Race , Class and gender

| December 24, 2015

Referring to the Module 5 required readings and videos, explain what you see as the critical issues contributing to the persistence of

poverty in our affluent society.
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This essay should be organized according to your own understanding of the material, with specific references to the assigned readings. You

may cite references in parentheses in your text, using only the author’s last name and page number. Please be sure that your essay has

your name at the top, followed by the topic you’ve chosen, and a bibliography at the end.
Instructions for Written Assignments

Your written assignments are intended to test your understanding of important concepts and discover how to sharpen your intellectual

skills of analysis, synthesis, evaluation, and application. They are also intended to provide opportunities to more fully describe,

explain, and analyze the books and other sources. When you submit essays, you may want to submit them as file attachments, as these

usually retain your formatting.

Here are the 3 required readings you must input in essay.

Readings 1- Understanding the Connections

As pointed out in the required readings and throughout this course, it is important to recognize that race, class, and gender are

interlocking categories of experience which affect all aspects of human life, simultaneously structuring the experiences of all people in

this society. Comprehending these connections is critical to understanding people’s lives, institutional systems, contemporary social

issues, and the possibilities for social change.

Analyzing race, class, and gender as they shape different group experiences also involves addressing issues of power, privilege and

equity. It means recognizing and analyzing the hierarchies and systems of domination that permeate society and that systematically exploit

and control people.

But how is this analysis to be carried out? Using a problems-based approach has serious limitations—it tends to portray oppressed groups

only from the perspective of the more privileged, relegating those who most suffer under race, class, and gender oppression to the status

of “others” thereby reproducing the hierarchical viewpoints that have permeated traditional thinking.

Relational and inclusive thinking avoids these limitations. Through relational thinking, we recognize the importance of studying men when

analyzing gender, studying whites when analyzing race, and studying the experience of the affluent when analyzing class.

Inclusive thinking shifts our perspective from the white, male-centered forms of thinking that have characterized much of Western thought.

If we are thinking in an inclusive way, we will consider women, not just men, when studying race; Latinos and other people of color, when

thinking about class; and women and men of color when studying gender.

When you recognize the systems of power that mark different groups’ experiences, you possess the conceptual apparatus to think about

changing the system, not just about documenting the effects of that system on different people.

Readings 2-The Economics of Racism, Classism and Sexism

The connection between the economy and social class is fairly transparent. When the economy is doing well, unemployment declines, the

welfare rolls shrink, and wages for skilled workers may inch upward. In a recession, the reverse is true. The recent economic downturn,

now being referred to as the Great Recession since it is the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s, has resulted

in profound increases in poverty and unemployment. From December 2007 to March 2010, over 8.5 million jobs were lost and an additional 3

million people fell below the poverty level, increasing the total number of Americans living in poverty to over 40 million and rising. The

gap between the rich and the poor continued to widen, with income inequality reaching an all-time high.

Historically, the link between the economy and racism has been well documented, taking such forms as discrimination in hiring practices

and lower wages for people of color. In addition, a struggling economy breeds increased scapegoating and that has been true of the Great

Recession. In 2009, our nation had the highest number of documented hate groups ever before in its history. According to the Southern

Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a civil rights organization that monitors the activities of such groups, 932 hate groups existed in 2009. SPLC

also found that anti-immigration vigilante groups increased by 80%, growing by 136 new groups in 2009.

A rise in sexism is connected to poor economic times. Increased domestic violence, with the vast majority of its victims being women, has

been documented during the early 1990s recession and during the current Great Recession. This occurs at a time when financial stress

limits the services available to women, placing them at even greater risk of injury or death.

Readings 3- Considering the Solutions

The big problem with poverty in the United States, even poverty that disproportionately affects children, is that a moral heritage of the

value of individual responsibility inclines many Americans to simply blame the poor for their condition. It is easier to think that the

poor are the cause of their own plight than it is to accept that the poor struggle under conditions that are unfair and unjust. Although

children are not directly blamed, in terms of their needs they are often viewed as the property of their parents. And their parents can be

blamed for laziness, drug addition, alcoholism, family dysfunction, divorce and any other personal deficit that might interfere with their

ability to earn an adequate living. This attitude of blame is consistent with a competitive labor market under capitalism and a general

distrust of government paternalism. Of course, children are not responsible for the conditions they are born into, and they are more than

the property of their parents. But, it is impossible to provide assistance to poor children without helping their parents in ways that are

perceived to be unearned.

Other Western nations, especially in Northern Europe, have a more universal concept of national well-being, which includes government

programs for family assistance as an important goal for all citizens. This reasoning is usually based on an acceptance of universal human

rights to food, shelter, education and health care.

If everyone has a right to these goods, then questions of whether they have earned them by productive work in a capitalist market place,

do not arise. Family assistance programs in such countries are also usually based on the assumption that a nation is in an important sense

one community.

Critics of these programs often argue that the Northern European countries with family assistance programs have “homogeneous” populations

which support a shared sense of community. This implies that the United States does not have a homogenous population in some intrinsic

sense. Often, the reference is to racial difference. If racial difference is the main reason for the lack of an American sense of

community that would support widespread social welfare programs benefiting poor children, then it would seem as though poor minorities are

in a double bind — obstructed by poverty and further obstructed, by racial discrimination, from cures for poverty.

