Tuesday, May 14, 2013

jensen chapter 2

This chapter helped me further understand class and the societal views.  Individualism and consumerism controls the main focus of American Society. As I have probably said before class is not something I completely understood.
Some still believe in this American Dream that was created a long time ago. And some are still trying to achieve this dream. Unaware of the many barriers to get there. Barriers being race, gender, family values,  and cultures. "Classism in America is based on the assumption of the superiority of middle (and upper) class styles, tastes, attitudes, and values. Everyone is taught in school which ones are "good" schools, "good" manners, "proper" English, the "best" occupations. Everyone sees the movies and other media telling which are the "normal" people. the assumption that professional and managerial advancement is the measure of human worth is hammered at all of us from virtually ever major social institution."
These upper class ideals fit into this American Dream many people are trying to achieve.  Therefore, with idealizing this class it gets reproduced in our every day life to the point we are numb to it.  It is seen every day, without critical thinking skills we may still be believing these idea of there is no class. We are taught to believe we all have an equal chance of this ideal: n matter of race, culture or values.  i have to say i believed it once, but since this course i do not see it the same. I have individual struggles to reach advancement.
Jensen does a great job with her examples and tying it to how class is designed to help the reader understand its context.
As seen in many texts, this concept of individualism, classism and wealth is not evenly spread in our society.

Oliver and Shaprio

Race, Wealth, & Equality
As much as I know about Race and Wealth and Equality this article has given me a full understanding of this topic.  Many people like to believe we have advanced as a society but there is still so much a head of us to go. There is still much discrimination in our world.  "a growing number have not been able to take advantage of the opportunities now open to some. they suffer from educational deficiencies that make finding a foothold in an emerging technological economy near to impossible." This is very important to know. Education is very important to have. A high school diploma opens many doors for some but the more education the larger the doors become. But this basic knowledge from school can help students get an understanding about the world.  It can open them up to new surroundings and to know there are other things in the world. It is heart wrenching to think how  school systems still struggle to give the same education to students.  It is awful to see how some schools are better than others and these better schools have better academics. This leaves others in a bad area and behind.
"unable to move from deteriorated inner-city and older suburban communities, they entrust their children to school systems that are rarely able to provide them with the educational foundation they need to take the first steps up a racially skewed economic ladder." This is so important because there are so many environmental factors for someone to be living in inner-city homes. And these factors basically make the path for the young person without them choosing it. Thus, these parents can beat themselves up because they are unable to give their child the best. Thinking it is their fault when in reality it is the environmental factors that can't be changed, internalized classism.
We need to look at the whole picture not just the individual stories. There are reasons why people call into these categories.

waging a living film

This film was very interesting. It followed four individuals and their lives. They each had individual hardships. It shows how gender and race adds another toll to ones class. Race and gender can effect one's job opportunities, income, place to live, and even schooling. Especially seen in this film, I saw each of these struggles. Each of these affects intertwined with each other.
With five kids Mother A, struggled paying for bills and had to be on assistance. This put pressure on her because our society we are not to ask or use help. All of these cumulatively added when she decided on getting a degree. Every time something good happened to her such as a new job or a raise, her benefits would be cut. Making her realize she still cannot support her family with her income. This to her felt as a punishment for wanting to do better. There really wasn't much help for people trying to get out of poverty. She had the odds against her because she was a single parent, African American and a woman. Based on social norms, women are the child takers.
There was a story of a man A, who one would assume to be in a better place. He is an Hispanic, single male. He has two children who he does not see often. Due to an expensive city  he lives in, his housing is in a hotel. Since he is Hispanic he struggled finding a good job with benefits. He was doing better than the other women in the film but he had his own individual struggles.
I noticed each of these people had a hard time being in this tough spot. Each of them internalized classism (classism.org).

Also as seen in White Wealth, Black Wealth. There are significant differences in wealth will class.  Our society has been discriminatory towards every race but white and being white has this privilege. It is so hard to think how someone of  a different race could do better than others because of that difference.  The logic really does not make sense but that is how our society runs. We need to stop fighting against each other and start working together. Giving everyone an actual opportunity to unions for benefits, better pay and a secure job.

