for Whom?


This assignment is designed for students to critically think and discuss inequality in the
distribution of income and wealth in the United States.


1. First, students will view the following the clip: Wealthy Inequality in America; if
you are not able to access the clip using the following link:

2. Students will need to review the following chart and read the information below in
order to respond to the discussion questions

Debunking Society’s Myths


Anyone who works hard enough in the United States can get ahead.

Sociological Research:

There are periods in society when some groups are able to move ahead. As examples,
the Black middle class expanded following changes in civil rights laws in the 1960s; the
White middle class also grew in the post–World War II period as the result of such
things as GI benefits for returning vets and government support for home
ownership. However, although there are exceptions, most people do not change their
social class position from that in which they were born. As the graph indicates, at times
groups may even fall further behind as the result of conditions in society (Piketty 2014;
Noah 2013).

In order for sociologists to extend research to the whole of society (macro-level) we do
not look at individual cases in society. For example, we all know of people who have
been able to move from one social class to another social class but this is not the norm,
according to sociological research. As stated above most people tend to stay in the
same social class they are were born into. In U.S. society, we do not have this
significant upward social mobility from working class to upper middle class–this is
extremely rare.


Next, students will respond to the following discussion questions?

1. What trends do you see in the graph and the video clip?
2. How might these trends be affecting people’s personal troubles and public issues? A

strong response will address personal troubles and use an example of personal
trouble to illustrate how the trends in the video and on the graph could affect
individuals. A strong response will also address public issues and use an example to
how these trends create public issues—make sure to tie the public issue to a social
institution in society. Address personal troubles and public issues separately.

3. How does this affect opportunity for people like you?
4. How might the video and graph help explain the growing concern with class

inequality? Make sure to use course material to support your response—use in-text

Criteria for Success:

1. Respond to all questions in complete sentences.
2. Complete assignment by the due date.
3. Review the Grading Rubric for the assignment
4. Submit the assignment

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