United By Income Divided By Race Essay

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United By Income, Divided By Race Essay, Research Paper Rachel Thompson A22806249 SOC 316 Instructor: Hixson United by Income, Divided by Race America has been described as a “melting pot”– a land full of diversity. With that diversity comes a full range of income levels and statuses of its inhabitants, from the very, very rich to the destitute. Ronald Taylor’s article entitled “African-American Youth: Their Social and Economic Status in the United States” focuses on the issue of polarization. Polarization occurs when an increase of the percentage of people in poverty coincides with an increase of the percentage of people with higher incomes. Fewer people are considered ‘middle class’, but are either rich or poor. This paper will focus on the poverty-stricken

youth of America. How are today’s poor white and poor non-white youth alike? How do they differ? Sociologists and researchers have found evidence to justify both, and I hope to focus on major points for both issues. Whether you’re white, African-American, or Hispanic, poverty for today’s youth has many recurring themes. A recent article by Duncan and Brooks for The Education Digest points out some very discerning facts that face today’s poor youth. “Low Income is linked with a variety of poor outcomes for children, from low birth weight and poor nutrition in infancy to increased chances of academic failure, emotional distress, and unwed childbirth in adolescence.” (Duncan& Brooks, pg. 1). They also claim that low-income preschoolers show poorer cognitive and

verbal skills because they are exposed to fewer toys, books, and other brain-stimulating items at home than their higher-income classmates. Low-income adolescents, in later years, will experience conflict between their economically stressed parents, as well as lower self-esteem than other teenaged children. An article from the Ojibwe News, a Native American Magazine, gives a startling statistic discovered by research analysts for the Minnesota Private College Research Foundation. They found that a child from a family earning $25,000 or less annually is only one-half as likely to enroll in college as a child from a family with an annual income of $50,000 or more. Both white and non-white youth in poverty experience a higher rate of teenage pregnancy, AIDS, and tend to live in

single-parent homes. There are several differences that exist between white and non-white youth that live in poverty. Recent research for low-income youth has shown that the most important factor that contributes to the gap between employment rates of minority and white youth can be attributed to their social network. Three reasons were cited in lecture as to what lead to the declination of life chances among African-American youth in poverty. They are as follows: 1. “Affirmative Action” primarily helped better-educated, especially professional workers. 2. Relocation of industry to suburbs or abroad reduces “living wage” jobs for non-college educated. Lack of network contacts, plus continuing discrimination, puts minorities last in line. 3. Concentration of poverty in

center cities. Higher income black families go to the suburbs for jobs. Therefore, loss of network contacts, community organizations, and the like. These reasons attribute to the starling fact that Black poverty rates and unemployment rates remain at approximately 3 times the white rate. Israel and Seeborg in their article entitled “The Impact of Youth Characteristics and Experiences on Transitions out of Poverty” state that “…being black increases the probability of exposure to adverse social and economic conditions (i.e. underclass environment)…” which, in turn, reduces the chance that new generations can get out of poverty. This leads us to another point—if African-Americans experience the highest rates of teenage pregnancy, which perpetuates continuing