Mike Rose

I really enjoyed reading Mike Rose's Mind at Work.  I felt I was able to relate to much of what he was talking about. This class and after this book, I have definitely learned a new way to look at jobs, occupations and careers. I had worked in retail for the past five years and hated every minute of it.  There was just such hatred to standing at a register ringing out customers who wanted to be in and out. I received no stimulation from it. That is why I am pursuing a career.
With what Rose brought up in The Mind At Work, he tied in working class jobs and middle class jobs to be on the same level. He did not want this difference between them. This is what I found really interesting because i never saw it the way he described these jobs.  I used to think jobs such as retail and waitressing to be easy jobs that anyone can do.  But now I have learned otherwise. Waitressing is a field I just started in, it can be very difficult at times but also enjoyable.  It is different from retail.
When i worked at CVS and if customers asked me what i was doing with my life. I was sure to say how i was in school and how this was not going to be long term. I was basically ashamed to put myself into this category. These jobs, seen by many, are dead end jobs and can't expand. Just because it is a job i don't know does not mean i should bash it. These jobs make a living for some.
Mike Rose defined certain jobs such as waitressing, plumbing, a doctor,  and a person who deals with electricity. Each are different collar jobs and have different income but as I'm learning from this course, class is not based on income, it is the type of work you do.
In Rose's book, he describes each job and a day of work. With this he then starts to bring out similarities of each job. He shows how these jobs that are different in fact use the same set of skills. I feel with this, he is trying to educate people to understand how this jobs are very complicated and take time and knowledge to complete. We should not be disrespectful of someone because of the job they hold.  These jobs are no less than a college degree.  Different skills may be used but they are overall the same.
This book definitely made me proud to be a waitress.


Reading Amazing Grace, the society was very community based. The boy, the author was walking with, seemed to know a lot of the people walking around and was very friendly. With the questions the author asks such as the boy's heroes, I can tell where he comes from and what his ideals are. Also, I can tell what kind of schooling he has had by the response to "Have you read about George Washington?". This is hard to read how the education can be so much different depending where you live.
When the mother and the author discuss how it feels to have the incinerator in her neighborhood reminds me of this activity I once participated in one of my past courses. To briefly describe this activity: there is one head person, and an authority figure. The rest of the class was separated into three groups.  We were then given instructions to build a city but each of the groups had different rules.  We would need to get building permits and such... To make a long story short, each group represented a class: Upper, Middle and Lower. I was part of the lower class. Our group would be punished for doing nothing, they would make our city smaller, and the authority figure would deny our building permits.  It was a very interesting activity because we kind of got a feel of how it would be within these classes. Such as her description on how she feels living in this city. No one respects them because they are at the bottom. That should not be the case; everyone should be respected.
I think the author was trying to show an inside life of someone who lived in the lower class, like my activity, to show how people feel. To show they are just like everyone else and have hardships. I believe he is trying to educate and broaden people's minds.
The article gets really difficult to read listening to the awful stories at the hospital. It is unbelievable of the mistreatment of these people in the hospital. And terrible to think this is happening in my home country.  What will or can be done to help this community.


I have to say I do not know much about cultural or social captial. This text has helped my understanding of the these topics.
"cultural capital can exist in three forms: in the embodies state...in the form of long lasting dispositions of the mind and body; in the objectified state in the form of cultural goods (pictures, books dictionaries, instruments, etc) which are the trace or realization of theories or critiques of these theories.  in the institutionalized state a form of objectification which must be set apart because as will be seen in the case of educational qualification"
I have never thought i could see cultural capital in different forms. Having them defined in different states made the definition clearer. It is all about the culture the goods, the theories, and how others see it.
"Social capital is the aggregate of the actual or potential resources which are linked to possession of a durable network of more or less instituationalized relationships of mutual acquaintence and recognition- or in other words, to membership in a group-which provides each of its member with the backing of the collectively owned capital, a credential which entitles them to credit, in various senses of the word."
From my understanding of this definition social capital is the gains someone could have in society. Such as, a well known doctor or maybe a business man.  Social capital is to be gained over time and with the right types of people.
Although these definitions are complicated and deep, I was able to have an understanding of the terms.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Debt (quotes)

My understanding of debt is how one owes something to another person, a bank, creditors, ect. Debt is something people try to avoid, even though sometimes it is inevitable. With the high interest rates, there can be no way of avoiding debt.  I feel there is a negative view on debt. Throughout Graeber's article he touches upon the morality of debt.

"'Surely one has to pay one's debts.' The reason it's so powerful is that it's not not actually an economic statement: it's a moral statement. After all, isn't paying ones debts what morality is supposed to be about? Giving people what is due to them. Accepting one's responsibilities. Fulfilling one's obligations to others, just as one would expect them to fulfill their obligations to you." pg. 4
This is an interesting statement that Graeber made. It seems as though, the right thing to do is pay back your loans. From the article, it did not matter the cost. He referenced to Madagascar and how they had to cut funding for the mosquito eradication program which then caused ten thousand people to die. Also, Malagasy people were extremely taxed after they were colonized. With being heavily taxed, the Malagasy people also did not have a choice when the french started to build railroads, highways, bridges, etc. Graeber also stated how if the Malagasy people objected too strongly, there were slaughtered.

Is it morally right to lose the right to vote, to lose the right to live, even face jail time, etc just to pay back a loan? Why does force need to be placed? Is debt a type of power?How much is one supposed give up to pay back a loan? I think this is the underlying message in Graeber's article. How is it fair to put some in extreme measures for the sake of money.
Can there be anything done to change the way we view debt and create more ways to help people out of debt? Are there other ways then cutting necessary programs and putting people in harms way? These are the questions that came to me while reading the article.