Austin Project- Reflective Paper

Submitted By mattyrich84
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Pages: 3

Matthew Richardson Course Code: SSC 100A
Fall 2012 The Urban Community
Date Due: 10/2/12 Instructor: Professor D. Hines
Writing Assignment #1

“The Austin Project”

After reading the article of “The Austin Project” a number of issues became clearer to me during and after as I reflected on its content. The statistics were mind-blowing. In particular, on page 363 of the article where it is noted that there are three distinguished national problems: the poor; the ghettos; and the underclass. It became more interesting to me on how the federal government defines these problems. For example, the poor; who are defined by the federal government in terms of low level of income for a family of four. The numbers indicate a 1/3 were old or disabled; another 1/3 temporarily poor and another 1/3 who are chronically poor, but are able-bodied. It appears a significant amount of the “underclass” fall into that category. I feel this is alarming particularly for those “able-bodied” folks. What I find also interesting is how the U.S. Census is used to analyze more specific and objective data. There method identifies “underclass” area through four types of dysfunctional behavior which include school drop-out rates, large numbers of female-headed families with children; high proportions dependent on welfare; and high chronic joblessness among adult males. In my opinion, its data such as this which allows the government to help determine whether they should direct more revenue into prisons, homeless shelters and other similar institutions. Rather than the federal government stepping up, setting all political parties aside and collaborating on an aggressive approach or method that will address the noticeable trends in our American society, it appears that they are taking or have taken a lesser approach. As they say, numbers don’t lie. For example, 60 percent of minorities fall under the classification of “underclass” and “abnormal”. The section goes on to say that the numbers have tripled within a 10 year span (from 1970 and 1980: from 752,000 to 2,484,000. The numbers reveal that 56% of the men were unemployed for more than half the year with two-thirds of the adults not graduating from high school. Of that number, 59% were black. I am extremely concerned with this given that there could be more