Week 11 Responses

5 Apr

Holly Sklar’s “Imagine a Country – 2009” is quite the formidable beginning to this section.  She cleverly begines each new paragraph with “Imagine a country…” leading into another disparaging fact.  It really hits you hard.  The parts that stood out to me most were usually the most startling facts.  She begins with a large one, “the top 1 percent has more wealth than the bottom 90 percent of households combined” (par. 1).  This fact is so upsetting because of the single word “combined”.  This word makes the entire claim so large and upsetting.  Another section that stood out to me was “imagine a country whose constitution once counter black slaves as worth three-fifths of whites.  Today, black per capita income is about three-fifths of whites” (around paragraph 54).  This fact shows that there have been outward changes and facelifts to society, but the economics still reamins the same.

The other article that stood out to me was “Meet the Wealth Gap” because it shows the direct gaps between income in the day-to-day universe.  This shows itself with Perez, the bicycle delivery man, going to the fancy towers of power and delivering food to them only to get a measly tip.  One would like to imagine that people in such high positions wealth-wise would have more empathy to those poorer than them, but it just seems that they reep the finances and hoard it to themselves.

“Billionares R Us” poses the question about what happens when all of this power and wealth is concentrated within families or by a select few.  It definitely seems discouraging that there is so many people below these wealthy few and they barely spread it around.  Sure, some of those people start foundations or charities, but they still live quite comfortably.

The coverage of Black poverty and White poverty in Muhammad’s “Race and Extreme Inequality” shows more disparaging news.  This includes the 2005 estimate of the median per capita income for Blacks at $16.5 thousand and for Whites at nearly $29 thousand.  Muhammad calculates that “at this slow rate of progress, we will not achieve income equality for 537 years” (par. 2).  This fact seems ridiculous because of its long time frame, and it hurts for it to be true.  But, you have to acknowledge it in order to make change.

Meizhu Lui and others’ article about being Asian American in the US has some startling graphs as well.  It’s strange to see such a large gap between the lower Filipino Nationality to Cambodian for the poverty rate.  The Filipinos actually have a lower poverty rate than Whites!  However, this is the only case amongst all of the Asian nationalities.  Indian and Japanese nationalities closely follow Whites, but, from there, there are major gaps for poverty.  It was also interesting to see that over half of the Asian population lives in either California, New York, or Hawaii.  It really shows the concentration of these communities sufferring to make a living.  Then, they come out with Indians being at a higher rate in professional occupations which was pretty interesting to see.

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