Income Discrimination: The Last Civil Rights Barrier?

The way I see it,millions of Americans are practicing severe discrimination…against poorpeople! Poorpeople are condemened to live in dangerous neighborhoods, and their children are called upon to join the armed forces (and get killed). They are disproportionate victims of violent crime, AIDS , and most communicable diseases. Their housing is often substandard, and they are kept in poverty by usurious interest rates charged by loan companies, “RENT TO OWN” vultures, etc.
Should poor peoplebe integrated by law into American society? Should rich towns be forced to accept integration of low-income people into their schools and neighborhoods?
It is America’sugly little secret…yet you don’t see any advocates like Jesse Jackson telling the truth…income discrimination is RAMPANT in America! :eek:

I must be dense today. How are they being discriminated against, exactly?

Going through point-by-point:

  • The poor aren’t forced to live in dangerous neighborhoods; no one is keeping them there, and many move on up. insert theme here
  • How long has it been since the draft? The poor are more likely to volunteer, but that’s because it’s a more readily-available revenue stream; it’s easier to get into the service than, say, an IT job.
  • They may be victims of things more often than the rich, but no one is inflicting it upon them; it’s more-or-less a byproduct of the circumstances - circumstances they can change.
  • I’ll agree to a certain extent that banks in general don’t much like poor customers, but that’s due to the nature of their business.

To answer your questions:

  • Poor people are integrated into American society. They’re all over the place, but sometimes they’re not easy to see. In any case, we don’t segment out the poor and keep them there.

  • Rich towns don’t exclude poor people into their schools and neighborhoods; it’s just too expensive for a poor person to live there.

I foresee talk of socialism…

I’ve always thought the legal system discriminates against the poor.

If one is convicted of a crime, one is entitled to a court appointed attorney. Everyone gets representation. Well…

Court appointed attorneys can be pretty hit-or-miss. And nobody can tell me they are as effective as privately hired lawyers. And the better the attorney, the better your chances are in any legal proceeding.

So you pit a person of means against a poor person in a legal fight where the outcome is not clear, and the rich guy has a tremendous advantage. I don’t see how that’s different than political patronage. Money/power is, in effect, purchasing a legal outcome (or at least a higher likelyhood of a favorable ruling).

The obvious and much used example is OJ Simpson. Would a poor person have achieved the same outcome in court? I don’t think so.

This will be easy to fix. Just make everybody’s wage $20 per hour. No Matter how many years one went to school, or how long one has been on the job, $20 per hour.
Pass a law. Make everybody have the same size house, same car and stuff.

Everybody, that is, except for us Leaders. We, of course, deserve more because…we just do.


I agree that we need to focus government solutions better on helping the poor. The poor tend to suffer from a lack of services (both public and private) which makes it difficult for them to escape poverty.

Now, here, what are you talking about? HUD loans and education loans are available for poor people. Exactly what other solutions are you proposing?

No, I guess you wouldn’t hear Jesse Jackson telling the truth if you didn’t bother to do some basic research.

Jesse Jackson’s speech at 1988 Dem Convention

That is a good idea but I guarantee you that some people are going to try to cheat the system by working more hours than others thus making more money than them. I think that the wages of people who work more than 40 hours a week should be put into a pool and split evenly among everyone. That way, everyone gets to benefit and you don’t develop the inequality that has ripped this nation apart.

You’re spot-on, Shag ol’ buddy. Now, what kind of car shall everybody drive? (One to a family, mind) Maybe grind up all those SUV’s and crank out a bunch of four cylinder sedans.
Do single people get bicycles, or will they be forced to use only public transportation?

And NO king size beds! That kind of bourgeoisie, nuevo riche crap has gotta’ go.

Unfortunately, the more that I think about it, the situation is worse than I first suspected. People in the inner city are disproportionately single parents and many have several children. That mean that one wage earner is providing for multiple people. One the other hand, people with college educations usually hold off until they have children. Many of these people are married or engaged in long-term cohabitation. Even if the first relationship fails, the subversive pricks often move on to another one fairly soon (probably so that they can combine incomes and have more money than other people).

This leaves us with a problem. Even though the wage per worker is the same, the frickin’ DINKS :rolleyes: (Dual income, no kids) will start to become an emerging bourgeois class. I tried to come up with a way to suppress this, but I am afraid the bastards are just going to find away around whatever we come up with and end up with more money than others strictly because they are well educated. Is that really fair?

Yes, because the only two solutions are two either redistribute everyone’s wealth and force them all to the same standard of living or to give all the money to an oligarchy which throws people in the gutter.

Or, maybe we could try and fix unfair access to education, capital, and government services which plague the poor and see what happens.

This is just silly.

Ding, Ding,Ding! We have a Winnah!!!

ralph124c, do you really believe this, or are you just trying to get a rise out of people?

The last civil rights barrier? Keep looking, dude. There are more.

** The ugly secret is that anyone who had to struggle to survive in another country would sell everything for the opportunity to come to the United States and start over.

"Poorpeople are condemened to live in dangerous neighborhoods, "

No, the neighborhoods are dangerous because they are filled with poor people.
“and their children are called upon to join the armed forces (and get killed).”

