The working class in America is a group that is often over looked and misunderstood. They may be seen as lazy, uneducated, unmotivated and undeserving of the many benefits that we as Americans have been known to enjoy. There are many view points on this topic for and against the working class and that is why I chose this subject to research. I desire to understand the thinking of the fortunate and the less fortunate. What exactly is the working poor in America? That is one of the questions I desire to find an answer to among many others.
My interest in the working poor began in 2007 when President Obama announced his candidacy for President. During many of his speeches his compassion for the middle class was evident. He often talked about his family and his childhood experiences. I felt great pride to see this man with so many worldly possessions describe what he felt like when he wasn’t quite as blessed. I started thinking about my life and the ways that poverty had affected my belief system. How could things have been different in my life had certain things been a little different?
I didn’t actually grow up in poverty but my mother and her siblings did. My mom grew up in Winslow, Arizona back in the 60’s. Neither of my grandparents graduated from high school but they were extremely hard workers that believed in earning everything they received. They raised their children with Christian values and the importance of education. But the importance of education didn’t extend beyond high school for them. Since neither of my grandparents had graduated from high school they made sure that all of their children earned a diploma. They never pushed them to further their education for whatever reason. Before her death I remember my grandmother announcing with pride that all of her eight kids had graduated from high school. My mother raised me in this same manner basically. She always told me that I could do or be whatever I wanted to be but she didn’t know how to push me to do those things. My grand parent’s legacy includes eight children and twenty-one grandchildren. I’m sad to say that in my family only two of the grandchildren have graduated from college with a bachelor’s degree or more. My mom did eventually go back to school and earned an Associates degree.
As a result of this mind set many of my family members have settled for mediocre lifestyles. They couldn’t see pass the beliefs of my grandparents to do or want better. These are intelligent people with probably above average IQs settling for working in plants or peddling here and there to make ends meet. Many of my family members would be labeled as the working poor. These are hardworking individuals that get up daily to work minimum wage jobs. Some of them end up with different bodily issues because of the difficult jobs they do daily. As a result of what I have witnessed daily growing up I feel as though this is the best topic for me to research. Through my research I could not only finish a class assignment but I can better my life and my children’s life; I feel when one knows better they do better. I plan to educate myself through some of the many books I have already come across in my quest for knowledge. I plan to interview family members, church members and others that I deem “working poor” so that I may have a more accurate depiction of the situation.
Before I married my husband I was considered one of the working poor. I had made bad choices and had children out of wedlock. Because of this I struggled daily to make ends meet. I believe that the working poor in America are an excellent topic to research because there are so many directions in which I could take my research. From all of my personal issues to the many issues that affects others, the working poor in America is a subject that could be utilized in many assignments.