I was on the New York times website, when I stumbled on an article called “The Wrong Inequality”. Of course by the title I was already interested, it made it seem as though there was a wrong or right inequality to focus on. In the article, the author discusses that big cities such as New York City, Los Angeles, Boston, San Francisco, Seattle, Dallas, Houston and the District of Columbia are known to experience what is called “Blue Inequality”. This means that one percent of the population accumulates the wealth and keeps gaining more of the income and wealth. According to economists the “one percenters” are made up of,

“Roughly 31 percent started or manage nonfinancial businesses. About 16 percent are doctors, 14 percent are in finance, 8 percent are lawyers, 5 percent are engineers and about 2 percent are in sports, entertainment or the media.”

This is incredibly relevant seeing as though occupy wall street has been all over the media. People have been protesting that same concept of “blue inequality” .  The author stresses how times have change. For example, until 1970 or so, a chief executive would have been embarrassed to take home more than $20 million. But now there is no shame, and top compensation zooms upward.The more money you receive now the better. However, this was not the most interesting part of the article. There is another inequality that occurs in  places such as Scranton, Des Moines, Naperville, Macon, Fresno, and almost everywhere else, this is known as red inequality. In this type of inequality, the conflict is between the individuals with college degrees and those without, as oppose to the blue inequality which is between the 1% versus the 99%.  Now the average college graduate makes 75% more than a high school graduate, which is an outrageous difference. Being aware of this difference, it is no surprise as to why there would be an inequality between those with a college degree and individuals without one. However, one point in the article I do have to argue is when Brooks states:

“If you are born with parents who are college graduates, your odds of getting through college are excellent. If you are born to high school grads, your odds are terrible.”

My parents never went to College and were only able to graduate high school, however I  will be graduating this spring with a double major in psychology and sociology. I do believe that having a parent who went to college does make things easier, since the parent is familiar with the application process as well as what is needed and expected of the child. In other words the application process might be unproblematic, but this does not guarantee the odds of getting through college. Furthermore, I felt that the statement was very generalized and somewhat ignorant.

Basically, the article exposes the two forms of inequality in modern America. However, the attention of inequality is more towards that of the “blue inequality’. The author states that the reasoning for this focus on blue inequality is because most protesters and media coverage happens in the Big cities, as a result the 1% is very apparent. This reminded me of the article we had previously read ” A Diverse City? In someways, anything but..”, because it brought me back to the New York mentality. We focus a lot on OUR own city which leads us to sometimes dismiss the outside world and our surroundings. Brooks argues that in actuality it is the red inequality that is more important. He does believe that the 1% is a huge problem, but on the other hand he deems the problem of tens of millions of Americans dropping out of high school or college a bigger issue. He states:

“That’s because it is easier to talk about the inequality of stock options than it is to talk about inequalities of family structure, child rearing patterns and educational attainment. That’s because many people are wedded to the notion that our problems are caused by an oppressive privileged class that perpetually keeps its boot stomped on the neck of the common man.”

In other words, Brooks believes that people find it easier to blame the elite group who oppresses the common man, than to blame family structure such as children out of wedlock, divorce rates, and the drop out rates for the obvious inequality. he believes that if your goal is to reduce inequality then you should be mad at the 1%, but if you are trying to create and expand opportunities, then going after the elite group is not the way. I feel that although the drop out rates of high school and college Americans do make a difference in the economic inequality, I do think that Brooks can’t deny the fact that there is an elite group that is constantly oppressing the disadvantaged people. This elite group makes it difficult to distribute the wealth evenly because they purposely keep the wealth within that 1%. So to say that the 99% group’s  problems are not rooted from the actions of the 1% is unfair.

Do you believe that one inequality is more important than the other?


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