How The Affluent Keep The Poor Poor

1375 words - 6 pages

Since the birth of the United States, using the disenfranchised as the primary labor force has been the go-to method for growing and maintaining the economy. Since colonists came to the “New World,” they have used “impure” races to do hard labor and built the world that we live in today off the backs of blacks and American Indians. Even as the country has grown and put into place laws that give non-whites the same rights as whites, the white, privileged rich have always found ways to get around them. The privileged upper-class say that in order to elevate ourselves, we just need to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps like they did, but meritocracy is a myth. At every turn, there have been roadblocks set up to prevent non-whites from gaining half of the success that whites receive.
Some say that poverty exists because a “permissive welfare state has generated a large group of nonparticipants, marginal people, [and] bums” (Blakely and Goldsmith 4). The idea that poverty is a result of people being lazy is a dangerous one, as it allows people to excuse institutional racism as being a figment of one’s imagination. Particularly those who benefit from white privilege do not feel the effects of institutionalized racism and can say that they earned their status on their own. In addition, they believe that because there are middle to upper-class people of color, we live in a post-racial society where anybody can achieve affluence through hard work.
The unofficial tagline of the United States is that it is a land of opportunity, and if you work hard, you will be rich and have everything you ever dreamed of. Education is seen to be the most important part of this idea of meritocracy. If individuals do well in school and pursue a degree in a field that guarantees a high income, then they are guaranteed to become rich. However, although we assume in this day and age that all schools are equal, they are truly not. Public schools in low-income neighborhoods have very little funding and resources, and as a result, students are left with a sub-par education compared to their more privileged counterparts. Public school funding is affected by local property taxes, and property values of neighborhoods have, historically, been influenced by the racial makeup of the neighborhood (Wooldridge; Squires).
Higher education is a key determinant of upward social and economic mobility, but therein lies the problem. Many low-income students require financial aid from the government to attend college, but the government has been focusing more on student loans, tax breaks, and state subsidies, which do not benefit the poor anymore than the rich. Moreover, Wooldridge states that colleges are now using financial aid packages to entice students to choose their school over others. There are affirmative action programs, but these are under scrutiny and many wish to get rid of them. What about legacies, however? Children of alumni receive preference, similar to the idea of...

Find Another Essay On How the Affluent Keep the Poor Poor

The Elizabeth Poor Law Essay

831 words - 3 pages Elizabeth Poor Laws: Why were they so important in the development of social welfare in North America?: The Elizabeth Poor Law advocated and placed responsibility of the poor to the churches and government. If parishes could not meet the responsibilities, counties were required to assume relief-giving functions. The government became the chief enforcer of poor relief. However, the local parishes fulfilled their welfare responsibilities in

tears of the poor Essay

2098 words - 9 pages an underdevelopment country is, let’s take a look at the dictionary definition. ( dictionary) “Underdevelopment country is a country that is less developed economically than most others, with little industry and little money spent on education, health care…poor country.” But how countries can become less developed than other countries? Why do they become underdeveloped? Underdevelopment of a countries economy can be attributed to

Supporting the Poor

891 words - 4 pages In Hardin’s “Lifeboat Ethics” does not take a realistic account of world needs such as people being equipped with life sustaining tools knowledge and education in order to change the status of the poor so that there would be room for everyone in the lifeboat of society (Hardin 381-87). When Hardin claims that our nation has a limited capacity to support a population and that the current energy crisis has shown us how we have already exceeded

Defining the Word Poor

758 words - 4 pages a better life. This novel is very raw, realistic, and heartbreaking because it focuses on the devastating conditions that many people face even today; famine and alcoholism. This helps to capture an emotional connection to the characters in the book, such as an overwhelming feeling of pity for Frank. This book stresses how awful life can get, yet it helps to open our eyes to be grateful for the things in our lives, and to realize that others are

The Poor by Choice Phenomenon

1451 words - 6 pages means to happiness, a joyfully poor man is a rarity. From monastic orders to missionary movements, the thread of the penniless continuously weaves itself into society. The joy of these contented poor appears especially striking when contrasted with the lives of the affluent. Society has become all too familiar with multi-millionaires having families in disrepair, developing drug addictions, and committing suicide. How can some with so little

