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Poverty,disability is a form of social death sentance.

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undergroundpanther Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-04-11 08:29 PM
Original message
Poverty,disability is a form of social death sentance.
The fact is that millions of Americans do not do well and do not get ahead. They are mired in poverty and seem unable to get out of it. On the face of it, this fact poses no contradiction to America's commitment to the pursuit of happiness. To pursue is not necessarily to catch; it certainly does not mean that everyone should feel entitled to a life of material prosperity. "Equality of opportunity," the prototypical American slogan, is vastly different from the socialist dream of "equality of condition," which perhaps is one reason socialism has so few adherents in America.

The real difficulty in reconciling the American ideal with American reality is not the problem of income differentials but the persistence of poverty from generation to generation. Often, parent, child, and grandchild seem to be locked into a hopeless cycle of destitution and dependence. One explanation is that a large segment of the poor do not really try to get out of poverty. In its more vicious form this view portrays these people as lazy, stupid, or base. Their poverty is not to be blamed on defects of American society but on their own defects. After all, many successful Americans have worked their way up from humble beginnings, and many immigrant groups have made progress in one generation. Therefore, the United States provides opportunities for all who will work hard and make something of themselves. Another explanation, however, could be that the poor have few opportunities and many obstacles to overcome to climb out of poverty. If so, then America is not the land of opportunity for the poor, and the American dream is reserved for the more fortunate.

The first explanation for the persistence of poverty holds that among some groups there is a culture that breeds poverty because it is antithetical to the self-discipline and hard work that enable others to climb out of their poverty. In other words, the poor have a culture all their own that is at variance with middle-class culture and hinders their success. Although it may keep people locked into what seems to be an intolerable life, this culture nevertheless has its own compensations and pleasures: It is full of "action," and it does not demand that people postpone pleasure, save money, or work hard. And it is, for the most part, tolerable to those who live in it. Furthermore, according to this argument, not all poor people embrace the culture of poverty, and those who embrace middle-class values should be given every workable form of encouragementmaterial and spiritualfor escaping poverty. But for those poor who embrace the lower-class culture, very little can be done. These poor will always be with us.

According to the second explanation of poverty, most of the poor will become self-supporting if they are given a decent chance. Their most important need is for decent jobs that can go somewhere. But often they cannot find jobs, and when they do, the jobs are dead-end or degrading. Some need job training or counseling to give them more self-confidence before navigating the job market. Others need temporary help such as rent supplements, inexpensive housing, income supplements, protection from crime, medical services, or better education to help them help themselves.

The culture of poverty thesis shields the economic system from blame for poverty and honors Americans who are better off. But most of the poor are as committed to taking care of themselves and their families through hard work as is the middle class, and a sense of dignity is common to all classes. Critics judge the culture of poverty thesis to be a smug, self-righteous justification by spokesmen for the middle and upper classes for the economic system that rewards them so handsomely while subjecting the poor to an intolerable existence. The culture of the poor is similar to the culture of the middle class. Where they do differ, however, the difference is because the culture of the poor is materially different. Change their material conditions and their culture will change rather quickly.

By "social death" is meant the excommunication of the individual from their normal social interactions. For labeled individuals, with lives highlighted by the shame dynamics, that is represented in immanent experience as stigma. But it also manifests in "life path" experience, where the secure bonding that renders realization of social possibilities and career opportunities is challenged by the shame regime. These people lose their future, so that they are either merely maintained (which is known as "warehousing") or they are expected to "start over and make do" in a climate of restricted possibility..

And isn't poverty all about restricted possiblities? How does the daily invisability and stigma affect a person who's not only ostracized,but has no money to soothe and manage the emotions rejection causes.

Twenty years ago, we could laugh at Zero Mostel's caricature. In recent years, however, the same process has been going on every day in the arena of social problems, public health, anti-poverty programs, and social welfare. A philosopher might analyze this process and prove that, technically, it is comic. But it is hardly ever funny.

