In this movie Will Smith played Chris Gardner; a struggling father who was in a slow down market to sell portable bone-density scanners began to feel the effect of income inequality. At the early stage of his marriage both him and his wife worked hard for a living but their wages were stagnated. This cause a rift in their marriage as his wife felt that she was taking on too much financial responsibility and therefore she left him and their son. However, Chris had a gift; he was always good at Math which prompted him to try out for a position as an intern stockbroker. Unfortunately, this was an unpaid intern and he had to compete with 20 others to get this position. What I admire about Chris is that he was a single father who did not receive any handouts from the government or assistance from his friends. His struggle became his strength which helped him to accomplish his position in the financial world today. A man in this position should not be going through circumstances such as the IRS garnishing unpaid income taxes or becoming homeless with his son which occurs to so many others in this country. Thank goodness Chris did not sell drugs to get back on his feet. In his case, some people in the urban city hustle because there are not enough financial options to choose from. For example, two of the biggest employers in the urban city are Walmart and McDonald’s which should be paying their employees MORE. Chris is a great example on how you can pursue your happiness through hard work and live comfortably based on something you love to do.
In a recent article, published in the Hartford Courant, there was a focus on how Connecticut residents currently working minimum-wage jobs are barely making ends meet. What a shocker, right? The author describes that back in the 70’s while working a summer retail job, they took home about 70 bucks a week. That covered books, living expenses for a year in a dorm, and a little left over. You’d be lucky these days if that covered your groceries for a week!
The article states that anyone making less than $10.32 per hr working full-time isn’t going to be able to provide for the basic necessities (food, shelter, clothes, etc.) Now, don’t get me wrong, I agree whole-heartedly that the minimum wage needs to be raised, but I don’t believe a non-manager McDonalds employee should be making $15.00 an hr flipping burgers. The pay scale should correlate with your skill level and what you can bring to the table.
As the article mentions, we need to nip the problem in the bud early and make sure that people are graduating high school and going to college so they’re not stuck making these kinds of wages for the majority of their life and becoming part of the “working poor” statistic.
With director Christopher Nolan’s Batman swan song The Dark Knight Rises (bat song?), one can expect a healthy dose of action, tights, and …political commentary?! In his previous bat movie The Dark Knight, Nolan slyly instilled his superhero film with topical themes that dealt with the ethics of surveillance, terrorism, and torture in a War on Terror era. Much like its predecessor, The Dark Knight Rises takes influences from current events to craft a compelling story.
Rises tackles the growing unrest between the elite 1 % and the general public as a result of the lopsided economic inequality. When mercenary Bane takes over Gotham, he taps into the city’s economic unrest and beckons citizens to take back their city from the rich. When delivering his speech, the scene is framed as if Bane is talking directly to the camera. We are his audience, his angry majority. Immediately, a social revolution occurs as the majority revolt and jail the wealthy.
“You’re going to wonder how you ever thought you could live so large and leave so little for the rest of us,” utters Catwoman as if she was a member of Occupy Wall Street. Did Nolan intend for these parallels? Maybe, maybe not…but as a result, he had audience members engaged in political dialogues just from watching a simple superhero movie.
When we imagine the American Dream, many of us have the same picture in mind. We think of safety, freedom, wealth, and equality. Immigrants move to our country every year to create a better life for themselves and their family. We experience this flood of souls from all over the world with the simple dream to live just as American born citizens are given the right to. As we see so many people travel miles to live as Americans, we have to wonder why so many Americans feel cheated out of the life they were born with the right to live. Our country is the wealthiest it’s ever been, yet the wealth isn’t distributed throughout the entire economy. Rather, it is concentrated at the top 1% of Americans who not only make outrageous amounts of money every year, but pay less taxes than those in the middle class, and then invest their money in personal funds where it remains stagnant and never invested back into the country’s economy. The middle class is essential to keeping our economy prosperous, and with the current system in place, society is caught in a world they can’t afford controlled by a corruptive government run with a capital principle.
“Poverty is the consequence of plunder,” Dr. Oscar Guardiola-Rivera
Throughout the documentary Poor us an animated history of poverty, causes inherent to the worldwide issue of poverty. Neighboring countries and foreign explorers have been one of the main causes of poverty throughout history. The Incan Empire had contact with European settlers and that brought smallpox to Latin America.
A vicious disease, reportedly carried by European settlers, spread and quickly killed 60% to 90% of the population.
The main cause in this case is the greed of the neighboring spaniards. The death toll and the ongoing civil war between the heirs to the throne Atahaulpa and Huascar left the Incan Empire vulnerable and easy pickings forFrancisco Pizarro
His desire to conquer Peru and the surrounding areas lead him to The Incan Empire and after a conflict lasting years filled with mass murder, enslavement, and plundering The Incan Empire was all but destroyed by 1571. The culture save for a few pieces of the language and traditions were gone. Pizarro didn’t care for “trivial” things like culture or human life. Though the disease was the the impetus for the Incan Empire’s ongoing problems, it was the greed and the hedonistic ideals of conquerers that lead to the demise of a prosperous economy and made the surrounding areas toxic in the aftermath.
