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Power and Privilege Society and the Poor - Essay Example

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Power and Privilege Society and the Poor

Personal Experience. Like any person in modern society, I have witnessed poverty. While I have not slept on the streets of a major urban area or worked in a soup kitchen, I have seen people on the streets that were obviously poor and of course, the pictures in the media of homeless and desperate people. In reflecting over my own actions, I don't recall ever having thought or spoken out that they could only blame themselves for the condition they were in. My response has usually been one of sympathy, though I have to admit that I have been apprehensive when approached by someone who was begging or when a homeless person came up to clean the windshield while we were in traffic. I am not sure exactly how my experience relates to the broader issues, because I while I am certainly not a "victim-blamer" who thinks that people can boot-strap themselves out of the culture of poverty, neither am I convinced that the answer is one of "re-education and more tolerance of deviant behavior" (Klass 1). I don't blame the victims for their condition, but I am not sure tolerance of deviant behavior is the answer either.
Legal Contribution. ...
In fact, the not-so-subtle suggestion is that the poor are responsible for their own condition and as such contributors, have no remedy at law. I find this to be extraordinarily ironic since most justices, judges, and lawyers are tremendously affluent by comparison and have no concept of the culture of poverty on the level that most homeless people experience every day. For the law to focus on attempting to change the individuals without addressing the circumstances that contribute to their condition is to give the culture of poverty a significant boost in the wrong direction. It is a symptomatic treatment instead of a curative one. Sadly, the social dynamic of poverty does not provide a much brighter prognosis from the perspective of the disadvantaged.
Social Will. Society has played a role in the culture of poverty, and should not be let off the hook so easily as to blame the victims or the legal system. As Bagdikian points out, "poverty may have been inexorable in biblical times, when there really was inadequate food...[but] affluent countries like the United States have enough rich resources" to ensure that such levels of poverty are not present (Bagdikian 1). I see this as a social will. Americans don't want to do what is necessary to obviate the conditions that contribute to the culture of poverty. Sure, we will participate in a canned food drive or give our old clothes to Goodwill, but when it comes down to supporting any idea of allocating significant resources to curing poverty there seems to be no public interest at all.
From my own personal experiences, I have seen a small picture of the plight of the poor and somewhat understand the culture that keeps them out of ...Show more
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Summary

Of all the places where the assertion of power and privilege can be readily identified, perhaps the most visceral expression lies within the span between the rich and the poor. In the United States, the word "rich" is a relative term when its privileges are contrasted to the condition of the impoverished, as there is an obvious distinction between those who are truly underprivileged and those who are considered even the lower middle-classes…
Power and Privilege Society and the Poor
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