Poverty and Inequality NOTES on Keating’s “Creating ‘New’ Stories for Social Change” ● “the power of a compelling story” can change the world (Elana Dykewomon) ○ we need new stories that question the status quo, ones that recognDon't forget about the age old question of Question #1 What is a system?
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We also discuss several other topics like What is a trace element?
Don't forget about the age old question of ut m408c
If you want to learn more check out somatogenic perspective
Don't forget about the age old question of oprestissimo
ize our interconnectedness/interrelatedness ● 26-27: “my growth requires your diminishment. Interactions between self and other are conflict-driven, and society is reduced to a collection of individuals motivated by greedy, insatiable self-interest” ● 27: “this hyper-individualism and the oppositional framework on which it rests prevent us from recognizing our interconnectedness with others and working together for social change” ● this individuality teaches Americans that all individuals are equal: they have the same opportunities, same obstacles, same treatment, etc. it is a false hope that erases racism and other forms of oppression ● 29: facets of interconnectedness: 1. economically: the advancement of the global network (via technology, outsourcing, off-shoring, software, etc) has led to the development of “a single global network” (Friedman). “Economic changes in one location have a domino-like effect on local, national, and even global communities” 2. ecologically: “rooted in, sustained by, and interdependent with the environment”; “roughly calculated that every breath of air we breathe contains a few atoms that have been breathed by every person in the history of the planet, from Socrates to Genghis Khan to Einstein to Hitler, as well as all the billions of unknowns” (Hayward) 3. linguistically: words we use are “infused with meaning and value” — and although we use these words to form our own sentences and meanings, our sentences are really never purely our own (since the words have been used by trillions of others) 4. socially: all labels (gender, sexuality, relationship, race, etc) are relational to others. “one’s own sense of identity is inextricably entwined with, and dependent upon, the identity of ‘others’” (Powell, Multiracial Self) 5. spiritually: some people believe there is a cosmic being that embodies everything, both material and non material. humans continually interact with this cosmic being (through interactions with daily objects and nature) ● “human beings are a lot like crabgrass. Each blade of crabgrass reaches up to the sun, appearing to be a plant all by itself. but when you try to pull it up, you discover that all the blades of crabgrass in a particular piece of lawn share the same roots and the same nourishment system…Human beings may appear to be separate, but our connections are deep; we are inseparable. Pull on any part of our human family and we all feel the strain” (Fran Peavey, page 32) ● “we define who and what we are by excluding who and what we are not” (32) ● talking points to remember: ● social injustice exists: people are not treated equitably. we live in an unjust society and an unfair world. although liberty, equality, and democracy are radical ideas with great promise, they have not yet been fulfilled. oppression exists on multiple seen and unseen levels ● our educations ave bee biased, distorting information about our own groups and those of others. these hidden mechanisms sustain oppression, including white supremacy ● blame is not useful, but accountability is. it is nonproductive to blame ourselves and/or others for the misinformation we have learned in the past or for ways we have benefited and continue benefiting from these unjust social systems. however, once we have been exposed to more accurate information, we are accountable. ○ guilt for being white is counterproductive, since it paralyzes them ● we are related to all that lives ● categories and labels shape our perception — they can prevent us from recognizing our interconnectedness with others by distorting perceptions, creating arbitrary divisions among us, supporting an oppositional “us against them” mentality, and reinforcing the unjust status quo● people have a basic goodness. we all make mistakes; the point is to learn from our errors. in order to learn, we must be willing to listen and then to speak ● when having discussions, it is important not to let our minds be trapped by stereotypes. we should not label her and assume that we know her position, motivations, values and beliefs because of the identity groups to which she seems to belong, because of her previous comments, or because of other such signs” — unless you have a long list of examples, you should always hear someone out, not shut them down. we