Consider some victims. One is the miseducated child in the slum school. He is blamed for his own miseducation. He is said to contain within himself the causes of his inability to read and write well. The shorthand phrase is "cultural deprivation," which, to those in the know, conveys what they allege to be inside information: that the poor child carries a scanty pack of cultural baggage as he enters school. He doesn't know about books and magazines and newspapers, they say. (No books in the home: the mother fails to subscribe to Reader's Digest.) They say that if he talks at allan unlikely event since slum parents don't talk to their childrenhe certainly doesn't talk correctly. Lower-class dialect spoken here, or even God forbid!Southern Negro. (Ici on parle nigra.) If you can manage to get him to sit in a chair, they say, he squirms and looks out the window. (Impulse-ridden, these kids, motoric rather than verbal.) In a word he is "disadvantaged" and "socially deprived," they say, and this, of course, accounts for his failure (his failure, they say) to learn much in school.

Note the similarity to the logic of Zero Mostel's Dixiecrat Senator. What is the culturally deprived child doing in the school? What is wrong with the victim? In pursuing this logic, no one remembers to ask questions about the collapsing buildings and torn textbooks, the frightened, insensitive teachers, the six additional desks in the room, the blustering, frightened principals, the relentless segregation, the callous administrator, the irrelevant curriculum, the bigoted or cowardly members of the school board, the insulting history book, the stingy taxpayers, the fairy-tale readers, or the self-serving faculty of the local teachers' college. We are encouraged to confine our attention to the child and to dwell on all his alleged defects. Cultural deprivation becomes an omnibus explanation for the educational disaster area known as the inner-city school. This is Blaming the Victim.

Pointing to the supposedly deviant Negro family as the "fundamental weakness of the Negro community" is another way to blame the victim. Like "cultural deprivation," "Negro family" has become a shorthand phrase with stereotyped connotations of matriarchy, fatherlessness, and pervasive illegitimacy. Growing up in the "crumbling" Negro family is supposed to account for most of the racial evils in America. Insiders have the word, of course, and know that this phrase is supposed to evoke images of growing up with a long-absent or never-present father (replaced from time to time perhaps by a series of transient lovers) and with bossy women ruling the roost, so that the children are irreparably damaged. This refers particularly to the poor, bewildered male children, whose psyches are fatally wounded and who are never, alas, to learn the trick of becoming upright, downright, forthright all-American boys. Is it any wonder the Negroes cannot achieve equality? From such families! And, again, by focusing our attention on the Negro family as the apparent cause of racial inequality, our eye is diverted. Racism, discrimination, segregation, and the powerlessness of the ghetto are subtly, but thoroughly, downgraded in importance.

The generic process of Blaming the Victim is applied to almost every American problem. The miserable health care of the poor is explained away on the grounds that the victim has poor motivation and lacks health information. The problems of slum housing are traced to the characteristics of tenants who are labeled as "Southern rural migrants" not yet "acculturated" to life in the big city. The "multi-problem" poor, it is claimed, suffer the psychological effects of impoverishment, the "culture of poverty," and the deviant value system of the lower classes; consequently, though unwittingly, they cause their own troubles. From such a viewpoint, the obvious fact that poverty is primarily an absence of money is easily overlooked or set aside.

Is the power of the Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee in the state legislature diminished or enhanced in any way by his taste in clothing or music? And suppose every single poor family in America set as its long-range goal that its sons and daughters would get a Ph.D.who would pay the tuition?
The effect of tastes, child-rearing practices, speech patterns, reading habits, and other cultural factors is relatively small in comparison to the effect of wealth and influence. What I am trying to suggest is that the inclusion in the analytic process of the elements of social stratification that are usually omittedparticularly economic class and powerwould produce more significant insights into the circumstances of the poor and the pressures and deprivations with which they live. The simplestand at the same time, the most significantproposition in understanding poverty is that it is caused by lack of money. The overwhelming majority of the poor are poor because they have, first: insufficient income; and second: no access to methods of increasing that incomethat is, no power. They are too youn& too old, too sick; they are bound to the task of caring for small children, or they are simply discriminated against. The facts are clear, and the solution seems rather obviousraise their income and let their "culture," whatever it might be, take care of itself.

