Monday, August 11, 2014

It Is High Time For The Voice Of The Marginalized To Be Heard

However, the real multibillion dollar question is this, does anyone in the senate and house sincerely care enough to not only listen but then to wisely respond as well? The LA Times three days ago reported that, "Four in 10 U.S. households are straining financially five years after the Great Recession — many struggling with tight credit, soaring education debt and profound issues related to savings and retirement, according to a new Federal Reserve survey ("

Over the course of the last [four] decades, African-Americans have used rap as an expression of their disappointment in America's treatment of the people who built this country.
In order to express the feeling of frustration and defeat in the communities afflicted by violence and drug use, rappers use their lyrics to speak to their counterparts.
Rap is an effort to bring the world's attention to the adversity African-Americans face in their lives in a corrupted America.
Rap: The Cry of a Rebuked People, Willie Howard, Poverty & Prejudice: Media and Race (1999) p. 1 - 2.

Contrary to the commonly held notions of some people, what those who are currently living below the poverty threshold want most is not food stamps and government housing. Rather, what they truly desire is "a job, better connections to the rest of the world, a reduced threat of violence, and an end to the regular daily humiliations and disrespect that are too often the reality for poor people (Claire Melamed, What do poor people want? (2011)."

Poverty in the United States

Poverty is a state of privation, or a lack of the usual or socially acceptable amount of money or material possessions.[1] The most common measure of poverty in the U.S. is the "poverty threshold" set by the U.S. government. This measure recognizes poverty as a lack of those goods and services commonly taken for granted by members of mainstream society.[2] The official threshold is adjusted for inflation using the consumer price index. The government's definition of poverty is based on total income received. For example, the poverty level for 2014 was set at $23,850 (total yearly income) for a family of four.[3] Most Americans will spend at least one year below the poverty line at some point between ages 25 and 75.[4] Poverty rates are persistently higher in rural and inner city parts of the country as compared to suburban areas.[5][6]

In November 2012 the U.S. Census Bureau said more than 16% of the population lived in poverty, including almost 20% of American children,[7] up from 14.3% (approximately 43.6 million) in 2009 and to its highest level since 1993. In 2008, 13.2% (39.8 million) Americans lived in poverty.[8] Starting in the 1980s, relative poverty rates have consistently exceeded those of other wealthy nations.[9] California has a poverty rate of 23.5%, the highest of any state in the country.[10]

In 2009 the number of people who were in poverty was approaching 1960s levels that led to the national War on Poverty.[11] In 2011 extreme poverty in the United States, meaning households living on less than $2 per day before government benefits, was double 1996 levels at 1.5 million households, including 2.8 million children.[12] This would be roughly 1.2% of the US population in 2011, presuming a mean household size of 2.55 people. 

Census data for 2011 showed that half the population qualified as low income.[13] In 2011, child poverty reached record high levels, with 16.7 million children living in food insecure households, about 35% more than 2007 levels.[14] A 2013 UNICEF report ranked the U.S. as having the second highest relative child poverty rates in the developed world.[15]

There were about 643,000 sheltered and unsheltered homeless people nationwide in January 2009. Almost two-thirds stayed in an emergency shelter or transitional housing program and the other third were living on the street, in an abandoned building, or another place not meant for human habitation. About 1.56 million people, or about 0.5% of the U.S. population, used an emergency shelter or a transitional housing program between October 1, 2008 and September 30, 2009.[16] Around 44% of homeless people are employed.[17]