The Truly Disadvantaged: The Inner City, the Underclass, and Public Policy, Second Edition 2nd Edition, Kindle Edition
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The Truly Disadvantaged by William J. Wilson
Author William J. Wilson addresses the inner city problems, the real meaning of underclass and the real root of social dislocation in his book, The Truly Disadvantaged: The Inner City, The Underclass and Public Policy. His aim is to challenge the conservative policy analysts perception of the poverty of African Americans who live in the ghettos in the United States. Their perception is that government programs only hinder the African Americans who live in poverty. Mr. Wilson is bringing to the table another rational of why race and urban poverty co-exist together. Wilson shares some points with data that proves that the conservative policy analysts are incorrect regarding race and urban poverty. This book is important because it is an answer to the ongoing dispute regarding why urban poverty exist in the inner cities.
Wilson points out many of the consequences that the removal of jobs from the city has on all of the stakeholders in the inner city neighborhoods. He examines the results of the jobs moving to the suburbs and leaving the city and the African American people who are left behind in communities of desolate and despair due to unemployment. The deterioration of the inner city is related to the increase intensity of poverty. Wilson looks at the absence of education and training to improve work skills for the residents in the inner city neighborhoods. This would allow the people to acquire skills that employers are seeking.
Diane Hassell – 2
Wilson feels that the liberal and the conservative analyses of the problems with the disadvantaged have not been adequate. The belief that different government funded programs would help improve poverty was not totally right or wrong, the problem being that along with the programs there should have been a watchful eye on the nation’s unemployment rates. To say that the programs were unsuccessful in decreasing poverty is not true because of the increase in unemployment in the United States. It seems to be accurate that if across the land the unemployment rises which would produce lower salaries that leads to an increase in poverty. When this happens in a government the one at the bottom of the totem pole is hurt the most, being in most cases the African American who was employed would be terminated.
Mr. Wilson writes about affirmative action programs, he states that he believes that they are needed to help people receive passage through the closed doors of discrimination. Yes, the programs are geared toward the trained and educated African Americans. This is a good thing, but it does very little for the unprepared and unskilled African Americans, who are left in the desolate urban neighborhoods. Because, when the African Americans receive a better job with better pay, they rush and move out of the ghetto. No one stays to put their new money into the neighborhood.
Diane Hassell - 3
He also challenges the conservative assertions that the welfare program is responsible for the deteriorating inner city conditions. He cites the study (commissioned under the Reagan Administration) by David Ellwood and Mary Jo Bane of Harvard University (70), which reported that welfare does not affect out-of-wedlock births. The number of African American children in single-parent homes increased by almost 20 percent during the time period of the study. While this was happening the number of African American children on government welfare dropped. This is an indication that welfare was not the motivating force behind these out-of-wedlock births. The absence of two parent families, female headed families, and children born out of wedlock is a result of the lack of employment opportunities for the African American male.
Mr. Wilson brings up many fine points and reveals much information about how the disadvantaged became the disadvantaged. How the middle class blacks deserted the lower class blacks, once they had the opportunity to leave the inner city. The money that was being put back into the neighborhood left with the middle class African Americans. He looks to the government for answers and new programs and new policies that include training for jobs, to have an economic growth that is balanced and employment for all. Wilson did not speak about the discrimination against African Americans from the Labor Unions. He did not address the great migration which led people of the same ethnic group to live in same neighborhoods. He did not point out that the African Americans who moved to the north were treated unequally regarding employment when it came to the immigrants that were coming from other countries. The African Americans in the inner cities are children and grandchildren of farmers and
sharecropper, who had little or no skills for the workforce that paid good salaries. I believe in the grass root system. We need to organize our communities, come together and do what Jane Jacobs did, observe. Through observation you can define what needs to be there and what does not. You can organize and make a difference. African American communities need to pull together, not fight with each other and work toward solutions.
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