Do you think the poverty threshold criteria (food, housing, and household members) is a fair one? Why or why not
Look at Table 1.3: Poverty Thresholds for 2004 by Size of Family and Number of Related Children Under 18 Years. Interpret the difference between a 3 person family and a 4 person family. Use monetary information in your answer. (Hint: the size of the family is on the left hand column going horizontal and the number of children is the top row going vertical)
Table 1.3: Poverty Thresholds for 2004 by Size of Family and Number of Related Children Under 18 Years
Related children under 18 years
Size of family unit
One person (unrelated individual)
Under 65 years
65 years and over
Householder under 65 years
Householder 65 years and over
Nine persons or more
Source: U.S. Census Bureau.
1. What does economic equality mean? Can it be achieved? Is it important to achieve it?
2. What do you believe are the reasons for poverty?
3. What are the stereotypes regarding the poor?
Equal opportunity is not in itself an inherent problem. In fact, it is an admirable ideal. The problem is that there is unequal realization of this ideal and a structural reinforcement of unequal opportunity that persists despite what we might believe to be true, fair, or right. Please read the following paper I wrote on a study of residential segregation.
Massey and Denton intend to give a causal and structural explanation for the social problem related to the creation and maintenance of the underclass. The nature of the problem is an issue of persistent poverty and oppositional culture. Furthermore, they correlate the underclass with racial formation of blacks. Their analysis, on the basis of Census data and prior research done in the area, result in the theory of spatial segregation. By taking a historical, quantitative, and literature-based approach Massey and Denton provide interesting findings that will be discussed as well as critiqued on the basis of this combined method.
The first task that Massey and Denton accomplish entails the historical development of the ghetto or the underclass. They discover that between 1900-1940 discriminatory practices developed from local uprisings to more institutional forms of spatial segregation. Forced coercion through violence and undermining procedures of redlining, residential security maps, and neighborhood reports functioned to keep blacks isolated from white neighborhoods. At this point, using census data, Massey and Denton are able to see block level patterns of racial dissimilarity in thirty cities between 1930 and 1970.
By 1970, it becomes quite evident that black residential areas are highly concentrated in the poorest, metropolitan areas. Massey and Denton collect data from thirty cities with the largest black population in order to make this argument. By cross-tabulating race, black-white dissimilarity indices, and income, they find that higher segregation indices result with no particular relation to income. Connecting race and income in this way suggests for Massey and Denton that what causes poverty for blacks cannot be attributed first to income, but rather to segregation. On an attitudinal level, they pull from a study on neighborhood preference that shows that whites hold a strong preference to an all-white community whereas blacks more likely desire racial integration of neighborhoods. Finally, in two studies done on white favoritism, Massey and Denton show that racial discrimination in the late 1970s was a prominent feature of rental and sale units. These findings lead the authors to believe that race holds significance for residential patterns although it is not conclusive that they prove that prejudice and discrimination cause segregation, or that segregation is linked to the underclass.
They attempt to make this connection using George Galsterâ€™s study which discovers the improvement of integrated neighborhoods when racist views are low and increased segregation when racist views are high. Massey and Denton also discuss that their findings do not include decreased segregated metropolitan areas in the south and west. Since these cities have lower concentrations of black populations this will remain true, but once black populations increase to a certain point, they believe that these cities will resemble segregated north and east cities. They link segregation to the underclass through a simulated exercise where they discover that whereas white poverty stabilizes, black poverty continues to rise. From these findings they develop potential economic hardships that will be endured because of the increased poverty. This, too, is correlated to segregated and integrated neighborhoods. The purpose to these findings further proves that racial segregation manifests and is intimately tied to increased levels of underclass hardship.
The development and persistence of the underclass argument directly contrasts with those who believe that race is no longer a social issue. By using structural variables such as where one lives, Massey and Denton show that this leads to isolated access to social mobility, resources, and networks, and leave in its stead an oppositional culture. Their final argument, before they move into policy history and predict the future of the ghetto, clarifies the causal relationship between the spatial segregation and culture of poverty. By cross-tabulating poverty rates with residential segregation versus no residential segregation they find that residential segregation is more than or sometimes double than non-residential segregation in its affect on predicted poverty concentration, joblessness for black men, and single black mothers. Through a combined effort of quantitative, past literature and historical knowledge, Massey and Denton provide findings that piece together their theory that spatial segregation developed through discriminatory practices and racist attitudes, and in turn creates underclass communities with severe socioeconomic hardship.
Methodological Strengths and Limitations
The success of Massey and Dentonâ€™s work involves a wide-range of variable possibilities and longitudinal data. They make a strong case because they tap into several orientations of neighborhood development. Since they have access to this information through the various mentioned avenues, they can state and restate their case in a broad, and yet compelling way. They can connect historical data on migration with attitudinal data on racist views or realty/loan practices with socioeconomic hardship. Furthermore, they deftly show the relationship between policy-making and quantitative evidence of spatial segregation. This is particularly important when considering the audience as well as gives weight to their policy suggestions.
The depth and degree of their findings can also be looked at in a negative light. The presentation of findings from such diverse sources lack continuity in that different subjects are studied at different times. And although they tease out a rationale for spatial segregation, one does not really know why people acted in this way or if all people acted this way in other types of neighborhoods. If one reconfigures block categories, would the results be the same? Massey and Denton construct a picture of spatial segregation using a multiple methodological approach that is both effective as a causal model, but ineffective as a case-to-case model.
What is residential segregation?
What are the structural reasons that Massey and Denton offer for how the underclass was created and maintained?
How does a study such as this change the way we think about race and class?
Inequality is often the result of multiple, intersecting factors, making the sociological analysis of inequality complex. For example, the intersection of race, class, and gender is often studied as a compound factor of experiences of inequality. Link to this article on race and class, and this youtube video on race and gender, and then respond to the following discussion questions.
1. What is the article about? What critical point(s) does the article make about the intersection of race and class?
2. Is Wal-Mart good for people of color (e.g. for jobs and cheap goods)? Why or why not?
3. What is the youtube video about? What critical point(s) does the article make about the intersection of race and gender?
4. How does the intersection of race and gender complicate the issue of identity and self-expression?
5. How are these links related? In particular, why are sociologists interested in the intersection of race, class, and gender especially when studying forms of inequality?
(minimum 300 to 500 words for PART 4)
PLEASE ANSWER EACH PART SEPARATELY AND NUMBERED!!!
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