The need to avoid facing this obvious solutionwhich is very uncomfortable since it requires some substantial changes and redistribution of incomeprovides the motivation for developing the stabilizing ideology of the culture of poverty which acts to sustain the status quo and delay change. The function of the ideology of lower class culture, then, is plainly to maintain inequality in American life.

To be ostracized is to be ignored and excluded. How does ostracism affect
individuals? Considerable research has now shown that the initial (reflexive) reactions
to even the most minimal forms of ostracism are painful and distressing.
Fundamental needs of belonging, self-esteem, control, and meaningful existence
are thwarted; sadness and anger increase. These effects emerge despite individual
differences or situational factors that should lead logically to easy dismissal. With
time to appraise the ostracism episode, individuals become differentially sensitized
based on (i) the specific needs that are thwarted, (ii) their own individual differences,
and (iii) their assessment of who ostracizes and why. These differences lead
to need-restorative behaviors that range from being overly socially attentive and
susceptible to influence to being aggressive and antisocial.
To be ostracized is to be ignored and excluded.

And the poor as a class are invisible politically, poor are ignored by every politician except as a scapegoat or example to push an agenda,poor people's needs seen as an intolerable burden.The poor are deemed by socially insulated people who have plenty as undeserving of care,attention or help and the subsidy given often are seen as waste,so the things poor need to survive are cut and cut and cut..because comfortable people love to hate the poor.
Poverty in the context of our cruel social stratification structures ,poverty is a form of ostracism,the poor are invisible,people on disability are assumed to be malingering,to steal tax dollars,poor people are always assumed to be sub human,stupid,addicts,criminals parasites vermin..etc.The poor and rejected are left to live in places devoid of beauty,safety.Poverty hurts you deep down.It wounds your life.
How much ignoring and exclusion is necessary before ostracism is
detected and hurtful? What is its psychological impact? How do people
respond? In this article, I will review the research that my colleagues,
students, and I have conducted over the last 15 years that begins to answer
these questions.
The key findings that I will present suggest that we have learned a great
deal about ostracism beyond the fact that it is unpleasant for the recipient.
Being a social outcast appears to be detected very quickly and crudely,
without concern for factors that should diminish its impact. It is felt
initially much like physical pain, and may be detected through much the
same neural architecture, as is physical pain.

In another study, participants were led to believe the other players were
other students, or were actually computer generated. This, too, mattered
little: ostracism by anyone (or any thing) hurt, except that participants were
somehow angrier when ostracized by computer players (People let you down,
computers arent supposed to) (Zadro, Williams, & Richardson, 2004).
We have gone so far as to stack the deck against inclusion, charging
participants money for each ball that is thrown to them. They still feel
just as badly as when ostracized in a game in which the ball tosses have
no monetary value (van Beest & Williams, 2006).
Whether or not the individual is high or low in social anxiety, introversion/
extraversion, secure attachment, self-esteem, loneliness, individualism,
or agreeableness seem to have negligible, if any, impact on this
initial level of pain.

Another reason that ostracism may lead to aggression is because
ostracized individuals feel invisible, unable to provoke a response in others,
be it favorable or unfavorable.

And isn't just how you feel when rich or powerful people call you lazy parasites or burdens bankrupting the nation? when a social worker ignores what you say or looks at you with contempt?

It is a person-to-person initiative that continually strives to break the mental poverty that has now convinced so many people that their quality of life is directly proportionate to their quantity of money. When people begin to acknowledge that they truly are the ones with the solutions, they also begin to realize that many of these solutions lie no farther than their own front yard.
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orpupilofnature57 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-04-11 08:35 PM
Response to Original message
1. Happiness is an ambiguous commodity ,Health and prosperity are Supposedly...
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Trillo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-04-11 08:55 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. I thought the equating of "happiness" with "money"
was somewhat strange (though it is understandable given the financial constructs of our "civilization"):

From WordNet 3.0 (En-En)
1. state of well-being characterized by emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy (Freq. 4)
2. emotions experienced when in a state of well-being (Freq. 2)

But then I didn't have Devil:

HAPPINESS, n. An agreeable sensation arising from contemplating the
misery of another.

