By Anna

Karen Chapple and Michael Tietz, professors at the University of California, Berkeley, give eight causes of inner city poverty:95-theses

  1. Economic Shifts-often seen when manufacturing plants close or increase their robotics, resulting in loss of jobs
  2. Inadequate Human Capital-possibly no higher education, poor, or no education or no set skills
  3. Racial and Gender Discrimination
  4. Cultural Interaction-people emulate the culture around them, reacting to the agenda set by that culture. Also, middle class (most often white) culture usually sets itself apart from a diverse neighborhood because of a lack of understanding of culture
  5. Spatial Mismatch-segregation of classes that results in separation of workers and jobs
  6. Migration—of middle class to suburbs and middle/upper classes to areas in the United States. Also, push (crime, education) and pull (resources) factors of certain neighborhoods.
  7. Endogenous Growth Deficit—low access to capital because of a lack of businesses
  8. Consequences of Public Policy-usually intended to alleviate stress, but actually enables and can worsen situations

Of the eight, I’ll give you a bit more on the three I think are most important for redevelopment.

Inadequate Human Capital:

We all had those teachers growing up who we were smarter than, but most of us still got a pretty good education, public or private, because we were white, living in middle-income neighborhoods. Some of us even jump-started college with PSEO or AP classes, but if we were given education in the inner-city we would’ve had even less-qualified teachers and less of a chance to take advanced classes, not to mention the family support we got from our parents, whether in terms of money for good grades or groundings for bad grades-we were a motivated bunch.

Luckily, us white kids still don’t have to worry about future employers not hiring us because we are instinctually lazy (a “soft skill” most black people have held against them). This perceived human capital leads us right into the next cause of poverty:

Racial and Gender Discrimination:

Relating to the institutional economics of last week, racism and sexism is instilled within individuals whether it is recognized or not. One theorist (Glenn C. Loury) tells us these are racial stigmas, differing from discrimination because stigmas are how each individual relates to another based on race.

Racism and sexism in the United States derives from the constitution when black people were johannes_gutenberg3/5 human and women were left out all together, although white women were next in line to receive any benefits, which their male counterparts inherited from the constitution. And we all know the constitution stems from Enlightenment ideals, which wouldn’t have come along if Luther hadn’t pinned that 95 Theses on that Wittenberg church door starting the Reformation, and the 95 Theses wouldn’t have been mass produced if Gutenberg hadn’t invented the printing press a century earlier. But before we go blaming Gutenberg, remember he also printed the pamphlets for a group of rebel peasants fighting against serfdom. So if we can’t blame Gutenberg it’s best not to blame anyone but ourselves.

Public Policy:

You may already have noticed how each cause is somehow connected to public policy (and if not, you’re probably a Republican, or an Evangelical Christian), but I’m not speaking on behalf of anyone but the poor. The poor are unlucky enough to have their neighborhoods broken up by interstates, incinerators put in down the block and nullification for FHA Loans (allowing those who can afford it to move into nicer homes, while inner city homes depreciate), to name just a few policies. Many of these policies could be overturned if only the neighborhood had enough human capital to fight the injustices or to have the stamina to continually fight what is blatantly abuse. But after all, it is easier to step on colored toes than white ones and get away with it.

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