Sunday, 14 December 2014

Last Blog post - The wage gap

The wage Gap

The most well-known aspect of the wage gap issue in America is that women are paid less than men for doing the same jobs, but the wage gap also extends to men of colour as well. It is also less well known that a wage gap is present between that of a white man and a man of colour, with a white man being paid more.

Every state in America experiences the wage gap, with Washington D.C having the smallest wage gap and Louisiana having the largest. Women in Washington D.C are paid 91 percent of what white men are paid compared to Louisiana where women are only paid 66 percent of what white men are paid. This wage gap is present no matter the occupation, even in female dominated fields the gap is still present. Although the wage gap can increase dramatically further for certain occupations.

For women of colour this gap is even worse, the largest gap being for Hispanic women who are only paid 54 percent of white men’s earnings. As the wage gap increases for women of colour it suggests the wage gap is an issue of gender and race rather than of other factors such as the level of education of the person. Although having a higher level of education can narrow the wage gap, the gap is still present for black and Hispanic women even when they have the same education as their white and Asian female peers. This shows that there is still a high level of racial discrimination in wages.

As well as all this, the wage gap is effected by age. Women on average earn about 90 percent of what men are paid until they are 35 and then the wage gap increases so that women are only paid 75-80 percent of what a man would earn.

 The issues with wage gaps extends to men of colour also, as the average black man will earn only $665 per week compared to the $768 a white man would earn for the same job. This means for every dollar the white man is paid the black man only earns 87 cents. The wage gap then further increases for Latino Americans who only get paid 77 cents per dollar the average white American would earn. What is interesting is that Asian men in America on average are paid 137 cents for every dollar the average American earns.

As well as these inequalities in pay for different genders and ethnic groups, there is also a very prominent wage gap for those of certain occupations. The average fast food worker will only be paid $382 a week compared to fast food service managers who are paid $744 a week. Adding to this all of the other factors mentioned above and a fast food worker could be paid much less than this. For example, if a Hispanic women worked in Louisiana and was over the age of 35 she would be paid significantly less than a white male of the same age working the same job for the same hours.

There is also further discrimination for working mothers, those with disabilities, and LGBT* individuals.

Wage gaps are present in other countries too, with the Annual survey of Hours and Earnings 2012 in the UK showed that the hourly rate of pay for men was £16.50, compared to £14.05 for women. This survey showed that women working full time would still earn £5,000 less than a male in the same occupation per year.

The wage gap issue is obviously not just one confined to America, but it is a much bigger problem in America. President Obama has signed several acts to address the wage gap issues in America, but the senate Republicans have voted against them each time meaning there is minimal help for those affected by the wage gap and no sign of change.

The fact that a wage gap even exists shows that there is still existing discrimination against certain people in American society, and the fact that here has been minimal effort to try and change this problem shows that this isn't just a problem that hasn't been fixed, it is a problem that a large proportion of American's do not care about fixing. The very fact that there is a political group who actively stopped acts being passed that could aid this problem shows how there are still a lot of very discriminative beliefs held in America. 


Thursday, 11 December 2014

Final Post of the Blog


For the last post I chose to focus on something that relates to all of the posts throughout this module, so I chose Americanisation. I picked these images because they represent Americanisation and the world being influenced by American culture, products and everything associated with it.

The Apple company have made a huge amount of money since they first began, with their products selling globally. It has become so popular that different versions of Apple products have been manufactured, such as the iPad, Mac-book, iPod and Apple headphones. This is a good example of how something from America has influenced the rest of the world in the form of technology.

The statue of liberty is well known all over the world, it is often the first thing many people think of when they think of the USA. It is also a recognisable statue which has become a symbol of not just freedom to Americans but also the world too, as a huge number of people know the history behind it and what it represents even today. Many films include images or moving pictures of it as well which then make the world associate it with the USA.

Coca-Cola is a great example of Americanisation as it is advertised throughout the year, especially around Christmas time and it has become part of the Western, European, Eastern European and the rest of the globes' culture to the extent that it is no longer considered a luxury or a novelty.

