Social stratification

Resident concerned about the growing level of poverty in the community

This is regarding homeless camps, a rising concern in The Morning Star.

The Canadian poor typically work in low-prestige occupations that provide low-income and little intrinsic satisfaction.

Their education is very limited. Only some manage to complete high school and a college degree is virtually out of reach.

Many lower class Canadians have so little education that they are functionally illiterate.

In a culture that emphasizes the values of individual success and achievement, lower class people are often seen as personally inadequate.

Tragically, some of the poor come to hold such a view of themselves but poverty is more correctly understood as a consequence of Canadians’ system of social stratification than as a reflection of personal deficiencies on the part of tens of thousands of people.

The poor are also characterized by considerable social segregation, especially of the poor members of ethnic minorities.

This is most visible in our city, in which a large number of poor people live in deteriorating neighbourhoods avoided by those of other social classes.

Very few poor families ever gain the resources to purchase even the cheapest house. Consequently, they typically live in undesirable low-cost rental housing.

Upper-class children are socialized in an environment that attempts to develop their talent, abilities and confidence to the fullest.

In contrast, poor children are socialized to the hard reality of being devalued and marginal members of their own society.

Observing their parents and other poor adults, they see little reason to be hopeful about their own future.

Rather, life in the lower class demands resignation to being cut off from the resources of the rich. Although some simply give up, many other poor people work desperately to make ends meet.

Many of the poor do not conform to the stereotype of people lacking initiative and responsibility. On the contrary, they devised ingenious means to survive based on mutual support.

People in a poor community join together, almost like one large family, to help one another make ends meet.

Ozzie Youdell