Journal #4: inequality and social (im)mobility


  • Sufficiently descriptive, analytical, and reflective.  
  • A minimum of 600 words and a maximum of 750 words. Calculate and list your word count at the top of the page. Do not include the prompt in your word count.

This week’s PROMPT on power and privilege is:

So far this semester you have been reading about contemporary social problems (education inequality, poverty, income inequality, food insecurity, housing inequality, etc.) facing our nation as a whole as well as the communities in which you are doing your 157SL service. This week you read an article on “the American Dream”  and participated in an in-class workshop on the topic of poverty and social (im)mobility. This material, in particular, challenges a common argument about the poor in the United States, namely:

“People would not be poor if only they would try harder, i.e. people are poor because of their own immorality, irresponsibility, bad personal choices, and/or personal failings. Because poverty is a result of personal failing, government is not obligated to intervene or help those who are poor.”

For this journal entry, do the following:

  1. First, without yet taking a position, analyze what about the above argument could be appealing to some members of the American public and/or elected officials. Likewise, what about the above argument could be problematic for our society? Refer to 157SL materials (readings, documentaries, etc.) to help you critically analyze this argument, but don’t quote. Rather, put everything in your own words.

class material to refer to : 1 



  1. Second, in your role as an educated member of society (your education in 157SL now makes you more informed on this topic than the average person), take a position and compose a direct response to the argument quoted above. Make use of 157SL materials (readings, documentaries) to explain and support your position, but be sure to put everything in your own words (no quotations). You can take any position you want to; however, regardless of what your position is, you will be graded on the quality of your argument, including how effectively you explain and support your position using 157SL materials
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