don't necessarily need identical opinions/perspectives, but it is important to acknowledge and be aware of commonalities. ● all too often, we assume that our perceptions and beliefs accurately reflect the entire truth about reality KEATING: question: what is good about individualism, as opposed to collectivism? ● individuals have some sense of control over their own destiny ● allows society to realize each other’s humanity, instead of clumping groups together and forgetting/disregarding the complex person behind the body ● the collective can be overbearing and push their values onto individuals within the community. individualism allows each person to follow his/her/their own values and perspective and opinion question: how is individualism destructive or harmful? ● focus on being your best self, which also pushes one to crush everyone around her ● fostering self-interest over valuing for others ● individualism may also give people a sense of entitlement and they won’t listen to someone else’s point of view because they believe that society validates everyone’s opinion — collective responsibility to conquer injustice ● individualism also gives people a false sense of equality, grants individuals the belief that everyone has equal opportunity or income, etc ● facade of laziness and equal opportunity makes us think that homeless people just didn't study ● to be an individual, you have to make yourself different fro the group. to make yourself different from the group, you have to develop a sense of entitlement and superiority. pride may lead to arrogance ● even if we try to be our own individual person, there are still restrictions in our society (racism, sexism, classism, ageism, etc) that limit our opportunities and progress in life ● interconnectedness: six degrees of separation ● interconnectedness is not just about understanding how we are connected, but also knowing the consequences of our actions (Lawrence’s example of earning a job, takes a job away from someone else) ● guilt: not productive. recognize your fortunate/luck that you've earned through hard work ● interconnectedness can help with impact: theres a difference between one person boycotting something and a whole city boycotting something ● interconnectedness sometimes makes you feel more labeled and limited as part of the social structurechapter 1: ● something that stands out to me right away is the question of who should and shouldn’t receive financial help. I recently had a conversation with an extreme conservative who explained her perspective that people on welfare should stop having babies when they know they’re poor, and they’re just taking people’s tax money, etc. While I understand her points and agree with some level of them, I also understand the alternative point of view. So I think this is a very interesting and controversial question to pose.○ interesting and important level also raised: how to provide help without increasing dependence on the financial aid system ● “poverty appeared ingrained within the human condition” (3) — it has a ‘stubborn persistence’ ● also— reluctance to provide welfare to immigrants? was not aware of that, but not surprised. not a fan (of the reluctance) (4) ● also a reluctance to provide able-bodied people with welfare assistance, since they “don’t have an excuse” to be out of work (4-5): impotent versus able poor, as explained by Josiah Quincy ● “There always must exist, so many circumstances of age, sex, previous habits, muscular, or mental, strength, to be taken into the account” -Quincy ● distinction between poverty and pauperism: ○ poverty is “unavoidable evil…the result, not of our faults, but of our misfortunes” -Reverend Charles Burroughs of New Hampshire ○ Pauperism is the “misery of human creation, the pernicious work of man, the lamentable consequence of bad principles and morals” ● the closeness/lines between these two divisions began to blur, and many people began to attribute pauperism to poor people, thus creating the stigma of laziness ● poverty is regarded “solely as the product of him or of her who has entered its dreadful…service. Let me repeat it, the causes of poverty are looked for, and found in him or her who suffers it” -Walter Channing, 1943. essentially explaining that rich/middle class people view poverty as a sign of laziness ● Hunter believed that “there is unquestionably a poverty which men deserve”…wtf ● the idea of being on welfare (“relief”) was “pejorative and degrading” since there was/is a stigma surrounding it ● “in the nineteenth century, asking for relief became a sign of individual failure” (8) ○ single mothers were also stigmatized, as many were of color and on welfare, and non-welfare people regarded them as promiscuous and sexual (8) ○ welfare-dependent men were also vilified. in early 1900s, Buffalo, NY had several shelters for women and children; not