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No Shame In My Game: The Working Poor In The Inner City

2477 words - 10 pages

"It's time to honour and reward people who work hard and play by the rules....No one who works full time and has children should be poor any more."--Bill Clinton and Al Gore, Putting People First, 1992.Obviously, to this day, the issue has not been attended to satisfactorily as shown by Katherine Newman's book - No Shame in my Game. The study is about examining the experience of the people living in Harlem - in a world that is vastly different from ours compared to society's customary notions regarding them. These people are visible even if the others choose not to acknowledge them.This research was conducted in Harlem (New York City) from 1993 to about 1995. However, this time period does ...view middle of the document...

The author employed several different types of research methods in this novel. The vast amount of archived statistics and facts was the foundation that the study has been based on. She has sorted through archival research to find the ones most applicable and validating to her research. The archival research comes from sources such as government census and journals. She then takes the relevant material and uses it as a basis for her field research. Here she solicits the help of (mostly) students, colleagues, and friends. Newman and her students followed over 300 people in the city, interviewing the people living in Harlem, business owners and managers in the area, and general observations of the neighbourhoods and the workplaces. Added on to the extensive interviews were detailed diaries that the participants were asked to maintain for deeper picture of their lives. Without employing these types of research methods, Katherine Newman would not have been able to achieve such a high level of in-depth understanding to change society's preconceived notion of only comprising one type of people: poor people.Following the extensive two years of research, the author had another long journey ahead of her in piecing all the data together to form valuable information. By going through this process, Katherine Newman has shown her readers much about a social group most are not aware of. A group that took two years of following, the working poor, shows that they do try hard to pull themselves out of poverty. Except certain obstacles constantly cross their paths that deter them from succeeding. An example of this would be education where their lack of credentials prevents them from moving up the corporate ladder. However, the fact that during that period of time, a lack of higher paying jobs was not bountiful due to the down-sizing. Furthermore, they have to face employers' racial stereotypes, family obligations (wife/husband, child, and parent). Their determination emphasizes their level of maturity and discipline needed to succeed in such an atmosphere.The people working at hamburger flipping jobs put up with the hard labour and the constant teasing they get from friends and family, according to Katherine Newman. Not only does this build character, but it also helps to develop a backbone to endure it all (pressure and stigmatization) and assist in launching them to further their education so that they can enter a work environment that is not negatively stigmatized. The author believes that most people are not conscious of inner-city workers wanting to work such low-paying jobs not to cheat the welfare system, but to migrate out of Harlem to something better. Also, since they are at the bottom of corporate and social ladder, it must mean that they are free-loading off of society and do not work to bring them above that situation. Newman wishes to dissuade this notion, but instil in Americans (and others) that they do in fact work, as well as working hard. For...

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