Race and Poverty Are Closely Connected in Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Race and poverty are closely connected in the U.S. And this is primarily owed to the fact that racism is still strong in the civilized world. Racism in this country goes back during the late eighteenth century when the 1790 Naturalization Act provided any European immigrant with the right to become a U.S. citizen while other nations were prevented from becoming citizens and ended up having to work in low paid positions with no papers. In addition to this, these people came to be discriminated by the masses and to be regarded as the lower class.

Affirmative action for whites continued throughout history and is present in most areas in the U.S. today. "In recent history, affirmative action for whites motivated racially-restrictive housing policies that helped 15 million white families procure homes with FHA loans from the 1930s to the 1960s, while people of color were mostly excluded from the same programs" (Hartman 3). This is especially disturbing when considering that the U.S. has devised a series of clever series meant to combat racial discrimination. In spite of the fact that many of these strategies were effective, racism continues to be an important issue in the country as people are inclined to support stereotypes concerning particular racial groups.

By looking at white racial preference, one is probable to observe that white families earn much more than African-American and Hispanic families. The bottom line is that white individuals are going to continue to be provided with favoritism in the near future and until society actually realizes the wrongness of racial discrimination.

2. Even with the fact that racial discrimination has been present in the American society for several centuries, racial minorities did not came to be provided with significant attention until the 1960s. "One major social force contributing to this rediscovery of urban problems was the Civil Rights Movement" (Boger 3). The movement experienced serious problems during 1954 and 1964 as the white majority made it difficult for its members to be heard by the nation as a whole. The 'dark ghettos' in the Northeast came to be associated with African-Americans and this racial group eventually came to be linked to poverty. African-Americans and Hispanics came to dominate poor neighborhoods and the masses started to lobby in regard to how it was essential for the authorities to do something about these groups. People failed to understand that crime levels were high in these areas because people were forced to resort to crime as a means to earn their basic needs. As a result, society started to associate particular racial groups with high crime levels instead of associating them with high poverty levels (Boger 4).

In spite of the fact that several presidential administrations started wars on poverty, the fact that these plans did not take race into account when trying to distribute resources reflected negatively on poverty levels when considering African-Americans and Hispanics. People belonging to these two racial groups continued to suffer greatly as the government did not pay any attention to their problems and as they were forced to take on more aggressive attitudes as a result of living in poor conditions.

3. Most people today have a limited understanding of the relationship between poverty and race in the twenty-first century. The fact that technology has experienced progress and the fact that many individuals currently benefit from using this technology influences most in thinking that barriers like race, gender, and ethnicity no longer represent a problem. However, the truth is that discrimination has been an active part of the last few years and that technology and innovative thinking are not enough to combat it.

Even though a belief in racial inferiority is unacceptable in the twenty-first century, concepts that influence individuals in believing that racial groups that are apparently discriminated are actually successful are significantly damaging the image of the respective racial communities. Examples of successful individuals coming from backgrounds that are believed to be discriminated "delegitimize conversations about group success and failure, which seems to mock Americans' ideas about individual merit" (Lin & Harris 6). African-Americans and Hispanics are thus encouraged to change their attitudes and to be more perseverant in order to experience success. Even with this, most of these people fail to achieve their goals and end up believing that they are actually responsible for their problems. While some of them probably are accountable for their suffering, others are actually discriminated and are provided with little support as they try to experience progress.

One of the principal mistakes that the government performs is the fact that it tends to treat people coming from different countries similar because they belong to the same racial group. While race implies a sense of solidarity, people coming from Africa are unlikely to identify with African-Americans that have lived for several centuries in the U.S. The same thing applies in the case of Mexicans and individuals from South America, considering that they have different traditions and are unlikely to respect the same values.

People need to understand that race often represents a disadvantage in the contemporary society and some people are more or less likely to have success depending on the racial group that they belong to.

4. Employment is one of the most important concepts in the U.S. today and people belonging to certain minorities are especially enthusiastic about being employed. The disproportionate percentage of poor children living in the U.S. is directly correlated with the racial group that their parents belong to. Single mothers belonging to particular racial communities are very vulnerable when considering their children's condition. The fact that they are likely to work in low-paid positions makes it difficult for them to provide adequate care for their children. In turn, this leads to children who are unable to attend educational institutes properly and who end up living on the streets or being criminals. Surely, this is somewhat exaggerated, but the truth is that these children experience a lot of suffering when compared to their peers in wealthier families who can afford to provide good care for their children.

African-American and Hispanic children virtually pay a penalty for the fact that they belong to these racial groups. "White children are never as negatively impacted by alternative family structures to the same extent as African-American or Latino children" (Arrighi & Maume 40). The majority of African-American and Hispanic children living in single-mother households are low income. In contrast, only 37% of white children living in the same conditions are low income. This demonstrates that there is a strong connection between race and poverty in the U.S.

5. African-American communities from around the U.S. have acknowledged that they are vulnerable when considering poverty and have devised a series of programs meant to assist poor individuals belonging to the group. By "intensifying their institution-building, cultural, political, economic, civil rights, and political organizations" (Mink & O'Connor 62) these people managed to change a great deal about their condition and really succeeded to receive recognition for their efforts. They are largely responsible for the fact that many individuals in the U.S. And worldwide have changed their biased opinions concerning African-Americans and have gotten actively involved in giving them the chance to succeed in their endeavors.

While some people believe that this would be impossible, poor people belonging to racial minorities in the U.S. are actually among the individuals most passionate about changing their conditions. These people realized that the government and that majority groups that experience little to no problems with poverty are reluctant to assist them and decided that they were mainly in charge of making reform possible. Singers are mainly responsible for changing opinions regarding African-Americans and with the help of musical styles like Jazz and Blues many African-Americans managed to get the public to appreciate them. These people also started to contribute to making African-Americans everywhere gain a better understanding of their culture and of the importance of helping the whole world comprehend that they are a valuable segment of the social order.

6. Conditions are critical when considering poor Hispanics living in the U.S. The fact that the number of Latino illegal immigrants in the U.S. is especially large means that there are a great deal of Hispanics who are willing to work illegally and who are paid very little for what they do. According to the Herald Tribune, "one in every four U.S. Hispanics lives in poverty, a total of 12.4 million people." When considering that many Hispanics are not documented, it is very likely that numbers are even larger and that there are millions of undocumented Hispanics living in poverty without anyone knowing. African-Americans are the only racial group that beat Hispanics in poverty levels while other racial groups experience less significant problems with it.

Many censuses fail to properly assess conditions in Hispanic communities because there are households that earn more because there are more individuals present there. If these individuals were to live in separate houses then they would be labeled as being poor. One…

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