Loving the Poor as Yourself

1093 words - 4 pages . Majorities of people in society today look down and walk away from the poor. According to some people, they are useless people we have to take care of. “They don’t contribute anything to society as they are unemployed and poor. They are just a nuisance to our society”. 1999 - 2009 We have the media and the government is influencing us on how to treat the poor. Don’t associate with the poor because they do bad things

The Working Poor in America

1411 words - 6 pages than look the other way, or looking past the working poor, who can so easily blend into the background. Shipler concludes the book with these thoughts: "Workers at the edge of poverty are essential to America's prosperity, but their well-being is not treated as an integral part of the whole. Instead, the forgotten wage a daily struggle to keep themselves from falling over the cliff. It is time to be ashamed." No, it is time to move past the ideology and make work pay for all Americans.

Are the Poor Politically Free?

1968 words - 8 pages I will advance the thesis that under both, the positive and negative, notions of freedom, the state of poverty does not obstruct or lessen political freedom. By saying that the poor are politically free, I mean that although the poor may lack certain goods, they do not lack any aspect of their political freedom. First, I will define political freedom in the negative notion of the word, as “free to the degree that no man or body of men interfere

The Cost of Poor Planning

792 words - 3 pages , they find it impossible to maintain their unpaid for accessories in life with no income. How should people handle their unemployment? The decision for many Americans is dictated to them because of this indebted and dependent lifestyle. What are these people dependent on? These people are dependent on, not alcohol, or some other vice, but on their jobs and occupations. They must go out and seek to locate another "safe and secure" job to

The Navy's Poor Advancement Process

1029 words - 4 pages too much on external entities. Advancement is not based on one’s abilities to excel at his or her job, but by hoping they earn more money for the commands Navy Day Ball, they must have faith that the standardized test will cover their job field, and that the writing ability of their superiors is good enough to keep them competitive. Once these aspects under the advancement criteria are changed, the navy as a whole will start seeing more effective leaders who understands their jobs, understand their people, and more closely reflect the ideals and traits required in today’s leaders.

Are the Poor to Blame for Being Poor

1645 words - 7 pages Personal Biases with Diverse Groups Personal biases can hinder a social worker from being effective at helping clients. It is important for a social worker to have self-awareness of their own preconceptions and not transfer those feelings onto their clients. Self-awareness is a conscious knowledge of an individuals personal worldview and life experiences that have shaped their own behaviors and how they can perceive another as a result of the

Similar Essays

Should People Living In More Affluent Countries Have The Moral Obligation To Provide For The Poor In Other Parts Of The World

1512 words - 7 pages In this paper I will look at the argument made by Peter Singer in his paper, “Famine, Affluence and Morality” which advocates that those people living in more affluent countries have a moral obligation to provide assistance to the poor in other parts of the world. I will first outline the basic premise of Singer’s argument supporting this moral obligation and whether it is a sound argument. Secondly, I will look at an alternative view provided

How The Rich Benefit From The Poor

5306 words - 21 pages How the Rich Benefit from the Poor this paper has problems with formatting The United States is the most developed capitalist economy in the world. The markets within the economy provide profit-motivated companies endless potential in the pursuance of pecuniary accumulation. Throughout the twentieth-century competitive companies have implemented modernized managerial procedures designed to raise profits by reducing unnecessary costs. These

The Poor Feeding The Poor In America

985 words - 4 pages poor, but resentment begins to corrupt one’s feelings of generosity when one is coerced to give more of what one earns to the poor than one is allowed to keep for oneself. According to SNAP guidelines, a family of five with no income is eligible to receive $793 per month with which to purchase food. The only restrictions are that it can only be used to purchase food items and cannot be used to buy hot food. The Food and Nutrition Act of 2008

The Poor Law Essay

1711 words - 7 pages of contact with them. As a result the parishes set up select vestries in 1827, and were an attempt to end the corruption and abuse that there was before and were based on small committees which were responsible for poor law administration. The Napoleonic Wars (1793-1815) proved how vulnerable the Poor Law was to changes in the economy and society. With the war bread prices increased as cheap grain could no longer be