Within the sports industry, Nike is one of the most popular brands out there, and there are many out there, yet Nike has become one of the most popular of them all around the world, with the company selling thousands of shoes, clothing and accessories in shops all around the U.K alone, making it one of the most Americanised aspects of Americanisation.

America has dominated the T.V industry entirely with blockbusters, films, T.V programs and even the news. This sort of advertising of the USA in the form of realism or unrealistic terms shows not just Americanisation, but also how powerful the country is.

McDonald's is arguable one of the most popular fast food chains that there are! There are many not just within the United States but also in the U.K and the rest of the world. Even though many places change the menu slightly and adapt it to their culture, it is still essentially an American company especially as the symbol is the same no matter where you are.

Disney and Mickey Mouse are key things that many people relate to America, whether it be the tourist attraction Disneyland or the films, a lot of people would know what they were. The fact that these affect the fashion industry as there are tops etc. with the logos etc. on, music industry, film industry as well as many others indicates that this is a new level of Americanisation.

Music is heavily influenced by American bands and music as a lot of the 'popular' music nowadays is American. Also, the fact that within the music industry the saying about you don't make it big till you play at America or you go to America- suggesting that America is what gets you fame and/or fortune, which is interesting to think considering there are over 300 countries on the globe.

Starbucks is associated with America even though it originated from Europe, and America 'repackaged' it then distributed it to the globe, labeling it as an American product which created a large sum of money. Now, millions of people globally drink and consume this company and just like McDonald's it has become a normal thing within the culture and not seen as American, or at least foreign. The idea that if you are in a country where you don't understand the language, you can still eat as you would be able to recognise the symbol of Starbucks or even McDonald's, which is quite amazing.

So it would be interesting to know and see what the world would look like if there wasn't an America as it would probably be extremely different from what it is today. As you live in a world that has arguably become Americanised, because the things that you do in everyday life nearly always has a connection with the U.S, whether it be the T.V you watch, the clothing you wear, or the cup of coffee that you order in Starbucks on your way to work. All these things make you realise what the world would be like if they weren't so global as they are today.


Grace La Traille

Monday, 8 December 2014

Doubts about America

Wealth Inequality in America

In this video, Bill Maher shares his views on wealth inequality. He supports the views of the '99%' that the wealthiest 1% take most of America's money leaving others with minimal funds.

He describes American wealth like a pizza and says that the 'first guy would take 80 slices, and if someone suggests to take 79 slices, that's socialism!' This shows the popular view of the higher class that they have worked hard for their money and they have no reason to give that money away to poor people who struggle with money on a daily basis.

Maher says in this video 'we have this fantasy that our interests and the interests of the super rich are the same, like somehow the rich will eventually get so full and explode..but here's the thing about a piƱata it doesn't open on it's own, you have to beat it with a stick.' this shows us that Maher thinks the poor should fight the 'super rich' for their money as they will never give it to the poor if there is no effort to obtain it.

Researching into Maher's background I have found that he has a net worth of $23 million, this means that he would be in the top 1% that he is so passionately complaining about. Maher's argument can not be seen as reliable because of this fact and we have to consider that he may be using this argument to gain popularity from people who share the view he is expressing.


Sunday, 7 December 2014

Doubts About America

Wealth Inequality In the U.S.
Image 1
I chose to analyse the inequality between the rich and the poor in the US.
According to research the top 5% of America’s population own a massive 72% of the country’s wealth, with the top 1% owning 43% of that. The article ‘Inequality gap between super rich and poor continues to widen’ demonstrates that it is not the top 1% that inequality is mainly evident but the top 0.1% with them, on average, earning around six million dollars a year (roughly 206 times what the average family in the US earned in 2012). Many of the top earners work in the finance industry and live in major US cities such as New York or Los Angeles.
The Image 1 clearly shows the inequality of wealth within the US however it doesn’t show the somewhat delusional state that Americans seem to be in. Many know that there is an inequality however it is unclear to them just how great the difference is, as shown in Image 2. Furthermore, Pizzigati voices his opinions on Forbes 400, criticising the fact that the super-rich can earn over 1000 times the wealth of someone with $5.2 million and can still have the power to cut jobs for those in the ‘middle class’ that on average earn a net worth of $81,200 per annum. For reasons like this the rich have the opportunity to get richer whilst the poor struggle for jobs and inevitably get poorer. Even the column (in image 2) showing wealth of ‘what Americans would like it to be’ doesn’t fairly distribute wealth to the poorest. Overall inequality is still set to grow in the United States although many experts agree that to reduce it would be to raise/ have a better taxation system, trying to control the power that major corporations and banks have and finally to put emphasis on the younger generation- making sure even the poorest have education and healthcare so that they can ‘fulfil their aspirations’.
Image 2