By Jibreel Mahmud
Quick, get out your magnifying glass because the American middle class is shrinking! If trends of wealth and inequality continue as they previously have, America may digress into a third-world socio-economic state. Before you dismiss this as dramatic bulls_ _t just stop and consider that right now you as a young consumer are probably taking money out of your own pocket and making someone of the “one percent” even richer while you fall further into the “99 percent”. This is not to say, “stop buying stuff!”, because that’s not gonna happen. We live in a capitalistic society. That being said, let us get to the chief purpose of this blog….to explore the connection (or disconnection) between wealth, inequality, and race in America.
In upcoming posts we will delve into how the many (99%) are being left behind by the few (1%) and how race is effected by these divisions. This subject will be investigated using examples taken from a host of reference material gathered in an effort to inform and also entertain. The purpose here is not to overthrow our current American economy and society but just to gain a better understanding of how and why sometimes… Black and Brown don’t make Green. THINK ABOUT IT!
“You need to understand the history of poverty, to make history about poverty.” (Poor Us- An Animated History of Poverty)
Put yourself in Times Square, New York City. You walk along the street with large skyscrapers looming over head and bright billboards flashing advertisements. On the approaching street corner, you notice an unshaven man with ripped clothes sitting against the street sign. He is holding a sign that says “Hungry” with an empty soup can placed in front of him. The wave of the crowds wash over him without a second glance.
Why has our society become so accepting and tolerant of the inequality gap between the top one percent and the bottom?
The documentary, Poor Us- An Animated History of Poverty depicts the transformation and acceptance of inequality throughout the history of multiple cultures and countries.
This documentary shows the typical undercurrent of views on inequality as it becomes more openly accepted throughout history. This gap of inequality was deemed as a necessity so that the perpetuation of the wealthy could maintain a higher status or control. This theory is still prevalent in today’s society.
Maybe it’s time to stop, next time you pass the man in the street.
The Popes highly anticipated visit to the United States has come and many argue they cant wait for it to end. Does the pope shit in the woods? Chances are no, although that would be quite funny. There is one thing Pope Francis isn’t afraid of defecating on and that is the idea of income inequality. While on topic Pope Francis has been quoted saying the unrestrained pursuit of profit “as the dung of devil”. Great visual from the highest ranking religious figure in the world. Trust me he is not the first man to oppose capitalism and lets not get ahead of ourselves and dub him a messiah. But hopefully his visit bodes well for new policies to be brought to the forefront. Awareness leads to support and support leads to traction on new policies.
Income inequality has become a crucial talking point for our upcoming elections. Well at least I hope it becomes one because its a plague that needs to be eradicated. The “radical” new Pope has this weird idea that income inequality is NOT GOOD. What does he know? Hes only from Argentina where income equality is prominent. Seriously though, the man has seen income inequality first hand. Latin America has seen some of the widest gaps of income equality world wide, ill take his word for it.
Pony Boy ( Josh Kimball)
Recently I watched a documentary in my Writing for Electronic Media class. Following the topic of Income Inequality through the prism of race, because what’s a better way to make people uncomfortable than talking about race? In the documentary we follow former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich on his quest to determine when this inequality becomes a problem. He poses three major questions having to do with the distribution of wealth: 1. What is happening? 2. Why? 3. Is it a problem?
One thing that he said really hit home for me and that is that 42% of children born into poverty will not get out. So this means that two people decided to have a child and NOT take their financial situation, or basically anything into account, and essentially made a conscious decision to screw their OWN child for the rest of its life. What if that child that will live in poverty for the rest of its life has the cure to cancer in its brain? It will never come out because that kid will never have a chance to get a higher education or honestly flourish inside the public school system. This is a serious problem that needs to be addressed.
Wealth and income inequality is a serious problem that spread all across the U.S., affecting millions of individuals that you and I would say don’t deserve it. You probably know someone or at least of someone who has been affected by this in one way or another.
What happened was in 1928 a certain 1% of the U.S. population who were either self made millionaires or born as wealthy individuals really began to take off and separated themselves from the other percentage of people who weren’t born into wealth.
One of the many backlashes of this huge gap that was created between the top 1% and the rest of the world was the huge increase in homelessness. There were many cases of families with both parents working full time and still being unable to take care of all their living expenses.
With advanced technology also becoming more common in the work world, it made finding a job that required to be done by humans more scarce. College graduates were even struggling to find work and maintain a steady paycheck to support themselves, let alone a family; as for the other job openings that required manual labor the college students didn’t want, those were given to the immigrants who had no problem doing them.