Explore the Problems Behind Sexual Deviance, Violence, or Crime and Poverty Poverty is defined as “a state in which income is insufficient to provide the basic necessities of food, shelter, clothing and medical care (Lauer & Lauer pg 159). ” More children live in poverty in the United States than in any other developed country (Parrillo, p. 192). How do the social institutions contribute to the problem of poverty? Also, how does poverty affect the basic rights and need of people? Is there a relationship between crime and poverty?
During this paper I will try to explain some of these questions. Generally, poverty is blamed either on the person or the system. Several aspects such as education, poverty culture, family life and the system of capitalism give explanation as to why poverty exists in the U. S. One of the biggest misconception about poverty is that it rarely exist in the U. S. in 1964 poverty level was set at 3,000 dollars for a family of four, and in 2005 the poverty level was set at 19,806 (Lauer & Lauer pg 159).
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However, the US has a poverty rate that is strikingly high in comparison to other post industrial countries. According to official government figures, 11 percent of Americans live in poverty, and many experts consider the real poverty rate to be higher (Montiero and Silva, 3-4). Who is really affected by poverty? Single parent families that are headed by mothers are the most impoverished group in the nation (Lauer & Lauer pg 161). So what is the real problem? Is it the lack of money? Or is it something else that can’t be controlled?
I think the reason there is poverty is because the poor refuse to accept that others can help their situation and they can often feel that no-one is able to help them, therefore poor people are going to stay poor if they do not accept help. This causes social reproduction, as the people born into poor families are never going to learn any different then every person will grow up to be the same as their parents etc (Canton 2005). There is a misconception that the unwillingness to work is a primary factor why people are poor.
People losing their job or a disability are one of the biggest reasons why a person goes from a good life to a poor life. Due to certain circumstances one can live a perfect life and then all of a sudden it can change with the blink of an eye. It reminds me of a movie, where Dan Akroid and Eddie Murphy switch lives and one become rich and the other becomes poor just because two guys make a bet that they can turn anyone into a successful person. This is a great example of how a person cannot control everything in their lives and then all of a sudden they can become poor.
Rational has been labeled as one of the factors of poverty in the U. S. because of research done by sociologist, Richard Herrnstein, who “argued that the poor have a lower intellectual capability than the non-poor, and that they marry other people of low intellectual, thus producing children of low intellectual capacity (p. 195, Parrillo). ” Although, there is plenty of evidence refuting this finding many people tend to think of the poor as lacking the knowledge to attain and obtain a well paying job. It becomes an issue of stereotyping rather than stating the facts.
For every story that you hear about someone that makes it out of the ghetto and become successful there are thousands that do not make it. Growing up I did not have everything that I wanted and with my mother being a single mother and living in a ghetto neighborhood and barely making it with the governments help. I had everything going against me, but my logical thinking helped me in not falling into the social reproduction of poverty. We lived on food stamps and in government housing for most of my childhood, I was not the only one a lot of my friends also lived in those conditions.
To this date some of my friends still live in the same government housing and continue to barely make it. If it was not for the government help they would be homeless. As I asked before, what was the difference between me and some of my other friends? I think a major part of it was my mentality and rational, I did not accept the fact that just because I grew up poor that was the way things were going to be and there was nothing that I could do about it. Many see the culture of poverty as a way of life which has been passed on through generations. Therefore as these attitudes will never change, poverty will continue to exist.
Children learn this culture from an early age as it helps them to cope and accept the poverty that is around them in day to day life. To solve this, it would need to happen that children get taught hope and equality in schools from a young age. Family life, like intelligence and poverty culture, places a big role on the effect of poverty within an individual. It has been consistently found that family instability is most common among the poor than in any other economic class. Because there is a lack of support in poor families, individuals raised in these families are susceptible to failure.
If a parent does not willing to give time to the child, parental guidance, and parental aspirations for the child’s achievements, provisions of intellectual stimulation this affects the child intellectual growth (Lauer & Lauer pg 178). So many other factor come into play to determine whether a child will follow in their parent’s footstep and accept that they are poor and there is nothing they can do. Another big factor that affects poverty within a family culture is ignorance. Having a lack of information or lack of knowledge is a way parents can easily be lost in the translation of the culture of poverty.
It is different from stupidity which is lack of intelligence, and different from foolishness which is lack of wisdom. The three are often mixed up and assumed to be the same by some people. “Knowledge is power,” goes the old saying. At the end of the day a child is not born poor they are educated that they are poor and there is nothing that they can do about it. It is a vicious cycle of ignorance that needs to be broken with proper education and family values. Why is it that a lower education means a lower income and educational achievement of a child (Lauer ; Lauer pg 179)?
