Congratulations to Terrence, who just finished his B.A. in Criminal Justice at John Jay!
"This wasn’t an easy road lord knows idk what was worse taking punches in the head or studying long nights!! I fought for a change where I can articulate on why I love the sport of boxing it PUSHES ME through my Anger, frustrations, but still remain humble and smile at individuals in my worst mode, positive energy was my angel, I got the tasks done ✅
We are very proud of Terrence for all he has accomplished. Here's a powerful essay we recently helped him polish up as a writing sample for one of the jobs he's applying to as a new graduate.
Karl Marx once called the middle class "petty bourgeoisie" or "petty capitalists" because he believed that the middle class largely neglect lower class struggles. The phrase, "The rich get richer, and the poor get poorer" ties back to the role of the petty capitalist. Marx realized that the middle class individuals separated the means of production from the labor force when they created small businesses.
Marx is trying to imply that owners will control the means of production and as regular employers they will always stay above the poverty line, as opposed to sharing within the society so that poorer people can rise above the poverty line. For example, the word “capitalist” defined in my own perspective means that the owner will purchase cheap merchandise, make a percentage and then sell it for the highest price. So the owner would be getting a profit off of what he is selling because he bought it for a lot cheaper than he sold it, which still applies to many things in modern society. Warehouse bulk buying is very popular, and even now many businesses will buy bulk for cheap and sell in their own stores for much more.
I strongly agree with Marx’s theory that this is defined as petty capitalism. All members of society contribute to society; we all pay taxes even if we only work a minimum wage job. The taxes are contributed to the hospitals, public schools, firefighters, etc. Why is it that the more business the middle class creates, the less tax they pay? What the lower class is struggling for is equal pay, better benefits and just to feel like everyone else.
In “Appropriation in the State of Nature: Self-ownership and labor,” John Locke made a strong argument when he stated, “Everyman has a property in his own Person.” This states that nobody has any right to himself but himself; “the labor of his body, and the work of his hands.” There should be no right for the government to take someone else’s possession or property; the hands that create the labor should not be taken advantage of by any means necessary. A majority of citizens do not realize that you are your own human being, which makes you your own property. Why should an individual take an involuntarily stand to limit their freedom or property? A poverty line is unacceptable in the state that is supposedly called, “The land of the free.”
According to feedingamerica.org more than “45.3 million people, which is equivalent to 14.5 percent of citizens, were in poverty in the year of 2013.” We are talking about families – daughters, sons, fathers, all facing the poverty line. In addition, American food assistance, such as food stamps and National School lunch programs, is equivalent to the percentage of poverty.
What do we have to say for ourselves? Is it in our human rights to let such a tragic situation occur? Candidates such as presidents or governors play a major role in this society and the future for our lower class citizens. For example, the government controls our banks and funds. As bad as that sounds, it’s very true. What can we do about it? We live in a capitalist society and I don’t think there’s much that will ever change that.
Education plays an important role in overcoming poverty. When a child grows up in a negative environment he/she tends to misbehave or doesn’t learn proper edicts such as knowing the meaning of the word “polite.” A majority of people fail to realize that without politeness, people can easily judge what type of family you grew up in and what base you stand between wealthy, rich, or poor. Most affluent people reinforce their class status simply by the way they behave around other human beings, the way they eat and better yet, the most important skill, communicating. These things all tie back to education. It is crucial for young children to get locked into education and manners young or they will all fall into the system and lose control of their lives. This is when people fall into drugs, gangs, and many other bad habits. These children seek these things when they get older because they know no better and were not taught properly. We need to educate the young people of this world.
When a parent can’t afford to send their children to a good school, how will the children know how to read and write? How will they know how to interact with other students? As opposed to a wealthy kid who has every access in life to resources that will help them.
Let’s talk poverty in urban areas or communities. If a kid is eager to attend school, how will that one specific kid make it out of the negative environment? I believe that kids in these communities will most likely not fully pursue their education. Perhaps they will think, ok, one solution is selling drugs. In reality selling drugs is more dangerous than anything in the world. Another scenario, let’s say the teenage boy finds a part-time job just to survive and is getting 8 dollars an hour just to save up for college tuition. That’s excluding Metrocard fees and textbooks. Kids often resort to drug trafficking because it gives them many times the amount they would make at a minimum wage job. It’s not the right mindset, but at the same time the government isn’t helping the cause.
I‘ve recently read a book called “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki. The author had two fathers. Yes, I know, who has two fathers? Not biological. His biological one was the poor father. The rich father was his friend’s dad, whose name was Mike. Kiyosaki did an experiment on both fathers. The poor father had different types of degrees, more than the rich one, but he was struggling with bills and needed help financially. Even though he was educated, he wasn’t educated financially. As opposed to the rich dad, who had no college degree, but owned a company that paid for everything that he desired. If the rich dad realized what world we live in, maybe he wouldn’t be so selfish. This also goes to show that it’s not always a college degree that gets you where you want to be. Most times it’s not what you know but who you know. Why not contribute and give a hand?
