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Alzheimer's Disease

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Through readings and class discussion, I have gained a tremendous amount of insight about the characteristics of racism and oppression, which exist within society. After reading the article The Bell Curve, by Richard J. Henderson, and Charles Murray, I was enraged. This article was clearly written with a white, male's perspective, and rarely takes into consideration the cultural, structural and political strengths of oppression and racism.

In order to fully understand welfare and the precipitants of welfare, we must take into account an individuals culture and the cycle of socialization. Culture is a system of shared beliefs, values, customs, behaviors and artifacts that members of society use to cope with their world and with one another. It is often transmitted from one generation to the next generation through learning. Although many do not consciously realize, you become part of your culture, it is away of defining the society that you live in and come from. Culture helps mold a child into the person they will become. An individual born into poverty, is in essence, born into a culture were poverty is dominant.

According to Harro, and his article The Cycle of Socialization, we are each born into a specific set of social identities, and these social identities predispose us to unequal roles in the dynamic system of oppression. These identities that are ascribed to us at birth, are handed to us through no efforts or decision. "Immediately upon our births we begin to be socialized by the people we love and trust the most, our families or the adults who are raising us. They shape our self-concepts and self-perceptions, the norms and rules we must follow, the roles we are taught to play, our expectations for the future, our dreams." (Hallo p 17). Therefore, an individual born into poverty is inherently underprivileged and underserved.

An individual who is born into poverty is bounded by poor living conditions, inequitable supplies, and stressed out family members. Those who are poverty stricken have limited health access and education. As results of poor schooling, individuals are less educated and receive lower skilled jobs, which are lesser paying. Due to poor health care, it's harder for individuals and their families to seek medical assistance; in addition, few have the option to take off work to seek medical attention. Inevitably, it is clear that an individual born into poverty is in constant battle for survival. This is an example of how oppression is structurally formed, rather than the result of a few individual's choices or policies. As Marilyn Frye puts it, "an enclosing structure of forces and barriers which tends to the mobilization and reduction of a group or category" (P 36) The system in which we live in today, discriminates against the poor, it requires welfare precipitants to compete in a world were they are not equally served and are systematically last. The way our society is structured, the poor get poorer and the rich get richer.

Our political system is structurally discriminatory. Those individuals who make the laws and policies are predominantly middle to upper-middle class, white, and men with high political power. They are well educated, properly nourished, live in big fancy houses and have all luxuries and necessities of life. These men, who know merely nothing of what it actually feels like to live in poverty, are the individuals writing and implementing laws and policies. Additionally, these individuals are faced with political pressure to implement laws that enable the powerful to remain powerful, where the individuals holding the most power, continue to hold power and are not threatened by others. However, this is not to imply that these high standing political powers are purposely structuring society so that the poor are oppressed. Nevertheless, due to their culture and way of life, their perspective is altered, resulting in laws and policies, which oppress the poor.

Having an invested interest in the culture of poverty, as well as understanding the dynamics of oppression and racism, I am completely disturbed by the article The Bell Curve, by Herrnstein and Murray. The authors state that, "Low intelligence increases a white mother's risk of going on welfare, independent of any other factors that might be expected to explain away the relationship"(article, the bell curve). I entirely disagree with this statement. I believe the authors are biased, and guilty of writing in racist and discriminatory fashion. The authors pay little attention that living in poverty is extremely



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