Introduction to American Politics online course discussion – West Book, Ch3

I’m working on a Political Science question and need guidance to help me study.

Be sure to read carefully and share your thought after reading. Just aim to understand and digest material and thoughts. No need to memorize anything. Also, comment constructively on a classmates’ posting.

(I will attach Chapter 3 of the book)

West, Ch THREE “The Decline of Opportunity” p 53

Growing Up Poor 54

Advancement through Education 60

Obstacles for the Current Generation 65

Destruction of the American Dream 67

Here is classmate’s posting from question. Please reply in 1st person point of view.

Classmate’s post

“a person born in the bottom 20 percent of family income had only a 4 percent chance of making it into the top 20 percent.” (West, pg53) this piece of information was sad and surprising to me. This was sad because that means that most poor people are staying poor, showing that there isn’t equal education or equal opportunities. But it was also surprising because I had no idea it was that hard for a poor person to become wealthy. I always thought that we had a lot of control over our lives and if you worked hard you would eventually become successful, but according to West that is not the case. “Americans like to credit individual initiative for upward mobility, but the fact is that even in an open society such as the United States, much of life success is determined by large-scale factors beyond personal control.” (West, pg57) The reason why poor people are much more likely to stay poor is not because they didn’t work hard enough, but because they were already at a disadvantage when they were born. Some of these disadvantages are where they were born, when they were born, the quality of education they have access too, what their family teaches them, and what opportunities they have. Important factors like those I mentioned can be crucial to keeping poor people from becoming rich.

Work Cited

WEST, D. M. (2020). DIVIDED POLITICS, DIVIDED NATION: Hyperconflict in the trump era. BROOKINGS INSTITUTION PR.

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