Monday, April 29, 2013

Changing History

As we talked about in one of our previous classes, these articles all seem to be alluding to the same thing: how to fix America's Capitalist systems?

Both Greider and Zweig reference the importance in teaching society the differences in divide class from gender and race while also promoting equality in the economic market.

This past week I attended a sports game in Boston, and everywhere there were "BOSTON STRONG" shirts, hats, bags, flags, etc., everything you could slap a label and a price tag on. These corporations are profiting from a tragedy to Massachusetts and these United States. They are more than likely, exploiting foreign workers to make these shirts, working class Americans to sell these items, and manipulating this product into a symbol of hope, when really they are just making the rich, richer and the inequalities greater.

I agree with what the two authors have to state when what America needs to make it a more equal place. It is a series of thoughts that must occur by every American to make these systems dissipate and replace the injustices in this country.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Women and Inequalities

The articles this week are all excellent examples of women being suppressed by social systems that promote inequality. They easily lay out the inequalities that women face in this country in the workplace.

While the article I particularly liked was the argument of the minimum wage be increased to $10.10 an hour, along with a tip job minimum of 70% of that, it is time that not only Matt Rose see that waitressing and minimum wage jobs take skill that has not been compensated for since the increase in industry during the 70's and 80's. The statistics don't lie on how these jobs have not increased pay as the profits and economy's inflation has expanded.

The articles that addressed the double inequality of black mothers, and the black women who were effected by Katrina, and their lost history, they show the public the inequalities of their world, and assist in making this world a better place for everyone. The ideas of blaming the poor for their problem are not going to go away without informing those who might not be exposed to it.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Class and Education

All three of these articles worked well together. They gave three good aspects of ways to look at the education system as a series of values, privilege, and class markers. Anyon's article in particular was very interesting to read. The schools that he compares in this article is a real eye opener about how an education system can really deprive a child of critical resources to achieving "the American dream" while also showing how it can place students in a position of high privilege in resources and critical thinking. This is good in comparing that article to Gorski's "The Question of Class," which also compares children of different social/economical classes. While Anyon's article is primarily based in the classroom, Gorski's looks really at the time spent outside school and goes into depth about after-school activities that effect the resources and development of children. Gorski's article also went into more depth about race and how that can effect a child's learning ability, and resources; like when the black mother was concerned that her daughters were discussing their racists bus driver.

While Laureau's short article was helpful to see what teachers could improve on in not judging their students, and encouraging equal opportunity for the parents and children. Although it did not pose the system of privilege and suppression, which is a critical factor in getting people's attention that there is more of a problem then we see.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Jensen's Class Realization

Due to the fact that I only got through the first chapter of Jensen's book before I forgot it on the plane ride into DC this past week end I will only pull from this section.

Jensen writes about class more in terms of cultural class rather than the usual majority of socioeconomic. In this chapter she experienced something that I, too, experienced when growing up, making me aware of my cultural capital, or lack there of, compared to others around me.

Growing up, I had a friend that I had known basically all my life. However, it wasn't until middle school that I realized how different our two worlds were. I always loved going over her house, it was a three story home with 5 bathrooms, 6 bedrooms, and an in-ground pool on a private coll de sac. I lived on a dead end street with a one story, technically 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom ranch. This was not the only indicator that I saw growing up. Her family was always going on vacation to the Bahamas or England,all the children went to either Bay View or Providence Country Day, both pricey private school without scholarships, and they were always out to eat.

It wasn't until my brother, then 18, and I was 12, that I realized that I was not in the same class as her, and it was a really weird, kind of shameful feeling. Her father was an engineer, the one who designed and built the Wambi rock in Mohegan Sun, and he asked my brother to help, I think now as a favor to my parents. Although she never treated me differently from the point that I could see how much, I felt, lower than her, but I didn't feel comfortable over her house again.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Richard Wolff & Elliot Currie

Both the lecture by Richard Wolff and the article by Elliot Currie both had the same basic principles included in them. They both went over the history of the United States in reference to class, how the economy has changed and wages have not changed enough to comply with them.

