Week 12 responses: Class

11 Apr

This week entailed another depressing round of statistics.  Nevertheless, it would be wise to utilize these stats in order to make change to the system.

“The Wage Gap and Its Costs” brings up the widening pay gap between men and women.  It’s interesting to see that during the 1994 economy boom the wage gap actually widened between men and women.  One would think that, if the economy is doing so well, then women should be doing well, too.  It was also intriguing to see the statistics on race within the gender wage gap.  How African American women earn 68 cents per man-dollar and Hispanic women earn only 57 cents per man-dollar.  It’s also scary to see the college-educated wage gap spread from 9 percent in ’91 to 31 percent in ’00.  That is a huge change!  The article’s spread of why there is a wage gap is very intersting with the reasons being “Hiring, Promotion, Pay,” “Sexual Harassment,” “Occupational Segregation,” “Taxing Motherhood,” and “Undervaluing Women Workers.”  These all factor in to create a wage gap that mistreats women to the extreme.  As a white man, I feel ashamed that so many women are put through this when I always get the benefit of the doubt.

“The Education of Jessica Rivera” by Kim Phillips-Fein is a very interesting article by going into the details of welfare.  It seems as if welfare actually prevents people from climbing the social latter by making them work and do school rather than having school count as some work hours since it will obviously better their education.  It seems as if welfare is actually a rhetorical tool used by the upper elite to keep the poor and disadvantaged in their economic state.  It’s nice to see a positive turn at the end of the story by having an organization get a bill passed to have work-study for school count as Welfare hours, but it does not seem that this is nationwide.  I wonder if these sorts of things still affect other parts of America.

The article from Bob Feldman on the disparate levels of funding for white schools versus poor/students of color does provide hope by stating that New Jersey and Oregon have evened the playing field for funding of all schools rather than just the white ones.  Nevertheless, it ends on the somber note that this is not the case nationwide.  Rich, White children will always have more opportunities for them in school because they will be well-funded.  It seems as if the best way to avoid this is through private school, but who can afford private school?  Rich, white people.  Evening the funding between the schools will allow for more upwards mobility and higher graduation rates for all students rather than just the white ones.

I found it interesting in the next article by Alejandro Reuss entitled “Cause of Death: Inequality” to be very fascinating because it constantly restated again and again that people who are poor have worse health.  Of course, those people who are poor cannot afford health insurance.  So, they are more likely to get sick but less likely to seek treatment because they cannot afford going to the doctor.  This seems like a deadly cycle that keeps the poor “poor” by catching them with medical expenses.  This of course leads to more stress which leads to more health issues.

It was interesting to see in the “Immigration’s Aftermath” article by Alejandro Portes that Immigrant parents have higher aspirations for their children than their children do.  Unfortunately, the parents are gone at work all day working minimum wage (if even that) jobs to keep their family surviving and they cannot provide a good role-model for their children because they do not have the time.  It seems as if the Immigrants can rarely break out of their cycle either.


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