Called on by who? We havn’t had a draft in thirty years. How many “poor children” have been killed in war compared to the number killed in drive-bys, crack deals gone bad and other random urban violence. Given those choices, driving around in a HUMVEE sounds like not so bad a deal.
“They are disproportionate victims of violent crime, AIDS , and most communicable diseases. Their housing is often substandard, and they are kept in poverty by usurious interest rates charged by loan companies, “RENT TO OWN” vultures, etc.”

We are all responsible for our own choices in life. Some people would rather live beyond their means or engage in socially irresponsible behavior. They should be willing to accept the consequences.
“Should poor peoplebe integrated by law into American society?”

No. This does not even mean anything.

“Should rich towns be forced to accept integration of low-income people into their schools and neighborhoods?”


Wow, that was pretty lame. Let me rephrase your OP in clearer terms:

Racism isn’t the real problem, it’s “poorism”.

Nope. People are not much prejudged for being poor in the same sense as they are prejudged for being a racial minority. A poor white person has a leg up on a poor black person.

I’m guessing that your real agenda is that you don’t like the remedies in common use to address the problems of racism. If that’s the case, then attack those remedies on their own merit (or lack thereof). Trying to deflect the discussion as you have done in your OP is disengenuos, at best.

I’m sitting here trying to think of something sarcastic to say in response to the OP. However, John Carter of Mars and Shagnasty have milked that tit dry as a bone. My hat’s off to you both.

I usually dislike quote and retort, but this guy is so self-rightous I can’t help it. Lemme teach you about the real world a bit…


Brilliant! You’ve solved all the problems of the poor. I’ll go tell every homeless person in San Francisco and NYC just to go rent a mobile home in one of their abundant, inexpensive, totally safe mobile home parks! And of course every homeless person, single mother, and starving college kid is going to have the kind of credit history and rating to warrent a mortgage!

Oh wait, mobile homes in the SF bay area routinely run a quarter of a million bucks. I’ve personally seen a million dollar double wide here in Santa Cruz. And since cities are so full of poor people because they are where the jobs and oppertunity are (and barring that, sombody has to serve Frappaccinos to the yuppies) mobile homes will force them own cars (whcih cost about $6000 a year in insurance, registartion and maintance- before gas and payments) which just isn’t viable for most of the urban poor.

Look kid, I’m glad your plan worked for you. But the poor arn’t doing what they do because they’re stupid. They are stuck in a bind- without the credit history and startup money that most of us start out with to help us get our feet on the grounds (for example, many stay in weekly hotels because they cannot afford the several hundred dollar security deposit that almost all apartments require). It just isn’t that easy.


Poor kids don’t have a fighting chance at an education. I’ve personally heard my friends’ parents say stuff like “Why do you read all those books all the time?” and “Why are you taking these hard classes? Why not take it easy?”. One of friends got in to UC Berkeley and her mother’s reaction was “Why waste the time and money? get into the working world as soon as you can.” When learning is actively discouraged from the day your born, how are you ever supposed to just magically realize the value of education? Granted, it happens sometimes, but that is miracle stuff.

And then there is the fact that even if they take school seriously, the schools suck. I graduated in the class of 1999, and one of our history textbooks used the word “savages”. The poor deal with overcrowded classrooms, overwhelming dicipline problems, bad facilities (we did not have air conditioning in Sacramento where late spring temps often breach 100- imagine your workplace at 100 degrees) and overstreached teachers. Our teachers tried, but the overall quality of education provided in poor public schools is pretty bad. Property taxes fund schools, so in rich areas there are good schools. In poor areas there are bad schools. These kids don’t have a fighting chance.

And then there is college. Did your high school tell you about SATs and ACTs and college application deadlines? Mine only told this to the (mostly white) honors students, leaving a good portion in the dark (their parents probably didn’t go to college) about why college is important and how to get in to it. No that it matters. My school had it’s share of brilliant people and routinely turned out 4.0+s that deserved every point of it. But in ten years of it’s history it only got one person into a prestigious school (Stanford- nice, but not Ivy Legue or anything). If you went to my school, you basically had no chance at a top school.

What did your schools’ career fair consist of? Mine consisted of fast food, trade schools and the military. That is not an exageration at all. I still have my Kentucky Fried Chicken pen from it. The military would bring in big tanks and helicopters, shooting games, and beefy marines during pull ups. They seemed to be saying “Do you feel disempowered? Join the military where you can be big and strong like this guy and how all these neat powerful machines”. I understand the military’s need to recruit, but they need to appeal to adult decisions, not adolescent fantasies. These kids are going to live (and sometimes die) with these decisions for a long time.



Like, uh, sex? The basic human drive? Our strongest instinct? The one that 99% of humanity does?

Or are you talking about other communicable diseases, like TB and Hep A, which are spread by…well…living in poor areas with bad infrastructure, no medical care and overcrowding.



