1. In the article by Stephanie Coontz called “What We Really Miss About The 50s”, the author states that the idea of hope and further future developments was the main thing which made people nostalgic about their life during that time period. The author states that 50s are the times when people feel the most empathic about, but they are often unable to determine the reason. Coontz claims that the main reason for loving and missing 50s so much was that it provided people with a great deal of hope. They saw many changes and improvements that took place in the country. People in the 50s started new lives after the war ended, so they expected long years of peace and prosperity, and these expectations made them very optimistic and enthusiastic toward everything they did. The author adds that many innovations we have now were first introduced during the 50s, so it was an era with many start-ups and chances for improvements. Hence, people enjoyed the dreams they cherished, hoping that sooner or later, they would be able to achieve more.
Although the article is interesting since it raises many questions. After reading it, I did not really understand what was so special about 50s, and I could not see anything which made this era better from 60s or 70s. People tend to be nostalgic because it is something common for human kind, so why choose 50s as a special time people miss the most? The author was not persuasive enough to make me see anything special about 50s, and that makes me question the whole point of the article. Also, the suggested explanation of the reason for nostalgia is very questionable. Some people did believe that good times were about to come in the 50s, but there were many others who did not. I think it is very dangerous to make generalizations the way Coontz did because they may crook the entire perspective of the epoch. After all, there were people who loved 50s, and there were those who hated that time. Both types of people had fair reasons for their attitudes, so it is impossible to say that 50s were favourite times of the nation, or that they were special and unique.
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2. In the article by Charles Murray called “White Underclass”, the author suggests that spreading illegitimacy among whites in the US has to be stopped, otherwise there will be a white underclass which will live in poverty and serve as a threat for a well-being of American society. The author gives readers statistics. He compares the illegitimacy rate of 1960s with the one of 1991 and rates of blacks with the ones among whites. The statistics show that whites are starting to have more illegitimate babies, and these numbers are very similar between whites and blacks. Taking into consideration that the numbers of illegitimate babies tend to increase every year, soon, there may be a class of children born into single-parent families with little opportunities in life. The huge numbers among whites suggest that they will be the ones forming a new underclass which has a hard time living in society and rarely achieves anything. The author argues that we have to fight such a tendency in order to prevent society from the possible harmful consequences of underclass.
I found that this article has many racial issues and crooked perspective on reality. Having illegitimate babies is not wrong or immoral, but it is something many people have to deal with. It is true that in many cases, single mothers have a hard time raising their children on their own because they lack finances or cannot work full-time. Nevertheless, it does not mean that all mothers suffer, and it also does not mean that only children born into two-parent families are happy. A child who is born to a single mother can become as successful as a child from a family with a mother and a father. That is why I disagree with the author when he uses his statistics because they do not seem rational. I also think that dividing people into blacks and whites, strengthening on the differences between races is a negative thing which has to be avoided. Talking about white underclass as a possible continuation of the black one appears as an insult to both races, and it is also difficult to understand what the author really wanted to show with his statement. I believe that ‘underclass’ is an insulting word, and it should not be applied to people born in a single-parent family, and I also believe that society nowadays provides all people, despite their family backgrounds, with equal opportunities so they do not have to worry about having one or two parents.
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3. In the article by Gary Soto called “Looking for Work”, the author’s point is that children who come from minority backgrounds often question their social standings and wish to be like majority. In order to do that, children may come up with various solutions, such as search for a job to be able to earn more money. This way, they believe that they can reach out to their goals and live like dominant nation shown on TV. Nevertheless, they also begin to question their own background, wondering why they are different, and what are the reasons for them not to live on the high level, as others do. Understanding that one is a minority causes a change in a child’s perception, so he or she develops new attitudes toward people and social occurrences he or she sees.
I found the work to be an amazing piece of writing, showing a unique thinking of a child who begins to understand something very important about himself. Nevertheless, a child does not necessarily need to feel different or upset because he or she is not like children on TV, as long as his or her family is willing to adapt and integrate into existing society.
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