Saturday, March 16, 2013

Black Wealth, White Wealth (quotes)

"Discrimination follows blacks no matter where they want to live and no matter how much they earn."

In the article, an example from the Washington Post was given about how Black Americans were more unlikely to retain a lend from a bank than White Americans.  Even if the Black American were to live in the wealthiest neighborhood, the poorest White American would retain the load over the Black American; which is a form of racial inequality.  I find this to be unfair because banks are discriminating and not even considering their credit for the loan.  This also makes it nearly impossible for African Americans to succeed and climb the economic ladder.  In order to create money, one must have money.  If they are unable to attain a loan, they certainly will not be able to create money.

"Full equality is still far from being achieved."

Mobility is difficult for African Americans because of poor education, unemployment, poverty, and instability.    Often times, success starts from education.  When there is poor school systems, it is difficult to provide the individuals with an educational foundation that is needed to succeed.  They then become trapped and isolated away from succeeding.  Without a proper education, it becomes increasingly difficult to attain a well paying career.  The unemployment rates within the black community is more than twice of the white population.  Joblessness creates poverty and instability.  We live in a community with low incomes and high costs which affects quality of life; but more so within the black population.

"The process of asset accumulation that began in the 1930s has become layered over and over by social and economic trends that magnify inequality over time and across generations."

Since wealth is passed down, African Americans become trapped in poor areas with low economic opportunity which makes it difficult or impossible to accumulate wealth.  They have low opportunity to create wealth because of the lack of resources that they inherit such as no consumption and low investment.  If an individual comes from a family of low SES, it becomes increasingly difficult to climb the ladder.  

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Debt (making connections)

        Within Graeber's article, he describes Debt as a state of owing money.  Debt is thought of to have two sides; paying back the money that is owed is a sign of morality and anyone that lends money is evil. Even the language of debt makes it seem like the person is evil and creates them to be the victim.  "But debt is not just  victor's justice; it can also be a way of  punishing winners who weren't supposed to win."

        Graeber describes during a mosquito eradication program, there needed to be testing and spraying so mosquito's could not breed and spread disease.  The program did not have enough funds so the government cut the program and over 10,000 people died.  This does not seem to be very moralistic.  They did not want to owe to the IMF so they cut the program and allowed so many individuals including children to suffer. Are they evil to cut the program or are they the victim because they couldn't afford to owe them? This is morally confusing because in my opinion, they are both the victim and evil.  If they had the money to owe to the IMF then the eradication program would have been successful and many lives would be saved but on the other hand, they allowed 10,000 lives to be lost.

        Many individuals in the United States are currently in debt and the debt is building because of interest.  Interest is what makes it difficult for people to pull themselves out of debt.  I, myself nor my family has ever had to experience the stress of debt but I could only imagine what people are going through.  I never attained a credit card because I was afraid I wouldn't be able to make a payment in time and interest would grow.  I use my debit card and only spend the money I have.  At one point I did withdraw over the amount I had in my account so I owed the bank a fee.  That stressed me out because I did not have that money to pay them.  I ended up having to loan money from a family member.  It wasn't much but it was still stressful.  In that sense I was in debt, but not to a drastic point where I would have to pay interest.  It wasn't difficult to pull myself out of debt because there was not any interest building and I only borrowed money from family and not a bank.



Sunday, February 17, 2013

Making Connections Between the video, “Capitalism Hits The Fan” and the Coontz article, “We Always Stood On Our Own Two Feet.”

        Within the video, the speaker discusses that the United States is not in a financial crisis, this is not temporary, and the situation is not easily and quickly fixable.  This crisis comes out of our economic system because it never started with banking and will never be limited to banking.  The crisis in the past lasted ten years, from 1929 until 1939 and involve policies that are now current today which never worked then.  In 1989 Japan encountered a fall and they presently remain in it.  In the past, every policy that was created, failed and now the United Stated is re-creating similar policies.  Within the Coontz article, it is discussed that the majority of Americans agreed that the self-reliant family was the social standard of our society, prior to the 1930s.  The dependencies used to occur from within the family and even presently, the most sufficient families are ones that “stand on their own two feet.”
            Americans were more successful in the earlier years because there was a rising level of wages which increased productivity.  From 1820-1970 it was known that individuals measured their own worth by the objects that they could purchase and the US is still known as that today.  During that time, we became the country of advertising and the society of consumption.  In 1970 the rising level of wages halted and individuals had to do more work and put 20 percent more hours in order to maintain their level of income.  More hours in work led to more work to do outside of work which meant, less money being earned.  Coontz discusses that the depression did not only affect the poor but the middle-class as well.  They became dependent upon the public support.
            The drop in wages led to individuals borrowing money and using collateral such as borrowing against their own home.  They soon attained credit cards so they wouldn’t have to use collateral; instead they subsided to interest.  Individuals attained credit cards and borrowed money so they could continue to consume.  After little time, the US reached its limits of capitalism.  Businesses were thriving with rising productivity because they were making a large profit.  Employers started to lend their workers money instead of raising the wages so the workers would have to pay back with interest which left people to be very dependent.
            In 2000, the market crashed and banks decreased interest rates so people could continue to borrow money.  In that time, many people spent money on housing which caused real state to rise, followed by a crash.  Coontz points out, the purchasing of real state absorbed over 100 percent of savings in the US.
            Now, in 2013, the president wants to live in regulation because he thinks it worked through the 40s and mid-70s.  In reality, regulations give corporations incentive to defeat it, avoid it, weaken it, and to get rid of it.  To decrease the suffering, the speaker says a possible solution could be that individuals at enterprises become their own board of directors in which everyone is equal.  Coontz states, “as long as we pretend that only poor or abnormal families need outside assistance, we will shortchange poor families, overcompensate rich ones, and fail to come up with effective policies for helping families in the middle.”