one for men. ● in the late 20th century, chronically jobless black men had few places to turn for assistance, and instead of support, training or work, found themselves incarcerated in astounding numbers, pushing America to the top of the list of nations in rates of imprisonment. Incarceration had become the welfare state for black males, signifying more than any rhetoric their place among the undeserving poor” (9) ● ************in class, bring up the point of mass incarceration of black people, particularly the rise in incarcerated women, and how restitution has become the new kind of slavery and sharecropping, as the state and federal governments can control the parolees however they wish. ● Sociologist Lipset and anthropologist Mead described American national character as focused on the future, towards prosperity. in this sense, the lower class was regarded as un-American (10) ● the difference between poverty and economic depression is that poverty is passed down generation to generation. ● poor people themselves felt a “strong feeling of marginality or helplessness, of dependence, and of inferiority” (13) ○ as well as weak egos, confusion with sexuality, lack of impulse control, weakened ability to plan for the future, fatalism, belief in male superiority, etc (13) ● Lewis argued that only about 20% of Americans were “trapped within the culture of poverty,” meaning only 20% couldn’t escape it. ● Lewis also believed poverty does not exist in socialist countries ● “degradation by poverty was almost inevitable” -Oscar Handlin, page 16 ● Stanley elkins: slaves are comparable to inmates of concentration camps — oppression disintegrated their personalities and transformed them into subhumans who tried to please their masters — SIMILAR TO INCARCERATION● initially, many researchers focused on rural poverty. after the civil rights movement in 1964, they became more inclusive and also researched urban poverty (aka including blacks) ● “Negro poverty is not white poverty. Many of its causes and many of its cures are the same. But there are differences — deep, corrosive, obstinate differences” -Lyndon Johnson (17) ● intentions behind perception of poor ppl differ from the poor individuals’ experiences ● who should we help? he divides into 3 parts: disabled, paupers, poverty-stricken ● page 9: it’s a kind of victim blaming. our society blames these poor individuals for being “lazy” and “drug addicts,” while in truth, the power structures in our country specifically target certain identity groups (poc) ● page 17-23: from the culture of poverty to the black family ○ black poverty and white poverty were extremely different; there were more white ppl in poverty than black; however, more black families were blamed for their poverty and were mistreated by society, more black poor families ended up incarcerated ○ “racist and economic pressures had driven poor American [blacks[ so far into the depths that they were in great danger of passing on a host of dysfunctional behaviors to future generations” (18) ○ “in essence, the negro community has been forced into a structure which, because it is so out of line with the rest of american society, seriously retards the progress of the group as a whole” (20-21) ○ Moynihan mentions no causing policies; blames black families for their poverty ■ “the very essence of the male animal” - he’s almost normalizing and legitimizing black poverty, attributing it to natural selection ■ Moynihan covertly desired to “sweep the black family off the agenda of policy and research to hasten the culture of poverty’s amputation from its liberal origins” (23) ■ “when urbanization occurs “suddenly, drastically, in one or two generations…the effect is immensely disruptive of traditional social patterns” (20) ■ Moynihan was very influential in shaping welfare ■ matriarchal family structure: “Moynihan turned black women’s strength and accomplishments into evidence that they had subverted the natural order of gender relations” — he turned women’s strengths into reason for concern, saying they weakened men and perpetuated pathology (21) ● Culture of Poverty ○ conservatives believe that once yo become part of poverty, your behavior begins to become more violent, and you become part of poverty. liberals, instead, believe that they’re more of victims of power structures ○ motivations or how people view poverty-stricken individuals are more self-driven, which is a problem ● 3rd part: biological factors: ○ The Bell Curve by Herrnstein and Murray (notoriously anti-welfare): ■ IQ tests cant be biased towards anyone ■ they wanted a perfect bell curve, so these researchers manipulated data, using/testing as many individuals as they needed in order to form a bell curve ■ cognitive ability is hereditary ■ since poor people have low cognitive ability, the country shouldn’t let poor immigrants in, because