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1. The film entitled “In the White Man’s Image” features the story of the early efforts by the Congress to “civilize” Native American Indians, which shows the process of homogenization. This process required the removal of Native American children from their homes and placing them in special Indian schools ( 2006), such as the Carlisle Indian Industrial School, founded by Richard Henry Pratt. The deculturalization of the children were exhibited for they were forced to stay for years at a time without returning home and forced to disdain their own language and culture, and instead, learn the ways of the white man ( 2006). This film shows the discrimination in culture and the ethnocentrism of the whites over the Native American culture of the Indians, as exhibited by the government schools. Ethnocentrism was shown for the government aims to rid of the “uncivilized” culture of the Natives, and promote their own “white” culture. In relation to this is the film “Rabbit-Proof Fence”, an Australian film, which depicts the story of two young mixed-race Aboriginal girls, who ran away from a Western Australian settlement at Moore River. The movie tackles the issue of Australia’s “stolen generation”, which represents the Aboriginal children separated from their parents by the State (2006). It discusses the problem of deculturalization, for the children were removed forcibly from their families because of the State and the Church’s aim for “resocialization” in the modern society (2006). Similarly, the children were forced to disregard their own culture in place of the new culture being taught by the State and the Church.
Another movie related to these is the film entitled “Unchained Memories”, which depicts the experiences and the lives of slaves during the era of domestic slave trade and slave auction. They were deculturalized and devastated, as much of the strain fell upon the families, which were easily and often callously disrupted and destroyed when a member was sold, and became difficult to maintain a traditional nuclear family ( 2006). Similarly, the children and their families suffered from the slave trade for in a way, they were separated from their culture, and became exposed to the superiority of the “white” culture. At a young age, children were traumatized by the fact that the whites see their culture and their skin color as inferior. Moreover, another related fact regarding deculturalization is the loss of cultural distinctiveness of voluntary immigrants, such as Asian, Hispanics, and White ethnics to the United States. Upon their migration to the United States, many ethics, Asians and Hispanics adopted the culture in the country, as an answer to the discrimination they experience from the whites. Their cultural distinctiveness gradually vanished, as they gradually merged and adopted the culture of the Americans from which they lived. This is being identified from the cultural conflicts arising because of the differences in values and norms of behavior of migrants ( 1994). From these, the tendency of the migrants is to “go with the flow” and disregard their own culture, in favor of being accepted by the society. This event resulted to the deculturalization of many migrants in the United States.
2. (1991) describes in his article entitled “Savage Inequalities” the conditions of several of America’s public schools, having found that there was a wide disparity or difference in the conditions between the schools in the poorest inner-city communities and schools in the wealthier suburban communities ( 1999). The author stresses the importance in the improvement in education, poverty, homelessness, and hope for the future of young people (1991), being essential factors to be determined as affecting the lives of many children. He points out that many poor children begin their young lives with an education that is inferior to that of the children who grew up in wealthier communities (1999).
3. One of the issues presented by (1991) is the unequal funding of public schools. This presents problems for funding based upon property taxes and property values discriminates against lower social classes, and this unequal funding leads to inferior schools and creates a wide disparity between schools in the poorest and wealthiest communities (1999). Because of the ways American public schools are funded, the rich are given greater knowledge and cultural capital, which will insure their continued affluence, while the poor remain segregated in dwindling public schools, who will learn little more than how to function in a service-sector economy, or assume a position within the growing underclass of unemployed American citizens (1991). Another problem is school overcrowding, which forces some classes to be held in bathrooms, and the lack of funds to make it impossible to teach science labs or have textbooks for students to take home. On the other hand, wealthy academic institutions enjoy the luxuries of campuses boasting newly remodeled auditoriums, student lounges, wood-paneled libraries and extensive computer laboratories ( 1991).
The third issue being raised was the mishandling of the public education system and by the law, such as the issues between the state and local control. This issue discusses the specific cases in public schools, which argues about racial discrimination. The author claims that the business approach to education reiterates mediocrity instead of introducing excellency, and part of the reason for the ongoing cycle is the constant battle over state and local control ( 1999). In addition, the issue regarding racial discrimination was also emphasized, stating that there is a chance that inequalities in education might not be so much racial segregation, but affluence segregation, which defines the dominance of blacks and Hispanics in certain societies (1999). If the majority living in an area are poor citizens, then it follows that majority of students in academic institutions are poor also, which becomes open to discrimination and inequality.
4. (2001) emphasized in her book entitled “Nickel and Dimed” several ways on how her co-workers cope with their desolate situation. Although most of her co-workers earn enough money for a living, housing, in almost every case, is the principal source of disruption in their lives, and the first thing her co-workers whine about when they arrive for their shifts ( 2001). It has been reported in the 1997 National Coalition for the Homeless, that nearly one-fifth of all homeless people are employed in full or part-time jobs, and with this, the author cited some ways on how her co-workers cope with homelessness. Some of the co-workers of the author cope with their problems with shelter by sharing rooms with other individuals to at least, lessen housing expenses. Some of her co-workers sharing rooms with other persons try their best to put up with worse situations, for only to reduce room rates for half the price ( 2001).
In addition, some live in motels or Inns, paying $60 a night because they have no car and the motel or inn is near their working place. Some try to live in a dry-docked boat, which is small and is very unlikely to accommodate two persons at a time. Others pay $400 a month lot fee or $170 a week to live in trailers with their families or in vans, parked behind a shopping center at night. Moreover, some people obtain their clothing from thrift shops, rather than buying new ones, which are a lot more expensive than second hand clothes ( 2001).
Another problem of poor citizens is sustenance. Most solve this problem by obtaining their food from convenience stores, instead of providing themselves with refrigerators and microwaves at the comfort of their own homes. However, this compensates the nutritional value obtained from only eating food bought from convenience stores, and makes it even more expensive than cooking at home ( 2006). Given the limited resources and unlimited expenses, poor people tend to look for cheaper ways to obtain their needs, such as shelter and food. This is to continually sustain their living and make sure that they will still be able to meet the demands of their living environment. This situation is even more challenging for families, for more resources are needed to sustain them.
5. (2006) identified several factors that affect the high costs of poverty. One of the factors is the fact that poor people are less likely to have bank accounts, which can be more expensive for citizens having less income, for they have the tendency to cash their paychecks at check-cashing businesses, which charge them from $5 to $50 for a $500 check. In addition, more poor citizens tend to buy their furniture and appliances through pricey rent-to-own businesses, such as in Wisconsin, where a $200 rent-to-own TV set can cost $700 with the interest included. Lastly, low-income citizens are less likely to have access to large supermarkets, and so they rely on more expensive and lower quality offerings of small grocery and convenience stores.
Some factors also include the price of oil in the worldwide market, brought about by the conflicts of oil-producing countries, which affects the prices of commodities in the United States. This affects the value of money of the country, and thus affects their poor living conditions. Another factor is the financial crisis experienced by many Third World Countries, which affect the trade and world output of developed countries, for the economic events happening in other countries, also affect the United States. Aside from these are the natural disasters or calamities, which brought suffrage to many poor citizens. These factors largely affect the living conditions of many individuals in the country, and thus contribute to their desolate condition, which determine the high costs of poverty.
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