Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Mind At Work- Argument

Mike Rose's The Mind at Work points out the level of dificulty in low wage jobs like waitressing and hair dressing. What I took away as his argument is that we as a society do not appreciate the work that these men and women do because we think of it as something anyone can do. To begin he discusses waitressing, which is commonly thought of as a job t for the lazy. Rose collects data form interviews he conducts over time with waitresses and presents his interviews in a way to enoforce his argument. One of the things that strcuk me the most is the amount of mental workk involved in waitressing. Not that I think waitressing is a job for the lazy or undeserving, but I have never sat down and though about how diffucult their jobs are. As he explains waitresses have to have an excellent memory, not only to remember customers orders but to also deal with the issued that come up. For example a waitress doesnt  just wait on one table at a time, and not very table is satisfied with what you bring out to them. There are always the customers that interrupt you while your making your way from table to table making sure all your customers are ok. On top of that waitresses must create a kind of connection or raport if you will with their customers in order to maximize their tips which is where the majority of their ncome relies. Even after all the hard work that a waitress puts in a normal day at work her income still heavily relies on the generosity of the person she is serving which to me seems very unfair. So my question is this, why does docisety put such a stigma on waitresses and other low wage jobs? In my opinion as Mike Rose rights this book, he is trying to educate his audience not to judge a book by its cover so to speak. Just because someone is a waitress, line cook, hairdresser, maid etc doesnt mean that they are not smart enuogh to be doctors, lawyers etc. It just means that they were unfortunetly not givien the opportunity that others may have and this is where class comes into play.                                                                                                        

Monday, April 29, 2013

Zweig & Greider- Connections/Argument

I think Michael Zweig’s Six Points on Class was an excellent choice for the last reading because it tied everything we have learned in class all semester long. I know that had I read this the first day of class I would’ve been pulling my hair out trying to understand what Zweig was walking about. The six points he discusses in the article took me back to think of some of the other texts we have read in class this semester. The first point that stuck out the most to me was the one listed as number two on page 176. I don’t have the list of reading we have done all semester so I apologize for not having the names of the texts, but poverty has been one of the main topics in class this entire semester. We’ve discussed extensively how we “blame the poor” for being poor judging by what we see in the media, read in some books and view even on some TV shows.  “19 percent of Americans believed themselves to be in the top 1 percent, and another believed they would be there in the next ten years” This to me made me think of the mobility that we all are told we can achieve by working hard yet people don’t actually realize how mobility can be impossible without a variety of elements beginning with inherited monetary benefits. “Too many people think we are attacking them and their future” how can we attack a future that will never exist for the working class hard worker with a dream?
The next point that stuck out to me was the third point, the reality of race and class. Zweig talks a lot directly about the Katrina catastrophe, which relates directly to the article we read by Ransby. The media leads us to believe that the poor are black people or minorities, which is incorrect. I know before taking this class I would have never imagined that the majority of the poor population in America are actually white families especially women and children. We have also discussed in class why it was that the poor community was affected worse by this catastrophe and it all boils down to the same idea- the middle class population have options, while the poor do not. The statistics in the reading are too many to reiterate in this blog but I think will be surprising for someone with no knowledge about this topic to read.
I think the main argument of both Greider and Zweig is that we need to make America a place where equality is possible. We need to find a way to get rid of all the injustice and unfair systems. 

Waiting, waiting and deciding when to intervene- argument & evidence

(Argument and Evidence)
Waiting, Waiting, and Deciding When to Inrtervene discussed the racial inequality middle class black families face. The main pont I think Annette Lareau is trying  to make is that wealth is not the only factor when we discuss inequality, although it is very important. In my understanding she also argues that social class plays an important role in child rearing. Lereau begins by discussing the entitlement middle class families feel when it comes to voicing their opinions. This hit home to me and I paid special attention to this because I myself am a working class mother and when confronted with something I do not agree with that is happening at my daughter's school, I never make it a point to go as far as Mr. and Mrs. Kaplan did when they disagreed with the song their children were going to sing with the school choir. This story in particular took me back to a particular incident in my daughters school that I did not agree with. When I voiced my concern to her teacher, I was "blown-off" so to speak therefor I was intimidated and felt as though if she didnt take me seriously then no one would so I didnt perdue the issue any further. I bring this up because although I am not an african american woman, I am still a minority as well as a working class mother without the resourses that middle class families have. "Social class seemed to make a differece in how parents, primarily mothers, managed children's compliants about institutions." Lereau goes on to explain how mother intervene when their children are not given what they have asked for, for example in the case of Stacey whom was not accepted into the gifted program because she was two points under the cutoff score. Mrs. Marshall went above and beyond paying $200 to have the results privetly done then spoke to the administrator and was able to get her daughter into the gifted program. Working class families do not have the time or resources to go to such great extent to get their children what they want, even though they might deserve it and be just as intellingent as the middle class child. 


I found this video helpful in understanding the reading... 

