Term Paper on Poverty

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Term Paper on Poverty

Prejudice, affluence, and poverty in America are linked issues. Works by four authors discussed in this essay, Takaki, Fallows, Olds, and Gioia, help us to understand how the social issues of class and race are intertwined, making an analysis of both necessary for an adequate understanding of any one individually. While the authors discussed here approach the issues from different angles, their works taken side by side clearly show us how prejudice helps the affluent shrug off responsibility toward the poor, offering ‘explanations’ as to why some groups (or persons) remain in poverty and others do not. Additionally, it is argued that those living in affluence – and thus those with the means to significantly address the poverty issue – may, in fact, have a reduced awareness of the existence and reality of poverty. As a result, not only is poverty per se not addressed (we don’t address what we don’t see), but the existing myths and prejudices that help to maintain class divisions, both in society at large and embedded in our legal and social structures, remain unchallenged. However, it is only by examining both the objective nature of the current era together with prejudice and the self-justification of the affluent that one can understand how prejudice, affluence, and poverty are intertwined.

The nature of money, according to Gioia’s poem titled simply “Money”, shapes the reality of life for both the rich and the poor, according to how much they have or don’t have. Gioia’s poem reminds us of the many meanings we accord to money, how we need it and spend it, and how it functions in our economy. One of the clear messages in Gioia’s poem is that money, itself, does not discriminate. It is what it is regardless of who has it, but for those who have it, it grows and multiplies. For those who don’t have it, or don’t have enough of it, it does not.

If money itself does not discriminate, how do we account for the gap between those who are...
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