Monday, February 11, 2013

Media And Our Nation (Connections)

The mass media is one of the most influential factors in our society.  Mass media consists of articles, the radio, posters, television, billboards, movies, etc; All which have one drive in common, which is to shape the way our public thinks of themselves, others, and our society.  Mass media defines and molds the many minds of Americans.

Much of media is misleading such as media surrounding the poor.  This article discusses that the news media provides little coverage of the poor and also ignores the society of the poor.  There are about 40 million poor individuals within the nation and the rate of poverty continues to increase rapidly, yet the poor are hardly spoken about within the media.  When they are discussed, it is usually in a negative manner which put down the poor.  

When looking back to the Kozal article, the Bronx of NY alone have a devastating amount of poor individuals in horrifying situations.  Their living conditions, education, safety, food, and health are not even close to what the ideal conditions should be.  The media fails to discuss any of this and the suffering that goes on within this society.  I was unaware of how poor the conditions actually are and the suffering that many individuals undergo.  If more media covered information surrounding the poverty in our nation, it may bring our society one step closer to decreasing the poverty rate of our country and increasing the minds of America.   

Monday, February 4, 2013

Kozal Article (Argument)

    Kozal gives insight about a drastically poor area of New York where homicides and rapes are at a rise and there is suffering and death.  In the Bronx of NY, the poorest location is in the center of Mott Haven.  Most people are of race with an average income of 7,600 dollars.  Addictions to Heroin and AIDS are very prevalent here; along with depression, fear, anxiety, ad asthma among the children.  Homes are freezing in the winter and a sauna in the summer which are also infested with roaches and rats.  I found this to be astonishing and disgusting to know that there are places in this country alone that are so poor and rapid with disease, yet we put more focus on helping other countries rather than our own.

    As the young child, Cliffie led the tour around the neighborhood, he speaks about how he witnesses shootings, incinerators, prostitutes, and addicts as if it was the norm because he is so familiar with this type of atmosphere.  It is so sad to know that there are so many children growing up in this environment.  Although Cliffie does not have an easy lifestyle, he has strong religious views and enormous faith.  Even when he is hungry, he is willing to share food with the homeless because, "God told us, share."

    Within this terrifying city, the air is filled with pollution, the streets are filled with crime, and the hospitals are filled with disease.  Hospitals run out of medicine to treat their patients and the wait to get into the hospital is astonishing  even if the person is on their death bed.  Another child, David, his mother is dying because she is unable to recieve help from the state and unable to .  wait in the hospital because of the rapid disease.  David is unable to sleep at night because he fears his mother wont wake up.

    He believes that God is powerful but not powerful enough to keep the evil away.  He says, "I believe that what the rich have done to the poor people in this city is something that a preacher could call evil.  Somebody has power. Pretending that they dont so they dont need to use it to help people __that is my idea of evil.

    Will this suffering or evil ever end?

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Get To Know Me

My name is Heather.  I am a Health and Wellness major with a concentration in Community and Public Health here at Rhode Island College.  I am in my last semester of school and will be interning starting in the Fall.  I am taking this class as part of a requirement and also interest.  This past summer I spent most of my time working as a Preschool and Daycare teacher.  My days off are usually the weekends which i spend the majority of my time with family, friends, and my fiance.  In my free time i like to spend my days outside.  I love and appreciate nature and also enjoy hiking and camping.  I enjoy relaxing and having a laid back day but also enjoy being spontaneous and adventurous.  I have learned to live life to the fullest and never take life for granted.