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orpupilofnature57 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-04-11 09:00 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. Thats why I separated it from Health & Wealth, it's a synthesis ,not a Condition
Edited on Sun Sep-04-11 09:00 PM by orpupilofnature57
And lest we forget " Happiness is a warm gun mama "
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Little Star Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-04-11 08:35 PM
Response to Original message
2. Good post! k&r
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cutlassmama Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-04-11 09:46 PM
Response to Original message
5. K&R
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FirstLight Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-04-11 10:07 PM
Response to Original message
6. ...couldn't get more than halfway through, but i am riveted.
Edited on Sun Sep-04-11 10:07 PM by FirstLight
I had to stop because of this darn lump in my throat and something in my eye.
I'll tell you, i had this exact epiphany this week as I had an unexpected raise in rent from HUD, and their explanation was to tell me that i didn't read my mail well enough, they warned me in July of last year (in a generic newsletter sent to everyone that said "cuts are coming, be prepared!") Like I was supposed to find MORE work? when all i could find was a 10 hour a week gig to begin with? and because I had a one time income from a freelance gig, my whole annual income gets jacked? they do their math, and I get to figure out how to hustle more from this existence...

I'll tell you how it feel to be ostracized... I hate school functions because I am worried about talking to parents who have vacations and cars that run and careers... I hate being in most any social situation, and have even lowered my standards in men because the really intelligent ones who I like would think i am looking for a meal ticket. So I don't really socialize much at all. I have friends that are in dire straits too, and i feel awkward most of the time with them too. I grew up middle class, and have a hard time with the different lifestyle my good friends have. A lot more smoking, more drinking and less kid supervision, and ya, less cleaning, ... i am not trying to stereotype, but there is a 'white trash' element to poverty, i am probably considered to be there too. I just am a first generation, and most of my poor friends are second or third, so they have grown up with less supervision and poorer education too and a culture that finds it's happiness in little a six pack and a smoke. I indulge too, why not? don't i deserve some moments where I can be physically/mentally free from the GRAVITY I constantly live with? ya, that's a good reason.

god how depressing... sorry
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DrunkenBoat Donating Member (584 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-04-11 10:12 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. Poverty/adverse circumstances often make one a non-person among one's better-situated friends.
For example, your opinions become less worthy. As you are unemployed & therefore deficient in some undefined sense.

It is very interesting to watch the subtle differences in the way you are treated. You become a person who can't scratch anyone's back, and therefore not worth the effort to cultivate.

An eye opener.
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Trillo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-04-11 10:29 PM
Response to Reply #6
9. Interesting about the trash comment, not doing housework, "less cleaning"
I believe the military-style neatness, that seems even enforced even by zoning codes, is a mask. Essentially, a lie. It is kind of like, "Look at how perfect my ______ is" (blank could be reflected in their clothes, their room, car, house, manicured yard, etc.), as if that infers something about their inner life, the real person behind the mask.

Masks are all in vogue these days. Lipstick. Not really important.
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FirstLight Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-04-11 10:14 PM
Response to Original message
8. glad to see you here again, too
correct me if I am wrong but you were gone for a while... I appreciate seeing your posts again :hug:
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Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-04-11 11:01 PM
Response to Original message
10. K&R!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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orpupilofnature57 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-05-11 06:27 AM
Response to Original message
11. Friendly Fascism is what your talking about ,this is what they've done to
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undergroundpanther Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-05-11 02:46 PM
Response to Reply #11
12. Bingo!
and if the fascist assholes don't get what they want they'll just set up this system they've imposed for centuries upon to make us suffer and die.
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