Poverty And Race Essay

1586 words - 7 pages

Race vs. Class
From the time of slavery until the twenty-first century, race has been the driving element regarding opportunities for people of African descent. The question of whether this has changed presently is ambiguous. America has certainly evolved from a place of slavery and segregation to the self-proclaimed “Land of Opportunities” offering equal rights and prospects to all, yet there are still signs of inequality within the social construct of the nation. If one were to take a look at the American work field, they would notice the differences in positions acquired by African-Americans and Caucasians. African-Americans typically work minimum-wage jobs, living paycheck to paycheck ...view middle of the document...

Reflecting on a time, where there was a “Black America” which consisted of “Negros”, poor slaves being mistreated, discriminated, and oppressed because of the color of their skin. America was socially and physically divided because of extreme racism which prolonged for years until the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s which granted African-Americans, no longer “Negros”, full legal equality and change the state of the nation. Africans-Americans were free of discrimination, segregation, and inequality; they were given opportunities similar to Whites so they can gain economic and social status within the nation.
As African- Americans began to prosper in the American society, they still faced the struggle of competing with Whites who seemed to be a step ahead in every social aspect such as employment, education, and housing. Many African-Americans were constrained to occupying low-wage, miniscule jobs likely housekeeping or maid jobs, could not afford proper housing so they lived in the “slums”, and most importantly could not afford a full education. Therefore, many African- Americans were poverty-stricken in America and labeled as the “working poor” or “underclass.” People were condemned to the double jeopardy of being African-American and poor.
The American society declares to be a nation of equal rights and opportunities, yet the fact remains that racism was not put to an end. It is still very prevalent and cumbersome in the United States. The unemployment rates, the drop-out rates, and the homeless rates are all higher among African-Americans than Whites suggesting African –Americans are somewhat plagued by negative circumstances or rather African- Americans are disproportionately represented on socioeconomic levels. Associate Professor of Sociology, Matthew O. Hunt’s past research focusing on the issues of poverty and homelessness professes, “Race is the single strongest factor of beliefs about inequalities.” His research goal was to prove that most researchers “neglect the issue of race and ethnic differences in socio-physchological processes in which people assume there is no evidence to suggest that the determinants of beliefs and attitudes should vary across race/ethnic lines.” Furthermore, he points out that the historical oppression and continued segregation of African- Americans is an obvious source of group distinction in how poverty beliefs are shaped.
From the 1960s to present time, there has not been much change in the dynamic of the American workforce. African-Americans exhibit the most shocking, highest unemployment rates in America than any other race or ethnic group. Why is this phenomenon reoccurring today? Presently, one reason could be the fact that America’s economy is recovering from a recession where numerous Americans were laid-off, businesses were filing bankruptcy, and well-paid, unskilled jobs were disappearing from the market. The work field has become increasingly competitive; an individual has to attain high...

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