So what is the difference between the educations in a school like in South Central Los Angeles to the one in Beverly Hills? Both schools have the same curriculum, Math, English and History. A big reason is the inequitable distribution of quality education and show that schools in poor neighborhoods tend to have meager facilities and inexperience or inadequate teachers. Poor children are twice as likely as non-poor children to have repeated a grade, to have been expelled or suspended from school, or to have dropped out of high school. They are also 1. times as likely to be identified as having a learning disability in elementary or high school than their non-poor counterparts (Benton pg. 36). Students from lower income families may not have as high expectations from their parents, teachers, and/or peers. The students may also not be confident in their own abilities. If nobody expects the student to do well, including himself/herself, where is the motivation to do well in school? The students may have a learned helplessness that needs to be overcome before he/she is able to live up to the standards of education.
I know this may also be true for children of higher income families but many teachers and parents from lower income families do not seem to have confidence that their children can overcome the educational boundaries to escape poverty (Orfield ; Lee, 2005). The poor have no positive influence in society and lack political support; they have no means of power to break the ongoing cycle of poverty (Parrillo, p. 217). The United States tried to rectify the poverty problem in several ways. Through social programs such as welfare and social security, the poor are given a minimal amount of money in order to aid their existence.
The “Trickle Down” approach was installed by the Reagan-Bush Republican administrators with the belief that in giving the upper-class a tax cut, the rich would have more money to pump into the economy which would eventually reach the lower classes (Parrillo, p. 218). The federal government’s approach was to educate and employ the poor in order to help them attain a job career. Unfortunately, these social programs have not been able to keep up with the inflation rates and the constant want of material goods by the poor created by the need to fit in with the middle and upper classes.
Without an intelligent plan that places emphasis on building “successful families, competent schools and positive communities in which good jobs exist to meet the needs of families worldwide” (Orfield & Lee, 2005). One of the biggest issues that our country is trying to deal with right now is heath care. Should everyone have it? Is it a luxury or a basic right? No matter which way you look at this issue you have to look at the facts, ten and thousands of people die every year due to lack of basic health care. Why should someone die just because they are just poor?
This is just one of the basic needs and rights people in America should have. Many other countries have established free health care for all of their citizens. Another basic right that is jeopardized in the culture of poverty is the freedom of fear. The poor live in capricious world, the chronic uncertainly of their lives means that they have much to fear (Lauer & Lauer pg 168). Poverty can lead to high levels of stress that in turn may lead individuals to commit theft, robbery, or other violent acts. Poverty does not cause crime but it can be a big factor to why someone commits a crime.
It is the typical stereotype that crime and poverty go hand and hand, but one has to remember that people commit crime not poverty. Sure poverty can be a factor why someone would steal a loaf of bread to feed their families. In my opinion at the end of the day a person has to make that decision to go and rob or commit a violent crime because they want to not because they have to feed their families. It is really easy to assume that crime in South central is directly related to poverty but in reality crime is part of the culture and upbringings within that community.
It is a coincidence that a part of that area where the crime seems to be a problem is a poor community. Poverty is a serious matter to me. Being in those shoes that I have written about is a real eye opening experience. Having two kids of my own I realized how easily I could have passed on that mentality and way of life to them. I consider myself lucky to be where I am at, even though everything that I have been through. I have seen what poverty and the perception of it does to a community and its people. Most of my friends had a mentality of why try, when everyone expect me to fail.
All sorts of factor contribute to poverty, but our society has to realize that the government alone cannot end poverty, and it will not go away by itself. Parents have to take responsibility and be held accountable for their children’s upbringing. We have to break this vicarious mentality that people are born poor, it’s something that is learned and taught by everyone from schools to parents and it has to stop now. Reference Parrillo, Vincent N. Contemporary Social Problems, 4th Edition; pp. 193-219 Pearson Education, Inc. Lauer,R. H. , & Lauer, J. C (2008). Social Problems and the Quality of Life. (11th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill. Montiero, Maria Mota; and Silva, Mariana Nejaim (2007). Shedding Light on Poverty Issues in the United States and Brazil. University of Notre Dame. Retrieved on June 07 2009 from www. nd. edu/~kellogg/beijos/pdfs/rel3. pdf Betson, David M. , and Michael, Robert T. 1997. “Why So Many Children Are Poor. ” The Future of Children 7 (2):25 – 39. Orfield, G. & Lee, C. (2005). Why segregation matters: Poverty and educational inequality. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University, The Civil Rights Project. Retrieved June 7, 2009 from http://www. civilrightsproject. harvard. edu/research/deseg/Why_Segreg_Matters. pdf