Living in the United States, one would think that its citizens are generally wealthy, well-fed, and well taken care of. While we live in a free society, it is still one in which many people are left impoverished, even to the point of not being able to feed themselves or their children. The primary demographics that have fallen victim to the inevitable social issue that is poverty tend to consist of people within racial, income, and ethnic classes that tend to be oppressed. In the United States specifically, it is not uncommon for many of these types of people to fall into a racial minority, particularly in heavily urbanized communities, per the oppression theory (Watts, et. al, 1999). Furthermore, many of these oppressed communities are located in areas that are not doing the best economically. As such, the cost of everything increases, including food. While the cost of food may increase, the average person’s need for it stays consistent. This causes oppressed families to either buy less food, or consume the same amount while having less income (Ivanic & martin, 2008)
While there are certain demographics that are unfortunate enough to suffer the negative impacts of poverty and malnourishment, it is important to keep in mind that America is not exempt from these types of problems. While poverty and starvation are more prevalent in some parts of the world, it is important to note that our first world nation sees the detrimental effects in communities all throughout the country. While the problem may resonate with some communities more than others, it is by the laws of economics, sociology, and human nature that it exists, and will likely always exist to some degree. It is in the most urbanized areas that these types of trends are made more evident. Desperate times call for desperate measures, which unfortunately leaves areas of poverty and fewer resources at higher risk of crime and other unsafe circumstances. “First, there is an inverse relationship between pro-urbanism and preference for neighboring. Second, there is a direct relationship between safety and preference for neighboring. Finally, pro-urbanism decreases as perception of safety increases.” (Chivas & McMillan, 1986) This is per the community theory, which suggests that the experience within the community can be improved with the proper resources.
However, positive outcomes may not always be the case, as those who initially had very little may get greedy when more resources are extended to their community as a whole, especially if these resources are food. (Foster & Rosenzweig, 2001) This is human nature, and such a situation is likely to either bring out the best or the worst in humanity. While the empowerment theory is typically attempted through the extension of educational programs, charitable programs, and workforce programs within the most unfortunate communities, it is not uncommon for it to fail. While many people do utilize the resources properly to overcome their circumstances, many of them do not know any differently from what they have been raised in terms of their socio-economic status. While this is an unfortunate element of how society operates, it is a trend in which many of the oppressed do not know to permanently break themselves, even if the proper resources are extended to them. Despite this sad trend which our society keeps trying to improve upon, it is common to see programs that promote the good that they are attempting in action through various ad campaigns, usually run directly by the state. The continuation of these programs, advocacy groups, and charities is all we can do to try and break the cycle of starvation within our own communities. However, there are a select few that permanently make it out of their dismal situation through their own will, and through the assistance of such programs.
- Foster, A. D., & Rosenzweig, M. R. (2001). Imperfect Commitment, Altruism, and the Family: Evidence from Transfer Behavior in Low-Income Rural Areas. Review of Economics and Statistics, 83(3), 389-407. doi:10.1162/00346530152480054
- Ivanic, M., & Martin, W. (2008). Implications Of Higher Global Food Prices For Poverty In Low-Income Countries. Policy Research Working Papers. doi:10.1596/1813-9450-4594
- McMillan, D. W., & Chavis, D. M. (1986). Sense of community: A definition and theory. Journal of Community Psychology, 14(1), 6-23. doi:10.1002/1520-6629(198601)14:1<6::aid-jcop2290140103>3.0.co;2-i
- Watts, R. J., Griffith, D. M., & Abdul-Adil, J. (1999). Sociopolitical Development as an Antidote for Oppression-Theory and Action. American Journal of Community Psychology, 27(2), 255-271. doi:10.1023/a:1022839818873