Monday, April 22, 2013

Coming to class conciousness.. Quotes/Connections

Coming to Class Consciousness reminded me of various reading and class conversations we have had thoughout the semester from the very begining of the article. I remeber the first day of class we were asked to think back to our childhood and write about our class stories and what class we thought we identified with. Througout the semester I've learned how inacurate my initial response to that question was. The young woman talked about in this article, in some ways, reminded me of myself growing up. I always wanted the expwensie things advertised on TV and the prettiest dresses on magazines I would sneak out of my sisters room. Every time I asked for them my mother would tell me they were ugly that we would go shopping to find something more beautiful,which we did at Wal-Mart. At the time of course I didn't realize that what my mother was doing tricking me into believing that a $5 dress was prettier than a $45 dress from Filenes. "It still had not dawned at me that my parents, especially mama, resolutely refused to acknowledge any difficulties woth money because her sense of shame aroumd class was deep and intense (p.28). This sentence stuck out to me because it depicts exactly how my mother must have felt as well. Working class people have been taught by society to be ashamed of themselves for not doing better, for not having the expensive material objects, for not "fitting in". The entire paragraph following that sentence reminded me of Tammy. In Tammy's case, she was not at all ashamed of how she was living, however her kids were. Later on in the reading we learn about the paintigs the girl drew and how loneliness was the main theme of them both. This truly depicts how lonely one can feel when they don't fit in to what society teaches us is "normal".

Belonging is a sensative issue we have discussed in class on more than one ocasion and is also discussed in this article. College is a completely new and scary experience for anyone, especially in this case where we see her going into an all womens college where the majority of the population is white, upper class women. She has two complete disadvatages here, one being a black woman and two being lower class. Although the girl has the intellgence to attend some of the best colleges and universities, she is lacking the social and economic capitol required to fit at any of these schools. Even with al the financial help the girl is able to take, she and her family realize that tuirion is not the only expense necesary in order to attend those elite colelges. Transportation, for instance is not covered in scholarships to attend elite schools. Another issue she runs into is not having the support of her family to relocate to attend a better college. Earlier in the semester we read an article about values within the working class community. One major point we discussed was how working class families stay close together so they can rely on one another in a time of need, for example multiple people living in one apartment of need be. "Mama explained that California was too far away, that it would always "cost" to get there, that if something went wrong they would not be able to come abd recue me, that I would not be able to come and rescue me, that i would not be able to come home for the holidays (p31)."These are the exact reasons working class people never venture out and explore what they are truly capable of, they are all afraid of being alone, away from their networks. I also got the feeling that mama might be a little threatened by her daughter's choice of moving on and making something of herself. We've discussed in class how woking class people also have a way of shaming people when they dedecide to move out of the "woking class" enviroment because they are now going to forget their "roots" or "where they came from" once there better than everyone else which i think is another reason why her parents were so unsupportive of her idea to attend Stanford.

Monday, April 15, 2013

War on sex workers- Hyperliks

The War on Sex Workers was the reading that struck me the most although I had to re read it a few times to really understand the arguments presented. Sex work in my opinion is one of the most psychologically damaging types of “work” that exists. I know it is argued that some women chose this type of work, however I find that hard to believe. Personally, I think sex work is never an option but more of a last resort. Poverty is the leading cause for these women “choosing” sex work, along with drug addiction, violence etc that derives from living in poverty. Then we have the women that are exploited to do this kind of work by their “pimps” which can also be a cause of living in poverty. A few semesters ago I was assigned an investigative report on sex trafficking, which is why this article struck me the most. Women are lured in to this crazy lifestyle in exchange for “a better life” meaning being given glamorous clothes, brand name material things and even money to help their families. Melissa Farley says “Prostitution is paid rape”, I couldn’t agree more with her statement and it was one of the statements that struck me the most.

Reading further, I realized that some feminists actually believe that sex work can be beneficial to women. I think this is bizarre and started looking online at sex work and feminist and came across an article that I thought was very interesting written by a feminist that believes this same theory. Below I have attached the article and I invite you to at least read through it. Kelly Bell talks about how women can benefit from sex work to express their sexual creativity etc, but then goes on to say that prostitution should be illegal. This raised a question for me, what makes prostitution so different than pornography? Are they both not people being paid for sex?

Remember how I mentioned that sex work is a consequence or a way out of poverty? I found this video and thought it was exactly what I was talking about. This couple has sex in front of a webcam just to support their family. Every night for 5 nights a week they tuck their daughter in and turn to their amateur porn session to maintain the roof over their daughters head.

