Economies & Political Representation: Lively Discussion


1.Analyze the key ideas of at least two of the assigned readings, and connect them to examples from popular culture, an example from another class, and/or a personal experience of your own. Compare two or more of the assigned readings with each other. What cuts across them? Where do they differ? 2.In your second post, instead of writing about readings, you will respond thoughtfully to at least two of your classmates’ posts; your replies should be at least 100 words apiece (that’s about 1 substantial paragraph). In your responses to classmates, you may agree, disagree, take their argument further, share a related quote, and/or say what you might add to their ideas. Please say something more than “good job!” Responses to classmates are key to your score each week, so don’t forget them! Classmate 1: The topic I want to discuss is the topic of economics in regards to white/black wealth. In the article titled Black Wealth/White Wealth: A New Perspective on Racial Inequality written by Melvin Oliver quotes that, “As econ­omists assert, earnings are affected today more by class than by racial factors. Human capital attributes that may result from historical disadvantages play an important role in the earnings gap between blacks and whites” (Pg 4). Often times white collar jobs are given to those who are white and not black which is why this has led to a wage gap between the two. Another thing to consider is because white people have an advantage they often are able to help their kids which provides them with even more of an advantage. For example you have a white family who makes decent money. They are able to send their kid to college and the family pays for that education for their kid. But for a black family they don’t have this opportunity as much because of the earning gaps. So this puts the black family at a disadvantage because they can’t pay to send their kid to college. It isn’t about how the white family saved more money than the black family is not true. In a similar article titled The Hidden Cost of Being African American: How Wealth Perpetuates Inequality written by Thomas Shapiro stated that, “In fact, economists Francine Blau and John Graham reviewed the small number of studies on savings by race and found no evidence that African Americans have a lower savings rate than whites. Even assuming whites saved more than blacks, for which there is no strong evidence, would it help explain the racial wealth gap?” (Pg. 8). So we can see here that in fact savings had nothing to do with the gap.  Classmate2: For my first topic I wanted to look at  “The Hidden Cost of Being African American: How Wealth Perpetuates Inequality” by Thomas M. Shapiro and “Black Wealth/White Wealth: A New Perspective on Racial Inequality” by Melvin L. Oliver and Thomas M. Shapiro. The important point that is highlighted in “The Hidden Cost of Being African American: How Wealth Perpetuates Inequality” is the disadvantage that middle class African Americans have in comparison to middle class white people. Some factors took into consideration in reference to the term middle class are; job rank, education, and income. The data given shows how much more white people are making by categorizing both races median net worth and median net financial assets when it comes to middle class education, income, and occupation. An example shown is white people being at $23,000 and African Americans at $6,000 in median net financial assets when comparing “The Income Middle Class”. (Shapiro, 2004, p.5) This data shows statistically at how much of a disadvantage African Americans are no matter how hard they work.  The second reading goes more into detail of the inequality African Americans have in the middle class. “Black Wealth/White Wealth: A New Perspective on Racial Inequality” highlights the different factors of why there is such a difference between the two. Something interesting I found was when it was stated “Race in this context has a socially constructed meaning that is acted on by whites to purposefully limit and constrain the black population.” (Oliver and Shapiro, 2006,p4) I agree with this statement in the sense that many years ago African Americans were enslaved and in later years became oppressed in many ways even though slavery was banished. A good example of this would be in the Jim Crow era how registration tests were made harder for African Americans so they wouldn’t be able to vote.  This is a way whites would purposefully limit and constrain the black population and this isn’t even mentioning many other situations. Going back to the author’s statement I say I agree in a way because due to these limitations, the African American community has had a set back and over many years they have been trying to catch up to the white community. c

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