The springboard to a class society begins with partitioning people based on credentials earned from accredited universities, which are more than often earned by the people who are privileged enough to afford university cost. A simple strategy that keeps the rich separated from the poor and the elite from the underclass.

Let us use common sense when considering this “land of opportunity.” Only graduates from the Ivy League universities land the best jobs and earn social positions as gatekeepers of American society. Graduates from the majority state universities occupy the majority of middle management jobs and are all but guaranteed bank loans and solid investments. These two sectors of American society comprise mainstream America and are the audience for mainstream television and consumer goods.

High school and community college graduates (which are the majority of Americans), are the underclass population in which politicians and cultural gatekeepers consider second-class citizens dealt with by second-hand political agendas and government programs, such as public assistance, government grants and loans, and are the brunt of the legal and medical system’s experiments.

“Sociologists Randall Collins has dubbed the United States a credential society because people regard diplomas and degrees highly. In modern, technologically advanced societies, credentials say “who you are” as much as family background. However, Collins explains that credentials often bear little relation to the responsibilities of a specific job.

In reality, advanced degrees often are an easy way to sort out people with the manners, attitudes, and even skin color favored by many employers. Credentialism is thus a gate keeping strategy that restricts important occupations to a limited segment of the population.


If attending college is a rite of passage for affluent men and women, as social-conflict analysis suggests, then schooling transforms social privilege into personal merit. When we congratulate the new graduate, we rarely recognize the resources – both financial and cultural – that made this achievement possible. In the same way, we are quick to label the high school dropout “personally deficient,” with little thought to the social circumstances of that person’s life” (Macionis, 2002).

With apathy and indifference, those with privileged lives and inherited opportunities criticize and exploit the underclass. The mainstream media along with professionals in many occupations mistake what they believe to be “easy opportunity” with the “struggles” of the underclass, so it is effortless for them to undercut the everyday lives, efforts and achievements of anyone beneath their level of success.

So much for “equal opportunity.” The lie of personal responsibility and merit fall to the truth of privileged and inherited opportunities. When political leaders face this fact and deal with it according to reality, the country, and world, can actually experience equality.

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