Investigating the Relationship between Social-Economic Class and Level of Maturity

It is a common, yet misguided stereotype held by a majority of people that the level of social economic class defines the maturity levels of individuals. However, there is some truth in this statement, but this should not form grounds for categorizing all people alike. There are those who look and play the part of the social setup that they belong. However, to some, it is difficult to discern the class where they belong in the social setup.  This essay is focused in analyzing the relationship between the social class of an individual and the level of maturity. There are a variety of social dimensions that individuals use to classify others. According to A Life History Theory of Social Perception: Stereotyping at the Intersections of Age, Sex, Ecology and Race, by Steven Neuberg and Oliver Sng, the authors use age, sex and race as the predominant dimensions of defining the characters of individuals. It is in these three dimensions that individuals hold different stereotypes regarding others. As a result, they shape the behavior and response of individuals towards others. The three factors are universal and apply to all individuals around the globe.

There are three major social classes, the upper, middle and the lower class. It is hard for these classes to cross paths in terms of interaction and socialization. However, various environments influence the way people behave and interact. This is common in learning and training institutions such as schools. It is expected that the upper class individuals conduct themselves with a sense of responsibility. Covered in an allure of grace and elegance, it is not hard to recognize this class of people. They believe to be the highest in the survival hierarchy and as a result, majority of them are crowned with arrogance other than grace. According to Neuberg and Sng, “perceived age and sex are not separable categories but rather are configured interactively as a unit. Age-sex is a fundamental way that people think about others (Neuberg and Sng).”  In this regard something is evident, despite of age and social standard or setting, one can be attracted to individuals of a different social class. This does not indicate lack of maturity but the availability of the same. Individuals who are able to overcome the social setting barriers and develop meaning relationships based on fulfilling emotional and social desires are more mature than amateurs who hold on to mere wayward stereotypes.

Maturity can be defined as the ability to tune ones social-cultural preference in light with the age, sex, goals and strategies of others. A mature individual is able to correlate the relationship between the two s well as adjust their perception towards other prior to their interaction. “People use perceived age, sex, and ecology to make the same predictions about a target’s characteristics that life history theory itself would make (Neuberg and Sng).”  If not adjusted, the perception towards others can have a negative effect when the concerned parties start expressing their ideas, beliefs, attitudes and thoughts towards others. The level of maturity in this essence cannot be measured in terms of social class or society expectation of an individual, but rather on the ability to be sensitive and considerate on the feelings of others. To whom much is given much is expected in return. This means that a high class social individual is expected to conduct themselves in a manner that can be emulated and admired by the individual in a lowly setting. However, this is not always the case as a majority of individuals lack the basic human interaction ingredients. Among this include, sensitivity and humility. This is however replaced by stubbornness.

Packer uses vivid description to recount the shortcomings of the girls in the Brownie 909 troop. He describes the white girls as having a complexion of strawberry vanilla. From this description, it can be seen that the prejudice of the author is evident on how he addresses his characters. He includes the physical attributes of the girls and correlates them to the shortcomings of their parents. “Some clutched Igloo coolers and still others held on to stuffed toys like pacifiers, looking all around them like tourists determined to be dazzled (Packer).” The introduction of this story prepares the reader to a countless whining of the author on the inferiority of the subject under discussion. In this respect it can be seen that the narrator and the subjects are from different social setups. This is based on the lowly view that the author presents of his subjects. Different cultures have different ways of responding to the shortcomings and superiority of others. In this case, one can clearly see that the author is suffering from an inferiority complex. Despite the beauty of the white girls, he still finds a substandard way to describe them “sleeping beauty, snow white mickey mouse”(Packer).

“They smell like Chihuahuas. Wet Chihuahuas” (Parker). If this is not personal prejudice then what is? Curved from a tin line of racism, the author finds tranquility in the disregard and the disposition of the shortcomings of others. There is a thin line between racism and prejudice. The perception of others should not be publicly published.  This is based on the fact that it demeans the value that others hold towards themselves as well as reduces the self confidence in others. A habit is a disease and the worst disease that one can be prone to is the inability to accept others despite their physical vivid shortcomings.  “Daphne hardly ever spoke, but when she did, her voice was petite and tinkly, the voice one would expect from a tiny new earring (parker)”. Such kind of a description indicates that irrespective of the social class of the individual, the author has a way of sarcastically explaining the experience of others, their physical composition as well as the manner in which they utter words. The different perceptions sited by Neuberg and Sng are evident in this story. Discrimination occurs in the different lines of sex, ages, environment and race.

According to Junot Diaz story on How to Date a Brown girl, Black girl, White Girl or Halfie, the highest level of social interaction maturity has been presented. The author presents a spirited individual who is not discriminative or biased but whose intentions are to have fun. Following the guidelines in this essay one realizes that having fun cannot be restrained to a given social class. The best way to break the bondage of social interactions misgivings is to have an open mind. A setup ready to accept what life has to offer without laying focus on the flaws and shortcomings of others. The social economic class may provide an individual with all the requirements of a successful social setup. However, the ability to interact and form meaningful relationships relies on the character of the individual. This is especially based on the perception that one has towards others.

In conclusion, mature social interaction will draw people towards an individual while immature, prejudiced and biased interaction will scare them away. Keeping friends who are open minded and have a positive attitude towards others is a fundamental thing to do to avoid misguided and judgmental stereotypes.

Works cited

  1. Di%u0301az, Junot. Drown. New York: Riverhead Books, 1996. Print.
  2. Neuberg, Steven and Oliver Sng. "PERCEIVER EFFECTS ALIFE HISTORY THEORY OF SOCIAL PERCEPTION: STEREOTYPING AT THE INTERSECTIONS OF AGE, SEX, ECOLOGY (ANDRACE)." Social Cognition, 31. 6 (2013): 697-711. Print.
  3. Packer, ZZ. Brownies. New York: Penguin Putnam Inc, 2003. Print

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