Doubts about America; #Ferguson

This image above is very disturbing, and was written about and discussed in, #Ferguson : My Thoughts on an American Flashpoint.

It is an image of Michael Brown as he lay dead in the street following being shot six times in the back. As you can see, accompanying Michael Brown is food and drink that is racially linked with people of an African-American descent, how anyone could have put this image together and thought it to be either acceptable or comical is far beyond me. This says a lot about the country it was published in which was undoubtedly the USA, and does this take the 'freedom of speech' too far? Is this the White Anglo-Saxon Protestant American Dream? Or is it simply (though sadly) that this has become the norm for America?

Michael W. Twitty does give critical analysis of aspects of these (and other) questions about America today, dealing directly with the shooting in Ferguson, Missouri. One part of Twitty's blog stood out to me most and it is this;

"The same country where some white folk are celebrating their “right,” to bear firearms in Targets and Starbucks and pointing rifles at Federal agents (a la Cliven Bundy) without reproach, dares lecture Black America about the legalized lynchings of its sons for petty theft or perceived slights against police and governmental authority.  The same country where people are thrilled by movies about white collar crime on Wall Street and the theft of millions on the same, has robbed people of their savings is the same country where “stop and frisk” jukes the stats uptown while the real crooks downtown go wild and unrestrained after their rape of the American dream."
Read that last part again, "Their RAPE of the American Dream" this is a powerful statement to make, and the American Dream has unfortunately become something that changes with race when it truly shouldn't. A WASP should not simply want for himself and other white folk like him, he should want the true American Dream for everyone, no matter what race, religion or ethnicity they are but sadly that just doesn't happen. The American dream now is instead something that has left people with the freedom and ability to create disturbing images like the one above. I am by no means saying that all white men are pro-white, WASP, elites, but it isn't a hard fact to prove that very often white men are hired by white men rathe than hiring black men with equal if not better qualifications for the role, simply based on the colour of their skin. This denies, disturbs and destroys the American Dream, that is not equality, in their eyes not all men are created equal so they 'rape' the black man's American Dream to better their own and to better their white counterparts.

Regrettably what we have seen in Ferguson and many other places across America, be it intentional or not on the police officers part, is undermining the American Dream. He did shoot-to-kill a young black man with no matter how you look at it, excessive force. Did the officer really need to shoot him six times in the back? If he was white I'm sure it would have been a completely different story, their probably wouldn't even have been a 'story' at all.

Earlier on in the text Twitty also refers to this as an "American Tragedy" but is this simply an American tragedy or is this more of a tragedy for the contemporary world? I believe what happens in America now isn't just American anymore, America has become so influential on geo-politics that for something like this to happen in America, 'The Land of the Free', sends the wrong message to almost every other country on this planet. In contrast to this though, I do agree with Twitty that it is still an American tragedy at heart, and something desperately needs to be done about modern racial segregation within present-day America.

Blog by Michael W. Twitty;

EDIT: I found this video after posting my blog and would like to discuss in relevance to doubts in America.

Friday, 5 December 2014

Doubts about America

I don't want to be here anymore, Rise Against

I chose this song as it's an opinion critical of the United States, and is voiced by a group of Americans in a band called Rise Against. Their song include criticisms of protest movements about economic and political issues such as extreme wealth inequality and national security surveillance, recent civil rights issues such as the shooting in Ferguson, MO, and the various global struggles which the U.S involved itself in since 9/11, including the recent campaign against ISIS.

"1, 800 shootings per year in Chicago" this shows that the U.S isn't new to shootings or civil rights issues that are associated with race such as the Micheal Brown incident. Even though the statistics on the screen do not state that they are specifically about race, the news shows us that it is a common event in America.

