getting students to engage the news…
“These days Americans seem more class-confused than class-conscious. A Gallup Poll released last December suggests that Americans consider an annual household income of $150,000 to be rich—even though in the more expensive parts of our nation, this income is decidedly middle class…[and] nearly 20 percent of households earning at the poverty level ($15,000 or less annually) believe they’re solidly middle class.”
In tough economic times like we are currently experiencing there always seems to be a renewed focus on class inequality. Would you say that “Income Inequality” is too great in America? Is it getting worse or better? (research opportunity!)
You can look all the way back to Aristotle and find arguments about the necessity of minimal levels of inequality in a society for democracy or social harmony to work. Do you agree?
This notion that we don’t have classes in America is quite persistent. As this article denote:
Fifty-eight percent of those polled rejected the view that the United States is a nation of “haves” and “have-nots,” compared to it being nearly 50–50 in 2004, when former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards drew headlines for pointing out “two Americas.”
Are there “two Americas?” When we talk about culture, particularly political culture, I feel it is very important to account for the extent to which capitalism infusings our culture. Think about popular notions (think movies and television)- what common characteristics do we see associated with those who are poor? Are those sterotypes true?