Here are video links you can add in essay to

http://www.pbs.org/wghttp://www.nytimes.com/video/us/politics/100000003764388/washington-reacts-to-health-care-

ruling.htmlbh/pages/frontline/sickaroundtheworld/view/main.htm

Required Readings

Readings 1- Understanding the Connections
As pointed out in the required readings and throughout this course, it is important to recognize that race, class, and gender are

interlocking categories of experience which affect all aspects of human life, simultaneously structuring the experiences of all people in

this society. Comprehending these connections is critical to understanding people’s lives, institutional systems, contemporary social

issues, and the possibilities for social change.
Analyzing race, class, and gender as they shape different group experiences also involves addressing issues of power, privilege and

equity. It means recognizing and analyzing the hierarchies and systems of domination that permeate society and that systematically exploit

and control people.</p>
But how is this analysis to be carried out? Using a problems-based approach has serious limitations—it tends to portray oppressed groups

only from the perspective of the more privileged, relegating those who most suffer under race, class, and gender oppression to the status

of “others” thereby reproducing the hierarchical viewpoints that have permeated traditional thinking.</p>
Relational and inclusive thinking avoids these limitations. Through relational thinking, we recognize the importance of studying men when

analyzing gender, studying whites when analyzing race, and studying the experience of the affluent when analyzing class.</p>
Inclusive thinking shifts our perspective from the white, male-centered forms of thinking that have characterized much of Western thought.

If we are thinking in an inclusive way, we will consider women, not just men, when studying race; Latinos and other people of color, when

thinking about class; and women and men of color when studying gender.</p>
When you recognize the systems of power that mark different groups’ experiences, you possess the conceptual apparatus to think about

changing the system, not just about documenting the effects of that system on different people

Readings 2-The Economics of Racism, Classism and Sexism
The connection between the economy and social class is fairly transparent. When the economy is doing well, unemployment declines, the

welfare rolls shrink, and wages for skilled workers may inch upward. In a recession, the reverse is true. The recent economic downturn,

now being referred to as the Great Recession since it is the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s, has resulted

in profound increases in poverty and unemployment. From December 2007 to March 2010, over 8.5 million jobs were lost and an additional 3

million people fell below the poverty level, increasing the total number of Americans living in poverty to over 40 million and rising. The

gap between the rich and the poor continued to widen, with income inequality reaching an all-time high.
Historically, the link between the economy and racism has been well documented, taking such forms as discrimination in hiring practices

and lower wages for people of color. In addition, a struggling economy breeds increased scapegoating and that has been true of the Great

Recession. In 2009, our nation had the highest number of documented hate groups ever before in its history. According to the Southern

Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a civil rights organization that monitors the activities of such groups, 932 hate groups existed in 2009. SPLC

also found that anti-immigration vigilante groups increased by 80%, growing by 136 new groups in 2009.
A rise in sexism is connected to poor economic times. Increased domestic violence, with the vast majority of its victims being women, has

been documented during the early 1990s recession and during the current Great Recession. This occurs at a time when financial stress

limits the services available to women, placing them at even greater risk of injury or death.
Readings 3- Considering the Solutions
The big problem with poverty in the United States, even poverty that disproportionately affects children, is that a moral heritage of the

value of individual responsibility inclines many Americans to simply blame the poor for their condition. It is easier to think that the

poor are the cause of their own plight than it is to accept that the poor struggle under conditions that are unfair and unjust. Although

children are not directly blamed, in terms of their needs they are often viewed as the property of their parents. And their parents can be

blamed for laziness, drug addition, alcoholism, family dysfunction, divorce and any other personal deficit that might interfere with their

ability to earn an adequate living. This attitude of blame is consistent with a competitive labor market under capitalism and a general

distrust of government paternalism. Of course, children are not responsible for the conditions they are born into, and they are more than

the property of their parents. But, it is impossible to provide assistance to poor children without helping their parents in ways that are

perceived to be unearned.
Other Western nations, especially in Northern Europe, have a more universal concept of national well-being, which includes government

programs for family assistance as an important goal for all citizens. This reasoning is usually based on an acceptance of universal human

rights to food, shelter, education and health care.
If everyone has a right to these goods, then questions of whether they have earned them by productive work in a capitalist market place,

do not arise. Family assistance programs in such countries are also usually based on the assumption that a nation is in an important sense

one community.</p>
Critics of these programs often argue that the Northern European countries with family assistance programs have “homogeneous” populations

which support a shared sense of community. This implies that the United States does not have a homogenous population in some intrinsic

sense. Often, the reference is to racial difference. If racial difference is the main reason for the lack of an American sense of

community that would support widespread social welfare programs benefiting poor children, then it would seem as though poor minorities are

in a double bind — obstructed by poverty and further obstructed, by racial discrimination, from cures for
Video links –

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/sickaroundtheworld/view/main.html

http://www.nytimes.com/video/us/politics/100000003764388/washington-reacts-to-health-care-ruling.html

http://www.nytimes.com/video/us/politics/100000003763740/obama-on-healthcare-subsidies-ruling.html

http://www.democracynow.org/2011/8/26/poverty_is_the_problem_efforts_to

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