Ahh, so you went to college 30 years ago. So all your self-congradulatory back patting about putting yourself through college is basically bullshit, since college tuition- even at state universities- has skyrocketed out of porportion to income. Could you now spare 15-40k a year, plus support yourself and still have time to go to school with the work experience of a fresh-out-of-highschool kid? No. Almost nobody can. Putting yourself through college (without taking out massive loans- which is what most people who don’t have the support of their families do) is an impossibility these days.



-Dinner?Ramen or PB&J on tortillas…if I can swing it. Usually the leftovers of my lunch burrito.
-Car?My faked bus pass just ran out and its three bucks round trip to work. Guess who walks an hour before and after her stand up all day job
-Heating? Somtimes we turn on the oven and leave it open so that we are warm enough to get dressed in the mornings. But only then, because it is costly. Our real heater (along with the sink and the front door lock) are broken and it’s impossible to get our slumlord landlord to fix it. Too broke to move (moving vans, deposits, cleaning supplies, etc)

Granted, I don’t live like this anymore, but these are all based on my recent experiences. Yes, sometimes the poor like to have things like decent shoes and matching tablewhere because those are the little things that make you feel human. This whole society is set up for one thing- spending money. And when you don’t have any at all it is the most horrible feeling because your wandering around in a world that your not really relevent to. So yeah, the poor occasionally spend a bit to maintain their dignity. But the vast majority of poor people don’t have big screen televisions, rolex watches and hardwood furniture. If they do, then they are leftovers from more prosperous times that arn’t a worthy trade off to sell. Many would be happy to have enough for dinner, or a matinee movie or a haircut.



Well, um, arn’t you special. The rest of us are busy learning how to flip burgers, count out registers and raise our kids.

Ever work more than one job, or raise a kid on minimum wage? Do that, and then tell me how eager you are to jump out of bed and build garages.



Yeah, because they all watch television and think everyone in America is rich and has it easy. Name one sitcom that features a single mom fast-food worker, an elederly man on social security or a recent immigrant in a project. Most people don’t even know that poor, homeless and hungry people exist in America.

One of the biggest reactions among recent immigrants is that America is nice, but they didn’t realize that being poor here sucks, too. They didn’t know they’d HAVE to have a car to be able to work, and that their neighborhoods would expose them and their children to violent crime and that they wouldn’t be able to afford even basic healthcare. Of course they are happy to be here, but leaving your family, your home country and your way of life is always a bittersweet experience. Most people, even in poor countries, would not be willing to wholesale abandon their country for the US. And for those that do it is invariably a harder experience than they thought it would be.

[fixed bold --Gaudere]

My father was an immigrant from El Salvador. He came here with nothing except constant demands that he send money back to his family every month. Growing up, we were poor. We did not live in a rich neighborhood, and we attended public schools.

And yet somehow, despite not having a fighting chance, I managed to aquire a good education. I read books at my library: free. I took the hard science and honors courses at my school: free. (Textbooks? Tattered, with the names of the last fifteen years’ worth of students to check out the book, yes. But FREE).

My high school’s efforts on ACTs and SATs was irrelevant. I could see that this was required for college, because, you see, I could READ. For free.

No problem. We had no career fair, period.

Really? Well, I admit I went to college 1982-1986, almost 20 years ago. At that time, I worked a job that paid $2.85 per hour. And the in-state tuition was $3,500 per year.

Today, my alma mater’s total in-state tuition per year is $7,200. And today’s minimum wage is $5.85 per hour.

I could put myself through college “these days” just fine, thank you very much.

You bet. Except I hate peanut butter. But sure, I lived on ramen. Bought it in huge “cost-cutter” savings packs.

Worked three jobs in college.

Didn’t support a kid, I admit. Why? Because I knew I couldn’t afford a kid, and so I DIDN’T HAVE ONE.

Today, I wouldn’t quail if someone described me as affulent. But your post suggests it’s well-nigh impossible to start poor and accomplish anything. And that’s just not true.

It’s very possible. It just takes the understanding that you must sacrifice a great deal of fun and fitting-in as a high-school and college student. While your contemporaries are going to Beach Weekend and whatnot, you’re working an extra shift. Yeah, that sucks. But it has a payoff.

It can be done.

  • Rick

I’ve already posted my disagreement with the OP, but this is just about as lame.

ES, you constatntly harp on this topic with only your anecdotal evidence to support it. I can counter every one of your anectdotes with my own experiences and neither of our arguments would be worth the electrons they’re written with. Unless you can bring some **actual statistics ** to support your claim that the poor don’t have a chance at an education, all you’re doing is blowing hot air.

No one would doubt that rich kids have a better shot at an education than poor kids do. But there are plenty of opportunities for poor kids to get a good education, especially in the area where you and I live-- the California JC system is very good, very cheap, and just about anyone can get in. “My parents never told me to go to college” just doesn’t cut it.

As for your comments about mobile homes, look in today’s SJ Merc classifieds. I can’t get a link, but here are the frist 5 listings that show a price:

Campbell, 2br/2ba $125
Fremont 1br/1ba $30k
Mtn View 3br/2ba $139k
Mtn View 2br/2ba $69k
San Jose 2br $43k

I ain’t sayin’ it’s cheap to live in the SF Bay area, but your anecdotal analysis is pure BS.