When I began to read this article I was confused as to why there were so many contradictions, which is partly why this particular article interested me the most. As I moved thought writing this blog and doing a little research of my own I began to notice I too was contradicting myself. I came to the conclusion that this topic is extremely controversial with direct answer.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Waging A Living (connections)

The film made me re-analyze my life and value the luck I’ve actually had to this point. In spite of becoming a mother at a very young age, I have been able to provide for my little girl while working two jobs and going to school full time. However it also made me realize how underpaid I actually am and how just to make ends meet I have to work two jobs in order to provide for my child and myself.
The film is obviously extremely sad, the men and women in the documentary are all obviously hard working, good people that are suffering from a bad case of bad luck. The story of Jean Reynolds was the one that touched me the most because I am also a CNA with a pay similar to hers and many times I have thought of possibly quitting one job but I know I could not afford what I have now with the pay of just one job (Thankfully I also work at AAA). Her oldest daughter Bridget, has thyroid cancer, something that can be treated however her physician told her this Christmas would be her last, “18,000 Americans die due to lack of funds to pay for healthcare”, isn’t that statistic mind boggling? Jeans 3% raise isn’t keeping up with inflations she clearly states. She is the primary care giver to her three children, then tacks on her two grandchildren whose fathers (her children’s and her grandchildren’s) refuse to help with the finances because it is not their responsibility.
Mary the waitress’ story was extremely sad to watch, I literally felt I was watching her life crumbling down. Her children were becoming resentful and violent because she was never home, she was always at work yet still didn’t have enough money to make ends meet and pay her necessary bills. This is following a divorce, which is something we have talked a little about in class in out random rants. Women are always left with the short end of the stick; they are left with bills after bills to pay for and the children to take care of. After a divorce a mans income is expected to increase 10%, while a woman’s decreases 27%, does this even seem fair? But as unfair as it is, it is something we know to be true. Mary’s story starts of during the holidays, a depressing time of year for a parent that is struggling financially to get through because of the media’s portrayal of what Christmas is all about- The gifts for the children! After the holidays she believed she is going to lose the house, the internet services, the car basically everything. She begins relying on Credit Cards, which leaves her fifteen thousand dollars in debt. I though of the lecture video we watched a while ago, I cant remember the name of the lecturer (I’m Sorry!) but he talks about this exact problem. Credit cards are not meant to help you in your financial struggle if anything it only deepens your debt!
The other two stories about Barbara, the student taking care of her children struggling to continue school and work, and Jerry the security guard living in a small room, sharing a bathroom were equally sad and depressing. The fact that Barbara had to go down to a part time employee so the federal and governmental help she was receiving wasn’t completely taken away seemed crazy to me. How was she expected to take care of her kids on the income of just herself? Somehow the state thinks that just because she was making a little more she didn’t need their help any longer.
This entire film brought to light Kozol’s Amazing Grace article where the main idea is that people in poverty aren’t living in poverty because they are not hard workers, or they’re ignorant, it is because they are suffering from a bad case of bad luck and the American system is working completely against them instead of “helping” them get out of poverty as they should. 

Monday, March 11, 2013

Quotes "Meida Magic"

“Unnoticed are four million poor people in the nation, a number that equals the entire population of Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Jersey, and New York combined.” Wow I don’t know about anyone else but this quote here grasped my full attention! I knew poverty rates were high, but I had no idea poverty rates were THIS high, I guess I too was a victim of “Media Magic”. After reading the text entirely I took a few minutes to look back and think about why I never imagined poverty being so high, then it dawned on me when I think of poverty, I think of homeless people, dirty, minorities and drug addicts/alcoholics which of course are in that predicament because they rather have the drugs and the alcohol instead of working to provide themselves with food, a roof over their heads and a better life. I feel terrible now! Mantosis’ article was a huge eye opener to me. All of what he says in his essay really makes sense to me. He argues that the poor population is stigmatized. The media portrays the poor to be there horrible people that don’t even deserve out pity because they have created their predicament all on their own. The media doesn’t tell us that the majority of the race that accounts for the poor population is actually white, not minorities as we see or hear about whenever there are talk about the poor.

“But poverty in the United States is systemic. It is a direct result of economic and political policies that deprive people of jobs, adequate wages, or legitimate support. It is neither natural nor inevitable: there is enough wealth in our nation to eliminate poverty if we chose to redistribute existing wealth or income.” This quote answered my question as to why poverty is an issue in a country where there is so much government/federal help. The media paints the picture that if you’re poor it is your own fault, you did this to yourself, there is no one to blame but yourself which in my opinion is mentally and emotionally damaging to hear when you are in that situation. This quote also brought into mind the reading Oxfam Media Briefing where it is explained how extreme wealth and extreme poverty hurts us all, even the middle class people. There is so much wealth in this country yet the poverty levels are so high, there has to be something wrong here!

The wealthy are us, “Its message: the concerns of the wealthy are the concerns of us all.” I don’t know about most people but I, as a working class person really do not care about the stock market and the weather at ski resorts or dresses that are $2,000, I cant afford any of that! Actually, part of the reason some of the material covered in this class is a little difficult to comprehend is because I have never paid attention to any of the stock market information or anything that is categorized as upper class/wealthy because I haven’t had the time to. Since I was sixteen I have been working, most of the time two jobs and have been enrolled in school full-time and the issue of classism has never been discussed in any of my classes or my jobs. I have never focused on the economics of anything.