The word "gentrification" irritates me when I see it advertised on subways. Let me elaborate on that powerful word. A rich company decides one day that they want to build a ten-story building in a community and without any consent evicts family, friends, daughters, cousins, of course doing all that following the right law. This destroys the community, creating more money for the rich and sending the lower classes into shelters. It just sickens me that with so much power people can manipulate and just leave a family out on the street.
Many veterans are living in poverty. How could someone who’s fought for America get placed in a shelter? Think about the scenario. You come home from the military, your contract has expired, and you have no family or close friends. While everyone outside is celebrating Veterans Day, you as a young adult between the ages of 20-27 find it difficult to get work. Considering the fact that you have been serving the great land of America, why is it that you have to struggle to survive for food and housing?
In San Diego, young active duty and veteran families have been swelling the ranks of the poor. Of San Diego citizens who were serving in the military, 10% are unable to earn the wages they desired, coming to “about 117,000 active duty military, and of those, 85,000 are considered to be junior enlisted, those in the lower six pay grades, E1-E6. Half these young military enlisted members in San Diego are married and have children.” In other words, these are family members who have kids, and can barely support their family or make a decent living. An average military veteran makes approximately $30,000 a year. I was stunned to read this figure; I expected more funds for the workers who are putting their lives out there every day, including the ones that go to different countries and fight, “for the freedom of land.”
Similarly, the poverty line always threatens inmates when they are released from jail. When they are released from prison, what chances will they get to look for a job or housing? When an inmate is out of jail he or she often ends up returning back to prison. This is called “recidivism.” Society punishes those who commit a crime so that they make sure that they have no opportunity whatsoever. They internalize the prison mindset and get stuck. Once they are released into the real word, it is very difficult for them to find jobs. Some commit a new crime to send them back to prison. According to the bjs.gov, “An estimated 67.5% of prisoners released in 1994 were rearrested within 3 years.” When prisoners are released from prison without housing or support, they seek hope in prison life because it is all they know. The prison is their home and they see this as the only place they can actually live happily.
In this society that we live in, the capitalist bourgeois tend to press down on people that are striving. Let’s put this in a scenario: Two criminals who have committed the same crime, let’s say drug possession. One comes from a wealthy family who has an abundance of money to buy legal defense, as opposed to the other criminal, who has no sort of income. Why is it that society choses to let the one criminal go free because of a wealthy income while the poor criminal is rotting in jail? I despise the notion that America is imbalanced when it comes to justice. In addition, the family of the non-wealthy criminal is now struggling to make ends meet. When he is released after serving his time, now he has a felony on his record and perhaps can’t get a job with any benefits.
Do you want to know the real reason why economic injustice outrages me? When I was in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, I grew up without anything. In Port-au-Prince, poverty skyrocketed back in 1994. I struggled, seeing my grandmother going out just for me not to starve. I hated the fact that I was young and starving.
It took my family seven years to get me to America. I was extremely excited because I was in the “Land of Opportunity,” but it sadly broke my heart to see my fellow Americans sleeping on the streets, picking out of the garbage. My first experience when I was in America traumatized me, but of course I didn’t speak my mind because I was just a young man. Who would listen to an immigrant with a heavy accent?
As I have educated myself, I’ve realized how unjust America is. I learned about capitalism, communism, and the different groups who are striving while the people above are just relaxing somewhere luxurious. My outrage didn’t stop me. That anger turned into striving, making me hungry for success. I was grateful to not fall into the matrix, by which I mean people who are migrating into America thinking it’s all fun and joy, people amazingly happy about jobs that have no health care or benefits. Once they educate themselves, they are are going to realize America is NOT the land of freedom. That is why I am in favor of what Karl Marx once called the middle class: "petty bourgeoisie" or "petty capitalists."
Hunger and Poverty Fact Sheet. (n.d.). Retrieved May 29, 2015, from http://www.feedingamerica.org/hunger-in-america/impact-of-hunger/hunger-and- poverty/hunger-and-poverty-fact- sheet.html?gclid=CjwKEAjw7YWrBRCThIyogcGymQsSJAAmz_ndseYif0LPu_84POvfo1h9K GT_eG9CaBb3Z4Dh_e4HrhoCCaXw_wcB
Membership. (n.d.). Retrieved May 17, 2015, from http://www.ascd.org/publications/books/109074/chapters/How-Poverty-Affects-Behavior-and- Academic-Performance.aspx
Online Library of Liberty. (n.d.). Retrieved June 1, 2015, from http://oll.libertyfund.org/pages/locke-on-property-a-bibliographical-essay-by-karen-vaughn#lf- essay006lev1sec01
Recidivism. (n.d.). Retrieved May 14, 2015, from http://www.bjs.gov/content/reentry/recidivism.cfm
Too many military, veteran families struggling financially. (n.d.). Retrieved May 14, 2015, from http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2014/nov/12/military-families-financial-poverty/