A) What is the White Underclass, and what are the national economic changes and forces?
The United States economy took a turn for the worse in 2008, and has been steadily declining ever since. The reason for the financial crisis began with the failing of the financial institutions, which threatened the global economy. The reason for the failing of the largest financial institutions can be debated, but many believe that it was due to the failure of accurately and safely evaluating the risks involved in their lending procedures. Whatever the reason, the recession had a massive impact on the country, and none were affected more than the Americans living at or below the poverty level. These people are known as the American underclass.
What defines an underclass? It has been defined as the bottom of society, those who have become victims of a poverty trap. The underclass is largely made up of unemployed, young, single-parent families that are living in destitute stricken areas, areas in which the children lack educational qualifications, good role models, and social skills. This provides them little opportunity to escape the unfortunate situation in which they’ve been placed (www.BusinessDictionary.com/definition/underclass, 2012). The term “underclass” has been classified in two different ways, according to the article “The White Underclass” (“The White Underclass”, 1994). The first, simply put, is classified as areas that contain the extremely poor. The second classification gives a more detailed look as to why they are extremely poor. The second classification is areas that contain a high number of single family households, usually with women at the head of the household, and often dependent on government support. Charles Murray, an American libertarian political scientist, wrote “illegitimacy is the single most important social problem of our time – more important than crime, drugs, poverty, illiteracy, welfare or homelessness, because it drives everything else.” (“The White Underclass”, 1994) These families are the victims of a vicious circle; the children of these families have a high dropout percentage, which often leads to having children out of wedlock. The absence of these fathers is usually due to crime, drugs, or just a lack of responsibility. Twenty-two percent of children born in 1991 were born out of wedlock, with that number increasing every year (“The White Underclass”, 1994). Many of these unwed mothers are too young and inexperienced to be more than a burden on society, which doesn’t leave much hope for the children that they give birth to. Many of these young white women that are having children out of wedlock are not in the least ashamed at getting pregnant at such a young age and without being married. They believe that having children will “give them someone to love” (“The White Underclass”, 1994). Unfortunately, as seen in the documentary “Culture of Hate”, our children are a reflection of what we are (“A Culture of Hate”, 2002).
Financial obstacles are faced by almost everyone at some point in time, but with those that are part of the underclass, it is a way of life. It’s not poverty that is the issue, but rather the widening gap in economic classes. As learned in the most recent lecture, the median middle class makes between seventy-five thousand to one-hundred and fifty thousand dollars a year, whereas the underclass make on or under thirty thousand dollars a year, most often under (Merritt, 2012). This is quite a significant gap. The underclass is under educated, and under employed. Many people don’t think of whites when they think of those living in poverty, but the realization is that the whites are a growing group of those that are living in poverty. B) What is the White Underclass, and what are the regional (Lakeside, CA) economic changes and forces that account for its growth?
Here in the county of San Diego, Lakeside California specifically, economic...