It is proven that every society want to be wealthy. However almost every country even the wealthiest contry such as America have some part of poverty. Poverty level change from one country to another. There are several types of poverty, and the cause of poverty. There have been many researchers discussed on poverty in America such as Isabel Sawhill and Ron Haskins, who have broadly classified many perspectives on poverty. Isabel Sawhill and Ron Haskins researches were focus on poverty from both structural and cultural point of view.
In their researches, they were able to determine that the causes of poverty are nearly complex and so effective solutions must be formulated and implemented (Haskins & Sawhill, 2009). There have also been many films such as the Ava Duvernay’s film 13th which explores poverty from the cultural point of view. Some of the cultural form the film critically evaluates include media representation, political racism, and the stereotype of linking the minorities with criminality. The systematic form that the film evaluates included mass segregation, mass incarceration and voter suppression between many other factors. This discussion explores to propose some effective ways to address both cultural and the structural poverty factors.
Various factors cause poverty ranging from cultural to structural factors. Markedly, people likely to form poverty to lack of money which is true, however; poverty is more than just the lack of money but also the wellbeing of an individual and community at large. Before classifying the causes and the viable solutions for poverty, it is necessary to have an overview of what poverty require. John Iceland in his article “Early Views of Poverty in America” has explored various aspects of poverty. Iceland defined poverty as the lack of necessaries and being unable to consume the necessaries.
Ron Haskins and Isabel Sawhill have widely examined the different perspectives of poverty from the culture as well as the structural point of views. Before providing viable solutions, it is necessary to have a good understanding of the major causes of poverty in the United States of America. Ron Haskins and Isabel Sawhill’s article provides the causes of poverty. They argue that heads of families of poor families in contrast to the head of families of the wealthy families tend to have less positive attitude, less orientation of the future and have less confidence. They argue that culturally poor people differ from others on personality and motivational measures (Haskins & Sawhill, 2009).
Most of the poor families find it difficult to mix the common values into their lives. These cultural attitudes including the different values, attitudes as well as predispositions of a group and the resultant impact of these attitudes to their behaviors are essential in the understanding of poverty. The authors also highlight without a job and low-income jobs as the main reason for people to indulge in self-destructive behavior (Haskins & Sawhill, 2009). In as much as America is highly developed, there are still many citizens that are jobless or have low-income jobs that cannot maintain them. The article, as also stated by the film by Ava Duvernay’s states that there are stereotypes about the minority groups in America.
Minority groups such as Black Americans are largely perceived to be poor and associated with criminal activities. Consequently, media representation and political racism are other cultural aspects of poverty. John Oliver in a YouTube video discusses the extent and root of America’s epidemic of opioid addiction. In the video, Olivier highlights how drug addiction specifically addiction to Opioid is most likely to affect the person’s economic status adversely. They are more likely to spend all their money on drugs and are also more likely to lose their jobs as their production levels are most likely to be affected by the addiction.
Besides cultural aspects, there are also structural perspectives on poverty. Ava Duvernay’s film 13th highlights some of the structural perspectives on poverty. He specifically highlights mass incarceration, voter suppression as well as segregation. With regards to voter suppression, in the past, there have been many instances where some people are locked out of the voting process especially the minority groups. For instance, in America in the past, black Americans, Asian voters, and Hispanic voters were suppressed from engaging in its elections.
In the just concluded Mid-Term elections, President Trump has been accused of voter suppression. Critics have argued that there were tougher registration requirements in most of the states were designed to limit participation. The incarceration levels in the US have also been on the increase and are considered a major perspective of poverty. For instance, in 2013, the incarceration rate in the United States of America was the highest in the world at seven hundred and sixteen per every 100,000 of the national population.
The cultural factor about the stereotypes about minorities as criminals and media representations can be changed. The government should take control of information portrayed through the media and ensure that there are no negative media representations and instead foster for a campaign to change the stereotype linking the minorities like criminals. The media is the best avenue to change this perception as it sets the tone for the values, morals, and image of the American culture.
Stringent measures should be taken against media houses that are displaying false information about the minorities. Consequently, the government can give the minorities an opportunity for representation in the government, through this they will have a representative who can help fight for their rights and will make them feel valued and part of the American society and the general perception about the minority as criminals is most likely to fade away.
With regards to structural factors of poverty, the government has a responsibility of ensuring that there are equal rights about to the voting process. Every citizen should be accorded similar opportunities and restricted when it comes to their right to choose their desired leader. Incarceration laws and policies should also not be discriminatory, but the law should apply equally to everyone. When the government can develop a culture of equality among the citizens where every citizen feels valued and equal to the rest, their productivity levels are most likely to increase, and the resultant impact will be high-income levels and consequently reduced poverty levels within the American society.