they’re just gonna keep depending on welfare, etc. ○ eugenics: breeding people (you take desired characteristics from two individuals and breed them) ■ supports Hitler and his eugenic plan ■ racism, Naziism ■ manipulation of evidence and data ○ conclusion: we have to be careful how we use this information and resist bending/manipulating it ○ confirmation bias: manipulating data to unjustly “prove” one’s own beliefsWacquant: Welfare Reform as Poor Discipline and Statecraft● this reform abolished the right to assistance for the country’s most destitute children. in the short run, this reform also required unskilled and underpaid labor for mothers ● it also spared/benefited the middle- and upper-classes. ● instead of introducing new, revolutionary, reform-worthy ideas, it recycled “remedies” from the US’s colonial era, even though these specific remedies had proven ineffective “Women and Children First, with Blacks as the New Villains” (80): ● 1996: 39 million americans lived below the federal poverty line; however, fewer than 13 million received AFDC payments. ● 1992: 43% of families in poverty received income assistance, 51% got food stamps, and only 18 percent got housing assistance. ● the recipients of AFDC and food stamps were the ones who ended up paying the price of this new reform — and the reform was less costly for the middle- and upper- classes. ● our society has managed to convince itself that poverty is a consequence of the individual’s failures. reason for this: moral individualism. ● moral individualism: targets unwed/single mothers as suspicious, abnormal beings who threaten moral order in society; “contagious blemish of the self” ○ they’re considered bad if they work, since society believes in patriarchal styles, in which woman’s place is in the house. thus in working, single mothers ‘leave their children to fend for themselves’ ○ in 1990, the average alimony (state income) that a single mother had to deal with was $2,100 a year, aka nothing. full-time employees on minimum wage earned about $700 a month (20% under poverty line for family of 3). these families also got an average of $367 for medical coverage. ○ amount of black Americans on welfare decreased from 45% in 1969 to 35% in 1995 (racism) ○ “ghetto poor” turned into “social leeches,” the enemies of American society (83) ○ as poverty became “blacker,” white hostility towards welfare increased. ○ 1960s: blackened images of crime, during a period of decreasing black offenders, increased white hostility and encouraged white support for expanding prison policies (83-84) ■ reflects back to the vagrancy laws: about 40 years after slave emancipation, the US wanted to regain their control over free blacks, so they created laws specifically targeting black people (vagrancy, etc). ○ the stereotypical people on welfare: ■ welfare queen: black matriarch who cheats public aid and spends her assistance check on drugs and alcohol, neglects her children ■ baby having babies: black teenage mother, often raised on welfare herself, who is morally depraved and promiscuous ■ deadbeat dad: typically black and unemployed, impregnates women left and right and abandons them and his young children to welfare ■ elderly immigrant from third world country who then manipulates welfare and cost-free, high-class retirement ■ only about 20% of daughters who were raised on welfare continue on welfare in their adulthood: they’re not dependent on it; they were victims of a closed opportunity structure, one which is geared mostly to white and/or rich or non-welfare candidates. ■ Clinton’s idea of this reform “moving people from welfare to work” was false: most mothers on welfare were already involved in heavy jobs ■ HOWEVER: this reform bill didn’t even mention jobs for welfare recipients. no budget for job training ■ the reform bill focuses on the belief that mothers are not “job ready;” however, majority of jobs are not “mother ready” (86) ■ it was hard to expect companies to hire AFDC (welfare) recipients, as one half of them did not graduate from high school and only 1% of them had a degree,severely stigmatized; moreover, the labor market was already so far into cheap labor ■ 80% of central-city jobs are filled by people who high education level and have connections to the employer ■ racial discrimination of young black men in employment: “last hired and first fired” ■ employers worry their welfare employee will have poor academic preparation, transportation and child care problems, mental illness and substance abuse, etc. since many of the jobs that ppl on welfare apply for have other options/candidates, the employers normally go with the other candidates over the assumed risk of an employee on welfare Bringing the Poor to Heel: ● the law set a 5-year quota for parents. when they reach the end of 5 years, they no longer have access to state assistance. instead, the