However, in the video there is a young black woman who says "I witnessed at a young age, my cousin get shot right in front of me, they hit her with a bullet in the head, my uncle got shot and robbed, no child can grow up in Chicago and just live it's life" this shows that there are racial issues as well as America not being an equal place.

There is also content within the song about the various global struggles which the U.S has involved itself in since 9/11. "1, 083 assassinations by ISIS last year" which suggests that the U.S aren't doing enough to stop ISIS. Another bit in the song "Major Iraqi cities are falling back under extremist control" which also shows that America cannot stop the extremists because major Iraqi cities are in the extremists control again, which would indicate that the U.S is finding it harder and harder to help out with these sorts of issues.

A political issue as well as a global one is with Obama's speech in the song, this is saying that the 'American combat mission in Iraq has ended', but then straight after, the video states that "2014 Americans are returning to Iraq to aid in the fight against new extremist threats" and "Iraq's Militia is now more than 50, 000 strong". These show that even when America gets out of any form of hardships, it is quickly back facing problems again, in this particular instance 2 years (2010-2014), and that various global struggles is an ongoing problem too.

"Won't back down, won't take no, for answers anymore" this shows that the American people want answers either from the U.S government, fellow Americans or the world as to why the U.S has become like this, and that if the world doesn't change for example the school shootings "America averages 1 school shooting every 5 weeks" etc., then there will eventually not be a United States, because of what it is becoming.

"I don't want to be here anymore!" this line is sang throughout the majority of the song, showing us that because of the circumstances of America in regard to the civil rights issues, global issues, economic and political issues too, that it has meant that they/him doesn't want to be living in the U.S anymore and would rather be elsewhere.

There are also economic and political issues in the song too "Something that you dream about, your home, your house, your food, your family, and just the little stuff that you take for granted now". This relates to the extreme wealth inequality that isn't about race, and the man is indicating that America is where you now have to worry about things such as financial equality.

"On pins and needles we are waiting for the fall" this is saying that America is hanging on and just coping with all these problems it faces, both internally and externally, but the fact that they 'are waiting for the fall' indicates that soon America will collapse and breakdown.

"No longer recognize the place that I call home" this shows that America is changing, and not in a positive way as the title of the song is I don't want to be here anymore meaning that he wants to get away from it all.

"I know there's nothing left worth staying for" is providing us with the idea that America is no longer  a place for his future and possibly for many people, even with politics saying that everything is going to be okay.

"Your paradise is something I've endured" this relates to the notion of The American Dream because it is saying that America, a place of paradise is something that no longer exists, as a result of these problems. But it also means that the life of America now, has become so bad that he can no longer put up with it. "See I don't think I can fight this anymore" which also shows that it has been going on for so long that he has got to the point where he has had enough and cannot take it anymore.

"The point where we break gets closer everyday" Again this is relating to the idea of America is not what it used to be as a result of these current issues and problems, and that it is only a matter of time before it fails completely.

"But where do we go? But where do we go?" This being said twice indicates that there is no way out of this, both physically as people but also as a place (country). The issues and problems that America is facing shows us that it is a never ending problem too.

"We need a better way" this line at the end of the song is saying that if America doesn't change the way it deals with things, then it isn't going to end well or these issues are only going to get worse.


Monday, 1 December 2014


This image is of a protest in Chicago during the great depression, and by the signs of the protesters you can tell they are protesting for jobs or money whilst unemployment, in the form of unemployment insurance. This image shows that during the great depression there was a significant loss of jobs, meaning that a large portion of the average population were unemployed simply due to the small amount of jobs available and not due to being unqualified.

This image shows a protest in New York city in April 2009, the signs in this image suggest that these people were protesting for jobs for the unemployed. By comparing these two images I can see that unemployment was a massive problem during both the great depression and the more recent recession. This would have led to a range of other problems, as if people can't work they can't pay bills and thus may find themselves homeless, they also may not have been able to buy necessities, such as food and clothing which would increase the number of homeless people. This would then make it hard for these people to obtain a job when there was more available due to being homeless.