mama essay

Submitted By teexnguyen
Words: 1438
Pages: 6

Mama Might Be Better Off Dead
Laurie Kay Abraham
Tina Nguyen
Richard Scotch Tues/Thurs 4:00pm

"Cradle-to-grave, this family has been largely left out of a health care system that is one of the best in the industrialized world for those who are affluent and well insured and embarrassingly bad for those who are not (loc 136,Abraham)." A bold statement from "Mama Might be Better off Dead" which is a an profound eye opening book. We get an honest glimpse of how the health care system really works from the success/failures of the Medicare/Medicaid systems to the hospital finances in poverty stricken neighborhoods such as North Lawndale. In this book we follow four generations of a poor, African American family who are plagued with illnesses and how that has impacted their lives. Jackie Banes is the main caretaker of her family, who are living together under one roof in North Lawndale, which is a rundown neighborhood in Chicago. Jackie is responsible for not only raising her children but her husband Robert who has kidney, her disabled grandmother Mrs. Jackson, and eventually she comes to be a caretaker for her estranged ailing father Tommy. This book will reveal how inadequate our healthcare system is to those affected by poverty and what can happen when preventable diseases that are common to many, escalates to when left untreated when the poor can't get proper medical care. There are many important recurring key factors throughout this book that can be tied together with information from the Cockerham Textbook. The first would be Social Class. Social class "is a category or group of people who have approximately same amount of wealth, status, and power in a society (49, Cockerham)." Social class can be divided into five sub categories from the top being the upper class which would include the extremely wealthy. Then we have the upper middle class which includes those who are affluent and well educated. Then we have the lower middle class which includes small business owners to sales workers. Then moves to the working class which includes skilled to semi skilled workers to lower level clerical workers. Then there is the very bottom which is the lower class and it includes unskilled workers to the chronically unemployed (51, Cockerham). In this book, the family comes from the lower class which is the lowest level in the Social Class. "A third of blacks are poor, and for lack of money, or understanding, the poor can easily get shut out of medical care (loc 610, Abraham)." Often there is a cycle that continues to be repeated through each generation especially to those living in poverty that rarely gets broken. Another key factor that affected this family was their lifestyle and social environment. As discussed in the Cockerham text, these two things plays a significant roles on how health and illness affects a person due to their environmental circumstances and lifestyle choices they make. The social environment is where you are living and the condition it is in and the lifestyle are choices you choose to engage in whether it be a healthy or poor diet or drugs and alcohol. Jackie's family lives in poor neighborhood in North Lawndale. She has grown up here all her life and has moved only one other time. Her entire family is now living in her disabled grandmother's home, and although there is 5 bedrooms living conditions are still hard since their home isn't in the best condition but it is better than most other homes in the neighborhood. Their lifestyle was probably not the healthiest since they couldn't afford the most nutritional meals but I think Jackie tried her best to make sure that the family was fed. Then there is Robert who has already gone through a kidney transplant once but it failed but continues to smoke and buys drugs with money they don't have. He knows it's not good for him but continues to do so anyways. "For those who are poor, the reasons they do not receive care range from inadequate or