mother has to immediately find a job, or turn to relatives’ support, begging, crimes, etc. ● the federal government relinquished responsibility of assisting families/individuals on welfare. instead, states and counties held that responsibility. many states immediately lowered the 5-year quota to 2 years and got rid of many benefits. ○ governor Engler of Michigan (who desired naming his state a ‘national model for welfare reform’) proposed to cut all assistance to mothers who could/would not work within 6 weeks of childbirth, as well as cutting benefits by 25% for anyone who couldn’t find work within 2 months of beginning welfare assistance. ○ the reform law gave financial rewards to states that cut the number of recipients, as well as allowing them to use whatever means necessary to do so. ○ federal government also gave responsibility of psychiatric hospitals to the states: state governments hurriedly closed these hospitals down and let the patients onto the street, increasing flood of homelessness. a decade later, about 80% of then-current homeless people had been through mental health care establishments. ○ “deinstitutionalization” of the mentally ill led to “reinstitutionalization” in criminal justice sector (91) ■ mentally ill people have crowded into the circular system ○ one of two black children grows up below the poverty line in America (92) ○ the new reform law would prohibit hospital from offering free medical treatment to drug addicts and prenatal care to women convicted of drug possession or sale (as well as to other people) ○ by the end of 2003, 28 out of the 50 states chose to use their own funds to extend benefits; 2 states eliminated the time limit on aid ○ 1997: minimum wage increased from $4.25 to $5.15 ○ unfortunately, the Americans who pushed off of welfare lost their access to Medicaid and food stamps, even though in principle, they are supposed to have that continued support. (95) ○ study says: out of 100 people pursuing welfare, 25 are turned down at entry, 75 fill out an application. 25 of those 75 are denied, so only 50 continue the process. (95) ○ after the reform bill became law: 24% had to skip meals regularly; 57% worried about inability to feed their families; 21% had to forego urgent medical care; of those who found full-time employment: 30% did not earn sufficient income to cover rent; 46% worried about food, 11% no longer had phone line due to inability to pay bills (96) ○ while level of poverty has been rather stagnant, intensity of poverty increased: in 2002, average income gap between poor households and poverty line was $2,813, about 23% more than in 1996 (96) ○ since this reform was passed, poor single mothers have been cast not as deprived, but as deviant (victim blaming). this makes them outcasts until they demonstrate their commitment to values ofwork and family. similar to parolees, who have to demonstrate their reformation over a long period of time with check-ins and surveillance (98) ○ both incarcerated individuals and people on welfare live below half of the federal poverty line. 60% of welfare recipients and 50% of incarcerated individuals have suffered an assault. some of both have physical or mental health disability (which both hinder their participation in workforce) ○ something I don’t like about this essay/article: it divides these welfare populations and incarcerated populations by gender, assuming that people on welfare are solely female, and incarcerated individuals are solely men. that is NOT the case. Despite this disagreement, I concur that both carceral and welfare systems are built on systematic oppression and power structures within this country (and abroad). such as the fact that PRWORA allows employers to deny job applicants who have a history of committing minor offenses. ■ “much like the criminal justice ‘system,’ which is systematic only on paper, the emerging workfare apparatus is a loose assemblage of organizations, programs, and principles that do not form a fully coherent ensemble” (108) ■ “building a neoliberal state involves two construction sites, not just one: while it was converting welfare into workfare, the United States was also busy bolstering and broadening the carceral arm of the state.” (109) ● Social Security Act, 1935: ○ central legislation of the US Welfare state under Franklin Roosevelt. includes: ■ social security (old age insurance, starting at 65 years old) ■ unemployment compensation ■ aid to families with dependent children (AFDC) ● AFDC: ○ support for poor families with children who were deprived of parental support, specifically male support (gender roles were very different back then) ○ before the 60s, many states found loopholes in the AFDC to exclude black and immigrant families, thus just serving white families; however, after the civil rights movement and welfare movement, they slowly began including