Review of Shipler's the Working Poor

2601 words 11 pages
In David K. Shipler’s book, The Working Poor Invisible in America the reader is provided a peek into the personal stories of the inner lives of eight families struggling inside the vicious cycle of poverty. Shipler’s method of interviews, narratives of personal stories and observation represents an innovative study investigating the working poor in an attempt to understand “how people in real communities devise collective responses to their problems (Segal, 2010).”
A. Barriers In a absorbing way that made me cringe at times, Shipler allows these ‘invisible’ poor to narrate in their personal stories the structural, social, economic and cultural barriers that impact the families. Although I tend to disagree, Shipler admits that one
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Or worse, if you are already dealing with poverty, getting hooked on drugs may seem like the only way out (Shipler, 2004). Fraught throughout society are emotional and physical abuse, but it is overrepresented in areas of poverty. Abuse of any kind to children can leave them emotionally, physically and psychologically unable to cope with life choices or can even lead to disabilities that will further hamper their ability to learn in school and gain any meaningful employment (Abramovitiz, 1996). There are also the barriers of negative stereotypes. The idea that someone receiving welfare is cheating the system or having babies to receive more money so they don’t have to work have both emotional and mental consequences. This type of discrimination is blatant throughout our democratic society that values individualism, a protestant hard work ethic and the societal sanctioned ideal that anyone can have the American dream if they just work hard enough (Jimenez, 2010). This means that if you are not making it people assume it is something you have personally done wrong. More often than not, the poor, like the families in Shipler’s book, relegate those oppressive, discriminatory remarks and put them on themselves, thus believing and enhancing this stereotype (Shipler, 2004). Shipler points out that our system oppresses poor people and subsequently they themselves oppress them as well (Shipler,