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Poverty Rates Among Whites and Blacks Americans Essay

Article’s of Choice Events Summary

The Washington Post article discusses the problem of inequality among the inhabitants of American cities as a reaction at the latest report for the Century Foundation. In the article, the rates of poverty among white and black people are compared.

The article presents the new data from the report that show that a black person is much more likely to be impoverished than a white one. Also, poor black families usually live in disadvantaged neighborhoods with poor black families. It is especially true for major American cities.

To support the evidence provided by the new report, the author of the article cites the data of the American Community Survey from 2009-2013 that demonstrate that in Chicago, more than 30% of poor black people live in disadvantaged areas. For poor whites, this number is around 10 times lower. The article also compares the report’s data concentrated poverty in other major cities, such as New York, St Luis, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C., and the data show that concentrated black poverty is much more widespread than the concentrated white one.

Paul Jargowsky, the author of the report, explains that this information has remarkable importance since it helps to understand that the living options of poor African Americans are restricted to but a few neighborhoods in every big city. According to the article, concentrated black poverty is influenced by a variety of factors. Among them are modern zoning laws, historical traditions that form housing patterns, and the systemic discrimination of African Americans. These factors “keep the poor out of wealthier communities”. As an example of one of such factors, the article mentions wealthy Chicago communities that ignore state regulations demanding to make affordable-housing plans (Badger par. 1-10).

The Core Concepts of the Social Conflict Theory

As a social paradigm for my work, I have selected the social conflict theory. According to this theory, the society is constantly in a state of conflict since its members are always struggling for the limited power, opportunities, and resources that are available for this society (Stolley 25). Social conflict theory is a powerful tool for analyzing war, poverty, discrimination, sexual and work exploitation, slavery, ghettos, abuse, and other situations that arise from inequality and are connected with violence. According to the theory, those possessing resources and power are trying to increase them at the expense of the powerless (Hammond, Cheney, and Pearsey, par. 6-8).

The core concepts of the social conflict theory are the following. Power is the ability to receive the necessary resources even when an opposition exists. Authority is the power that has received legal recognition. An important premise of the theory is that the law always reflects the opinion of the wealthy and powerful.

The main advantage of this theory is that it allows us to identify interest groups and find out how the interests are promoted and protected while analyzing social phenomena, as well as understand the motivation of various groups. The theory can also help to find radical solutions to the problems of violence and inequality. However, applying this theory without regard to others can lead to economic determinism and a failure to indicate cultural and psychological factors (Ferrante 39). Moreover, the theory portrays the wealthy as those possessing universal power and the poor as victims, which is not necessarily true and can trigger faulty assumptions. For instance, in some cases, African Americans are treated less severely than whites for minor crimes because the officials believe that such behavior is “normal” for them (Walker, Spohn and DeLone 31).

The feminist thought is often based on social conflict theory. For instance, in Pornography: Men Possessing Women, A. Dworkin applies social theory to her subject, depicting men as the resourceful and women as victims (Dworkin 1-300).

Interpretation of the Article

Social conflict theory can be applied to the events described in the newspaper article that was summarized in Part 1. The article presents a situation: poor black people are much more likely to live in poor neighborhoods than poor white people. The theory allows identifying the interest groups in this situation. The primary interest groups are black and white people (without any regard to their income level). It can be seen from the article that wealthy white people see some difference between their fellow white people who are poor and the poor people who are black. White people are far more powerful than African Americans, they possess more resources, and they have authority since their power is recognized by law, and the overwhelming majority of those holding official positions are white.

Thus, black people are far more likely to be powerless, without resources, without authority, and poor. Since many black people are poor, it makes them “victims” from social conflict theory. Being more likely to be poor, African Americans thus become the “victims” as defined by social conflict theory. Therefore, the interest group “white people” is using the suffering of the “victims” to enforce their power and increase the number of their resources. At the same time, this strong group keeps the “victims” out of their resources while they struggle and try to strike back.

Among the resources possessed by white people island. Since they have authority, they can execute a real impact on the decision of local governments regarding the use of land, the patterns of housing, and the affordability of houses. The execution of this impact leads to the ghettoization of poor African Americans. The power and authority of the interest group “wealthy white people” do not allow poor African Americans to live out of the “ghettoes,” which is exactly what poor black neighborhoods are. They do not do the same to poor white people (or they do it far less frequently) since the latter is their co-members of the wider interest group “white people.” All white people in America increase their resources at the expense of black people. Then, white people divide these resources among themselves unequally: wealthy white people receive much more than poor white people.

As stated by the social conflict theory, law plays an important role in the distribution of resources and the protection of the patterns and results of this distribution. In the article, it is mentioned that the authorities of wealthy Chicago neighborhoods ignore the requirements to make housing more affordable. These authorities, most likely consisting of white people or, in any case, representing their interests, are interested in the ghettoization of poor African Americans since it allows white people to secure their resources.

In conclusion, the article describes the problems of concentrated black poverty, and social conflict theory can be applied to understand this problem. As the theory allows to perceive, the ghettoization of African Americans is the result of the attempts of wealthy white to secure and increase their power and resources.

Works Cited

Dworkin, Adrea. Pornography: Men Possessing Women. New York City, New York: Perigee, 1981. Print.

Ferrante, Joan. Sociology: A Global Perspective. Belmont, California: Cengage Learning, 2007. Print.

Hammond, Ron, Paul Cheney and Raewyn Pearsey. n.d. Web.

Stolley, Kathy S. The Basics of Sociology. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Publishing Group, 2005. Print.

Walker, Samuel, Cassia Spohn and Miriam DeLone. The Color of Justice: Race, Ethnicity, and Crime in America. Wadsworth, California: Cengage Learning, 2012. Print.

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"Poverty Rates Among Whites and Blacks Americans." IvyPanda, 10 Sept. 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/poverty-rates-among-whites-and-blacks-americans/.

1. IvyPanda. "Poverty Rates Among Whites and Blacks Americans." September 10, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/poverty-rates-among-whites-and-blacks-americans/.


IvyPanda. "Poverty Rates Among Whites and Blacks Americans." September 10, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/poverty-rates-among-whites-and-blacks-americans/.


IvyPanda. 2020. "Poverty Rates Among Whites and Blacks Americans." September 10, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/poverty-rates-among-whites-and-blacks-americans/.


IvyPanda. (2020) 'Poverty Rates Among Whites and Blacks Americans'. 10 September.

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