families of color ● 1960 “War on Poverty” ○ Social Security Amendments, 1965 ○ Food Stamp Act, 1964 — made permanent, as prior to the Act, the were just an experiment ○ The Economic Opportunity Act of 1964: many students received support from their schools, particularly with study abroad ○ The Elementary and Secondary Education Act, 1965: more government support to certain schools, since many public schools relied on property tax of the households around that school (unequal taxes) ● welfare: you can rely on it without being dependent. people can find other ways to earn money. their lives will continue whether they're on welfare or not ● response to Sana and Joe: “last to hire, first to fire;” employers are hesitant to hire people on welfare because of the stigma of instability Maya Angelou’s poem “Momma Welfare Roll” ● starts off with visualization of the “welfare queen:” pudgy hands, fat triangles under her arms - from “years of fatback/and lima beans,” possibly examples of typical food that lower-income families eat ● people have accused her of crimes just because of her socioeconomic status: “cliched by/repetition” ● her children had to grow up so quickly in the stages of poverty that they no longer know of toys and playing innocently● “they do’t give me welfare. I take it” - the government resists welfare because of the stigmas and literal costs that come with it. this woman described in Angelou’s poem, thus, must stand up for herself, her children, and her rights and take the welfare she deserves Schram: “After Welfare: The Culture of Postindustrial Social Policy” — Chapter 2: Where the Welfare Queen Resides ● PRWORA (one we’ve talked about last week) limits welfare recipients to 5 years, after which these recipients must be self-sufficient ● society has deepened prejudice about “stay-at-home mothers,” as we regard them as out of work, and thus, lazy. this prejudice allows for the dominant groups (male, white, rich, etc) to “infiltrate [the] welfare policy and ensure the continued subordination of poor families” (27) ● thus, this societal belief has offered a way to blame welfare recipients without directly saying so ● “socioeconomic order” assumes that families within the system have two parents, one of whom earns the money, and the other stays home to watch the kids. Thus, when low-income, single mothers must fulfill both of these roles that are deemed essential by our society and political standards, she/they become the victim of the gender-race-class systems (specifically poor, single mothers of color) ● supporters of the 1996 reform believe that it (the reform) is a way to equalize every member of society, to remove the stigma of welfare recipients (then why don't they just fcking remove the stigma…) ● systematic discrimination (such as the reform) is legitimized by euphemisms such as “personal responsibility.” THus, “the hidden is in plain sight” (as Schram says) ○ devalues a mother’s parenting, stigmatizes and demonizes single mothers who dare to work instead of take care of their children (double standards) ● “welfare queen is an artifact produced by discourse rather than a preexisting reality” (29): this caricature is simply nonexistent, as it is a label used by privileged, conservative, ignorant people who haven’t the slightest clue of what it’s like to raise one, let along multiple, child by yourself and on welfare ● ****”the welfare queen is not homeless but is lodged inside the discourse of ‘personal responsibility’” DAMN (29). the welfare queen caricature has served to protect the discriminatory “socioeconomic order” that benefits only the two-parent, middle- and upper- class families. ● Nietzsche: believed people on welfare were unpromising individuals. He believed that to be free, one had to behave in ways that society and culture recognize (which isn’t actually freedom, it’s assimilation and submitting to social pressure in order to fit in) ● personal responsibility is, thus, a sense of social order that individuals within a society quickly learn through experiences. it’s irrational, incoherent, and biased. ● it is doubtful that the reform will ‘create’ more two-parent households. ● although the reform wants all people off welfare, it is unrealistic to ignore the fact that our society prefers some people over others. since there is no explicit statement in the laws, the government and authority structures can direct/deem people responsible however it wants. (33) ● conservative politicians may paint their welfare resistance as the desire to save money, but it is really the desire to control the less dominant races, genders, classes, etc. ● some people, such as Murray and Moynihan, believe that white liberals have come out in support of poc and welfare as a result of our guilt. and apparently white liberals have a “near-obsessive concern” to identify and put blame on