“According to the 2005 ACS data, about 38.2 million people, or 13.3 percent of the U.S. population, had income below the poverty threshold in the last 12 months.” (Bruce H. Webster Jr., and Alemayehu Bishaw August 2006) Who is Poor in the U.S.? “Most notably, blacks and Hispanics have poverty rates that greatly exceed the average.” (IRP, 2005) Do we treat poor people differently? Do we treat the beautiful differently? We have all types of racism in the United States. When a beautiful actress whom was making a movie about over weight people wore a “fat” person’s suit, she commented on one of her interviews that when wearing this suit she felt people looking away and not making eye contact, she even felt self conscious about eating in front of people. I also feel we treat people who can’t afford proper dental care differently. Those that can’t afford dental care who have poor looking teeth or missing teeth are treating poorly in public. Yet most of our Health Care programs don’t include dental care.
Groups and organizations are the building blocks of society. Everyone wants to be proud of his or her background, origin, ethnicity and race. Over the past couple of years I’ve noticed a change in the way American Society has viewed this. With many new songs and slogan coming out saying “Proud to be an American”. This is a change from our cultural norm.
I find myself greatly struggled by poverty in the United States. One cause I see is that minimum wage doesn’t keep up with inflation. But we also have to look at the fact can a person live on minimum wage? The U.S. Government defines both a minimum wage and a living wage. An income 30% above federally established poverty guidelines is considered a living wage (NAACP, 2006). A living wage is self-sufficiency without government help such as food stamps and Medicare.
A great number of full-time working live in poverty in the United States and it has increased over the last decade. Because of inflation, the minimum wage has declined.
“This shows an increasing concentration of wealth in the hands of the few, which is unacceptable in a country with the democratic ideals of the United States.” (NAACP, 2006)
We live in the land of opportunity, and I am going to explain why I struggle with what some suggest as we keep the poor, poor and the rich get richer. I have a retarded mentally handicap friend whom 5 years ago applied for a government business loan to start a cleaning business. Over the past 5 years he has made his business grow to have more than 20 regular clients and he has over 8 employees’ on his staff. His business is very successful. He learned his cleaning skills through vocational programs in the special education program at school. He is very successful. Therefore I would have to agree with the cultural of poverty thesis that the poor are largely responsible for their own poverty.
NAACP, 2006, “BRIEFING NOTES: Minimum and Living Wage” [Electronic Version] Retrieved on September 17, 2006 from http://www.naacp.org/programs/research/2006-08-11-briefing_notes_minimum_wage/index.html
Bruce H. Webster Jr., and Alemayehu Bishaw August 2006, “Income, Earnings, and Poverty Data From the 2005 American Community Survey”, American Community Survey Reports, [Electronic Version] Retrieved on September 17, 2006 from http://www.census.gov/prod/2006pubs/acs-02.pdf
IRP, Institute for Research on Poverty, October 25, 2005, “Who was poor in 2004?” [Electronic Version] Retrieved on September 17, 2006 from http://www.irp.wisc.edu/faqs/faq3.htm#groups