Essay on The Black Underclass Of The African American Community

832 Words Mar 13th, 2016 4 Pages
The author, William Clement Stone, was quoted once to have said, “You are a product of your environment. So choose the environment that will best develop you toward your objective. Analyze your life in terms of its environment. Are the things around you helping you toward success -- or are they holding you back?” The problem with this quote is that it assumes that everyone has the privilege of choosing their environment. African-Americans, in particular, have not had the privilege of choosing their environment throughout history. The strength of the people in the African-American community is due to the influence of their physical and cultural environment. The physical environment of the African-American community is determined by the class structure of the United States. In the widely acclaimed study of urban poverty, The Truly Disadvantaged(1987), sociologist William Julius Wilson examined the problems of the urban black underclass within the context of the changing class structure. He made the argument that despite substantial social welfare expenditures to mitigate poverty, African-American deprivation has steadily increased since the 1960’s. African American communities have been stereotyped by the American public as the “Ghetto” due to the high amount of disadvantaged inhabitants. Wilson stressed the fact that the “increased ‘social isolation’ of the disadvantaged eroded their affiliations with the community…”(Wilson). In other words, the social class structure of…

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