conservatives who have caused colored people’s poverty (35) ● “since the 1960s, welfare reform has led to the ‘demoralization of society’” -Gertrude Himelfarb (35) ● Mead believed that welfare is an “orgy” and that welfare recipients felt entitled to allowances. instead, he said, we should impose these cultural norms on them: work and family. he never recognized race, gender, and class as factors in poverty. (35) ● segregation today (this was published a few years ago) still makes sure that housing, schools and jobs are all allocated to certain races ● personal responsibility is an unfair way to hold women to society’s standards of men, since in society’s eyes, women could never achieve this personal responsibility (being independent, self-sufficient) that men do.again, a double standard. many conservatives think women are supposed to stay home and raise the children. but when single parents, specifically mothers, are on welfare, they want them to go out and work. it’s setting women up for failure already. ● within the past few decades, more white women have been able to find jobs etc., thus many men and women believe that gender is no longer an issue. this is a huge piece of white feminism and is set another example of the “socioeconomic order” of gender-race-class structures. ● *******this stands out to me a lot because in my religion, gender and punishment in the us class, we have discussed how the prison systems in this country regard white mothers in incarceration as “fixable” and “redeemable,” as they must have been misguided somewhere along the way. on the other hand, prison systems also consider incarcerated mothers of color as broken and irreparable. additionally, the government and prison systems have attributed the rise of incarcerated men of color to their lack of maternal guide and support throughout their childhood. BUT this is where this reading come in: society/the government also forces these women to go out and get jobs, often without the financial means of providing well-rounded care for their children. so whose fault is it, really? (not a hard question) ● nesting of “male : female :: abundance : lack :: wealth : poverty” encourages society to connect male with abundance and wealth, and female with lack and poverty (41) ● reform also introduced “laissez-faire racism” that implied racism without explicitly setting limitations on the welfare system itself. ● this new racism is about racial discourse that, while termed as “neutral,” constitutes racial prejudice and supports racially discriminatory power structures and suppression/oppression ● today, black denotes risk (42), warning people, particularly people with money, to stay away ● race continues to systematically disadvantage blacks. in some cases, it institutionalizes them (as i said before, about incarceration of poc) ● The Bell Curve: “pornography of the new racism” ● the racist, sexist, and classist ideologies are hidden in “unfathomable depths” of the welfare reform (50), but it is not exactly unconscious as Jacques Derrida’s quote says (given, his quote is on an entire other subject). instead, it is “semiconscious” in that it is recognizable ● “the welfare queen is not a woman; she is not a she; she is an it, a particular kind of it…We read ‘personal responsibility’ but we see ‘welfare queen’” (51) ● the welfare queen is a self-fulfilling prophecy, fulfilled each day by recipients trying to make ends meet. if a welfare recipient fails to report an increased income, she is considered a fraud and criminal, no matter how poor she is (page 55). This immediate jump to the label of “criminal” paints welfare recipients as undeserving and punishable ● under the welfare reform, “poor black single women must act as if they were white, married, middle class, and with substantial job skills, in order to be recognized as personally responsible under welfare reform” (58) Schram ends his piece with the image of poor, black, single mothers pretending to be white, married, middle-class job holders “in order to be recognized as personally responsible under the welfare reform” (58). As I mentioned in the last class, the concepts and implications within the 1996 welfare reform, as well as dozens of other bills and laws that have followed, are littered with double standards. As Schram so eloquently explains it, personal responsibility is in itself an unfair expectation of women. In a society that so strongly divides gender roles into the public (men) and private (women) spheres, it is essentially impossible for women, specifically women of color, to achieve this personal responsibility of earning money as an employee at a job outside of the home. As Schram explains, white women have more or less succeeded in their transition from private to public sphere. Therefore, society regards feminism as over and done with. However, this clearcut example of