27 March 2010
The Power of "Those Above"
The society is usually divided into different social classes, but in Colombia there is a particular way to dividethe social classes. They are not upper, middle and lower class, there is a stratification. There is strata 1 (low-low), 2 (low), 3 (medium-low), 4 (medium), 5 (medium high), 6 (high) (DANE, 2008),making a parallel with the regular classes. And as usual there are big gaps between people belonging to strata 1 and 2 (lower class), 3, 4 (middle class), and 5 and 6 (upper class) (DANE, 2003).Specifically, the biggest differences are evident in the upper class, not only having some advantages that other classes do not have, but also facing certain hardships, all being the consequence of their own"higher state".
In Colombia, belonging to the upper class is in some way stigmatized. It is common among the Colombian people thinking that the upper class people who do not work that much and earnslots of money in unorthodox ways since the upper class is plagued with drug traffickers and dishonest people (Ruiz, 2006). Therefore, upper class people are rejected by lower and middle class peopledue to their suposed lack of honesty and hard work. But being from the upper class is certainly the consequence of hard work, sometimes from old generations, that lend to their descendants a lot ofbenefits that, equally, they have to manage (Hanratty & Meditz, 1988). Consequently, being born in the upper class brings a lot of problems and obligations since they carry on their shoulders theresponsibility of continuing the familiar bussines and be as successful as their ancestors were. Therefore, being of the Colombian upper class is not a reason to be stigmatized, as it requires a lot ofhonest and exhausting hard work.
Hard work pays off. As a consequence of this hard work, the upper class people are capable of undertaking some luxuries that other classes can not. The most important...