Herbert J. Gans Uses Of The Underclass In America

Improved Essays
In his essay “Uses of the Underclass in America” author Herbert J. Gans states five reasons for his argument supporting those who are underserving. Gans feels that society has mislabeled the poor and they have been misunderstood. Gans states “Judgements of the poor as undeserving are not based on evidence, but derive from a stereotype” (Gans qtd. in Massey 313). Poor people do not chose to deviate from society or to break the rules. Society or better off people believe underprivileged people are criminals because they like doing it, or that they chose not to work because they are lazy. Gans defends the lower-class by looking at several views, he believes that these actions are caused by there poverty and not the individual themselves. Gans …show more content…
If rich people see poor as undeserving they do not have to help them or treat them as equals. This also makes it easier for the rich people to blame poor people for almost anything. The undeserving can be used for a scapegoats for anything wrong that can be blamed on them from violations in the law to injustices done in everyday life. They cannot protect themselves from these accusations and since most of the people holding political power are wealthy, it makes it that much more difficult. The second concept that Gans looks at is the role of economic functions when defending the undeserving. He argues that it is easier to not employ unfortunate people who dropped out of school or committed a crime because they have no work ethic and are lazy. He states, “They are effectively banished from the labor market before entering it because employers imagine them to be poor workers simply because they are young, male, and black” (Gans qtd. in Massey 316). Gans is arguing that it is easier to reject poor people from employment because they can easily be seen as lazy and uncommitted. Gans then continues to look at normative functions and how they go against the poor and help the …show more content…
It is easy to stereotype the underserving as lazy and thieves when in most cases that is not true. Gans states “Criminals and drug sellers want to hold respectable jobs like everyone else…and aspire to the same American dream as most moderate and middle-income Americans (Gans qtd. in Massey 319). He continues to look at political factors for which he argues that, once poor people are stereotyped they lose power. They lose power to vote, hold positions in office, or they don’t care to vote because they know their voice won’t be heard. Lastly, he looks at the concept of macrosocial functions and how poor people are not treated for their medical illnesses. Gans calls this the “extermination of the surplus’. He feels that they are not being helped because the better-off people just don’t care for them and don’t value them the same. In the end the author feels that it is unfair to stereotype people in depraved situations as lazy, criminals, or underserving of the same rights as everyone else. I agree with Gans because most poor people did not chose they situation they are put into. They work just as hard as everyone else and are trying to better their situation. It is unfair that society is not giving them equal opportunities or a fair chance at life because

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