white feminism points directly to the “socioeconomic order” of race-gender-class systems that intentionally, yet still implicitly, demonize poor, black, single mothers. Once again, this example reminds me of readings from my Religion, Gender, and Punishment class. Interviews by Regina Kunzel in 2016 uncovered to me the double standards promoted in prison systems. The justice system, prison authorities, and government view white incarcerated women as “fixable” and “redeemable,” as they havesomehow been misguided in their lives. On the other hand, they view incarcerated women of color as inherently “bad,” “irreparable” and “dangerous.” More to my point is the prisons’ attributing the rise of incarcerated black males to their misguided childhood and lack of maternal support. However, the government and society both essentially force women of color out of their homes to search for employment, regardless of their children’s needs. Thus, whose fault is it, really? It’s not a hard question. ● the idea of text versus subtext ● the seemingly nice parts of “personal responsibility:” ○ the idea that if you are responsible for yourself, you can make an improved whole society ○ the phrase “personal responsibility” doesn’t include race, gender, or class ○ the word ‘responsibility’ is regarded as positive and desired. since the reform came out, it has become charged and negative ○ as we see in the Gender section of Schram’s piece, “personal responsibility” is a patriarchal term, so it’s already becoming a negative term for women ○ it sets up an autonomy that there really isn’t. it tries to imply that there’s equality for men and women, when in reality there is none in today’s society ○ people can be heroes of their own lives: fleeing domestic abuse to set up a life for themselves ● Schram’s stance on personal responsibility : ○ daniela: should there be an universal standard or preferential treatment? ■ nina: do you think our government and society would ever let the policies to discriminate against white people though? ■ Sana: even though policies and laws have passed to support marginalized groups, society’s perspective needs to catch up ○ this personal responsibility allows the government to have less responsibility, which is pretty harmful, since it also allows individuals to be blamed for ‘lack’ of personal responsibility ○ the idea of giving food stamps instead of cash: not gonna give them cash cuz they might spend it on drugs or alcohol. food stamps instead limit their spending abilities. however, there’s still a hesitance from some people to give food stamps, since the recipients may buy unhealthy food for their children or beer. also, in the New York Times video, a lady complains that a food stamp recipient used food stamps on lingerie ○ lawrence: capitalism: many politicians want to take care of the country’s capitalistic economy, instead of the individuals/citizens within it ○ working your way out of poverty versus buying your way out of poverty. ○ question: what should be the balance between individual’s responsibility and government responsibility? ■ stop giving 1% tax cuts; instead, use income tax to fund welfare (in addition to the government’s welfare budget) ■ the government can direct its other efforts (such as building the stupid ass wall) to improving welfare and other humanitarian issues ■ politicians (such as when bill clinton passed the 96 reform) play to their voters’ desires, instead of to humanitarian efforts ■ it’s not that the government isn’t there, it’s just interested and directing its efforts to other issues. ■ status quo narratives: you need to have a particular kind of labor that you can exploit so that you get enough profit. it’s hard to imagine a new narrative for the country (scared of failing, hard to cope as a country, particularly after the recent 2008 recession) ● Linda Taylor: we live in a society in welfare fraud “takes precedence over homicide and kidnapping” (Levin) ● momma welfare roll: ○ when you have less, you are much more aware of what others have (“other people’s property”) ○ linda: to the government and society, she seems like a criminal, but her children know she’s just trying to make ends meet○ Justin: the last two lines “‘They don’t give me welfare./I take it’”: the imagined thoughts behind the typical welfare queen ○ Morgan: her taking welfare isn’t charity; it’s empowering, like she knows her rights first paper: Icons of Poverty ● choose a common icon in the public imagination that describes the poor. how does this icon conform to particular ideas of racism or sexism or locational difference? ○ welfare queenthe pauper ○ dead beat dad/ drunk ○ homeless drunkard ○ (maybe think of an incarcerated welfare person) ○ guy walking around with shopping cart and/or bags ○ assimilating immigrant that works his way up ○ successful female entrepreneur in the global south