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Urban Injustice: How Ghettos Happen
     

Urban Injustice: How Ghettos Happen

4.3 3
by David Hilfiker
 

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David Hilfiker has committed his life, both as a writer and a doctor, to people in need, writing about the urban poor with whom he’s spent all his days for the last two decades. In Urban Injustice, he explains in beautiful and simple language how the myth that the urban poor siphon off precious government resources is contradicted by the facts, and how most

Overview

David Hilfiker has committed his life, both as a writer and a doctor, to people in need, writing about the urban poor with whom he’s spent all his days for the last two decades. In Urban Injustice, he explains in beautiful and simple language how the myth that the urban poor siphon off precious government resources is contradicted by the facts, and how most programs help some of the people some of the time but are almost never sufficiently orchestrated to enable people to escape the cycle of urban poverty.
Hilfiker is able to present a surprising history of poverty programs since the New Deal, and shows that many of the biggest programs were extremely successful at attaining the goals set out for them. Even so, Hilfiker reveals, most of the best and biggest programs were "social insurance" programs, like Medicare and Social Security, that primarily assisted the middle class, not the poor. Whereas, "public assistance" programs, directed specifically towards the poor, were often extremely effective as far as they went, but were instituted with far less ambitious goals.
In a book that is short, sweet, and completely without academic verboseness or pretension, Hilfiker makes a clear path through the complex history of societal poverty, the obvious weaknesses and surprising strengths of societal responses to poverty thus far, and offers an analysis of models of assistance from around the world that might perhaps assist us in making a better world for our children once we decide that is what we must do.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Hilfiker, a white doctor who has worked with homeless and HIV-positive men in Washington, D.C., for nearly 20 years, begins by noting, "[W]hen most Americans think about poverty, or see the poor on television, or read about them in the newspapers, the images are of poor black men hanging around the street corner, poor black teenagers selling drugs, poor black single mothers living on welfare, poor black inner-city schools failing their children." Yet only 12% of the nation's poor are African-American, according to his extrapolation from the 2000 census. In a calm, thoughtful yet impassioned voice, Hilfiker sets out to explain why this state of affairs persists, tracing the failure of programs to alleviate poverty, from Reconstruction through the New Deal to the contemporary battles over welfare. He is even brave enough to suggest solutions for the end of poverty and ghettos, to "remove this stain upon our American democracy." This accessible, clearly written book includes an excellent annotated bibliography and may inspire ordinary people to work toward full desegregation of our society. (Sept. 25) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Hilfiker is a compassionate white doctor who has spent more than two decades living with the poor and practicing "poverty medicine" in Washington, DC. He began doctoring with the premise that with sufficient "strengthening" he could turn his patients' lives around. This book represents his exploration of that failed premise and his answer to why African American poverty is intransigent and structural. He includes an especially good chapter on welfare history, including the 1960s "skirmish" on poverty. The last chapter suggests very practical public policies and budgets that could win a real war on poverty if the United States would surmount the political problems inherent in it. Hilfiker's two previous books, the prize-winning Healing the Wounds and Not All of Us Are Saints, are reflections on a doctor's work and patients. Clear and authoritative without being academic, this title is good reading for those who don't want to wade into texts by William Julius Wilson or Michael B. Katz, leading scholars of similar proclivity. Recommended for public libraries and for high school and college students. Janice Dunham, John Jay Coll. Lib., CUNY Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781609800345
Publisher:
Seven Stories Press
Publication date:
01/04/2011
Sold by:
Penguin Random House Publisher Services
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
240 KB

Meet the Author

Physician and writer DAVID HILFIKER, M.D. has committed his life to social justice in the practice of his two professions. In 1983, after seven years as a rural physician in north-eastern Minnesota, he moved to Washington, D.C., to practice medicine in the center of the city at Christ House, a medical recovery shelter for homeless men, where he and his family also lived. In 1990, he cofounded Joseph’s House, a community and hospice for formerly homeless men dying with AIDS. He lived there for three years, and continues to work there today.

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Urban Injustice: How Ghettos Happen 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
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