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Justice Jarvis

Wilson
HELA 10
26 Feb, 2015

The Grip of Poverty


In many dystopian novels or worlds, a higher power holds the masses in poverty
and terrible conditions. We are, obviously, not like this today. In fact, we have programs
to help the poor, not hurt them. The question then is, why is the grip of poverty so
strong? Racism? Middle class greed? Maybe, however, the main source of strength for
the grip of poverty is, in a few ways, economic; the culture of the workplace, the
economy in itself, and even genetics affect the wealth of families.
Racism and greed do indeed play into poverty. There is indisputable evidence
that racism does play into it. A study submitted identical resumes only with white and
black sounding names and showed that whites were more likely to be accepted. There
is an explanation for why employers might be racist and therefore harm the economic
situations of minorities in lower income places. Statistics show distinctive cultural
differences between races (Social Class, Social Change, and Poverty). Poor blacks are
more likely than poor whites to have premarital children or be convicted of crimes (See
appendix A and B). Not that these cultural differences are always a bad thing, but an
employer feels safer from his employees steeling if he hires whites over equal seeming
blacks. Even so, racism does not appear to be the primary reason people are stuck in
poverty. Greed of course exists, but there are also many philanthropists. Besides, if
people were truly greedy, they wouldnt allow the government to tax them and give to
the poor.
The economy is the main source of strength for the grip of poverty. Free trade
naturally creates a poverty that is hard to get out of. For one, impoverished people

Justice Jarvis
Wilson
HELA 10
26 Feb, 2015
simply do not think about saving and getting out of poverty because they are concerned
about feeding themselves day-to-day (Tirado). Another is that an inconvenience to a
person with money, like a car repair, is a major expense to the impoverished (Tirado).
These major expenses can completely drain the savings of the impoverished.
Genetics may also play into the grip of poverty. A common explanation for why
poverty spans generations is that once people are in it, they stay there. Over
generations the impoverished may have their culture change negatively or make similar
mistakes to what past generations have. They may be pulled into a crime committing
culture or have children young like their parents. There is a theory, that in addition to
these things, poverty is also genetic. This theory claims that on average, someones
success in life is based on their success gene. Success gene is defined as the
cumulative genes that affect someones chances of being successful. People in the
lower classes, on average, have lower success genes. Since people tend to have
children with others in their class, children born into poverty have a disadvantage from
the beginning because they will tend to have less success genes than those who are
born with wealth (Is Poverty Genetic?). This theory explains why some families dip into
poverty for one generation and then bounce out; because their success genes have not
been affected by the cycle of poverty yet. It also explains how occasionally a member of
a long impoverished family can succeed where their fathers and brothers failed;
genetics are random, like a tall child with short parents.
Many feel, rightfully, that poverty has to do with greed and racism. It is something
that needs to be fixed, and people need to actively fight it. But unfortunately, the

Justice Jarvis
Wilson
HELA 10
26 Feb, 2015
American dream isnt necessarily accurate in that anyone can succeed; the culture, the
economy, and even genetics harm a poor persons efforts to succeed.

Justice Jarvis
Wilson
HELA 10
26 Feb, 2015

Appendix A

Huffingtonpost.com

Appendix B

Justice Jarvis
Wilson
HELA 10
26 Feb, 2015

Wordpress.com

Justice Jarvis
Wilson
HELA 10
26 Feb, 2015

Works Cited
"Dangerous and Loud." Wordpress.com. 5 Dec. 2014. Web. 24 Feb. 2015.
"Is Poverty Genetic?" Sciencechannel.com. 4 June 2014. Web. 24 Feb. 2015.
Jenkins, Alan. "Inequality, Race, and Remedy." Prospect.org. 22 Apr. 2007. Web.
24 Feb. 2015.
"Social Class, Social Change, and Poverty." Sciencenetlinks.com. Web. 24 Feb.
2015.
Tirado, Linda. "Why Poor People Stay Poor." Slate.com. 5 Dec. 2014. Web. 24
Feb. 2015.
Tirado, Linda. "This Is Why Poor People's Bad Decisions Make Perfect Sense."
The Huffington Post. 22 Nov. 2013. Web. 24 Feb. 2015.
Zeller, Tom. "For America's Least Fortunate, The Grip Of Poverty Spans
Generations." The Huffington Post. 1 Mar. 2012. Web. 24 Feb. 2015.