his article ” The War against the Poor Instead of Programs to End Poverty” Herbert
J.Gans explains and goes in depth on how the underprivileged people are exiled,
stereotyped and rejected by the society and the government. A lot of parties
are involved in this war, on one hand Gans accuses the government that has
worsen the situation by limiting welfare only to those in the middle class, in
the other hand there are politicians who are trying to win elections and gain
the vote of the middle and upper classes by promising to create programs to
help them rather than helping those in difficulties. On the contrary, they are
willing to find more ways to punish the poor. Also, the economy plays a big
role, because as the economy declines, the enthusiasm to help the poor declines
author compared the Hebrews and Irish that were considered as criminal races
and today’s Hispanics, blacks and immigrants that are treated the same
way. He compared those two Historical
periods in order to show that society and mentalities did not change that much
over time and to explain that not only races are victimized, the whole class
society suffers now.
due to powerful stereotypes, many people from the middle and upper class believe
that the poor are lazy by nature. More than that, they are considered harmful
and violent, while in reality they are just lacking resources and chances. The government
perpetuation of discrimination mentality led to the creation of wrong
perceptions, the poor are considered as underserving of escaping this poverty, immoral
and criminals. For instance, he brought examples of unmarried poor mothers and
how they are perceived by the society as immoral woman. This is a good example
of other classes trying to implant ethical values while they are not behaving themselves.
Gans in his article wants the middle and upper class to analyze the living conditions
of the poor in order to understand rather than labeling and designating them as
underserving in order to keep them at distance.
aims to help the poor people escape from this situation, thus; he proposed
several solutions. First, he argued that the only way for them to be considered
as deserving members of the society is to get proper opportunities for jobs.
Therefore, restoring failing infrastructures would be a great way to create
jobs for those in need. Another solution, is a new approach to income grant
programs and non-punishable grants programs. He also, urges to establish policies
against drugs and street crime in order to reduce the fear and anger of the
middle and upper classes.
Gans listed ten anti-bigotry programs with detailed explanations, hoping that
clarifying those ideas will bring equality among different classes. He enquires
his audience to reconsider their decent principles by looking at others
‘conditions and to help them get access to jobs and resources that will better
their situation rather than being judgmental distant and immoral.