I liked the lecture, probably because it was right in my face with emotion, arms flying, different tones or volume in speech to really emphasis certain points, however I liked the article a bit more because of the particular to general style of it.

I also liked his structure in the lecture because of the history of the working class vs. the "big businesses" approach Dr. Wolff has in his lecture. It seems to put everything we've been talking about with the media into real perspective along with many things we have been talking about social class, and the seperation between the working, middle, and high classes.

The Currie article showed how the minority races have been oppressed since the very begining of a capitalist company. It really brought to light the historical background to the inequality today in the workplace and how/why it still exists today in a society in which everyone thinks is equal. Towards the middle to end of this article it brings the working class as a whole together in working against the monopolies of businesses. Throughout this text the author gives a lot of exact dates, companies, and statistics, making it a much more realistic piece.

In addition to this, Currie also ties in the aspect of drug use among the poor in relation to this oppression / inequality towards the working class. This helps explain and understand why the poorer communities have drug issues, and why it is difficult to stop them. The poor have nothing to work towards because they do not see a brighter light, drugs are available, and bring something different to the lives that make them miserable. It is all very interesting and heart breaking at the same time.

Both of these pieces go over why the economy and the country is in the state that it is in, with a growing gap between the poor and wealthy, or even decreasing gap between the poor class and the shrinking middle class. They both have information that should be read or heard and both have ideas that could help or actually change this country and make it a better place for everyone, not just those that can afford it.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Media Magic Response

While reflecting on my own culture, although at this point I do not know exactly what that is, this article is truely putting what we see in the media into text. It truly does not expose those who use the media as sources of reference to the homeless or even the working class.

The first time I ever saw, or rather noticed, a homeless person was in Boston on my way to Fenway for a Red Sox game my father had won tickets to. I wasn't too young to understand that some people didn't have a home, but for some reason it was still shocking. I was blind to the real world that I was a part of. I realized it existed but had never been exposed to it.

Mantios does a good job at relating the amount of media people intake in a given week and how little we realize is going on. The idea of the "upper" class is at least somewhat maliscious in some sense is also something i have been thinking of lately, that is now justified by the article. It feels like someone needs to take advantage of another human, somehow, to be successfull. If you have millions of dollars, why not share hat with employees, charities, or just people that they see need it in general.

Some ending questions I have coming from this reading:

Is the middle class decreasing out of existance in America?

Would the media ever show our poor in any light other than negative such as how resourcful or how they are the victim that this society has produced?

Will our country become like the major industial countries such as China with its poor work laws and low wages if the rich just keep taking money and the poor are left to divide what is left?

Sunday, February 3, 2013


This article was really amazing. Well written, easy to follow and truly moving. While everyone knows the stigma on "The Bronx" in New York, I had no real knowledge of what life was like in one of the worst living conditions in America.
When Kozol described his walk with the seven year old boy, Cliffe, it seemed almost like a story from a movie. The erie feeling of "burning bodies" and thought of needles, possibly infected with AIDS or other diseases, being ready available for children to play with was overwhelming.
The other stories about the bears in the trees, David's mother, who doesn't want to go the hospital because she could be locked up or infected with TB, and more so the idea that this woman didn't qualify for government assistance because she wasn't sick enough with cancer is heart wrenching.

This author does a good job however, at not making the reader feel sympathetic over this misfortune, but angry. Angry with the state of New York for making assistance so difficult to obtain, angry at those who believe the quote he begins, and rewrites in his article about the poor being basically unmotivated. Angry that his has happened to a set group of people, Blacks and Hispanics, rather than an equal group of all different ethnicity's of people.

It clearly shows the social structural injustices that promote further and further inequalities in the world. The way this system plays back into itself, like the three letters she would need to get the assistance, that the hospital is understaffed, and that the state is constantly making their neighborhood poorer and poorer by putting unwanted and undesirable businesses and structures in it.

An upside to this article is that you see people bannign together, like those who go the the church that hte author is interviewing in. Also, that those who are addicted to drugs or prosituting to making money for food and support their children are given clean needles and condoms. Promoting the drug use isn't good, however these people will do it with or without clean needles, so it is beneficial that sterile ones available.