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Power & Privilege - Essay Example

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The author of the essay "Power & Privilege" casts light on the issues of power and privilege. It is mentioned here that The definition of poverty ranges from the simple to the complex. On one hand, it is simply an individual or household with an income below an arbitrary national amount…
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Power & Privilege
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Patricia James YOUR Power and Privilege Poverty and Disability For purposes of discussion, the scope of this paperis to speak to the two questions listed below:
Q1: What makes a person poor The definition of poverty ranges from the simple to the complex. On one hand, it is simply an individual or household with an income below an arbitrary national amount know as the "poverty line," which is set by the U.S. government. While this quantitative approach can certainly peg an impoverished family on the scale, it is not really effective in understanding poverty; particularly the impact on the individuals themselves. On the other hand, poverty has been described as having less when others are getting more. This more qualitative approach is not particularly helpful, either, as it strikes a comparison between relative levels that may not be truly meaningful. If one neighbor has a new Porsche and the other one is stuck driving their three year old Mercedes, the situation may technically qualify as having less when others are getting more, but this scenario doesn't even begin to approach poverty. With an eye towards balancing a calculation with relativity, I think a good working definition for poverty is the one Bagdikian offers; an individual is poor if they "lack enough food, shelter, and access to other elementary living conditions" that are regarded as minimally acceptable by our society (Bagdikian 1). Without addressing the political rhetoric, it is fair to say that one of the riches nations in the world should not have hungry people living in it. As for Ehrenreich's writings, I found them to be interesting and evocative, but not particularly surprising. It doesn't take an MIT graduate to figure out that $7.00/hr. for 40 hours a week isn't going to buy three dollar-per-gallon gasoline while paying rent and groceries.
Q2: What makes a person disabled Similarly to defining poverty, disability can take both an objective and a subjective form. A person with a physical or mental condition that prevents them from functioning in a "normal" way is disabled. That said, however, it is far easier to recognize an individual imprisoned in a wheelchair than one locked up in her own mental hell; yet both are equally hampered when it comes to interacting within the community. As for my personal observations, the thing I dislike the most is the way that those with obvious disabilities are ignored in social settings, and the way those with cognitive function disabilities are mocked behind their backs. I have seen people in a crowded room act like the person in the wheel chair is not even there. I think everyone has seen people make fun of the mentally retarded. If I put myself in their place, I think I would want to be treated with the same respect and dignity as any other human being. Even if I am in a wheel chair, at least look at me and acknowledge my presence. Talk to me; introduce yourself. You know I am disabled, and I know I am disabled; but I am not invisible.
Works Cited
Bagdikian, Ben H. "A Secret in the News: The Country's Permanent Poor." 3 Apr. 2001. 11 Aug. 2006. . Read More
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