Tamarla Owens: Product of a Failed System Essay

Tamarla Owens: Product of a Failed System Tamarla Owens was a product of failed American policy and ideas. She is prime example of government decisions that contradict reality. From the top down the government failed to realize what they had in fact created with the Welfare to Work program and the true reality of it. First, Tamarla Owens had several social statuses where she lived near Flint, Michigan. She was part of a group or neighborhood in this circumstance, that had nearly half of it’s population making under $15,000 a year including Tamarla at $13,000. This was group stricken with poverty.

Having moved to Flint as a teenager, Tamarla was almost born into this status. Let alone other ascribed statuses that lay claim to poverty such as being an African-American, being a woman (let alone single) and living near Flint, Michigan where unemployment was over 8% and the crime rate was over triple the national average in 1999. Tamarla had achieved the status of parenthood, having her first of three children at age 20. She had also achieved the status of a hardworking tax payer, working up to 70 hours week on a state run program that stemmed from the National Welfare to Work program.

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One must keep in mind, even though she put forth the kind of effort most never will, she remained in poverty and worse unable to sufficiently raise her children in this state sponsored program set forth by lawmakers with no idea of what life was like for Tamarla and many others in their master status role of society. Tamarla was trying to do the best she could for her family. Under the Welfare to Work program, Tamarla received food stamp benefits and medical insurance in exchange for paying pack welfare monies she had received.

The issue with this program is that when you start making more money than what you receive in benefits you get cut off from the already at “poverty level” benefits. This was the case in Tamarla’s situation. She did not even make enough to cover her rent at only $300 per month and slowly lost monetary benefits. So here we have a woman striving to change her achieved status in a program that only made it worse. To add insult to injury, if you leave the welfare to work program for any reason, you will lose medical and food benefits.

Tamarla couldn’t be her with her children at the risk of being homeless and without food and medical services. This leads us to our next topic of social roles. Tamarla was expected, by society, to raise 3 children properly, maintain a safe permanent home for them and bring home enough money to feed and clothe them. Under the failed Welfare to Work program Tamarla could not make enough money to stay in her home, even with 2 jobs, nor could she risk losing food stamps (even these were dwindling on a sliding scale as well) or medical benefits.

Most days Tamarla would leave by 7:30 AM and not return until 11:00 PM. Under this scenario she would never be able to meet the expectations of her status. This is perfect example of role strain, as a single mother Tamarla was expected to raise her children properly and work up to 70 hours a week commuting on a bus system that didn’t get her home until nearly 11PM on a regular basis. In addition to this, Tamarla had placed trust in the role of her Brother as a loving sibling and as most people would.

At the same time she herself was in the role of a nurturing, loving mother. This is a great example of role conflict and here is why. We often want to trust and believe that the people closest to us, such as family, have the same morals and beliefs we do even if there is a tiny voice telling us different. Tamarla had to have had some knowledge of the environment she was placing her boys in, but being in the role of a loving sibling she chose to send them there anyways.

This of course also being in a situation of destitute, which was virtually ascribed to her by government and society. In conclusion, at face value, it’s easy to say “where was Tamarla, what kind of parent was she to allow this to happen”. But the fact is, she was a great parent and the product of a failed system put in place by bureaucrats with no real knowledge of what Tamarla and many others had to go through on a daily basis. Extra Credit A common theme in this video refers to “the culture of fear “.

This “fear” is used by the 1% minority, in most circumstances the ultra-wealthy in and around government, to control the majority of Americans who are witnessing the gap between them and the 1% growing bigger every day. When people are scared of things, they tend to accept was given and told to them. A great example of this was when “Bird Flu” was the next big thing to wipe us off the map. Roche Labs, makers of Tamiflu convinced the American people that stock piling this vaccine was absolutely necessary.

Several doctors have said Tamiflu doesn’t work and that this was a waste. The punch line to this story is that Donald Rumsfeld was a shareholder for Roche Labs. Coincidence, I don’t think so. This also displays the conflict theory of class, being that most people would have no idea of Tamiflu’s benefits, especially those that are poor and unable to access the internet etc… If this wasn’t the case, a poor person might opt for their State’s funds to be spent on new urban libraries or schools rather than wasteful Tamiflu.

This of course leads us into what Marilyn Manson said about the connection between fear and consumption. We are constantly told by the powers that be that our lives are in in danger. You better have a bomb shelter, vaccines and food for a year or else. If you want your kids to be safe, don’t even think about that $150,000 home in an urban area, you had better buy that mansion with a security system in a gated area of the suburbs. Kind of funny how there is very little gated neighborhoods where one might assume they would be most needed?

The wealthy that control our media and government for that matter, want us scared so we buy more stuff. Media does this to us on a daily basis. Men are told by ads and even T. V. shows that if they don’t have a good job, a nice car, a nice house and money in the bank no women will want them. So they often buy the BMW they can’t afford and max out their credit cards on furnishings to “impress”. Women aren’t left out by the media monster either. If you’re fat and ugly, no man will want you. So what do women do?

They spend billions a year on faulty weight loss supplements and outrageously priced make up and beauty products. This is a great example of sex and social conflict. The bottom line is that we do spend out of fear in all facets of our lives and that’s how the 1% wants it. References Brehm, E. (2000) Michigan school shooting: a tragic consequence of US welfare “reform”, Retrieved November 2nd, 2012 from http://www. wsws. org/articles/2000/apr2000/welf-a28. shtml Moore, M. (2002) Bowling For Columbine, Retrieved November 2nd, 2012 from ttp://topdocumentaryfilms. com/bowling-for-columbine/ Kamer, F. (No Year) That time Michael Moore harassed Dick Clark (video), Retrieved November 2nd, 2012 from http://observer. com/2012/04/michael-moore-dick-clark-04182012/ Other Statistic Sources (Web) http://www. city-data. com/crime/crime-Flint-Michigan. html http://www. prioritychildren. org/2005%20Fact%20Sheets/4-5%20Unemployment. pdf Tamarla Owens: Product of a Failed System Brandon Martin Intro to Sociology Section: 605 Instructor: Dennis Goeltl Front Range Community College 11/02/2012


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